ASUS PQ321 Ultra HD 4K 31.5-inch Monitor Review

Calibration & Controls

As with most monitors, you can select from a handful of preset configurations. We tested the PQ321 using the Standard profile and with the settings it shipped with from the factory.

Big kudos to ASUS for going against the grain and keeping it old-school with physical buttons. We've never been big fans of touch-sensitive controls, which often fail to register finger taps, especially when you're rapidly scrolling through menus. Physical buttons are also easier to navigate without looking at the controls.

Should you need to look at them anyway, the buttons are on the edge around the back and out of sight. However, ASUS thoughtfully bundles a sticker that you can place on the front bezel next to the buttons with labels corresponding to each one. It's unobtrusive, and totally optional.

ASUS provides several fairly basic settings to tinker with, along with a few advanced options, though we've seen monitors that offer more fine grain control than this one. The upside to the limited number of options is that it's nearly impossible to get lost navigating the menus.
    Professional photographers and graphics artists may want to spend a little time fine-tuning everything, but to our eyes, the PQ321 shipped from the factory needing very little calibration. About the only time we needed to duck our head into the OSD controls was to adjust the input settings, namely the DisplayPort configuration as outlined on the previous page. You can also configure the HDMI ports to work together to form a single image, or work independently of one another.

    Calibration (DisplayMate)
    Menus and Options
    DisplayMate Test Screens

    We're now using DisplayMate for Windows ( as part of our monitor evaluation process. DisplayMate's smorgasbord of tests allow us to root out potential problems areas, such as geometry distortion and color inaccuracies, to name just two.

    Since this was our first time spending any significant time with an IGZO display, we didn't know quite what to expect, and so we were pleasantly surprised not to run into any major issues, or very many minor ones for that matter. Slim panels sometimes suffer from color uniformity issues, but that was a strong point of the PQ321. There weren't any splotches of light or color, nor did we discover any other abnormalities, like geometry issues or light bleed through.

    As we've seen in other high-end displays, the PQ321 experienced a slight bit of overshoot in the video bandwidth test. A perfect score in this test is 100, and the PQ321 notched around 104. Overshooting in this test can be indicative of over-peaking and compensation, but that's not something we saw when looking at photos or watching movies.

    Overall, images look great on the PQ321, though not quite stunning, at least not at first. The first time you fire up a true 4K image on the PQ321, though, is not a moment you'll soon forget. Suddenly, the monitor springs to life and you begin to see what all the fuss is about. Colors spring to life with enhanced detail; it's like night and day viewing the the same image on the PQ321 and another monitor.

    There's also the advantage of being able to see more of a particular image. To demonstrate the effect, the scaled down pictures above represent an example of the how a 4K photo (left) compares to the same photo when viewed on a 1080p display (right) without downsizing.

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