Asus PQ321Q 4K Monitor Review: Top-Shelf Ultra HD For $3500

Asus PQ321Q Packaging, Physical Layout, And Accessories

The only clue that there's something special inside the PQ321Q’s box is its large size. Otherwise, Asus' packaging looks like pretty much every other monitor carton you’ll see on the shelf at your local computer store. It’s packaged securely in Styrofoam and well-protected from all but the worst shipping abuse.

Included in the box is a large power brick, a DisplayPort cable, a nine-pin-to-3.5 mm RS-232 adapter, cable ties, and a printed manual. The base is in two pieces and must be assembled and attached to the panel with nine screws; Asus provides the hex key you'll need. This is the first screen we’ve seen in a while that requires tools to set up.

Product 360

Looking at the monitor head-on, the screen takes on a minimalist appearance, with nothing to distract you from the image except a small Asus logo. The control keys are hidden around the upper-right edge. The bezel is 23 mm wide all around and made of a textured black plastic that feels solid and high in quality. The base and upright are made of the same material. Available ergonomic adjustments include 30 degrees of tilt, 90 degrees of swivel, and 150 mm of height. There is no rotation adjustment, but you can use the panel in portrait mode if you attach the upright appropriately or use a different mounting system. To that end, there’s a 200 mm VESA mount around back.

The control keys are clearly labeled, though that doesn’t do you much good since they aren't visible from the front. You’ll have to operate the buttons by feel alone. They do at least return a satisfying click when you press them. There are small raised portions on the power and menu keys, which would logically help you keep your bearing. But even after working with the PQ321Q for a while, we found ourselves pressing the wrong key fairly often. If Asus could get a little pop-up guide in the screen, that'd be a big improvement.

The 150 mm height range is quite generous. Sliding the monitor up and down is tricky though, since the movement is a bit sticky and the panel is very heavy. Perhaps it'd loosen up over time. Asus includes ties and clips to help you clean up cable clutter.

At less than one-and-a-half inches thick, the PQ321Q is a relatively slim panel. You can see a small cable tie protruding from the back of the upright.

The rear of the display is all about function. There’s plenty of ventilation and the two input panels are clearly labeled. The left one is for the power cord and includes an on/off switch. The right panel contains the two HDMI ports and the DisplayPort input. Below that there are two 3.5 mm audio jacks, one for input and one for headphones. Finally, there is a USB port hidden by a plastic plug, which is for firmware updates and service only.

Integrated speakers are fed by the 3.5 mm audio input. They sound bright and small like the majority of drivers built into monitors. A dedicated sound system connected to your PC's audio subsystem is always a better choice. The final input is a 3.5 mm RS-232 control port. The required adapter is included and there is a full list of command codes in the manual. Every function in the OSD can be addressed via serial interface.

