Asus ProArt PQ279Q Monitor Review: 27-Inch, Wide-Gamut, QHD

OSD Setup And Calibration Of The PA279Q

You’ll find tremendous depth in the PA279Q’s menu system. Not only are there two fully configurable User modes, but you also get high and low RGB controls and a color management system. For enthusiasts who like to tweak, this display was made for you. The OSD looks like what we've come to expect from Asus' other monitors, except with many more options.

The picture modes are called Splendid, and there are seven choices.

Standard is the default mode. But your best bet is to use sRGB or Adobe RGB if you want the wider gamut. In our testing, they were extremely accurate and only required adjustment of the Brightness control to dial in the light output. The User modes are the only ones that unlock all of the available calibration controls. As we’ll explain later, you’re not likely to need those modes unless you want to use an unusual color or grayscale standard.

Selecting a mode requires only that you highlight the appropriate one. Pressing the select button lets you reset all the options in that mode to factory defaults.

The Color menu is the gateway to all of the calibration adjustments of the User modes. In sRGB and Adobe RGB, everything is grayed out except Brightness. Advanced Setting is where you’ll find the color management system, along with high and low RGB sliders.

Six-axis Hue and Saturation represents the CMS. Selecting one of these brings up sliders for all six colors. The only thing missing is a luminance control. A full CMS requires one for complete adjustability.

We like that the sliders start at their center positions. This makes adjustment much easier. The same is true of the RGB controls.

These controls are very precise and allow fine adjustments to the PA279Q’s grayscale and color. You’ll need instruments to take advantage of them, but as we learned in testing, the sRGB and Adobe RGB presets are practically dead-on and measure better than what we could do ourselves.

Here are the Image settings.

There seems to be a Sharpness control on all of the Asus screens we’ve reviewed lately. This control defaults at 50 and can be left alone. Moving it below 40 causes visible image softness. Above 50, there is edge enhancement that manifests as white lines around dark objects against light backgrounds.

Aspect Control toggles between Full (all resolutions are scaled to 2560x1440), 1:1 (images are displayed at the incoming resolution), and Overscan (two percent of the image is not displayed).

Uniformity Compensation activates an internal look-up table to compensate for screen uniformity issues. In the sRGB and Adobe RGB modes, where we did our testing, this option is grayed out.

ASCR is the dynamic contrast setting and should be left off.

With the extra pixel density of a QHD screen, PIP and PBP become much more useful. On the PA279Q, you can display two sources either side by side or in a window. That window comes in small, medium, and large, and can be positioned in any corner of the screen. You can swap the two sources too.

There are only three input types on the PA279Q. If you’re using a single source, the monitor senses it automatically.

Splendid Demo Mode compares the Scenery and Theater picture modes side by side. Volume adjusts both the speakers and headphone output. OSD Setup moves the menu around the screen, sets the timeout, and configures transparency. We moved it to the lower-right corner to get it out of the way of our test patterns.

DisplayPort Stream should be left on SST unless you use the daisy-chain feature with two monitors. Then, it should be set to MST.

Key Lock disables the front-panel controls to prevent tampering. Information shows the incoming signal info. Language gives you 21 choices for the OSD. Finally, Power Indicator toggles the front-panel LED.

The last menu controls the two front-panel shortcut keys. You can see there are quite a few options. We think leaving them at their defaults of Brightness and Contrast makes the most sense.

The PA279Q has a huge number of calibration option. We literally spent an entire afternoon exploring the different settings in an attempt to create custom modes for sRGB and Adobe RGB. After all of that effort, though, the preset modes were more accurate than anything we could come up with due to Asus' dysfunctional color management system. We could achieve perfect grayscale numbers in the User modes, but the CMS didn’t allow us to dial in the gamuts correctly. For further explanation, see the grayscale results on page six, and the color results on page seven.

In the sRGB and Adobe RBG modes, the only control available is Brightness. So, we set it to 41 for sRGB and 43 for Adobe RGB to get 200 cd/m2. Since our calibration didn’t improve upon those presets, we aren't publishing our settings for the User modes.

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30 comments
    Your comment
  • Sid Jeong
    I think it's gonna be a hit with small studios and many freelance designers. I'd consider it when I upgrade my monitor in the future.
    1
  • zentrope
    People who cannot buy Eizo,Nec,Lacie...
    And are not happy with Dell and HP...
    You should be smiling now!
    Also at some places you can even get this around $800..
    1
  • slomo4sho
    It appears that my three Asus VS238H-P which cost me $360 total are going have a fairly long life span since 1440P still demands a hefty premium over quality 1080P displays. Hopefully we get some quality 4k displays for around 1k soon, the ASUS PQ321Q needs some competition :)
    1
  • amgsoft
    What is the actual reason for calibrating at 200 cd/m2. The usual standard calibration is 120 cd/m2 at 6500K, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_calibration.
    0
  • JeanLuc
    The same panel can be found in Korean import models such as the Achieva Shimian QH2700-IPSMS which is roughly half the price. I would love to see Toms benchmark these premium panels against the cheap imports.
    1
  • JackNaylorPE
    Almost perfect ....When it comes in 144hz or greater, call me .

