Asus ProArt PA32UC monitor
A VERSATILE MONITOR THAT OFFERS STRONG – IF IMPERFECT – COLOUR ACCURACY ALL THE WAY ACROSS ITS 32IN PANEL
Asus may be best known for sleek laptops and enthusiast motherboards, but over the past few years its ProArt monitors have carved out a designer niche. The name says it all: these colour-accurate displays are aimed at people who need realistic colours to make their living.
The PA32U is Asus’ largest such monitor yet – and it’s stunning. Not only is the twotone silver and black finish stylish, it’s the best-made monitor I’ve used. That daintylooking pillar supports the hefty frame with ease and is incredibly flexible: you can pivot the screen in either direction, and it rotates slickly from side to side by up to 60°.
The ProArt PA32U comes pre-tuned for sRGB and Adobe RGB profiles, with two A4 print-outs in the box that show how your display performed in the calibration tests. Asus won’t release a ProArt monitor unless it has suitably strong colour accuracy and uniformity: below 2 Delta E for accuracy, and below 4 for uniformity. You can also calibrate it yourself, and Asus includes an X-Rite i1 Display Pro in the box, along with a CD to load its Asus ProArt Calibration software. However, Eizo’s 27in ColorEdge CG277 goes one better by having a colorimeter built into the bezel, which automatically calibrates the screen.
It’s no surprise that the ProArt performed strongly when we put it through our range of colour accuracy tests. It averaged 1.04 Delta E for colour accuracy in sRGB mode, although this rose to 1.87 in Adobe RGB. I also checked for variations in brightness and contrast across the screen, and in the main its results were encouraging: using a 5x5 grid, it proved incredibly consistent in the central 3x3 squares; the only cause for concern was a brightness variance of around 8% in the corners.
Its other vital stats are equally impressive. According to our own X-Rite colorimeter, it covers 99.7% of the sRGB colour gamut, 97.5% of Adobe RGB and 94.3% of DCI-P3. Its gamma tracking proved strong too. Whether you’re matching to print or intending to output video, you can have confidence.
In sRGB mode, it isn’t the brightest screen around at 290cd/m2, but I found it most comfortable at around 150cd/m2 in an office. Asus provides a number of presets with the monitor, but you may decide to create your own. There are two user modes to choose from, or you can flick to sRGB, Adobe RGB, Rec.2020, DCI-P3 and HDR mode using the OSD.
Note that you won’t want to fiddle with these controls much. They’re all selected via a mini joystick on the rear of the screen, on the right-hand side. Using this to scroll through the options this is fine: the problem is selecting which of the settings you want to control, because each are activated by a button that’s also positioned on the rear of the screen.
This minor aggravation aside, the four different blue light settings will be a welcome inclusion for anyone who gazes at screens all day, while an alignment grid (complete with presets for A4 and B5, plus a ruler overlay) could come in handy for print designers.
Frankly, though, this screen is overkill for print due to its sheer size. With a 3,840 x 2,160 resolution across that 32in diagonal, it delivers a level of detail that’s better suited to photographers and video editors. With Ultra HD Premium certification, it’s ideal for anyone who wants to create HDR images and videos. That’s in part due to 384 LED zones, which allow it to hit over 1,000cd/m2 brightness in certain situations. Asus also covers every major connection, with two Thunderbolt 3 ports that can deliver up to 60W of power to connected devices. Add a DisplayPort, four HDMI inputs and a USB hub, plus a respectable pair of 3W speakers, and this monitor wants for nothing. There’s even Picture-in-Picture support, via Asus’ bundled software.
Against it? First, I can’t ignore the 27in Eizo ColorEdge CG277 with its built-in colorimeter for around $3,500. Second, its performance in colour-accuracy tests aren’t as strong as the best Eizo and NEC screens, with the CG277 once again taking top honours. But then again, if you want a 32in Eizo you’ll need to buy the superb 32in Eizo CG3184K – a snip at $6,800.
In that context, the Asus starts to look like a bargain. The threeyear warranty helps too: if there’s a bright dot within that time, it will swap out the monitor. And thanks to its Ultra HD certification for editing 4K, HDR material, the ProArt is the most affordable option going.
32in 3,840 x 2,160 IPS panel • 120Hz • 5ms response time • DisplayPort 1.2 • 4 x HDMI
2 • 2 x Thunderbolt 3 USB-C; USB hub (2 x USB 3, USB-C) • hardware calibration • PiP/ PbP • 2 x 3W speakers • -5° to 23° tilt • pivot • 130mm height adjustment • 727 x 229 x 470-600mm (WDH) • 11.4kg • 3yr swap-out warranty
$3,499 • www.asus.com/au