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49 comments
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  • "We’re sure it’s only a matter of time before an Ultra HD panel becomes available in wide-gamut form."That time is now. The Dell 24" UP2414Q and 32" UP3214Q are Ultra HD monitors that cover 100% sRGB and 99% AdobeRBG. This Asus you've reviewed has already been outclassed.
    9
  • "We’re sure it’s only a matter of time before an Ultra HD panel becomes available in wide-gamut form."That time is now. The Dell 24" UP2414Q and 32" UP3214Q are Ultra HD monitors that cover 100% sRGB and 99% AdobeRBG. This Asus you've reviewed has already been outclassed.
    -6
  • Dat Price...Good thing is you need a crazy GPU to use that resolution anyway so by the time the 4k Monitors and tvs drop down in price we might have gpus that manage them in the upper midrange of the GPU segment.
    2
  • In the last chapter of the article, last paragraph:" crop of TN-based panels were announced at CES for sub-$1000 prices, and as those become available to test, you can be we'll review them. "Shouldn't that "be" be "bet"?
    2
  • If they are putting that much resolution on this screen then why not make it 3D too (polarized)? I think it's perfectly doable and won't exceed budget.I'm talking from professional point of view. I bored of using anaglyph 3D for content creation.
    -1
  • For me this is just a gimmick that can't be taken seriously. The way they had to logically divide the screen in 2 because there are no scalars yet simply screams 'niche product that you pay way too much for only to be the first person on earth using it'. Also for gaming this screen is completely useless to me with a input lag of 80ms, you take this to a LAN party and get crapped upon by those using a $100 tn panel. In the end I think this screen is a step in the right direction but for me personally they could rather revert to producing crt's again.
    -3
  • Wow. That's pricey. O,o
    1
  • Tiled screens but at least its 60Hz goodness. And proof that no bezel is possible.
    1
  • Good job but too pricey. The backlight used is for cheap TN screens. There still is no single port/cable in the market. The cutting edge is too inconvenient.
    -2
  • i bet no one will use the internal speaker
    2
  • That resolution comparison chart is quite misleading, I think owing to the 4k label with 3840x2160 underneath. The sizes show that 2k is half (in both dimentions) of 4k, but that 2k is larger than 1080p, leading to the conclusion that 3840x2160 is more than 4 times the pixels of 1080p (which it is not).
    1
  • I see that you lifted the image from wikipedia, where Accuruss made the mistake. He supposedly extended the 4k image from here, which equates 4k to 4,096 × 2,304 (the RED ONE format), but he mislabeled it as 3840x2160.
    1
  • I'm seeing a lot of shallow criticism to this monitor. Many of the "problems" are not problems on the professional end as I would view them. High accuracy monitors have always demanded a substantial premium and been designed with only the professional sector in mind. This is certainly not a piece of hardware with gaming in mind. I see the dual hdmi input option as a secondary input. Lots of monitors still have VGA inputs, but nobody complains about them. Anyone with the thought of buying a $3500 monitor and not matching it with an appropriate system is putting the cart before the horse.It wasn't but 2 years ago that I started replacing my 16:10 1920x1200 IPS panels with 2560x1440 IPS/PLS panels. Color accuracy isn't of the utmost importance for me, so this model reviewed won't be on my radar, but 4k screen real estate is something I'm very much looking forward to. I'm also very much looking forward to monitors with similar pixel density in a 21:9 ratio, maybe 39" width. I'm sure there will very shortly be 4k TN options designed for gaming, and the top of the next generation of graphics cards will be ready for them. For now however, the only benefit to 4k is in the professional sector as consumer level gaming and video content are quite a ways off.
    3
  • Just to add about the cheap 4K TVs: The Seiki 39" is only 30hz at 4k, but true and real 120hz at 1080p, and this without the "tiled display" cavets.
    0
  • To cynic77: Those Dell monitors are only 30Hz at 3840X2160, so they aren't going to be nearly as good as this Asus. The Asus outclasses everything right now. Asus also outclasses Dell's 2560X1440 monitors because it's capable of 144Hz refresh rate, where the best Dell can do it 60Hz. It is looking more and more like Dell's days as the average user near top tier monitor supplier are ending, with Asus taking over. Sure, there are higher end monitors, but not that most people could afford.
    0
  • At this price, really more interested to see if Asus will plan to release a 4k at 120Hz refresh rate? I think this sort of future proof would justify an upgrade for a lot of people. Just wish we knew when??
    0
  • At this price, really more interested to see if Asus will plan to release a 4k at 120Hz refresh rate? I think this sort of future proof would justify an upgrade for a lot of people. Just wish we knew when??
    0
  • 1559186 said:
    "We’re sure it’s only a matter of time before an Ultra HD panel becomes available in wide-gamut form."That time is now. The Dell 24" UP2414Q and 32" UP3214Q are Ultra HD monitors that cover 100% sRGB and 99% AdobeRBG. This Asus you've reviewed has already been outclassed.


    We are aware of Dell's new 4K screens. In fact, both the UP3214Q and UP 2414Q are sitting in our lab right now!

    - Christian -
    1
  • 312980 said:
    To cynic77: Those Dell monitors are only 30Hz at 3840X2160, so they aren't going to be nearly as good as this Asus. The Asus outclasses everything right now. Asus also outclasses Dell's 2560X1440 monitors because it's capable of 144Hz refresh rate, where the best Dell can do it 60Hz. It is looking more and more like Dell's days as the average user near top tier monitor supplier are ending, with Asus taking over. Sure, there are higher end monitors, but not that most people could afford.


    Dell's UP3214Q will handle 60 Hz via DisplayPort 1.2. We've had this monitor in the lab for a few weeks now and it's quite impressive! Reviews of it and the UP2414Q are coming soon!

    - Christian -
    2
  • For me this is just a gimmick that can't be taken seriously. The way they had to logically divide the screen in 2 because there are no scalars yet simply screams 'niche product that you pay way too much for only to be the first person on earth using it'. Also for gaming this screen is completely useless to me with a input lag of 80ms, you take this to a LAN party and get crapped upon by those using a $100 tn panel. In the end I think this screen is a step in the right direction but for me personally they could rather revert to producing crt's again.
    -2