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OSD Setup And Calibration Of The Asus PQ321Q

Asus PQ321Q 4K Monitor Review: Top-Shelf Ultra HD For $3500
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The PQ321Q’s menu system is fairly complete. Our main complaint is that it takes up most of the left side of the screen and cannot be moved or reduced in size. To measure a window pattern, you have to place the meter a little right of center. It also has the unfortunate habit of disappearing after only 15 seconds, which is major pain when you’re trying to tweak calibration settings. The timeout value is not adjustable, either.

Here’s where you’ll spend most of your time.

The first thing you’ll notice is a black level control. This is separate from the brightness slider, which actually sets the backlight level. We appreciate this feature and wish it were standard on all computer monitors (after all, it's very common on consumer TVs). Out of the box, the backlight is set to maximum. You’ll have to throttle it back quite a bit to match a 200 cd/m2 output level. It also has very poor resolution. Each click represents about 12 cd/m2, which makes setting a precise luminance point very difficult. The upside is it has a very wide range.

Contrast is set to 30 by default. We backed it off one click to improve grayscale performance. Settings above 30 will clip detail. The useful minimum for the black level slider is 28. Colors and Tint will change saturations and the hue of secondary colors. These controls are best left alone. Sharpness is also best left at its default of 12. Higher settings produce visible edge enhancement.

Selecting Color Adjustment brings up the next menu.

There are three color modes, Standard, Vivid, and sRGB. Vivid creates an over-saturated cartoonish look and should be avoided. sRGB is fairly accurate, but it locks out all of the color temperature adjustments. So, we performed our tests and calibration using Asus' Standard mode. Gamma is set to Standard by default, which is not ideal. Changing it to 2.2 makes the tracking much better.

You can adjust the overall color temp with the different White Balance modes. Preset opens up an option that lets you set the color temp by Kelvin value, and User unlocks the RGB sliders.

We’re glad to see both high and low RGB adjustments included. This, combined with extremely fine resolution, allows precise control of the white point at every brightness level. The out-of-box grayscale performance is quite excellent. But we were able to make it even better using this menu.

The OSD is available in seven different languages. Input selection can be done here or with the bottommost side control key. Audio Select specifies the sound source (either HDMI or 3.5 mm mini-plug). The Audio Input Level worked fine for us at the .5 V setting. Baud Rate refers to the RS-232 control port. Its setting depends on the device you're connecting it to. DisplayPort STREAM is important. It’s set to multi by default, which is required when sending a native 3840x2160 signal from your computer.

You can use the PQ321Q in portrait mode if you attach it that way to the included base. Then, you have to reorient the image manually. Standby Mode can reduce power consumption in standby when set to Low Power. If you do this, it will take longer for the monitor to power on. To maintain access to the RS-232 interface, you need to leave Standby Mode set to Standard. Off If No Operation turns the display off after four hours of inactivity.

We didn’t take a shot of the PBP menu because we didn’t have two sources connected to activate it. When you use the picture-by-picture function, the images are shown side by side using the source resolution. If one source is connected via DisplayPort, you have to set that input to Single Stream mode.

Screen Motion offers two patterns to combat image retention. This isn’t really an issue for LCD displays. Size determines the aspect ratio of the image. In Wide mode, the PQ321Q scales all incoming resolutions to 3840x2160. In our resolution test patterns, we were impressed with how well it accomplished this. Most monitors roll off the one-pixel pattern so it looks distorted. With a 1920x1080 signal from our pattern generator, this monitor rendered it perfectly.

Selecting Information brings up the final screen.

This gives you a quick look at key settings and indicates the input resolution and refresh rate at the bottom.

Asus PQ321Q Calibration

This monitor barely needs a calibration since its out-of-box grayscale and gamma are pretty good. If you don’t have a meter, we recommend you set Color Mode to Standard, White Balance to Preset, and Gamma to 2.2. Then reduce the Brightness (backlight) to taste.

If you want to achieve near-perfection (as we did), it will take some back and forth work between the Brightness, Contrast, and Black Level controls. They affect each other, so you’ll need to exercise patience to find the right balance. The RGB sliders include both high and low adjustments, and these interact as well. While the PQ321Q is fairly easy to calibrate, it does require a bit more effort than most screens because of its fine control resolution.

Asus PQ321Q Calibration Settings
Brightness
15
Contrast
29
Black Level
30
Color
30
Tint
30
Sharpness
12
Color Mode
Standard
White Balance
User
R-Contrast
248
G-Contrast
252
B-Contrast
256
R-Offset
2
G-Offset
2
B-Offset
-6
Gamma
2.2
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  • 9 Hide
    cynic77 , January 23, 2014 1:05 AM
    "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 Hide
    cynic77 , January 23, 2014 1:12 AM
    "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.
  • 2 Hide
    cats_Paw , January 23, 2014 1:34 AM
    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 Hide
    Shneiky , January 23, 2014 2:24 AM
    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"?
  • -1 Hide
    lockhrt999 , January 23, 2014 2:30 AM
    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.
  • -3 Hide
    panzerknacker , January 23, 2014 3:43 AM
    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.
  • 1 Hide
    wtfxxxgp , January 23, 2014 3:48 AM
    Wow. That's pricey. O,o
  • 1 Hide
    huilun02 , January 23, 2014 4:08 AM
    Tiled screens but at least its 60Hz goodness. And proof that no bezel is possible.
  • -2 Hide
    zodiacfml , January 23, 2014 4:50 AM
    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 Hide
    AMD Radeon , January 23, 2014 5:00 AM
    i bet no one will use the internal speaker
  • 1 Hide
    santiagoanders , January 23, 2014 5:51 AM
    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 Hide
    santiagoanders , January 23, 2014 6:10 AM
    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.
  • 3 Hide
    clownbaby , January 23, 2014 7:18 AM
    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.
  • 0 Hide
    geok1ng , January 23, 2014 7:32 AM
    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 Hide
    dgingeri , January 23, 2014 8:09 AM
    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 Hide
    Sparq17 , January 23, 2014 8:14 AM
    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 Hide
    Sparq17 , January 23, 2014 8:18 AM
    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??
  • 1 Hide
    ceberle , January 23, 2014 8:35 AM
    Quote:
    "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 -
  • 2 Hide
    ceberle , January 23, 2014 8:37 AM
    Quote:
    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 Hide
    panzerknacker , January 23, 2014 8:56 AM
    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.
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