The Good The Asus PA246Q has terrific performance with vibrant colors in games and movies. Its robust OSD offers detailed customization options and a unique overlay feature that provides extra graphical precision. Lastly, the monitor has full ergonomic support and a relatively affordable price.
The Bad The powerful PA246Q backlight prevents really deep blacks, and there is a consistent color imperfection that gives most images a light reddish tint. More connectivity options would be helpful.
The Bottom Line The award-winning Asus PA246Q is a professional-grade monitor with a satisfactory range of features at an affordable price.
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There are three clear reasons to worry about the Asus PA246Q. First, this is the first monitor we have been able to calibrate with a new tool (some details below); Secondly, it’s the first 24-inch monitor plus the high-quality P-IPS panel we’ve reviewed and costs less than $ 500.
Finally, the graphical overlay feature may be the most original monitor I’ve encountered in over three years of writing monitor reviews. Essentially, this feature places one of several grid and photo size options on the screen to improve the accuracy when sewing graphics or printing photos.
In any case, keep reading to see if the above features were just a cheap offer for consideration, or whether the PA246Q was worth the relatively small amount of cash that Asus requires.
Design and features
In the upper left corner of the Asus PA246Q 24-inch chassis written in white is the word “ProArt”. If there was any ambiguity about the type of user that Asus is targeting with this monitor, this small design touch should cancel it out. Like most “Pro” monitors, the PA246Q has a professional in-plane switching panel (P-IPS). This gives the monitor more reach than the relatively small twisted nematic (TN) displays, which are not so well suited for professional art tasks. The P-IPS illuminated cold cathode lamp (CCFL) measures 3.2 inches in depth.
On the left and right sides, the frame is 0.75 inches, the full width of the panel is 22 inches. Aligned along the frame are numerous dimensional rulers that can be safely said to have never been seen before on a monitor. This precise motif continues at the base of the neck of the display, where a circular dial with dimensional notches located along its perimeter is located. The dial does not display numbers, but above it there is an arrow that acts as a guide measurement and allows you to rotate the panel accurately.
Measured recesses placed over the screen can help with accuracy and precision in design.
Speaking of which, the monitor can rotate 60 degrees left and right, tilt back 20 degrees and rotate 90 degrees, and its screen height can be adjusted by 4 inches. The footrest is fairly flat, close to square, and measures 11.2 inches wide by 9.25 inches. Even with this wide footrest, the display shakes quite a bit when knocking on the sides.
The quality of the boxing dark gray chassis feels quite substantial – an amazing impression given that the PA246Q weighs 17 pounds, while other 24 “IPS monitors typically weigh 20 pounds or more.
Along the left side of the monitor, aligned vertically, are two USB downstream ports and a multimedia card reader. Backlinks include DVI, DisplayPort, VGA, HDMI, USB input and headphone jack. There is also a power switch hidden on the right side. While this gives us one of four video file connections, we could use a few more duplicate connection options.
The OSD consists of six buttons, including Quickfit, a pre-installed shortcut, a down button, an upper bottom, a menu button, and an Enter button. The buttons are separated by the width of the button, and all of them give a satisfactory push when pressed.
Screen navigation takes a while to linger, but fortunately, it includes context icons to point you in the right direction. The on-screen display includes pre-settings of standard, sRGB, Adobe RGB, decorative mode and theatrical mode, as well as additional custom user mode. Brightness, contrast, saturation, hue, gamma, and advanced color settings are also included, including six-color tint and saturation adjustment and direct RGB color control by boost and offset. More useful options include sharpness and aspect ratio, picture-to-picture (PIP) settings, and system setup options such as on-screen window placement and screen length.
Today, the most unusual feature in the already extensive PA246Q OSD menu is Quickfit. Clicking the Quickfit button overlays your choice of any grid pattern (different sizes) or paper and photo sizes. With grid templates, you can more accurately and consistently organize content on a page, say, by designing graphics for the web.
Excellent for designing D&D dungeons, yes, but also useful when consistent asset placement is necessary.
Paper sizes and photos would show what the papers and photos would look like when printed. This seems less useful since any self-respecting graphic artist may have already used Photoshop or some other program for this purpose. Still, this is a unique option that makes some more than others.
Photo placement has never been so easy; well, maybe in Photoshop.
|Design and feature highlights|
|Connectivity||DVI, VGA, HDMI, DisplayPort|
|Ergonomic options||20-degree back tilt, 5-degree front tilt, 60-degree swivel, 90-degree pivot|
|VESA wall-mount support||Yes|
|Included video cables||DVI, VGA|
|Screen film||Matte w/AG coating|
|Number of presets||6|
|Picture options||Brightness, Contrast, Saturation, Hue|
|Color controls||RGB and Warm, Cool, Medium|
|Additional features||Grid, photo- and paper-size overlays|
We tested the Asus PA246Q through its DVI input connected to a Windows Vista PC using a DVI cable. The display shows a composite score of 96 in CNET lab performance tests.
DisplayMate:The Asus PA246Q displayed light gray to level 253, but level 254 was no different from white. At the lower end of the scale of the monitor was able to show a dark gray color to a level of only 6, indicating that the shadow details will avoid PA246Q.
In color-tracking mode, we noticed a red tint in grayscale, which was stored in any other set to varying degrees; a preset SRGB value showed the least amount of color.
