ASUS PA246Q - Brightness and Contrast Ratios

As important as color accuracy is, everything starts with the dynamic range a display offers, which is based on its contrast ratio and brightness. If you have perfect colors but very little dynamic range, you won’t be able to distinguish light from dark, or have shadows or highlights that have any depth to them. Cranked up to the maximum with a calibrated screen, I obtained 284 nits of light from the PA246Q, and at the minimum setting I managed 104 nits. Since this is from a calibrated setting, the maximum output is reduced. You can push all of your settings to the maximum and get a brighter image from the PA246Q but it will be excessively green tinted as green has the highest light output of the primary colors.

White Level -  XR Pro, Xrite i1D2 and XR i1DPro

Even with it only producing 284 nits, this is more than enough for any work environment it will see in the real world. The minimum output is a little higher than I would prefer, as some people work as low as 80 or 100 nits for print work, but it isn’t awful. IPS traditionally doesn't excel in black levels compared to VA panels, and the PA246Q doesn’t have a dynamic LED lighting system or any other technology to try to improve this. Because of this we have a really high black level on the PA246Q, with the lowest value I could obtain being 0.16 nits. I don’t use a 100% black screen for these measurements as that allows some panels to totally turn off the backlight and it’s not applicable to any real-world use, but I have a small amount of light at the edges of the screen for testing. Because of this you can potentially coax better numbers out of some displays than whay I report, but I don’t feel they have any real world application.

Black Level - XR Pro, Xrite i1D2 and XR i1DPro

With this higher black level, we manage to get a contrast ratio that is pretty ordinary at best. Coming in at around 650:1 this comes in close to some of the inexpensive TN displays we've reviewed, along with the cheaper IPS panels that have been in the lab. Other models are able to pull out 1000:1 or better, which is what I would like to see out of a high-end panel now. Most of these panels aren’t using a wide spectrum backlight that can support the AdobeRGB colorspace, and that support might be what is causing the higher black levels and lower contrast ratio, so it is something users would have to consider when evaluating the PA246Q for their use.

Contrast Ratio -  XR Pro, Xrite i1D2 and XR i1DPro

Overall the brightness numbers for the PA246Q are good, but the black level and therefore contrast ratio numbers leave a little more to be desired from a display at this price point.

Design, OSD, and Viewing Angles ASUS PA246Q - Color Quality
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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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