Besides laptops, motherboards and video cards, Asus has recently started to release the occasional high-end monitor. The 24-inch Asus PA246Q comes with a P-IPS panel and is especially designed for color-critical use. In other words this monitor will have no problems competing with other professional/prosumer products in this market that are aimed at users who don’t mind paying a little extra in exchange for good color reproduction. Another thing that speaks volumes of this being a professional product is that Asus has imprinted rulers along the sides of the display.
Design and Features
Amongst the first things that you will notice is that the screen has an aspect ratio of 16:10 instead of 16:9, which is slowly but certainly becoming a standard. As a consequence, the screen has a resolution of 1920×1200 pixels, which adds both to the screen real estate and to the price tag over lower-resolution, “Full HD” (1920×1080) monitors.
Another thing that might catch your eye is that the backlight is provided by wide color gamut CCFL lamps instead of the much hyped LEDs. This is not necessarily a disadvantage, because wide color gamut CCFLs still offer a wider spectrum compared to white LEDs. The Asus PA246Q is otherwise presented in a matte black plastic casing with a somewhat rough surface. A red line in the lower end of the frame is a nice touch, but that’s about it in terms of original design choices.
The PA246Q is very well equipped in terms of connectivity; here you will find DisplayPort, HDMI, DVI, as well as VGA/D-SUB.
In addition, the Asus monitor is equipped with a USB hub and a 7-in-one memory card reader, which is a very convenient feature for photographers.
Operation and Performance
What is more important is that the P-IPS panel is coupled with and engine that provides an advanced 12-bit Look Up Table (LUT), which promises smooth color transitions without banding. ASUS claims a range of 98% of Adobe RGB, a brightness of 400 cd/m2 and a contrast ratio of 50,000:1. The response time is 6ms, which is low for an IPS. Colour accuracy is often measured in Delta E (color difference or distance), and lower numbers are better. Asus promises that the PA246Q has a Delta E below 5, and we measured the Delta E to 2, which is very impressive.
The Asus PA246Q also offers a very stable viewing angle in relation to its color reproduction. It shows the typical characteristics of the P-IPS panel technology; almost regardless of the viewing angles, its color representation stays robust, although both contrast and brightness decrease at steeper angles. Subjectively, the picture quality is very good.The factory defaults offer excellent performance right out of the box. Its contrast setting (set to 80 by default) is very sensitive even to small changes and are best left untouched. The display is factory calibrated and comes with a calibration report. It is of course possible to calibrate the screen manually and Asus includes a wide range of adjustment options, including six-axis color adjustment.
For all the various adjustments, the PA246Q has seven buttons that are located at the lower right part of the frame. Unfortunately the buttons are quite small and inconveniently placed, which makes using the OSD somewhat uncomfortable. The on-screen menu contains the predefined image settings as well as manual settings with access to color settings and the aforementioned 6-axis color control. The Asus PA246Q offers a picture-in-picture function.
The ergonomic stand allows perfect settings for every user. It is adjustable in every conceivable way; not only forward and backward tilt is available, but it is also possible to adjust its height and angle for optimal ergonomics. You can also turn of the screen to portrait mode, which is ideal for writers and web designers.
Ais also supplies a ‘QuickFit’ function – another feature that should be useful for design work. It’s a shortcut that shows various measurements directly on the screen, such as a grid that makes it easy to see the exact size of what you are working with:
The stable and ergonomic base of the Asus PA246Q leaves nothing to be desired. It stands on secure footing but does not use up a lot of desk space all the same. For alternative mounting options, the monitor also follows the VESA 100 standard.
The ASUS PA246Q really shines with its large color gamut and excellent viewing angles. Whatever the angle there will be little changes to the color reproduction. Thanks to its low response time it should also work will as a high-end all-round display for discerning gamers and movie buffs, even if it as not quite as responsive as the average TN panel.
In terms of ergonomics, the PA246Q is a fantastic device, the screen is height adjustable and can also be turned sideways for use in portrait mode. For obvious reasons, it is more expensive than the average 24-inch monitor, but more than make up for the price tag in other areas. Its generous range of interfaces is an added bonus, as is the monitor’s well-implemented sRGB and Adobe RGB presets.