ASUS PA249Q Pro IPS Monitor Review
One of the most difficult bits about a monitor review is that a) they're almost impossible to photograph in a manner that replicates the quality, and b) even if it was possible your monitor wouldn't show it as well as good as it looks. It's similar to when they advertise television. If you're watching on a 13" portable then even the best Sony 4K screen will look rubbish. With that being said, what do we think?
Designing a display that suits a professional requires a very different set of qualities to your average "the biggest screen for the least cash" gaming effort. Professionals need tiny variances in colour tolerances, although none at all is the best. Equally wide viewing angles help maintain the perfect replication when you're demonstrating your work to clients, or the boss. Having extremely deep blacks and white whites is pointless if you're blowing all the highlight and shadow detail off the end of the histogram to do it. The watchwords are very much consistency and clarity. Gamers on the other hand, and by that we also include people who just generally use their computer without particularly requiring a linear gamma and wide colour gamut, require a screen that doesn't tear when the going gets speedy. Usually screens also have extreme contrast and brightness to compensate for the fact that we all game in a well-lit environment, just like the manual warns us to do. Don't we?
The PA249Q proves that these two audiences are by no means mutually exclusive. Certainly if you're a gamer then you'll be stunned at the image quality the PA249Q is capable of producing. Colours pop, there is definition within shadows that had previously gone unnoticed and, the bit that I know you're all waiting for, the screen doesn't tear any worse than any other monitor we've used. Given how much of our week is spent staring at gaming benchmarks, and then we go home and stare at games for fun, then you certainly wont have anything to complain about.
However the PA249Q is most definitely a high-quality display capable of extreme colour fidelity for the designers and artists amongst you. The image that you see on your screen invariably tallies with how someone else sees it, and how the finished article will appear when printed. Everything about the design makes the creative process that much simpler. It's already calibrated at the factory. Now we know that every monitor claims to be calibrated, but there is a world of difference between "it displays an image" calibration to "it has a near-perfect replication of the defined CIE colour space", and the ASUS definitely falls in the latter category.
This desire to be appealing to the creative amongst you is equally highlighted in the many little features on the PA249Q. The stand is particularly worthy of note, being smooth in operation to ensure you get the exact angle and height you require, whilst also being sturdy. Indeed the PA249Q comes with the stand pre-attached so getting up and running is as simple as taking it out of the box. So many stands, even on expensive monitors, feel like they're made of a Dairy Milk insert and about as adjustable. The on-screen display is clear and has everything within easy reach. The installed rule-of-thirds, inches, centimetres and various standard A4/8x10 etc overlays are extremely useful. As are the multiple inputs and 4 USB ports tucked away on the side.
Given that this is an extremely well-designed, well thought-out monitor with a brilliant stand and stunning image quality whether you're removing the red-eye from your Gran or fragging Psychos in Borderlands. Considering that a very short time ago a professional quality monitor was the thick end of a grand, then to find the ASUS PA249Q available for a snip at around £440, then we have to give it a Gold. You owe it to yourself to find one in the flesh and see the difference a quality display can make. ASUS can have it back when they pry it from our cold dead fingers.