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

Results: Brightness And Contrast

Uncalibrated

Before calibrating any panel, we measure zero and 100 percent signals at both ends of the brightness control range. This shows us how contrast is affected at the extremes of a monitor's luminance capability. We do not increase the contrast control past the clipping point. While doing this would increase a monitor’s light output, the brightest signal levels would not be visible. This would result in crushed highlight detail. Our numbers show the maximum light level possible with no clipping of the signal.

Our comparison group for this review is the last five displays reviewed at Tom’s Hardware, plus the Samsung S27B970D. Since it’s the only other factory-calibrated monitor we’ve tested, it makes sense to include it.

All of the luminance measurements are taken in the PA279Q’s sRGB mode.

At over 306 cd/m2, this is a fairly bright panel. It’s hard to imagine one needing greater light output than this.

The maximum black level is not quite as solid.

This a below-average number compared to the monitors we’ve tested this year, placing 10th out of 15 screens. If you use the PA279Q at its maximum brightness setting, blacks show up a little gray. The Samsung unit displays visibly better blacks than the rest of the field.

Fortunately, the max contrast number is respectable thanks to its high light output.

Asus comes up just under 1000 to 1, which is a decent performance. We would have no problem using the monitor this way. As you’ll see later, its nearly perfect gamma makes the image pop nicely, regardless of brightness setting.

For the next group of measurements, we turn down the brightness control to its minimum setting, and leave the contrast unchanged. The PA279Q measures 84.7725 cd/m2, which is well above our minimum standard of 50 cd/m2. We recommend staying above that level to avoid eyestrain. We’d like to see a lower number to help improve contrast at this level.

The Asus’ high output at minimum brightness hurts its minimum black level number a bit. Still, .0861 cd/m2 is decent. The monitor looks pretty good this way, retaining the image depth of higher brightness settings.

We’ll wrap up this section with the minimum contrast comparison.

The PA279Q’s minimum contrast is within a hair of its maximum contrast, which shows consistent performance. While it doesn’t have the lowest black level in our test group, it retains a reasonably high contrast ratio through the entire brightness range.

After Calibration

Since we consider 200 cd/m2 to be an ideal average for peak output, we calibrate all of our test monitors to that value. In a room with some ambient light (like an office), this brightness level provides a sharp, punchy image with maximum detail and minimum eye fatigue. It's also the sweet spot for gamma and grayscale tracking, which we'll look at on the next page.

We start with the calibrated black level. This can sometimes rise a bit from the monitor’s default state. We consider the tradeoff in contrast well worth the gain in color accuracy.

Although you can calibrate a slightly better black level in the PA279Q’s User modes, we opted for sRGB due to its more accurate color gamut. A tested .2007 cd/m2 is still excellent. You’ll get the same numbers in the Adobe RGB mode. By comparison, the S27B970D’s black level suffers a bit after calibration.

Here are the final calibrated contrast numbers.

There is a slight contrast improvement in the sRGB mode when you set brightness to 200 cd/m2. This is definitely the PA279Q's sweet spot. Since the only control available in this mode is brightness, you can achieve our same result without an instrumented calibration. Samsung's offering finishes last in this group due to its higher black level.

ANSI Contrast Ratio

Another important measure of contrast is ANSI. To perform this test, a checkerboard pattern of sixteen zero- and 100-percent squares is measured. This is somewhat more real-world than on/off measurements because it tests a display’s ability to simultaneously maintain both low black and full white levels, and factors in screen uniformity. The average of the eight full-white measurements is divided by the average of the eight full-black measurements to arrive at the ANSI result.

Only two other displays best the PA279Q in ANSI contrast, and they just so happen to be in this comparison group. Thanks to minimal light leakage pixel-to-pixel, Asus' PA279Q is one of the best monitors we’ve tested. The real-world result is more depth, more dimension, and more punch in the image.

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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.
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  • 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
    184548 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
    3515 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
    3515 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.


    665346 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.


    172115 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
    0
  • Solandri
    35894 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