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Asus PA246 review: Asus PA246

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The Good Six axial colour calibration allows for fine tuning. IPS means better viewing angles. Decent stand. Good interlaced performance over HDMI.

The Bad Manual calibration will take forever thanks to no ability to plug a colorimeter directly into the monitor. Bizarre purple colouration in pixel walk tests when using the user profile. Pixel policy could be better for a professional monitor.

The Bottom Line At AU$699, the PA246 offers great value. We're concerned, though, by the colour shift in the inversion pixel walk test under some colour profiles, and proper calibration will take a long time thanks to a lack of hardware automation.

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8.0 Overall

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Update: Asus has informed us that its pixel policy has been updated from needing three bright/dark pixels for a warranty service, to only needing one for a complete swap out. This review has been amended accordingly.

It's always interesting to see something badged as a professional monitor after you've seen HP's DreamColor. Asus' PA246 is exactly that — a 24-inch, IPS-based black, chunky monitor whose design hallmarks you'd usually expect to see on something NEC branded. It even takes a little longer than usual to hit its full brightness after you've switched it on, usually a sign that you're on to something good.

Then there's the six axial control of hue and saturation, and RGB control of gain and offset. This lets us know that firstly, Asus is quite serious, and, secondly, that easy calibration is out the window — it is a manual job for ultimate tweaking.

Dubbed "ProArt", it's a 1920x1200 screen that has measurement markings around the bezel, although these are for look more than anything; the horizontal markings are just over 6mm, the vertical almost 5mm, meaning they're not that useful as points of reference.

What is interesting is a grid mechanism that's part of the on-screen display (OSD) — press the left-most button, and suddenly you have a grid overlaid on the screen in 5mm increments up to 50.5cm horizontally, and 30cm vertically. Press again and you're given inches, again and a nine-segment "alignment grid" appears, and there's also A4 and letter aspect rectangles in landscape and portrait modes, and the same again for 4x6, 3x5, 2x2, 8x10 and 5x7 formats. It's an interesting touch, although one that's replicated wholesale in programs like Photoshop, and so while it's cool, its usefulness is questionable.

Asus PA246 front

Six axial colour calibration? Colour us interested.
(Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

Specs at a glance

Size 24 inches
Resolution 1920x1200
Aspect ratio 16:10
Pixel pitch 0.269
Panel technology IPS
Viewing angles
(10:1 contrast)
H: 178°
V: 178°
Response time 6ms G2G
Max vertical refresh 60Hz
Connections VGA, DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort, USB upstream, 2x USB downstream, SD/MS/MMC/xD card reader, 3.5mm headphone jack (for HDMI/DisplayPort audio out only)
Accessories VGA, DVI, DisplayPort, USB cables

Stand and ergonomics

Asus' stand is what we expect for a monitor of this size and calibre, offering height, tilt, swivel and rotate adjustments. The sliding mechanism takes more force than Dell's UltraSharp range to adjust, making smaller adjustments more difficult.

Asus PA246 stand

Asus packs a decent stand with the PA246.
(Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)


Asus PA246 inputs

Power switch, power jack, DisplayPort, HDMI, DVI, VGA, 3.5mm jack, USB upstream.
(Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

The only connection here with a difference is the 3.5mm audio jack — if you have an audio stream coming through HDMI or DisplayPort, then you can use this jack to hear it. Otherwise, it's a fairly standard complement of ports.

Asus PA246 inputs

Two USB ports and a card reader. The slow step away of the tech industry from the CF format is prevalent here, too.
(Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

Buttons and on-screen display (OSD)

Asus PA246 buttons

The button on the far left switches through all the on-display grids.
(Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

Asus' front-mounted buttons are practical and usable. You have the aforementioned grid button here, menu and adjustment buttons, as well as a quick input selector.

Asus PA246 OSD

Asus' OSD gives a huge breadth of options, but is still easy to navigate.
(Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

There are six presets included with the PA246: Standard, sRGB, AdobeRGB, Scenery, Theatre and User. Since the PA246 has a huge range of adjustment, you'll get the most out of the user mode, and bypassing the presets.

On top of brightness and contrast, the user can also set hue, saturation and gamma, six axis hue and saturation, gain and offset. Sharpness can also be adjusted, and scaling is available in full screen, aspect and 1:1 modes, complete with nifty animation switching between them.

Picture in picture is supported, but it seems the HDMI and DVI circuits are shared, as when plugged in over DVI you can only have VGA or DisplayPort as the second image. This image can be toggled between three different sizes, placed in any of the four corners of the screen, and the inputs can be reversed if desired, making the smaller picture larger and vice versa.

Performance LCD tests
After calibrating to a target brightness of 140cd/m² with an X-Rite i1Display 2, Eye-One Match 3 and tweaking with HCFR, the PA246 was run through the LCD tests.

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