What makes a monitor great? That is a question that most shoppers ask when looking for a new display. And that's why we're constantly evaluating new monitors, especially if they include advances in new technology.
Obviously there is no single list of attributes that propels a screen into the best category, as that depends on the required application. Gamers will want speed and advanced video processing. Photographers will want color accuracy and a wide gamut. But the majority of users are looking for a screen that does everything well and, most importantly, doesn't cost a lot.
We review a lot of high-end monitors mainly because that's where the latest technologies are found. But if a display offers a lot for the money, we'll highlight that too. We haven't found perfection yet, but today one of the best-performing screens we've ever seen is in our lab for evaluation: Asus' PB328Q. This 32-inch QHD AMVA panel quite simply does everything well.
We've touted the virtues of VA panels in previous reviews of the BenQ BL3200PT and most recently in the BenQ XR3501,Philips BDM4065UC and HP Envy 34c. VA's big advantage over IPS and TN is contrast; in some cases five times the contrast to be exact. The one and only reason for this is lower black levels. VA isn't any brighter but the blacks are super-deep thanks to a sub-pixel structure that blocks the backlight more effectively. We like to call them "better valves."
But the PB328Q isn't just about contrast. It's very accurate too as you'll see in our tests. It isn't billed as a professional display, but it performs just as well as one. It's also not aimed at gamers, but that 75Hz refresh rate in the spec table is the real deal. It also has a native 10-bit color depth, which we were able to utilize through Windows with a GeForce GTX Titan X video card. And all of this comes at less than $600.
This is a significant price drop for the 32-inch screen size. Economies of scale have dictated high prices for jumbo panels simply because they aren't all that popular. Screen sizes have slowly inched up from 15 to 19 to 22 to 24, and now 27 inches seems to be a sweet spot. 32 inches demands a lot of desktop space but the benefits can be substantial.
When we reviewed the BenQ BL3200PT we loved its QHD resolution. A pixel density of 92ppi means ideal sizing of fonts and objects without any dpi scaling in Windows. Gaming is extra immersive and graphics work becomes a pleasure when your photos approach poster-size.
The PB328Q looks fantastic on paper and as we began our tests we knew we were looking at something exceptional. Is it the perfect display? Let's take a look.