Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

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

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

Today we're taking a look at the 27-inch member of Asus’ ProArt family, the PA279Q. This is a flagship piece of hardware, and it has a feature set and price tag to match. You'll find this monitor in the company's Visual Professional line-up, topped by the Ultra HD PQ321Q, which we're in the process of reviewing.

Looking at the logos on the outside of the box, it’s obvious that Asus tried to cram every possible feature and enhancement into this display. QHD resolution from an AH-IPS panel is where our journey begins. At 2560x1440, the PA279Q has the dot size to pretty much eliminate any visible pixelation, even if you sit very close to it. With more screens hitting the market at this resolution, we’re starting to get spoiled. QHD displays are claiming permanent spots on our desks.

This is also a wide-gamut panel. Asus claims 99 percent of Adobe RGB 1998. It’s also pre-calibrated and includes a data sheet, individual to each monitor, showing the results of grayscale, color, gamma, and screen uniformity tests. All errors are below two Delta E, and the gamma is a perfect 2.2 as-shipped. And here’s the best part: the PA279Q includes an sRGB mode so you can have accurate color for your game and movie content. This is the first wide-gamut display we’ve seen that can correctly render both Adobe RGB 1998 and sRGB.

There is more here than just high performance. Six USB 3.0 ports are included, plus an appropriate cable for the single upstream connection. And you get a nine-in-one memory card reader too. Of course, there is audio support courtesy of three-watt stereo speakers, as well as a headphone jack.

All of this luxury doesn’t come cheap. But it’s not the most expensive flagship monitor we’ve seen either. That honor still belongs to Samsung's S27B970D, which sells for nearly $1200. At $850, Asus undercuts that screen by quite a bit, offers more features and, in our testing, equal or better image quality.

Brand
Asus
Model
PA279Q
Street Price
$850
Panel Type
AH-IPS
Backlight
GB-r-LED
Screen Size
27"
Max Resolution
2560x1440
Max Refresh Rate
60 Hz
Aspect Ratio
16:9
Response Time (GTG)
6 ms
Brightness (cd/m2)
350
Speakers
2 x 3 W
VGA
-
DVI
1
DisplayPort
1 in, 1 out (v1.2 w/MST)
HDMI
1
Headphone
1
USB
v3.0, 1 up, 6 down
Dimensions w/base
WxHxD
25.2 x 22 x 9.5 in
641 x 560 x 240 mm
Panel Thickness
2.75 in, 70 mm
Warranty
Three years

You may notice in the specs a type of backlight we haven’t covered here before: GB-r-LED. The vast majority of LED screens use white LEDs (W-LED) on the top and bottom edges of the panel. A white LED emits blue light through a yellow phosphor, which neutralizes its color temp to around 6500 Kelvin. This is very easy and cheap to implement, and that's why it’s so common. At the other end of the spectrum, we have RGB-LED which is literally red, green, and blue LEDs arrayed directly behind the LCD panel. This is very expensive and difficult to manufacture, and therefore quite rare.

The compromise is found in GB-r-LED technology. Here, the backlight consists of green and blue diodes coated with a red phosphor. The net effect is that the spectral peaks of the three primary colors are pretty much even. With W-LED, the spectral peak is much higher for blue. So, software (and the panel's color filters) must intervene to achieve the correct color balance. A GB-r-LED panel is more accurate natively, making software and the color filter layer less critical. And you get the added benefit of the wider Adobe RGB gamut. It is a bit more expensive to manufacture than W-LED, but less so than RGB-LED.

Before we get to the benchmarks, there is a lot to look at, both in the box and on the panel itself. Asus' asking price is above other QHD screens, but we quickly discovered the value factor is high as well.

Display 30 Comments.
This thread is closed for comments
  • 1 Hide
    Sid Jeong , November 14, 2013 10:58 PM
    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 Hide
    zentrope , November 14, 2013 11:19 PM
    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 Hide
    slomo4sho , November 14, 2013 11:38 PM
    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 :) 
  • 0 Hide
    amgsoft , November 15, 2013 12:01 AM
    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.
  • 1 Hide
    JeanLuc , November 15, 2013 5:04 AM
    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 Hide
    JackNaylorPE , November 15, 2013 8:54 AM
    Almost perfect ....When it comes in 144hz or greater, call me .

    Liking the new Eizo model w/ 240 Hz mode too.
  • 0 Hide
    Stevemeister , November 15, 2013 9:49 AM
    Can someone lend me a tissue I need to wipe up the drool.
  • 0 Hide
    lhughey , November 15, 2013 10:16 AM
    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.
  • 1 Hide
    Nintendo Maniac 64 , November 15, 2013 11:16 AM
    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 Hide
    Bondfc11 , November 15, 2013 11:40 AM
    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!
  • 0 Hide
    Niva , November 15, 2013 11:49 AM
    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 Hide
    ceberle , November 15, 2013 3:44 PM
    Quote:
    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-
  • 0 Hide
    lalutte , November 16, 2013 5:15 AM
    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...
  • 1 Hide
    catswold , November 16, 2013 5:18 AM
    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 Hide
    10tacle , November 16, 2013 10:44 AM
    Quote:
    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.

  • 0 Hide
    Shneiky , November 16, 2013 1:19 PM
    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 Hide
    cobra5000 , November 16, 2013 4:33 PM
    Looks nice but I prefer 16:10 screens.
  • 0 Hide
    RedJaron , November 18, 2013 11:53 AM
    Quote:
    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.


    Quote:
    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.


    Quote:
    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
  • -1 Hide
    Solandri , November 20, 2013 11:23 AM
    Quote:
    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.
  • 0 Hide
    pdesmidt , November 21, 2013 10:07 AM
    Can an external profiling device load a profile into the monitor's internal LUT?
Display more comments