Introduction & Specifications
There’s no doubt that most of the latest improvements in display technology have been focused on the gaming experience. Every major company has or will be introducing monitors with G-Sync or FreeSync along with 144Hz refresh rates and high-speed panels. But there are other segments of the market that could benefit from some new gear, namely the professional genre.
A monitor earns the title “professional grade” from two major criteria, color accuracy and build quality. Accuracy is a no-brainer. When artists create documents on the screen they need color to precisely match what’s produced by the camera and what comes out of the printer; and eventually the press. Even web applications benefit from a color palette that’s correct throughout the production process.
Build quality is important as well because these monitors are tools to be used day in and day out. There is no time for components to fail when deadlines are looming. That means you’ll see high quality panel parts, solid chassis and stands that can support a heavy monitor without any trouble.
To this end, Asus has maintained a line of products called ProArt. The PA series includes color-accurate displays with factory-certified calibrations in a high-end package designed for professional use. Today we’re checking out the newest addition to that line – the PA328Q.
Advances in professional monitors come a little more slowly than those for gamers. When an artist builds a production system, there is considerable investment not only in displays but high-end graphics cards and other exotic hardware. The last thing any pro wants is the need to constantly upgrade.
Last year the majority of the pro displays we reviewed came in Quad HD (2560x1440) resolution. Standout screens came from HP (Z27x) and NEC (PA272W). Both offer robust calibration systems, excellent color accuracy and tank-like build quality. But for those needing a bump in pixel count and screen size, Asus presents the PA328Q.
The first Ultra HD monitors we saw in the 32-inch size were (and still are) quite expensive but aside from Dell’s UP3214Q, we wouldn’t call any of them professional-grade. The PA328Q changes that with a factory calibration, color management system and features aimed at artists and graphics jockeys.
The panel is IPS-based with a tight-tolerance anti-glare layer that promotes clarity and brightness. A calibration data sheet is enclosed that shows results for the monitor’s sRGB mode. Other picture presets can be calibrated to different white points and gamma curves as desired by the user. The white LED backlight is of the flicker-free variety. Constant current replaces pulse-width modulation to prevent any possible user fatigue.
The only thing missing here is a wide-gamut option. sRGB and Rec.709 are it for the PA328Q. Some may consider that a limitation but we’re here to measure performance. Let’s take a closer look.