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Asus ProArt PQ279Q Monitor Review: 27-Inch, Wide-Gamut, QHD

Asus PA279Q, The Cadillac Of Monitors?

Today we're taking a look at the 27-inch member of Asus’ ProArt family, the PA279Q. This is a flagship piece of hardware, and it has a feature set and price tag to match. You'll find this monitor in the company's Visual Professional line-up, topped by the Ultra HD PQ321Q, which we're in the process of reviewing.

Looking at the logos on the outside of the box, it’s obvious that Asus tried to cram every possible feature and enhancement into this display. QHD resolution from an AH-IPS panel is where our journey begins. At 2560x1440, the PA279Q has the dot size to pretty much eliminate any visible pixelation, even if you sit very close to it. With more screens hitting the market at this resolution, we’re starting to get spoiled. QHD displays are claiming permanent spots on our desks.

This is also a wide-gamut panel. Asus claims 99 percent of Adobe RGB 1998. It’s also pre-calibrated and includes a data sheet, individual to each monitor, showing the results of grayscale, color, gamma, and screen uniformity tests. All errors are below two Delta E, and the gamma is a perfect 2.2 as-shipped. And here’s the best part: the PA279Q includes an sRGB mode so you can have accurate color for your game and movie content. This is the first wide-gamut display we’ve seen that can correctly render both Adobe RGB 1998 and sRGB.

There is more here than just high performance. Six USB 3.0 ports are included, plus an appropriate cable for the single upstream connection. And you get a nine-in-one memory card reader too. Of course, there is audio support courtesy of three-watt stereo speakers, as well as a headphone jack.

All of this luxury doesn’t come cheap. But it’s not the most expensive flagship monitor we’ve seen either. That honor still belongs to Samsung's S27B970D, which sells for nearly $1200. At $850, Asus undercuts that screen by quite a bit, offers more features and, in our testing, equal or better image quality.

BrandAsus
ModelPA279Q
Street Price$850
Panel TypeAH-IPS
BacklightGB-r-LED
Screen Size27"
Max Resolution2560x1440
Max Refresh Rate60 Hz
Aspect Ratio16:9
Response Time (GTG)6 ms
Brightness (cd/m2)350
Speakers2 x 3 W
VGA-
DVI1
DisplayPort1 in, 1 out (v1.2 w/MST)
HDMI1
Headphone1
USBv3.0, 1 up, 6 down
Dimensions w/baseWxHxD25.2 x 22 x 9.5 in641 x 560 x 240 mm
Panel Thickness2.75 in, 70 mm
WarrantyThree years

You may notice in the specs a type of backlight we haven’t covered here before: GB-r-LED. The vast majority of LED screens use white LEDs (W-LED) on the top and bottom edges of the panel. A white LED emits blue light through a yellow phosphor, which neutralizes its color temp to around 6500 Kelvin. This is very easy and cheap to implement, and that's why it’s so common. At the other end of the spectrum, we have RGB-LED which is literally red, green, and blue LEDs arrayed directly behind the LCD panel. This is very expensive and difficult to manufacture, and therefore quite rare.

The compromise is found in GB-r-LED technology. Here, the backlight consists of green and blue diodes coated with a red phosphor. The net effect is that the spectral peaks of the three primary colors are pretty much even. With W-LED, the spectral peak is much higher for blue. So, software (and the panel's color filters) must intervene to achieve the correct color balance. A GB-r-LED panel is more accurate natively, making software and the color filter layer less critical. And you get the added benefit of the wider Adobe RGB gamut. It is a bit more expensive to manufacture than W-LED, but less so than RGB-LED.

Before we get to the benchmarks, there is a lot to look at, both in the box and on the panel itself. Asus' asking price is above other QHD screens, but we quickly discovered the value factor is high as well.

  • Sid Jeong
    I think it's gonna be a hit with small studios and many freelance designers. I'd consider it when I upgrade my monitor in the future.
    Reply
  • zentrope
    People who cannot buy Eizo,Nec,Lacie...
    And are not happy with Dell and HP...
    You should be smiling now!
    Also at some places you can even get this around $800..
    Reply
  • slomo4sho
    It appears that my three Asus VS238H-P which cost me $360 total are going have a fairly long life span since 1440P still demands a hefty premium over quality 1080P displays. Hopefully we get some quality 4k displays for around 1k soon, the ASUS PQ321Q needs some competition :)
    Reply
  • amgsoft
    What is the actual reason for calibrating at 200 cd/m2. The usual standard calibration is 120 cd/m2 at 6500K, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_calibration.
    Reply
  • JeanLuc
    The same panel can be found in Korean import models such as the Achieva Shimian QH2700-IPSMS which is roughly half the price. I would love to see Toms benchmark these premium panels against the cheap imports.
    Reply
  • JackNaylorPE
    Almost perfect ....When it comes in 144hz or greater, call me .

    Liking the new Eizo model w/ 240 Hz mode too.
    Reply
  • Stevemeister
    Can someone lend me a tissue I need to wipe up the drool.
    Reply
  • lhughey
    I want a QHD monitor, but I can't afford a gaming card that will work well with that resolution just yet. Maybe in a six months when Nvidia drops its Maxwell cards.
    Reply
  • Nintendo Maniac 64
    Am I the only one that wants to know about upscaling quality? Last time I checked most monitors upscale pretty badly, and considering that this has an HDMI input I don't think it'd be unthinkable to have a 720p or a 1080p external video source.
    Reply
  • Bondfc11
    Why doesn't Tom's do the Overlord Tempest 2560x1440 IPS that will overclock refresh rates up to 120Hz? they are sellign for like $500 now and are killer!
    Reply