-- A good value, but with (major?) caveats --
Overall, this monitor is a very good value, but there are some caveats that might be dealbreakers for you. Once I made some adjustments to the contrast and gamma values, the monitor's picture quality was very good. Based on the specs of the monitor (in particular, the CCFL backlight, IPS, and 1920x1200), I am almost certain that this monitor has a variant of LG's LM240WU7 panel, which was used in high-end monitors a few years ago. However, keep in mind that this monitor is constructed quite cheaply, and this is reflected in the overall build quality. Buttons feel and sound cheap when you press them, and the stand, while pretty sturdy, is made entirely out of plastic. The final caveat is the monitor's brightness. At the backlight's lowest brightness, the monitor is still too bright for general use and is uncomfortable for me to use.
Although this is not mentioned on this page, the Auria model number for this monitor is EQ246W. The user manual can be downloaded from http://eqdcorp.com/Websites/eqdcorp/images/files/IPS_Monitors/M-EQ246w-UG.pdf. In addition, the monitor has a 1 year warranty, not the 90 days stated on this page.
If you aren't bothered by bright monitors, here's a lot more in-depth/technical information. I used the excellent tests at lagom.nl to calibrate the monitor to the best of my ability.
-- Contrast and brightness --
Out of the box, the EQ246W is not calibrated properly for a gamma value of ~2.2. It is closer to 2.0. Luckily, the OSD of the monitor has gamma correction. After setting the gamma value to -50, the monitor was much closer to the target gamma of 2.2.
In terms of contrast, the darkest shades of grey are all easily discernable - excellent dark gray performance. However, light grey performance was horrible. I was able to improve the light grey performance by setting the contrast value to 25. After this, the dark grey performance was still great and the light grey performance was satisfactory.
After calibrating the gamma and contrast, some banding was visible on greyscale gradient test images. It wasn't too noticeable, however, and I didn't see any banding during normal use.
Now comes my biggest beef with this monitor. Out of the box, the brightness is set at a value of 50/100. However, lowering the brightness of the monitor below 50 does not actually dim the backlight. The brightness is lowered by digitally lowering the brightness of the image sent to the LCD panel itself, which has a large negative impact on image quality (blacks are crushed). Therefore, a brightness value of 50 is really the lowest you should go. However, this results in an image that is still quite bright! It's definitely way brighter than the recommended brightness of 140 cd/m2, although I have no way of accurately measuring the brightness. The actual range of brightness values for the backlight is quite limited.
The backlight brightness is PWM controlled, but the frequency seems quite high. I cannot discern any visible flickering, and the pencil/pen test does not show the PWM flicker. However, the camera on my phone does pick up the flickering. Keep in mind that because this monitor has a CCFL backlight that the effect of PWM backlight flicker will be less pronounced than on monitors with LED backlights. Oddly, there is still flicker even at 100/100 brightness.
The black level of this monitor isn't very good. A large part of this might just be because the backlight is so bright. I didn't notice any backlight bleeding (although this can vary between monitors of the same model quite a bit). However, I did notice a lot of IPS glow with a black screen. In normal usage I can't really notice it, but it could be noticeable when viewing dark scenes. Again, I think this has to do with the bright backlight.
-- Colors --
To my eye the colors didn't require any tweaking - the color bars on Lagom were all pretty uniform, although the brightest two boxes on all the colors were a little difficult to distinguish. I'm actually quite satisfied in this respect - they look natural but also quite detailed. It's obvious that this is a good quality IPS panel in this regard - game screenshots and photos look awesome, and it's easy to notice compression artifacts and other minute details. If my hunch about the LCD panel is correct, then it is a true 8-bit panel (not 6-bit with FRC).
-- Screen coating --
This screen is a matte screen, which I like. However, it has a heavy matte coating - it is not glossy in the slightest. This does not bother me, but some hate heavy matte coatings. If you do, do not buy this monitor . If you haven't noticed different strengths of the "matteness" of monitors, then you won't be bothered by this either.
-- Input lag and response time --
Unfortunately, I haven't done any real scientific tests in this regard. However, this monitor seems to have low input lag (likely at most a frame). One monitor I use has around ~50 ms input lag and that is easily noticeable to me. This monitor appears to respond immediately to mouse/keyboard input. I don't think I'm extremely sensitive to input lag, though.
In terms of response time, I was able to achieve a score of 8 on PixPerAn's readability test. Considering that this is the same score I was able to get on an eight year old Dell 2001FP (which also uses a CCFL-backlit IPS panel), I don't think that this monitor is using overdrive. As a result, there is blur during fast motion. However, gaming on this monitor seemed completely fine, and in practice the monitor felt a bit faster than the old 2001FP. As long as you're not expecting a really fast response time, this monitor is probably fine for gaming. You may want to take this with a grain of salt, though, as I've been playing all types of PC games on a 2001FP for years without complaint.
-- Non-native resolution input scaling --
Unfortunately, this monitor only has two scaling options: "Wide" and "4:3." In practice, "Wide" means to scale the input to full screen (16:10) resolution. "4:3" will scale any resolution to fit in 1600x1200 pixels. This means that 1:1 pixel mapping is only achievable with 1920x1200 and 1600x1200 resolutions. More importantly, 1920x1080 (and any other 16:9 resolution) is not letterboxed and instead stretched to fill the screen without preserving the aspect ratio. If you're just using this as a PC monitor, this probably doesn't matter because you can set your video card to scale, bypassing the limited options of this monitor. However, it could be an issue for some other use-cases.
-- Misc notes --
- The power/standby LED isn't too bright, unlike the monitor itself.
- The monitor does have speakers, but I didn't test them (they're probably really bad).
- I only used the DVI input, although the monitor also has VGA and HDMI inputs.
- The monitor also has a two port USB hub, but my unit did not come with the USB cable to use the hub. Oddly, the needed USB cable is not a normal USB A to B cable but an A to A cable instead.
- The monitor emits some buzzing noise when powered on, but it's fairly quiet - I couldn't hear it over my PC. It also emits some very soft high pitch when in standby mode. This sort of noise will likely vary from monitor to monitor, so this may have just been my bad luck.