Introduction - Design, OSD, and Viewing Angles

Our monitor reviews frequently go into a lot of depth about the results before and after calibration, but for many users this won’t matter, as they aren’t going to purchase the calibration hardware and software necessary to achieve these results. Getting accurate performance out of the box without needing to spend extra money on hardware is important to many people but it's often very hard to deliver. With their Pro Art monitors, ASUS aims to deliver just that: sRGB and AdobeRGB modes that are reasonably accurate (a dE < 5.0 out of the box), with a full set of controls for users to calibrate it on their own.

ASUS doesn’t stop there as they also offer a 10-bit panel, integrated card reader and USB ports, and a user calibration mode with more controls than I have seen on a consumer monitor to this point. Does the ASUS deliver good color out of the box, and have the performance for those that wish to calibrate themselves?

The design of the ASUS PA246Q is all business out of the box. With a goal of high performance and not sleek looks, the PA246Q looks like a generic LCD monitor from a couple of years ago. As long as you're after performance rather than style, this shouldn't be a problem (provided the performance is actually there). The left side of the display features a pair of USB ports and a card reader than handles most formats with the exception of Compact Flash. On the bottom of the display you will find DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort, and VGA inputs as well as the power supply and downstream USB connection. There are no integrated speakers but there is a headphone jack for audio carried over HDMI or DisplayPort, though it is located somewhat inconveniently at the bottom of the monitor.

The attached stand is pretty sizable but offers a full range of adjustments. Height adjustment is good with a decent range, and the tilt function has a good amount of movement that is always useful when trying to calibrate with a large meter on the screen. With swivel and pivoting as well, the stand is as good as the Dell stands that I prefer, though it certainly takes up a lot of desk space. I certainly don’t feel the need to replace the stand with an aftermarket one, though.

The OSD offers up a lot of options for the end user, but the interface for it is only OK. Under the Splendid section of the menu we find six different picture modes: Standard, sRGB, AdobeRGB, Scenery, Theater, and User. I will ignore Scenery and Theater, as they provide a blown out color palette or intentionally dim image for those that are swayed by such things. sRGB and AdobeRGB are the pre-configured modes that are designed to hit those primary color points and have a dE < 5 straight out of the box. The only control available to users in these modes is brightness to adjust the level of the backlight and everything else is locked. Standard mode is what you find on most monitors, with the standard Brightness, Contrast, Color Temperature and Gamma controls available for adjustments.

The most interesting mode is the User mode, which has the same features as Standard but opens up Hue and Saturation controls, as well as a 6-point CMS with Hue and Saturation controls for each primary and secondary color, and a 2-point grayscale control. This enables you to dial in those color points to be reasonably accurate on the CIE graph, but as there is no individual luminance control for each color, you can only get the color correct in two dimensions and not all three. I will go over these settings more in the calibration section, but they are quite extensive for a computer display.

There are a few more settings to be found in the menu system, but nothing out of the ordinary, and there is no game mode or overdrive for enabling faster response from the display (not that we've really noticed an improvement with such modes on other LCDs). The OSD controls themselves are sufficient but somewhat cumbersome, as we see the common issue of the display having you move up and down to select items, then left and right to adjust those items, with only one set of input keys for both. It would help to have either a second set of arrow keys for adjusting the values, or design the menu so it only moves in one direction to make it more user friendly. It is worlds better than using touch sensitive controls but still not at the level that some other menu systems are at this point.

Using an IPS panel, we expect good viewing angles from the PA246Q and we get them. At the very extreme angles you get some brightness shift but overall the panel looks very good at any angle you might be looking at it from.