The uniformity of the screen and the level of illumination of the backlight were not as impressive as the HP DreamColor LP2480zx. Looking at our Dark Screen test, which consists of a regular black screen, we saw a small amount of light shed in the bottom left and top left corners of the screen. Overall, especially compared to the HP LP2480zx dark-black screen, the screen gave the impression of bright light held in a moderately thick black curtain. It is not flashy, but the appearance of thinly veiled light is obvious.
Text:We didn’t see any color issues with the black text on the white background in the text. The fonts were clearly visible up to 6.8 points.
Movies:We tested the Asus PA246Q using Avatar version of Blu-ray. The theater had previously shown the film with a blue tint and crushed a lot of dark gray until such time as some dark detail could not be seen. This setting seems to increase the level of contrast between the dark and light parts of the screen, but the heavy loss of dark details was unacceptable.
For a more balanced image, where dark gray is not very crushed and the colors – though not as bright – are more accurate, see our recommended settings below.
Games:When evaluating the appearance of games on your monitor, the two most important features to consider are brightness and color. If games with bright, clear brightness can be displayed on the monitor, there is a long way to go. If the colors also appear with fullness and depth, the games will usually look great. We looked at the StarCraft II on the Asus PA246Q and saw the color and brightness almost on par with the LP2480zx. In addition, the details of the characters were smooth and sharp, without screaming, as we have seen on some monitors where high definition makes too much noise in the image. See below. Our recommended settings.
To test the refresh rate, we used DisplayMate graphics motion tests and watched a bunch of graphics fly across the screen, looking for evidence of stripes. Despite the fact that the PA246Q turned out to be less piercing than the LP2480zx, the Asus monitor turned out to be noticeably larger than what we saw on the Samsung PX2370 – true, the monitor with a refresh rate.
Photos:The faces in the photos looked lively, none of the problems with the green tint, which did not impress the last monitors we looked at. However, the PA246Q’s color could not match the richness of the HP LP2480zx, which provided the color with the fullness we rarely saw on display. Keep in mind that the LP2480zx costs ten times more than the PA246Q, which makes the Asus PA246Q’s performance even more impressive.
Recommended settings:We used CalPC SpectraCal to calibrate the Asus PA246Q to view bright rooms. As a result, the following monitor settings were set.
If the performance with these settings is still poor, try sRGB mode as it was the most accurate of the presets.
Viewing angle:The optimum viewing angle for the monitor is usually directly in front, about a quarter of the screen down from the top. At this angle, you view the colors as intended by the manufacturer. Most monitors are not designed to be viewed from any other angle. The image quality at sub-optimal angle depends on the type of panel. Most monitors use TN panels that are too bright or too dark on parts of the screen, if you do not look at optimal angles.
Asus PA246Q uses the P-IPS panel, so it has a wide viewing angle on all sides. The glazing works quite well here, keeping most of the reflections; however, on the black corner screen, you can see some blurred impressions of the environment.
Energy consumption:Power consumption of the Asus PA246Q received a poor rating, with a default power consumption of 71.6 watts compared to the 62.63 watts of the HP DreamColor LP2480zx in the same test. It is not surprising that two CCFL-based monitors with IPS panels require this power.
In our sleep / standby test, the PA246Q received 1.04 watts and the LP2480zx more than 1.97 watts. We expected the monitors to cost about the same for a year and, based on our formula, the PA246Q would cost $ 22.08 a year, while the LP2480zx would cost $ 20.05 a year.
|Asus PA246Q||Average watts per hour|
|On (default luminance)||71.6|
|On (max luminance)||83.1|
|On (min luminance)||42.1|
|Calibrated (200 cd/m2)||61.5|
|Annual power consumption cost||$22.08|
Brightness in cd / m2
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Dell UltraSharp U2410
434 Asus PA246Q
361 LaCie 324i
358 NEC MultiSync PA271W
346 Samsung SyncMaster PX2370
344 Dell UltraSharp U2711
333 HP DreamColor LP2480zx
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
HP DreamColor LP2480zx
1,036:1 NEC MultiSync PA271W
1,035:1 Samsung SyncMaster PX2370
1,008:1 Dell UltraSharp U2711
947:1 LaCie 324i
937:1 Dell UltraSharp U2410
921:1 Asus PA246Q
DisplayMate performance tests
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
HP DreamColor LP2480zx
98 NEC MultiSync PA271W
98 Dell UltraSharp U2711
98 LaCie 324i
97 Asus PA246Q
96 Samsung SyncMaster PX2370
96 Dell UltraSharp U2410
Learn more about how we test LCD monitors.
Service and support
Asus supports the PA246Q with a three year warranty on the backlight and panel. This includes the Zero Bright Dot warranty, which provides complete replacement of the monitor if stuck pixels are found. The company also offers support through 24-7 toll free number, email and web chat. At the time of this review, there were no PA246Q drivers or manuals on the company website; this is strange given that the monitor was released weeks ago. This, of course, is not a deal breaker – the monitor has these files – but online storage for such support is always welcome. Hopefully Asus will publish the files soon.
Priced at $ 500, the Asus PA246Q is an incredible deal. Its P-IPS screen delivers accurate colors and wide viewing angles. The OSD screen is reliable, and the overlay feature, while somewhat limited in its usefulness, is an interesting feature that some users will appreciate. There are also fabulous four ergonomic features.
Backlighting really prevents deep-skinned deep-skinned people, and the persistent imperfection of the red tint has resisted our attempts to eradicate it. Also, more connectivity options would be nice. But the Asus PA246Q has a fantastic price, performance that competes with more expensive monitors, and plenty of features to satisfy professional monitor and enthusiast users by winning the Editor’s Choice Award.