Skip to main content

Asus ProArt PA32UCX Review: First Mini-LED Monitor Wows

Testing the first PC monitor with a mini-LED backlight and one of two with Dolby Vision.

Editor's Choice
(Image: © Asus)

In the quest for more realistic images, display technology has been forced to adapt to viewers’ desire for greater contrast, more vibrant color and higher resolution. The UHD standard brings four times the pixel count of FHD, plus HDR and a wider color gamut. Prices for such display are high but falling; however, it’s the premium reference monitors that still pave the way for better picture quality. The Asus ProArt PA32UCX advances the state of the art.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

There is nothing else that packs such an impressive list of technical achievements. Its mini-LED backlight with 1,152 dimming zones is a first, and for now, an exclusive. LCD panels have inherently low contrast when compared to OLED, but full-array backlighting makes them capable of much greater dynamic range. Our HDR contrast result of over 500,000:1 is a record that’ll likely stand for quite a while. Add to that its immense native color gamut that comes closer to Rec.2020 than any other PC monitor we’re aware of, and you’re looking at unrivaled image quality. That’s what reference screens are all about.

As a professional display, it’s much more expensive than consumer ones. We enjoyed using it for workday tasks and as a movie machine, but it’s likely to find its place in post-production studios, where it’ll be used to create the next generation of UHD / HDR content. And game designers will certainly appreciate its FreeSync and (unofficial) G-Sync compatibility.

The final element prosumers require is accuracy and adjustability; the PA32UCX has both. With factory color modes that have no visible errors and a comprehensive set of OSD controls, you can ensure perfect color and luminance for any task. Not only are there presets for every color gamut in use today, there are modes for HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision, each with additional luminance curve options. Nothing has been left out; the PA32UCX is a complete package.

If you need a reference display that supports every color standard up to Rec.2020 and every HDR format, the Asus ProArt PA32UCX is unmatched.

MORE: Best Gaming Monitors

MORE: How We Test Monitors

MORE: All Monitor Content

  • TheDane
    I know it is specified (in a smaller font below the title) but I'd prefer if you didn't use the term "mini-LED 4K HDR monitor" in the main title as this isn't a new type of panel, just an LCD panel with more zones. It confuses some people (like those who don't know that LED display are also just LCD panels with another type of backlighting).
    Reply
  • JamesSneed
    TheDane said:
    I know it is specified (in a smaller font below the title) but I'd prefer if you didn't use the term "mini-LED 4K HDR monitor" in the main title as this isn't a new type of panel, just an LCD panel with more zones. It confuses some people (like those who don't know that LED display are also just LCD panels with another type of backlighting).

    I could see that. Something like "4K HDR monitor with mini-LED backlight" would be much more forthcoming and less confusing imo.
    Reply
  • jasonelmore
    Oh wow, this thing is 4 grand. I'd love to see this technology come to Asus's Gsync line.
    Reply
  • strongdc
    I'd like to see this go against Apple's new Pro Display. That also uses mini-LEDs and beats it in every spec.
    Reply
  • TheDane
    1400 zones vs 576 zone - no not in all metrics.

    I'll wait for the microLED TVs/monitors, after using OLED TVs for some time I just cannot see myself use LCD panels again. And microLED looks to have all the benefits of OLED (per-pixel-light) and no potential issues with retention (though my OLED TV still looks fine after 2 years of daily use).
    Reply
  • setx
    Those on screen controls... are pure cancer as usual. Even with top level hardware they don't bother to make them convenient to use.

    After using NEC advanced mode it feels like going from IPS to TN panel.
    Reply
  • cryoburner
    TheDane said:
    I know it is specified (in a smaller font below the title) but I'd prefer if you didn't use the term "mini-LED 4K HDR monitor" in the main title as this isn't a new type of panel, just an LCD panel with more zones.
    I agree, when I first clicked the article, I thought it was going to be a review for a MicroLED screen with individual LEDs making up each pixel element, but quickly discovered it was just another IPS screen, albeit with somewhat more local dimming zones for HDR. Meh. A 24x48 array of backlight LEDs on a 32" screen isn't exactly what I would call "mini".

    I guess MicroLED is still a couple years or so away from mass production though, and will probably only appear at low pixel densities initially, like for big-screen TVs. It will probably be a number of years before we see a 32" 4K MicroLED screen.
    Reply
  • mohammed2006
    toms hardware should have included sony BVM-HX310. to see how close it get to it. i need to upgrade my dell UP2718Q i am thinking ether asus or apple . please do asus vs apple and add Sony BVM-HX310.
    Reply
  • jonpais
    Does the Asus require an i/o converter to use as an HDR reference grading monitor with a Mac?
    Reply
  • crimsonfilms
    mohammed2006 said:
    toms hardware should have included sony BVM-HX310. to see how close it get to it. i need to upgrade my dell UP2718Q i am thinking ether asus or apple . please do asus vs apple and add Sony BVM-HX310.


    What?
    The BMV-HX310 is $32K discounted. It does not even occupy the same market space.
    Reply