Asus PQ321QE Display review

When you need to see every pixel in a project, it’s time for a 4k monitor

Forget about your wide screen displays with room for multiple apps, if you’re working in a finance environment, work with CAD or 3D design, or are editing 4K video footage, then resolution and display size are king. That’s where the Asus PQ321QE comes in, with a 31.5” diagonal screen that packs a staggering 3840x2160 resolution into the 16:9 aspect ratio, delivering 140ppi. It’s big, it’s heavy, very heavy in fact, but it’s also one of the thinnest designs for this type of panel. The PQ3231QE is in fact a Indium Gallium Zinc Oxide (or IGZO) panel that offers 176 degree vertical and horizontal viewing angles as well as WLED backlighting and a non-glare surface. There’s also a brace of 2W speakers built in.

The first task though is to put it all together as the stand needs fixing to the base and then the monitor, both times using the supplied screws. This brings home heavy it is, weighing in, when assembled at an arm-straining 17Kg. The power supply isn’t even built-in, that’s a large brick for the floor, but at least the stand can tidy the cables up. Interface-wise, there’s jack plugs for audio lin and earphone out, and a solitary DisplayPort 1.2 socket. There’s quite a sizeable bevel around the edge, but the back and depth of the monitor are impressively slender. The menu controls are built into the side and are quite large, but the labelling is impossible to see from the front.

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Every pixel counts in the ultra high resolution Asus monitor, making it ideal for video, 3D and business

To the tests then and the colour gamut coverage is very mediocre, with 92% sRGB, 73% NTSC and 75% AdobeRGB. For screen uniformity, it’s good, and at 100% Brightness, most areas are under 5% difference, with the right side being where the most variation appears. One section was recorded at 10.2% dimmer, but all the rest were under that. These numbers were virtually identical right down to 50% Brightness as well. Now, the overall Brightness is claimed to be 350cd/m2, but it certainly puts out a lot more light than that, and the test result of 435.7 cd/2 backed that up. For bright offices, will it’s non-reflective surface, you’ll easily be able to make out those fine details that the resolution delivers. It’s very bright. The contrast ratio of 810:1 is almost exactly as claimed and actually quite a good result as well.

Over to colour accuracy now and there’s a disparity in colours. Dark greys and cyan were both over a Delta-E of 3, but everything else was under 2 or 1. The overall score then of Delta-E 1.73 was a very good result. This extended to the uniformity as well, so that at 100% Brightness, only the top right corner stood out at Delta-E 3.6 with the rest easily under 3.0. At 67% Brightness, that top corner dropped to Delta-E 3.0. The only other point to note was that the Luminance uniformity was a little more wayward, being over 10% down the right side of the panel.

While the sRGB coverage was average, the general colour accuracy and the quality of the display were commendable.

In terms of what the resolution brings, the detail is fantastic. While the monitor is largely aimed at power users, and that relates to Mac Pro users here, even a mid-2011 27” iMac can support the 3840 resolution, but it will be at the lower refresh rate of 30Hz. To get the more fluid 60Hz you need to have a graphics card that supports it and then use the monitor menu to change the DisplayPort stream mode to multi-stream.

OUR VERDICT

Amazing detail on the screen makes it ideal for all manner of applications where you need detail rather than speed. A fast AMD or nVIDIA graphics card is required to get the 60Hz refresh rate so this is best suited to Mac Pro users. The quality of the screen is commendable making this a great purchase for those editing 4K video or needing as much detail as possible.

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