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ASUS PQ321QE 31.5-inch 4K Monitor Review (Page 1)

ASUS PQ321QE 31.5-inch 4K Monitor Review
ASUS' first venture into the 4K display market is a beauty, but it comes at a cost that kills its chance at the big time. Let's take a close look now!
By Anthony Garreffa from Apr 29, 2014 @ 9:00 CDT
TweakTown Rating: 90%Manufacturer: ASUS



ASUS' first 4K product is the PQ321QE monitor, a gigantic 31.5-inch display with a tank for a base, but when you're sitting in front of its dreamy blue eyes--I mean, 31.5 inches of 4K glory--you forget it costs so much...for a few seconds, at least.




ASUS is a company that pushes out some very high quality displays, a company that I respect very much. I personally purchased three of ASUS' PB278Q displays last year for my triple-monitor testing, and I've been in love with ASUS displays since.


But a 4K display, 3840x2160 resolution with all of those pixels sitting in front of me? How could I refuse? I could not, but it's a hard sell for most people, unfortunately.



Specifications and Pricing




The specifications on the PQ321QE will have most enthusiasts wagging their tails, as we have a 31.5-inch panel here with a resolution of 3840x2160 and ten-bit color input. All of those pixels provide us with a pixel density of 140ppi, something you really see when you're sitting in front of it looking at a high-resolution image or, better yet, 4K video.


ASUS decided to use a high-quality Sharp-built IGZO TFT panel. This is what drives the price up to levels that only a Wall Street banker or insanely cash-loaded enthusiast can afford.


We have 800:1 contrast, 8ms gray-to-gray response time, two 2W stereo speakers, and a DisplayPort input. The entire thing weighs a hefty 37 pounds (or 17kg), but most of this comes in the form of its hefty stand, which keeps the 31.5-inch monitor firmly on your desk.


The monitor's dimensions are quite crazy, measuring in at 750 x 489 x 256 mm, and in the box, it's even bigger at 990 x 558 x 230mm. In the box, you'll receive the cable clamp, power cord, power adapter, DisplayPort cable, Warranty Card, RS-232C conversion cable, the setup manual, the PQ321QE (of course), and the stand.


The ASUS PQ321QE is wall mountable thanks to its included VESA mount (200x200mm), and the stand includes height adjustment and swiveling. There's a Kensington lock for the security conscious, too.


Now, let's take a closer look at the screen itself.




The stand with the PQ321QE at its lowest point.




The rear of the monitor.




Some more details about the panel itself, where we see it draws a maximum of 88W.




The power socket (19V) and the power switch.




On the right, we have the DisplayPort input as well as 3.5mm audio in/out ports.




Here we have the various buttons that control the monitor. From left to right: Power On/off, up/down through Menus, Volume up/down, Menu/Enter, and Return.





To put it simply: ASUS has priced the PQ321QE far too high, but for good reason: it's a beautiful IGZO panel. But, it won't have gamers lining up around the block to purchase it. This is a super-premium monitor that deserves a high-end PC to go along with it.


Priced at around $2800 on Amazon, it's expensive. If you want the absolute bleeding edge of monitor technology, then the ASUS PQ321QE is the best right here, right now.


Although, there are some downsides.



PRICING: You can find the ASUS PQ321QE for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.


United States: The ASUS PQ321QE retails for $2,782.93 at Amazon.


Canada: The ASUS PQ321QE retails for CDN$7,006.20 at Amazon Canada.





Performance on the PQ321QE is a mixed bag, something I thought I wouldn't be saying, and something I'm sure you thought you wouldn't be reading.


Image quality, for the most part, was nothing short of breathtaking. Sitting in front of 8.2 million pixels is something you simply need to experience. I can't put it into words how much screen real estate 3840x2160 at 31.5 inches provides, but it's an entire new world compared to a 2560x1440 panel at 27 inches.


I used the ASUS PQ321QE for around a month on my PC for all sorts of work, writing, watching TV shows and movies, or just YouTube. I was able to have so many things open at once that I got to the point where I realized I might not be able to go back to a world without 4K, and that makes me sad.




Gaming on the ASUS PQ321QE was another mixed bag. I used two SAPPHIRE Radeon R9 290X Tri-X GPUs in Crossfire, with some pretty great results. I was able to hit around 60FPS in most games with some adjustments to graphical settings because of the mammoth 3840x2160 resolution.


You'll need to adjust the field of view of first-person shooters, as sitting in front of a monitor this big, with a resolution this high, can be quite dizzying.


Ultra HD content in the form of movies or YouTube is nothing short of really is too much for your eyes and brain to take in sometimes. The detail is staggering, and everything feels life-sized or bigger. It's another point of the screen that needs to be seen in order to be believed.


I had some friends over who wanted to check out the PQ321QE, because they had never seen a 4K display in the flesh before. The best thing to show off just how many pixels you have on screen is by opening up a 1080p movie and letting it play natively at 1920x1080.


This way, it takes up just 1/4 of the open another, and another, until you have four of them on the screen at once. Then you can whisper, "On your 1080p monitor at home, this would be full screen. As you can see here, I have four of them once".


I was able to watch a 1080p movie by placing it in the top right hand corner of the monitor while I had my two Chrome windows and Spotify open, without feeling cramped or running out of pixels. It felt truly magical to do this, something that be missed when I move back to my 1440p screen.

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