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Asus PQ321Q 4K Monitor Review: Top-Shelf Ultra HD For $3500

Asus PQ321Q Packaging, Physical Layout, And Accessories

The only clue that there's something special inside the PQ321Q’s box is its large size. Otherwise, Asus' packaging looks like pretty much every other monitor carton you’ll see on the shelf at your local computer store. It’s packaged securely in Styrofoam and well-protected from all but the worst shipping abuse.

Included in the box is a large power brick, a DisplayPort cable, a nine-pin-to-3.5 mm RS-232 adapter, cable ties, and a printed manual. The base is in two pieces and must be assembled and attached to the panel with nine screws; Asus provides the hex key you'll need. This is the first screen we’ve seen in a while that requires tools to set up.

Product 360

Looking at the monitor head-on, the screen takes on a minimalist appearance, with nothing to distract you from the image except a small Asus logo. The control keys are hidden around the upper-right edge. The bezel is 23 mm wide all around and made of a textured black plastic that feels solid and high in quality. The base and upright are made of the same material. Available ergonomic adjustments include 30 degrees of tilt, 90 degrees of swivel, and 150 mm of height. There is no rotation adjustment, but you can use the panel in portrait mode if you attach the upright appropriately or use a different mounting system. To that end, there’s a 200 mm VESA mount around back.

The control keys are clearly labeled, though that doesn’t do you much good since they aren't visible from the front. You’ll have to operate the buttons by feel alone. They do at least return a satisfying click when you press them. There are small raised portions on the power and menu keys, which would logically help you keep your bearing. But even after working with the PQ321Q for a while, we found ourselves pressing the wrong key fairly often. If Asus could get a little pop-up guide in the screen, that'd be a big improvement.

The 150 mm height range is quite generous. Sliding the monitor up and down is tricky though, since the movement is a bit sticky and the panel is very heavy. Perhaps it'd loosen up over time. Asus includes ties and clips to help you clean up cable clutter.

At less than one-and-a-half inches thick, the PQ321Q is a relatively slim panel. You can see a small cable tie protruding from the back of the upright.

The rear of the display is all about function. There’s plenty of ventilation and the two input panels are clearly labeled. The left one is for the power cord and includes an on/off switch. The right panel contains the two HDMI ports and the DisplayPort input. Below that there are two 3.5 mm audio jacks, one for input and one for headphones. Finally, there is a USB port hidden by a plastic plug, which is for firmware updates and service only.

Integrated speakers are fed by the 3.5 mm audio input. They sound bright and small like the majority of drivers built into monitors. A dedicated sound system connected to your PC's audio subsystem is always a better choice. The final input is a 3.5 mm RS-232 control port. The required adapter is included and there is a full list of command codes in the manual. Every function in the OSD can be addressed via serial interface.

Christian Eberle
Christian Eberle is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He's a veteran reviewer of A/V equipment, specializing in monitors.