Asus PA246QThe Editors' Choice Award-winning Asus PA246Q is a professional-class monitor with a satisfying number of features at an affordable price.
It was brutally reinforced to me last week, as I sat through the Green Lantern movie, that expectations can be a vengeful, terrible mistress. Is there anything more devastating than having your admittedly lofty expectations crushed under the steel hard boot of reality? But I digress. Hi, I'm Eric Franklin and, luckily, ASUS sent me the PA246Q completely unsolicited, so going into this review, I had very little expectations as to what I would find, and for some of you more jaded purveyors of CNET reviews, that may point to why I'm so high on it, but trust me, there are quite a few legitimate other reasons why I appreciate it so. First, the ASUS includes the fat four of ergonomic options: height adjustment, swivel, back tilt, and pivot. At the base of the display's neck is this radio dial, you know, just in case the type of swiveling you do requires more precision. Keeping with the precision motif, there are also all these little measurement notches along the bezel, further, possibly, increasing the levels of precision when designing. Now, as much as I like the idea of this, unfortunately, the notches don't really line up with ASUS' most unique feature, this graphical grid overlay. The overlay comes in three different units of measurement, and for artists and designers, is a potentially useful feature. In the same vein but slightly less useful is the paper and photo sizer which is cool but if you already have something like Photoshop, it's likely not that useful. Connections include DisplayPort, HDMI, DVI, VGA, a headphone jack, USB up, two USB downs, and a multimedia card reader. We used a theater preset to test movies and it seemed to increase the level of contrast between the dark and light parts of the screen, but the severe loss of dark detail was unacceptable. The monitor can be calibrated to the more balanced appearance with more accurate colors, but the vibrancy is diminished. In games, the colors popped with a fullness and depth and the level of vibrancy was on par with some of the best monitors we've tested. Also, character detail was smooth and sharp with no egregious aliasing. At $500, the ASUS 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. Once again, this is Eric Franklin and this has been the first look at the ASUS PA246Q.