Packaging, Physical Layout, And Accessories
Like other Asus monitors, this one's carton opens with the panel in a horizontal position, rather than the more common suitcase-style box. This means there’s a lot more foam around the contents. The panel is practically impervious to shipping damage. Upon opening the box, the first thing you find is a two-page calibration report. It shows a very detailed set of graphs for grayscale error, gamma, and color for both sRGB and Adobe RGB 1998 gamuts, along with a screen uniformity test. Also in the box are cables for DisplayPort, mini-DisplayPort, HDMI, dual-link DVI, and a 3.5 mm audio cable. The power supply is internal, so there’s an IEC power cord too. Cementing the PA279Q’s status as a professional product is a light hood that installs on the monitor’s bezel. Finally, there's a bundled CD-ROM containing the user’s manual in 10 languages and ICC profiles for Windows 7 and 8.
The PA279Q exudes quality from every angle. The hood shown in the photo comes in the box and must be attached via double-stick tape to the bezel. On the right side is a little door that allows access to the front-panel controls. The bezel measures 20 mm all around and is made from a heavy textured plastic that absorbs light fairly well. Adding the hood improves perceived contrast and cuts reflections when you’re working in a room with some ambient light. The anti-glare coating on the screen is aggressive, but stops short of causing visible image artifacts.
The base and upright allow for full ergonomic adjustments that include five inches of height, 25 degrees of tilt, and 120 degrees of swivel. All of the movements are solid and quiet, and the panel stays right where you put it.
There is also a portrait mode. With the PA279Q's high pixel density, this is just the thing for editing documents like webpages or music scores.
The buttons are arranged vertically on the lower-right side of the panel.
Starting at the top, there is a little joystick that makes menu navigation super-easy. This is so cool that, once you get the hang of it, you’ll wonder how you operated a monitor any other way! The next key is Menu, then a pair of hotkeys you can set to one of 10 different functions. Next is the Splendid button, which toggles the seven picture modes, followed by an input selector and the power button. The power LED is refreshingly not a searing bright blue like many screens. And you can defeat it if you wish.
Around the right side are three USB 3.0 inputs and the nine-in-one card reader. We wish the headphone jack were there as well. The card reader is a unique feature, though. To make it work, you need to connect the provided USB-B cable between the PA279Q and your computer.
Inputs are digital-only. and include HDMI, DisplayPort in and out, and DVD-D. There are also three more USB 3.0 jacks, plus the upstream port. Rounding out the panel are 3.5 mm audio in and a headphone jack.
Around back is a 100 mm VESA mount, in case you want to remove the included upright and use your own bracket. The three-watt speakers are back there too. They output bigger sound than most monitor speakers, but are still limited by size and placement. You're going to get better audio from the headphone jack, quite frankly.
One feature that will be of particular interest to graphics pros is QuickFit. Activated by pressing the joystick button, QuickFit is a series of alignment grids that overlay the screen image.
These are just two examples of the grids available. You can also display a centimeter grid, plus frames for 2x2 through 8x10 photos and letter or A4 paper sizes. The grids can be moved around the screen using the joystick. And they are accurately-sized; we checked. The gridlines will change color depending on the brightness of the image so that you can always see them. Very cool!
Artists and photographers will also appreciate the extensive OSD. Next up is our tour of one of the best examples we’ve seen to date.