Asus PA246Q review:

Asus PA246Q

Text: In text, we saw no color problems with black text on a white background. Fonts were clearly visible down to a 6.8-point size.

Movies: We tested the Asus PA246Q using the Blu-ray version of "Avatar." The Theater preset displayed the movie with a blue hue and crushed many dark grays to the point where some dark detail was impossible to see. This preset does seem to increase the level of contrast between the dark and light parts of the screen, but the severe loss of dark detail was unacceptable.

For a more balanced image where dark gray isn't crushed so severely and colors--while not as vibrant--are more accurate, check out our recommended settings below.

Games: When evaluating the look of games on a monitor, the two most important features to consider are vibrancy and color. If the monitor can display games with a bright, clean vibrancy, this goes a long way. If colors also pop with fullness and depth, games will usually look great. We looked at StarCraft II on the Asus PA246Q and saw color and vibrancy nearly on par with the LP2480zx. Also, character detail was smooth and sharp with no egregious aliasing such as we've seen happen on some monitors where the high sharpness introduces too much noise into the image. See below for our recommended settings.

To test refresh rate, we used DisplayMate's motion graphics tests and watched a bunch of graphics fly around the screen, looking for evidence of streaking. Although the PA246Q displayed less streaking than the LP2480zx, the Asus monitor did show noticeably more streaking than we saw on the Samsung PX2370--admittedly, a monitor with a faster refresh rate.

Photos: Faces in photos looked alive with none of the green hue problems that have plagued recent monitors we've reviewed. However, the PA246Q's color couldn't match the richness of the HP LP2480zx, which delivered color with a fullness we've rarely seen on a display. Keep in mind, though, that the LP2480zx costs more than five times as much as the PA246Q, a fact that makes the Asus PA246Q's performance even more impressive.

Recommended settings: We used SpectraCal's CalPC to calibrate the Asus PA246Q for bright-room viewing. The following monitor settings were the result.

Attribute Setting
Preset User Mode
Brightness 14
Contrast 85
Color temperature 6500K
Gain R-50
Offset R-76

If performance with these settings is still unsatisfactory, try the sRGB mode, as it was the most accurate of the presets.

Viewing angle: The optimal viewing angle for a monitor is usually from directly in front, about a quarter 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 its panel type, picture quality at nonoptimal angles varies. 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 PA246Q uses a P-IPS panel, so it has a wide viewing angle from all sides. The antiglare coating works fairly well here, keeping out most reflections; however, on a black screen viewed from an angle, some blurry impressions of the environment are visible.

Power consumption: The Asus PA246Q's power consumption earned a rating of Poor, with a Default/On power draw of 71.6 watts, compared with the HP DreamColor LP2480zx's 62.63 watts in the same test. It's not at all surprising that two CCFL-based monitors with IPS panels would require that kind of power.

In our Sleep/Standby test, the PA246Q drew 1.04 watts and the LP2480zx pulled a higher 1.97 watts. We expected the monitors to cost nearly the same per year to run, and based on our formula, the PA246Q would cost $22.08 per year, whereas the LP2480zx would cost $20.05 per year.

Juice box
Asus PA246Q Average watts per hour
On (default luminance) 71.6
On (max luminance) 83.1
On (min luminance) 42.1
Sleep 1.04
Calibrated (200 cd/m2) 61.5
Annual power consumption cost $22.08
Score Poor

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

Contrast ratio
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

DisplayMate performance tests
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Find out more about how we test LCD monitors.

Service and support
Asus backs the PA246Q with a three-year casing-and-panel warranty that covers the backlight. This includes its Zero Bright Dot guarantee, which ensures 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. At the time of this review, no drivers or manuals were available on the company's Web site for the PA246Q; that's surprising, given that the monitor was released weeks ago. That's not a deal breaker, of course--the monitor does come with these files--but an online repository for such support is always welcome. Hopefully Asus will post the files soon.

At $500, the Asus PA246Q is an incredible deal. Its P-IPS screen affords accurate colors and a wide viewing angle. The OSD is robust, and the overlay feature, although somewhat limited in its usefulness, is an interesting feature that some users will appreciate. Also, the fabulous four of ergonomic features are present.

The backlight does prevent truly deep blacks, and a persistent red-hue color imperfection defied our attempts to eradicate it. Also, more connection options would have been nice. But the Asus PA246Q has a fantastic price, performance that rivals more-expensive monitors, and enough features to satisfy professional monitor users and enthusiasts, winning it an Editors' Choice Award.

What you'll pay

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