Asus PA248Q review: Asus PA248Q

Movies: I tested the Asus PA248Q using the Blu-ray version of "Avatar." Unfortunately, the Theater preset displayed the movie with an oppressively dominant blue hue and crushed dark grays, making some detail difficult to see. Sure, movies look more cinematic under this setting, but it's not worth the loss of detail.

For a more balanced image where dark gray doesn't live under the despotic heel of blue oppression, I preferred using the Standard preset with gamma set to 1.8. This combination yielded a much more tolerable color and contrast balance that doesn't marginalize dark detail.

Games: Personally, I prefer monitors that display games with vibrant color and highly contrasting blacks and whites. When colors also pop with fullness and depth, games will usually look great. Dragon Age II is a game that can look pretty drab at times, but definitely benefits from rich, bright, but still accurate colors. I looked at the game on the PA248Q in the Standard preset with the contrast set to 80 and the gamma at 1.8. At these settings the monitor delivered colorful, vibrant graphics while retaining a low black level. It didn't have a color palette as impressive as the HP DreamColor LP2480zx 's, but few monitors do. Still, the PA248Q delivered enough in vibrancy and contrast to leave me impressed by the game's graphics.

To test refresh rate, I used DisplayMate's motion graphics test, which moves a box of colored blocks around at various user-controlled speeds. Each block leaves an impression of itself behind as it flies across the screen. The longer the streak left by the blocks, the more image blurring you'll likely see when the monitor shows quick movements, as when playing a first-person shooter. The effect can be subtle, but noticeable to those really looking for it.

Also, IPS monitors typically display more streaking than TN displays, so it's not surprising that the blocks in this test left fairly long streaks behind them. Not the worst I've seen, but significant nonetheless. As I said, however, the difference between a monitor with a fast refresh rate and a slow one is really subtle and most people would not notice it.

Photos: Faces in photos looked healthy and showed no signs of that annoying sickly green hue that plagues many monitors. Clothing and other objects looked natural with accurate color, but maybe not quite as full and accurate as we've seen on really impressive monitors like the HP LP2480zx. That's not too surprising given the incredible difference in price.

Viewing angle: The optimal viewing angle for a monitor is usually directly in front, about a third of the screen's distance down from the top. At this angle, you're viewing colors as the manufacturer intended. Most monitors aren't designed to be viewed at any other angle. Depending on a monitor's panel type, picture quality at any other angle suffers. Most monitors use TN panels, which get overly bright or overly dark in parts of the screen when not viewed from optimal angles.

The Asus PA248Q uses an E-IPS panel, so it can be viewed from many different directions while retaining its color quality, sharpness, and correct gamma value. The antiglare coating succeeds at blocking out most reflections and, unlike with glossier screens, direct sunlight only has a minimal detrimental effect on picture quality.

Power consumption: The Asus PA248Q's power consumption earned a rating of Fair, with a Default/On power draw of 31.3 watts; the Asus PA246Q drew 71.6 watts in the same test.

In our Sleep/Standby test, the PA248Q drew 0.74 watt and the PA246Q pulled a higher 1.04 watts. Based on our formula, the PA248Q would cost $9.85 per year, whereas the PA246Q would cost $22.08 per year.

DisplayMate Performance
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Brightness (in cd/m2)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Contrast ratio
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Asus PA248Q
LaCie 324i
Asus PA246Q

Juice box
Asus PA248Q Average watts per hour
On (default luminance) 31.3
On (max luminance) 41.3
On (min luminance) 22.3
Sleep 0.74
Calibrated (200 cd/m2) 31.2
Annual power consumption cost $9.85
Score Fair

Find out more about how we test LCD monitors.

Service and support
Asus backs the PA248Q with a three-year casing-and-panel warranty that covers the backlight. This includes its Zero Bright Dot guarantee, which promises a full monitor replacement if any stuck pixels are found. The company also offers support through a 24-7 toll-free number, e-mail, and Web chat.

The Asus PA248Q doesn't hit a grand slam in performance, but instead, kind of triples with men on second and third. Awkward baseball analogies aside, while I wasn't overly impressed with the PA248Q's performance, there were no egregious performance offenses either.

Sure, there's some clouding and there's evidence of a shallow color palette compared with more expensive monitors; however, its viewing angles are wide and both movies and games looked great. If you're a serious professional artist, you'll want to stick with a P-IPS-based display like the Asus PA246Q or even the HP DreamColor LP2480zx (if you have the funds). However, if you're simply looking for a monitor that offers tons of features at a reasonable price, then look no further.

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