I was so smitten by the ASUS Designo MX34VQ curved monitor which I loved during my review that I didn’t notice a budget version with similar specs. Actually, I did, but it was retailing at over S$800 which I thought wasn’t attractive enough. Aftershock Prism+ is a Singapore brand that offers affordable monitors with impressive specs. During the Lazada GSS 2019 sale week, the X340 dropped to S$599 (actually it went to S$529 during a 9-hour flash sale but I missed it by 2 minutes). I managed to get a few discount vouchers and brought the final checkout price to S$551, which is a really decent price.
Here are the specs in comparison:
|ASUS Designo MX34VQ||PRISM+ X340|
|Response Time||4ms (Gray-to-gray)||6ms (Gray-to-gray)|
|Refresh Rate||100 Hz (max)||100 Hz (max)|
|Resolution||3440 x 1440||3440 x 1440|
|Brightness||300 cd/m²||300 cd/m²|
|Connectors||HDMI 2.0 x3, DP 1.2||HDMI 2.0, DP 1.2, DVI-D|
|Dimensions with stand||810.6 x 456.8 x 239.7 mm||815 x 445 x 250 mm|
|Weight||8.4 kg||8 kg|
As you can see, the Prism+ X340 holds up rather well. What’s more, it’s only a third of the price. While the X340 is positioned as a gaming monitor, I am not buying it for gaming at all, but for productivity.
Lazada delivered to me within 24 hours. The box was protected with industrial cling-wrap during delivery, and the stand requires simple assembly. But the packing weight is manageable to carry and transport in the car.
There is no doubt that the monitor is designed with a budget, so there are no fanciful features. The on-screen display buttons are functional but the straight layout is difficult to navigate. The stand is not height-adjustable, nor can it pivot left-right. There are no speakers, only one HDMI, one DisplayPort, one DVI-D connectors each, and 3.5mm line-out with audio source selectable from either DP or HDMI. Comparatively, my current Dell U2417H has 2 DisplayPorts, 1 mini-DP, 1 HDMI, USB 3.0 Hub with 4 USB ports.
But what made me upgrade is the need for more display. I could buy another 24-inch monitor and place side-by-side, which I rationalised when downgraded from my 27-inch to the U2417H, but it is always visually better to get a single panel display to see more of everything. The risk is that if the monitor breaks down, there is no backup. Anyway, I just accepted a new music project, so with the larger monitor I can see more tracks and stack more working windows to increase my productivity.
And while I may need to contend with the less-accurate colour gamut compared to my Dell U2417H professional display, I no longer do serious imaging projects which require accurate colour management. That’s not to say that the Prism+ X340 produces poor colours, but it’s just not as precise. After some ICC profile loading and additional calibration, I am able to get close to what I get in previous monitors, definitely better than those cheap TN panels used in office.
Without a hardware calibration tool, I used some web tools to give me a sense of the calibration outcome, like the EIZO Monitor Test. The result I got is actually quite good and acceptable in most areas, other than the viewing angle test which has some colour shifts at extreme angles.
Prism+ monitors come with 3-year warranty (2 years onsite pickup and return) with minimum 5 faulty pixels, and 7-day cracked screen guarantee. Based on overall sentiments from local forums, Prism+ monitors are generally lacking in longevity, but ironically based on my experience, the monitors that spoil the fastest turn out to be the “premium” ones. I believe it has a lot to do with the monitor usages, and my guess is that since Prism+ monitors are positioned as gaming monitors, the usage intensity tend to be higher than normal users. So let’s hope that my Prism+ X340 monitor can last a respectable number of years with my “normal” usage.