ASUS PQ321Q UltraHD Monitor Review: Living with a 31.5-inch 4K Desktop Displayby Chris Heinonen on July 23, 2013 9:01 AM EST
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.
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.
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.
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Mondozai - Tuesday, July 23, 2013 - linkBUT BUT BUT, we were told everything above 720p was overkill and stupid!
Where are Anandtechs resident armchair experts now?!
Despoiler - Tuesday, July 23, 2013 - linkIt depends on how close you are to the display and the size of the display. 4k will definitely help in a computing environment. It will do no good in common TV viewing scenarios. 4k will however sell TVs because you typically buy TVs at the store where you are up close to it. http://carltonbale.com/does-4k-resolution-matter/
beginner99 - Tuesday, July 23, 2013 - linkExactly. Most people either have a too small tv or sit too far away to even benefit from ful HD or even 720p.
kevith - Tuesday, July 23, 2013 - linkWell, doesn´t that depend on what you mean by "benefit"? (I know the eyes have an upper limit, when it comes to resolution, giving a max distance from your TV/monitor)
I have never experienced a High DPI screen - like a Retina - in real life, but I know a great deal about the difference when it comes to sound.
What is it excactly, that makes a 2000 dollar stereo set better than a 500 dollar one? It´s very hard to put your finger on one parameter and say.: "It´s that!" or "It´s this!" "Better transients" or "better bass" are just subjective expressions.
At the end of the day, it very often comes down to: "It simply sounds "softer" to my ears". Or: "You can turn the volume up way higher, before it starts to sound harsh or rough".
I don´t know, I just presume it´s the same with screens: The higher the res, the "softer" the picture wil feel to your eyes. Even if we actually exceed the resolution capabilities of the eye.
Despoiler - Tuesday, July 23, 2013 - linkIt's that your eyes physically cannot resolve the difference in resolution at a certain distance combined with a certain size of screen. ie 720, 1080, or 4k look the same if you are sitting far enough back.
Integr8d - Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - link720p is rougly the maximum visual acuity for a moving image. For static images, the more resolution the better. For movies or gaming (save for the occasional sniper shot, where most of the screen is still) 720p is most your brain can process.
shaurz - Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - linkThat sounds like bollocks to me. I can easily tell the difference between a game running at 720p and 1080p.
doobydoo - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - linkHe said 'if you are sitting far enough back'. Can you tell the difference between a game running at 720p and 1080p from 1 mile away? No.
Ortanon - Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - link...at a certain viewing angle [distance].
Shadowself - Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - linkAbsolutely not. Please read my earlier post.
Additionally, motion actually enhances a lot of the acuity requirements. You can actually see motion (especially if it's repetitive) that is on the order of one arc minute or less.