Fed up with cheap and not-always-cheerful
monitors based on TN pa net technology? Then get a load of the new Asus PA238Q.
At around $234, it’s pricier than your average 23-inch TN screen. But joy of
joys, it’s got an IPS panel.
IPS, of course, stands for ‘In-Plane
Switching’ and it just so happens to be the finest panel technology known to
man or beast. That’s why Apple, for instance, uses IPS exclusively in its
iPhones and iPads. It’s simply the best when it comes to colour accuracy and
As it happens, colour accuracy is a big
part of the remit for the Asus PA238Q.. It’s pitched as a low-cost screen for
the graphics professional. However, Asus is also claiming 6ms response times,
which is very impressive for an IPS screen and makes for a tantalising
all-round package. Could this affordable, colour-accurate screen also be kilLer
in-game and at the movies? There’s only one way to find out.
The Asus PA238Q’s stand is sturdy and
fully adjustable in all directions
No Nonsense quality
On paper, the Asus looks premier league.
Alongwith the IPS panel, yougetanLED backlightanda huge colour gamut that
captures 100 per cent of sRGB. You also get a good supply of inputs, including
HMDI, DVI, VGA and DisplayPort. There’s even picture-in-picture support.
The Asus PA238Q is a fine physical
specimen: the stand is fully adjustable and hewn from the right sort of
plastics. It’s sturdy stuff. We also love the minimalist styling vibe. The
overall effect is that of a no nonsense quality IBM laptop from the ThinkPad
It ain’t easy picking holes in this classy
screen, but one or two imperfections are visible. Our review sample had the
whiff of backlight bleed on the right hand edge and, like all IPS screens, there’s
a little backlight glow at some angles when viewing very dark tones. But that’s
all we could spot.
The real clincher is image quality. Asus
claims that every PA23SQIs carefully colour calibrated at the factory, and the
result is indeed impressive. Rarely, if ever, have we seen a screen with such
deft black, white and colour scales out of the box. The viewing angles are
impeccable too. As for pixel response, it’s very good news indeed. This is one
of the snappiest IPS panels we’ve ever seen.
The panel. The backlight. The chassis. The
colours. The input option. The price. Frankly, what’s not to like? All of our
previous experience with cut-price VA and IPS panels had Led us to expect some
kind of downside, some visual nasties or obvious specification faux pas. But
Panel type IPS
Native resolution 1,920 x 1,080
Pixel response 6ms
Viewing angle 178/1780 H/V
Inputs DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort, VGA
You know how it goes by now - a 3D
monitor is a capable gaming screen that lacks colour quality of PS panels and
is slightly overpriced... Well this one’s different. The reason? LightBoost.
This is Nvidia’s big idea for improving 3D image quality. LightBoost is an
extra layer that compensates for any dimness in the image, making it twice as
bright as previous 3D screens.
The shocker is that the LightBoost isn’t a
fancy gimmick and actually does make a big difference. That’s not this screen’s
only endearing feature — there’s the height-adjustable bezel, a bundled pair of
Nvidia 3D Vision 2 glasses and a 27-inch panel too.
We’re impressed with the effort Asus has
gone to with the VG278H’s bezel. It’s rare to get a height-adjustable panel
outside of IPS screens. In our opinion, the panel surround looks a Little cheap
and flimsy for over $800.
The screen itself is an LED-backlit TN, and
as a result it’s image quality is a mixed bag. The screen suffered from
gradient banding from white to black in our tests, displaying striped shades
instead of smooth transitions. The viewing angle is also poor, and there’s some
significant colour distortion at wider angLes.
A screen for 3D Lovers but don’t
expect a pro quality colour palette
Native resolution 1,920x1,080
Pixel response 2ms
Viewing angle 170/1600 H/V
DVI, HDMI, VGA
GOT A LIGHT?
Then there’s Nvidia’s LightBoost. In 2D
mode it doesn’t count for much, but this screen (paired with Nvidia’s new
Vision 2 specs) produced the first truly clear, deep, colourful and frankly
jaw-dropping 3D experience we’ve seen so far. And this is mostly due to that
increased brightness. We found that close-up objects don’t appear to be painted
on your eyeballs and the middle ground doesn’t look like something out of a
pop-up book, which is genuinely refreshing. For the first time we can write
that we actually enjoyed the 3D experience.
As a gaming monitor, the VG278H is
top-notch. If you’re going to be the only one watching it, the viewing angle
isn’t an issue. It will become a problem if two or more people use it, though.
We’re genuinely impressed by the Vision 2
glasses supplied and team up with LightBoost to deliver better depth and image
clarity than we’ve seen before in a 3D monitor, but the trade-off for nippy
120Hz screens is often image quality, and this screen is no exception. Don’t
expect a professional quality colour palette or brilliant viewing angles—this
screen is all about the 3D. Factoring in the premium for the new LightBoost
tech and LED backlighting, the $192 glasses thrown in and the 27 inches of
panel, the VG278H isn’t a rip-off. For 3D lovers this is a must-have, and for
sceptics it could be a game-changer.