Sunday, September 1, 2013

Asus PQ321QE super high resolution monitor review

The computer monitor market has for the last years stagnated in terms of innovation. In terms of resolution, the monitors stagnated at 1920 x 1080 or 1920 x 1200 pixels. Today, Asus changes the market and releases the PQ321QE, a 31.5" super-high resolution and contrast monitor that is impressive in many ways as shown in this review.

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As we know, the computer market is having a hard time in several aspects. Over the last few years, sales numbers has taken a dive and in principle all innovation has been centered on new CPUs from Intel and AMD and new GPUs from nVidia and AMD. The problem though, is that there is little demand for the ever increasing computing power from the regular users who simply browse the web, work in some documents and writes e-mails.

Today, Asus gives us a reason to upgrade to more powerful hardware with its release of the Asus PQ321QE 31.5" monitor. The monitor has the impressive resolution of 3840 x 2160 and is commonly referred to as 4K in technical terms, meaning that effectively 4 full HD screens can be shown simultaneously by the Asus PQ321QE with a pixel density of 140 PPI. As an example of what the high resolution of the monitor entails, consider an Excel document. In a standard 1920 x 1080 monitor, 29 columns and 39 rows are visible on a monitor, whereas on the Asus PQ321QE, 59 columns and 93 rows will be visible, something that significantly boosts the accessible workspace area.

Hardware requirements of Asus PQ321QE

With the extreme resolution found on the Asus PQ321QE, it is certainly much more demanding on the hardware. For example, VGA, DVI or dual DVI are simply not available as they do not offer nearly enough bandwidth for the resolution. Instead, displayport or HDMI are the only alternatives to crunch out images at 3840 x 2160. While this in itself is not unique and should easily be supported by most graphics cards and integrated graphics chips in modern CPUs, playing games will most definitely require a very powerful graphics card at such high resolution. 

However, it should be noted that the Asus PQ321QE monitor is not really designed for gaming and as such, the monitor by default operates at 60 Hz, which means that tearing and other sync issues can arise and become annoying by picky gamers.

Image quality of Asus PQ321QE

The main purpose of the Asus PQ321QE monitor is to be a tool that enhances productivity. Test results generally show that the image quality is excellent, much owing to the IPS technology behind the monitor. The colors are very crisp and the dynamic range is excellent, allowing for excellent contrast without too early saturation of some color channels. 

The viewing angles are extremely good, again due to the IPS technology and collaborating or showing off your work to a colleague or a group of people should therefore be a joy when needed, without people standing on the side seeing distorted colors.

Summary and technical specifications of the Asus PQ321QE

The Asus PQ321QE is an excellent monitor, however, it is definitely designed with productivity in mind. Gaming on the Asus PQ321QE works, but the hardware demand is truly a bit too demanding for most users today. In addition, its default video frequency of 60 Hz can make it troublesome both for gamers and video editors who would rather work with 24 Hz. 

The price for this monster is of course certainly not low and is around the $5000 level. However, for someone who values large workspace real estate and works with editing pictures or layout of large print surfaces, the Asus PQ321QE is truly the perfect and only alternative to having multiple monitors today. 

Technical specifications of Asus PQ321QE

Monitor size:31.5 inches.
Monitor resolution:3840 x 2160 pixels.
Viewing angle (horizontal/vertical):176/176 degrees.
Brightness:350 candela/m^2
Power consumption:75 W.
Response time: 8 ms.
Input/output ports:Displayport, HDMI and 3.5 mm stereo jack input/output.
Size: 740 x 489 x 256 mm or 29.1 x 19.3 x 10.1 inches
Panel type: IPS.
Retail price:$5000

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