Video Inputs DisplayPort, HDMI 1.3, DVI, VGA
Panel Type P-IPS 10-bit
Pixel Pitch 0.270 mm
Colors 1.07 Billion
Brightness 400 nits
Contrast Ratio 50,000:1
Response Time 6ms GTG
Viewable Size 24.1"
Resolution 1920x1200
Viewing Angle 178/178 Horizontal/Vertical
Backlight CCFL
Power Consumption (operation) < 75 Watts
Power Consumption (standby) < 1 Watt
Screen Treatment Anti-Glare
Height-Adjustable Yes
Tilt +20 to -5 degrees
Pivot Yes
Swivel Yes
VESA Wall Mounting Yes, 100mm
Dimensions w/ Base (WxHxD) 558.4 x 380.8 x 235 mm
Weight 7.3kg
Additional Features 2x USB 2.0 Ports, Card Reader (SD, MS, MS Pro, MS Duo, xD, MMC, SM)
Limited Warranty 3 years on case and panel, 1 year on parts and accessories
Accessories DVI Cable, VGA Cable, DisplayPort Cable, Power Cable, USB Cable
Price $469 online (as of 7/02/2012)

Now that we’ve taken an overview of the ASUS PA246Q the question is to see how it performs on the bench, and if I can deliver the out of the box accurate colors it promises.

ASUS PA246Q - Brightness and Contrast Ratios
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  • synaesthetic - Tuesday, July 3, 2012 - link

    I'd pay a lot for a 1920x1440 24" monitor!
  • aranyagag - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    i just wish such a display was available
  • aranyagag - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    +1 for 16:10 --voted with my wallet
  • Corporate Goon - Monday, July 2, 2012 - link

    Just wanted to leave my two cents as I've owned this monitor for about six months now.

    I've generally been very impressed with this monitor - I have a wide variety of needs and I find it fits most of them. I do some semi-pro video and photography work but nothing too fancy (photoshoots for local bands, that sort of thing), play lots of games and do some Netflix watching and the like. I've been very pleased generally with the Asus display - the colours are great, and a huge step up over my TFT display I had before. I've also noticed no ghosting issues at all in games and movies (I initially replaced my 'old' 24" TFT with a BenQ MVA panel and while the contrast was incredible, the streaking and ghosting was a major distraction).

    My only major complaint about the display is the poor black levels relative to newer LED-backlit screens. Compared to my old TFT/CCFL display the Asus is about on par, but it can't hold a candle to the newer TFT/LED and MVA/LED screens.

    I've recommended the screen to a couple of friends who are in similar boats to me - people who use their computer for entertainment, but are also reasonably serious about using it for art/video/photography.
  • Leyawiin - Monday, July 2, 2012 - link

    "there is no game mode or overdrive for enabling faster response from the display"

    ASUS's term for Overdrive is Trace Free. Its permanently active in this model (can't turn it off or change the degree).
  • aranyagag - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    A very astute observation -- thanks for posting this insight
  • dishayu - Tuesday, July 3, 2012 - link

    There are so many cheap 27 inch korean IPS 2560x1440 resolution displays on ebay that sell for under $400. They utilize panels from LG, the same ones used in Apple's cinema display. I would REALLY like to see a legitimate review of them. I'm quite inclined to buy them but i don't want to end up wasting 500 of my bucks. If only Anand could review them somehow?

    Here's an ebay link. (this is the pixel perfect model, which comes with a guarantee of zero defective pixels)
  • rsgeiger - Tuesday, July 3, 2012 - link

    Basically the only way Anand can review it is if you bought it and sent it to them. They only review what companies send to them for review. They dont buy their own gear.
  • prophet001 - Tuesday, July 3, 2012 - link

    It would be nice to see a review of something like that. However, I think it's safe to say that it's not that cheap because it has the same quality as other similarly spec'd panels.
  • dishayu - Tuesday, July 3, 2012 - link

    Doesn't apple's 27 inch IPS cinema display cost something in vicinity of 1000 dollars?

    I just randomly linked this one as it was the first to turn up in my search results. There are monitors selling for around 360 mark as well. And 299 if you don't want a 0 defective pixel warranty (replacement only for 5 bad pixels or more, a couple of pixels out of 3.7 million might not even be noticable at this pixel density but i don't know that for sure)

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