    Liking the new Eizo model w/ 240 Hz mode too.
    1
  • Stevemeister
    Can someone lend me a tissue I need to wipe up the drool.
    0
  • lhughey
    I want a QHD monitor, but I can't afford a gaming card that will work well with that resolution just yet. Maybe in a six months when Nvidia drops its Maxwell cards.
    0
  • Nintendo Maniac 64
    Am I the only one that wants to know about upscaling quality? Last time I checked most monitors upscale pretty badly, and considering that this has an HDMI input I don't think it'd be unthinkable to have a 720p or a 1080p external video source.
    1
  • Bondfc11
    Why doesn't Tom's do the Overlord Tempest 2560x1440 IPS that will overclock refresh rates up to 120Hz? they are sellign for like $500 now and are killer!
    1
  • Niva
    This is a gorgeous monitor that is very tempting. I can't wait for the review of the monster one with 4k...

    Not this year but sometime next year I'd love to upgrade my system. I built my current workstation when the phenom 1 chip came out and other than a CPU upgrade after the phenom 2 came out and graphics card revision (old one died) I've not needed to do anything else to it. Starting to get a bit long in the tooth though.
    0
  • ceberle
    Anonymous said:
    What is the actual reason for calibrating at 200 cd/m2. The usual standard calibration is 120 cd/m2 at 6500K, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_calibration.


    120 cd/m2 would be ideal for a darkened room but we calibrate to 200 to better replicate an average viewing environment. Most graphics pros would opt for a darker space but the average user will have more ambient light to compete with. Since we're reviewing all types of displays, we need to place them on equal footing.

    -Christian-
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  • lalutte
    I would have loved to see a direct comparison to the Dell U2713H. That's the monitor I've had my eye on. It gets down to $800 when on sale and has Dell's great warranty. Rec709 is pretty compelling though...
    0
  • catswold
    The Achieva version of this is less than half the price . . . IF you can live with: "Up 5 dead pixels are normal. These are not the reason of return or compensate. Dark (gray color) dot may be on the panel, it is not the standard of Defect."

    If you want "pixel perfect" from Achieva, it'll cost you the same. Quite a gamble, big savings vs. a few dead pixels.
    1
  • 10tacle
    Anonymous said:
    The same panel can be found in Korean import models such as the Achieva Shimian QH2700-IPSMS which is roughly half the price. I would love to see Toms benchmark these premium panels against the cheap imports.


    It's technically the same panel, but it's a rejected panel by Apple and sold to 3rd parties like Achieva. That means dead pixels and irregular lighting and color are normal. That also means fewer input options (to save money), hardly any screen controls and settings (to save money), no height or tilt adjustment (to save money), cheaper components internally (to save money), and of course, a very weak warranty.

    Tie all this in with poor build quality (some of those displays have been reported as having dirt behind the panel!), and IMO it's just not worth the savings/risk. And considering manufacturers of these "affordable" QHD monitors use cheaper internal components, I'd be most concerned about how long the thing will last even if I got a perfect panel. That would always be in the back of my mind every time I touched the power button.

    So while you may be saving 50%, you are paying elsewhere by short changing yourself. I know what 5 dead pixels are like on a QHD monitor, because I had them on my ASUS PB278Q 27". They were concentrated within a 4-inch square in the middle of the screen and impossible to not notice. That monitor is known to have a pretty high dead pixel rate. I promptly returned it to Fry's and stepped up to the more professional factory Adobe RGB calibrated LG 27EA83.
    -1
  • Shneiky
    The model is not PQ279Q (as stated on the page names) it is PA279Q (as it is stated in the review and the Asus website). Please correct it, it got me confused for a second, and I guess a lot of other people, specially the not tech-savvy ones.
    0
  • cobra5000
    Looks nice but I prefer 16:10 screens.
    0
  • RedJaron
    Anonymous said:
    The same panel can be found in Korean import models such as the Achieva Shimian QH2700-IPSMS which is roughly half the price. I would love to see Toms benchmark these premium panels against the cheap imports.

    In addition to 10tacle's reason, you also lose the USB ports on that model.


    Anonymous said:
    Am I the only one that wants to know about upscaling quality? Last time I checked most monitors upscale pretty badly, and considering that this has an HDMI input I don't think it'd be unthinkable to have a 720p or a 1080p external video source.

    Guess that kinda depends. I don't know why many people would spend $800+ on a 27" display only to hook it up to a cable box or PS3. That much money will get you a very nice, rather large, TV.


    Anonymous said:
    Looks nice but I prefer 16:10 screens.

    As do I. Sadly, the price premium for 16:10 over 16:9 is pretty ridiculous. A quick search on Newegg shows the only 2560x1600 monitor with USB 3.0 is a $1500 30" Lenovo.


    I only wish this thing was 120Hz
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  • Solandri
    Anonymous said:
    Almost perfect ....When it comes in 144hz or greater, call me .

    Liking the new Eizo model w/ 240 Hz mode too.

    60 Hz is really about all that's needed to fool the human eye.

    TVs went to 120 Hz because of a problem peculiar to displaying movies. Most movies were shot at 24 fps. 60/24 = 2.5 which isn't an even integer. If you try to display them on a 60 Hz screen, you end up having to show one movie frame for 2/60 sec, the next frame for 3/60 sec, then repeat. The result of this uneven timing is something called judder, where smooth motion (especially panning shots) appear to stutter.

    With a 120 Hz refresh, you can show each movie frame for 5/120 sec, and a smooth panning shots remain smooth. 240 Hz is just the same thing except for 3D video - 120 Hz for the left eye, 120 Hz for the right eye.

    So unless you're planning to watch a lot of 24 fps movies, 60 Hz is just fine. And unless you're planning to watch 3D movies shot at 24 fps, 240 Hz is overkill. If you're watching video shot at 30 or 60 fps, it'll look the same at 60 Hz, 120 Hz, or 240 Hz.
    -1
  • pdesmidt
    Can an external profiling device load a profile into the monitor's internal LUT?
    0