Since the ASUS has a pair of HDMI inputs, but there is effectively no 4K HDMI content right now, the performance of the internal scaler is essential to know. To test it, I use an Oppo BDP-105 Blu-ray player and the Spears and Munsil HD Benchmark, Version 2. The Oppo has its own 4K scaler so I can easily compare the two and see how the ASUS performs.

First off, the ASUS is poor when it comes to video processing. Common film and video cadences of 3:2 and 2:2 are not properly picked up upon and deinterlaced correctly. The wedge patterns are full of artifacts and never lock on. With the scrolling text of video over film, the ASUS passed which was strange as it fails the wedges. It also does a poor job with diagonals, showing very little if any filtering on them, and producing lots of jaggies.

Spears and Munsil also has a 1080p scaling pattern to test 4K and higher resolution devices. Using the ASUS scaler compared to the Oppo it had a bit more ringing but they were pretty comparable. This becomes very important for watching films or playing video games, as you’ll need to send a 1080p signal to get a 60p frame rate. 24p films will be fine, but concerts, some TV shows and some documentaries are 60i and would then appear choppy if sent at 4K over HDMI.

Brightness and Contrast

In our preview of the PQ321Q, we looked at how it performed out of the box with the default settings. What we did see is that the PQ321Q can get really, really bright. Cranked up to the maximum I see 408 cd/m2 of light from it. That is plenty no matter how bright of an office environment you might work in. At the very bottom of the brightness setting you still get 57 cd/m2. That is low enough that if you are using it for print work or something else in a darkened room the brightness won’t overwhelm you.

White Level -  XR Pro, Xrite i1D2 and XR i1DPro

The change to IGZO caused me to wonder how the black levels would behave on the ASUS. If energy flows far more freely, would that cause a slight bit of leakage to lead to a higher black level? Or would the overall current be scaled down so that the contrast ratio remains constant.

I’m not certain what the reason is, but the black level of the PQ321Q is a bit higher than I’d like to see. It is 0.756 cd/m2 at the lowest level and 0.5326 cd/m2 at the highest level. Even with the massive light output of the ASUS that is a bit high.

Black Level - XR Pro, Xrite i1D2 and XR i1DPro

Because of this higher black level, we see Contrast Ratios of 755:1 and 766:1 on the ASUS PQ321Q. These are decent, middle-of-the-pack numbers. I really like to see 1,000:1 or higher, especially when we are being asked to spend $3,500 on a display. Without another IGZO display or 4K display to compare the ASUS to, I can’t be certain if one of those is the cause, or if it is the backlighting system, or something else entirely. I just think we could see improvements in the black level and contrast ratio here.

Contrast Ratio -  XR Pro, Xrite i1D2 and XR i1DPro

Setup and Daily Use dE2000 Data, 200 cd/m2 Calibation
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  • 1Angelreloaded - Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - link

    Your brain can process more than that from your optical socket.
  • Kamus - Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - link

    What a load of crap. You have no clue what you are talking about do you?
  • piroroadkill - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - link

    I can 100% tell the difference between 720p and 1080p on my 24" monitor at a reasonable difference.

    The fuzzy edges and aliasing are a dead giveaway.

    Film on the other hand, tends to soften the crap out of edges anyway, and has natural motion blur built in, and at only 23.976 frames per second, tends to give little in the way of real resolution when motion is occurring.

    However, games are not film. They are not rendered at a low framerate, and objects and absolutely, perfectly crisp. Rendered geometry. You can easily tell the difference.
  • SlyNine - Friday, July 26, 2013 - link

    Where did you come up with that?? You need to substantiate your comments with some sources and objective tests.

    I can DEFENETLY tell the difference between 720 and 1080 on SOME moving content. Even if it is not as noticeable.
  • mdrejhon - Wednesday, July 31, 2013 - link

    Integr8d, that's only because the display has motion blur. On a CRT, motion clarity is the same during stationary motion and fast motion (this is known as the "CRT effect"). You get that on LightBoost LCD's too as well. So fast-panning motion of a constant speed (e.g. horizontally strafing left/right while you track eyes on moving objects), the panning image is as clear as stationary image. This is the "CRT effect", and you don't get that on most TV's except for certain modes like Sony's new low-latency interpolation-free "Motionflow IMPULSE" mode (Game Mode compatible) found in some TV's such as KDL55-W802A -- it's essentially Sony's version of LightBoost.
  • 1Angelreloaded - Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - link

    Your statement would be fine if we came from the same mold, but we don't people vary and the capabilities of their bodies also vary, kind of why certain army personel are chosen to become snipers.
  • random2 - Friday, July 26, 2013 - link

    People need to look a the the recommended viewing distances on HD TV's. Most people sit way too far away to take advantage of HD content. Distances are recommended between 5.5 ft to 6.5 feet for 42" to 50" TVs. The whole idea being to move close enough to replicate the feel of a large movie screen.
  • Impulses - Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - link

    Audiophiles are just terrible at objective testing, but the differences between a $500 stereo and a $2K one are definitely measurable and not terribly hard to pin down... They're also not very large in many cases (audiophiles are also amongst the worst hobbyists when it comes to paying for diminishing returns).
  • 1Angelreloaded - Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - link

    Huh? you could have fooled me vintage stereo equipment goes for thousands over the original retail. Cars have the worst diminishing return of any other hobby that exists btw.
  • cremefilled - Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - link

    "Diminishing returns" != "depreciation." He's saying that if speakers that cost $500 would rate 90/100, and $5,000 would rate 95/100, and $50,000 98/100, audiophiles would spend the $50,000 or more if they had the money, even though each 10-fold price increase gets you a smaller increment of quality. Average people would say that they all sound pretty good.

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