ASUS PA246Q 24" ProArt Monitor: No Adjustments Needed?by Chris Heinonen on July 2, 2012 1:30 PM EST
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.
|DisplayPort, HDMI 1.3, DVI, VGA
|Power Consumption (operation)
|< 75 Watts
|Power Consumption (standby)
|< 1 Watt
|+20 to -5 degrees
|VESA Wall Mounting
|Dimensions w/ Base (WxHxD)
|558.4 x 380.8 x 235 mm
|2x USB 2.0 Ports, Card Reader (SD, MS, MS Pro, MS Duo, xD, MMC, SM)
|3 years on case and panel, 1 year on parts and accessories
|DVI Cable, VGA Cable, DisplayPort Cable, Power Cable, USB Cable
|$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.