Asus PA238Q £300
6th Oct 2011 | 09:39
Will the IPS technology behind this panel help it differentiate itself from the TN hordes?
Page 1: Overview
Fed up with cheap and not-always-cheerful monitors based on TN panel technology? Then get a load of the new Asus PA238Q.
At around £235, it's pricier than your average 23-inch TN screen. But, joy of joys, it's got an IPS panel.
IPS stands for in-plane switching and just so happens to be the finest panel technology known to man or beast. That's why Apple, for instance, exclusively uses IPS in its iPhones and iPads. It's simply the best when it comes to colour accuracy and viewing angles.
As it happens, colour accuracy is a big part of the remit for the Asus PA238Q.
It's pitched as a low-cost screen for graphics professionals. However, Asus is also claiming 6ms response times, which makes for a tantalising all-round package. Could this affordable, colour-accurate screen also be killer for games and at the movies?
In order to find out, we made use of the freely available LCD test suite available at www.lagom.nl/lcd-test/. Test pages for everything from white saturation to contrast, viewing angles and even pixel response are provided.
Armed with these objective metrics and our own experience, we're able to deliver the definitive verdict on the Asus PA238Q. So, how does it fare?
Page 2: Verdict
We've been desperate for something, anything, other than a TN screen at an affordable price for a while now. Few monitor makers have been willing to deliver. Admittedly, BenQ has given us a couple of cheap screens with VA panels, but the recent BenQ EW2430 was seriously disappointing.
There's an open goal waiting for Asus to slide home a winner.
On paper, the Asus PA238Q certainly looks like premier league material. Along with that all-important IPS panel, you get an LED backlight and a huge colour gamut that captures 100% of sRGB. Nice. You also get a full complement of inputs, including HDMI, DVI, VGA and even DisplayPort. There's picture-in-picture support, too.
The Asus PA238Q is a fine physical specimen too.
The stand is fully adjustable in all directions and hewn from the right sort of plastics. It's sturdy stuff. We also love the minimalist styling vibe. The overall effect is like an IBM laptop from the ThinkPad heyday – no nonsense quality, in other words.
But the real clincher involves image quality.
Asus claims every PA238Q is carefully colour calibrated at the factory and the result is indeed impressive. Rarely, if ever, have we seen a screen with such deft black, white and colour scales out of the box. The viewing angles are impeccable, too.
As for pixel response, we have very good news indeed: this is one of the snappiest IPS panels we've ever seen.
The panel. The backlight. The chassis. The colours. The input options. The price. Frankly, what's not to like?
All of our previous experience with cut-price VA and IPS panels has lead us to expect some kind of downside, visual nasty or obvious specification faux pas, but not here.
It isn't easy picking holes in this classy screen, but one or two imperfections are visible.
Our review sample had the slightest whiff of backlight bleed on the right-hand edge. And like all IPS screens, there's a little backlight glow at some angles when viewing very dark tones. But that's about it.
It's been a long time coming, but the (very nearly) perfect PC monitor has finally arrived. Buy one.