The 24-inch Asus PA246Q monitor provides professional-grade performance at a midrange price. Color performance and screen uniformity rival monitors that cost much more, and the Asus PA246Q offers solid features and connectivity as well.
Excellent performer with a few flaws. Creative professionals such as graphics artists and multimedia producers know the importance of accurate colors; the Asus PA246Q delivers on that score with a wide color range and vibrant, well-saturated colors -- thanks in part to its Professional IPS (P-IPS) panel. Color fidelity is maintained even from extreme side viewing angles, and screen uniformity is exceptional. It has a 1,920-by-1,200-pixel native resolution and 16:10 aspect ratio, and movies typically look great, reviewers say; PCMag.com found minimal ghosting.
CNET says that the PA246Q's color quality is on par with the powerhouse HP DreamColor LP2480zx (*Est. $2,250) , which says a lot about the quality it delivers for its price. There is some debate in terms of grayscale performance, however. PCMag.com says it's very good overall, though they agree with CNET's finding that darker shades are crushed together, resulting in poor shadow detail; HotHardware.com's Paul Lilly, on the other hand, says it "excels on both the light and dark ends of the spectrum." The PA246Q sports a CCFL backlight which, according to CNET, prevents it from delivering "truly deep blacks" and causes minor backlight bleed in the bottom and upper-left corners. AnandTech.com describes the contrast as "leaving a little more to be desired." Text quality is clear, even with the smallest of font sizes.
The Asus PA246Q finds the performance-to-price sweet spot among IPS displays, making it a prime choice for photo and video editors who don't want to spend a thousand dollars on a monitor. For the average user, The Dell UltraSharp U2412M (*Est. $340) might be a better choice, and the value-minded gamer might prefer the Asus VH236H (*Est. $175) for its lightning-fast response times.
A tweaker's delight. The Asus PA246Q offers myriad adjustment options for advanced tweaking. Brightness, contrast, saturation, hue and gamma can be customized, and advanced color settings let you dial in hue and saturation perfectly. A number of presets are available, and many are color-oriented, like the sRGB and Adobe RGB modes. There is a fully customizable User Mode as well.
One of the most unusual touches, says CNET, is Quick Fit -- a function that displays various grid-patterned overlays on the screen. According to some reviewers, the grids don't always match up to the measurement notches on the display's cabinet that runs just outside the screen's perimeter, so the feature's accuracy is questionable; even so, it can still be useful for things like referencing an image's actual size or designing content mockups.
Disappointments are few, but one is the lack of an auto-rotate function. Manually adjusting screen orientation can be annoying when you have to do it every time you want to rotate the screen 90 degrees.
Average design with good connectivity and ergonomics. The Asus PA246Q doesn't turn heads with its basic, dark-gray chassis resting on its uninspired, flat-bottomed stand, yet it still looks decent. It's sort of thick, thanks in part to the CCFL backlight; it doesn't have the thin and sleek cabinet often found in many LED-backlit monitors. It does offer a pretty good range of ergonomic adjustments, including swivel, back-tilt, 90-degree pivot and up to 4 inches of monitor height adjustment.
The onscreen user interface may take a little getting used to, but overall it's fairly intuitive and many functions are contextualized by icons to help reduce guesswork. All the important connectivity inputs are accounted for: on the left side are 2 USB downstream ports and a 7-in-1 multimedia card reader; on the back you'll find DVI, HDMI, VGA, and DisplayPort inputs; a USB upstream port; and a headphone jack.
An IPS display with a not-so premium price. It's hard to think of a $450 monitor as a bargain but -- compared to displays with similar features for high-end photography and graphics applications -- the Asus PA246Q delivers a huge bang for your buck. The high-end P-IPS LCD panel comes pre-calibrated out of the box, offering excellent color performance and wide viewing angles. Images are bright and detailed, and the relatively fast (6ms) response times do a good job of reducing blur. Performance is far from perfect, but it's hard to beat for the money. It offers great connectivity, a host of ergonomic options and plenty of customization choices for dialing in the image to near perfection.
Asus offers a "no missing pixel" policy, allowing returns with even one stuck pixel; the company's response to Newegg.com complaints seems to back up that commitment.
Though it's cheaper than most other professional monitors, the Asus PA246Q is expensive compared to most mainstream monitors. For everyday use, the Dell UltraSharp U2412M (*Est. $340) may be a better option. While it won't do for graphics professionals and the hardest of hardcore gamers, it should meet or exceed the expectations of just about everyone else.
Review Credibility: Excellent HotHardware.com finds that Asus' first foray into the high-end monitor market is strong: The Asus PA246Q display doesn't mess around, reviewer Paul Lilly writes, producing accurate colors and bright and crisp images, and excelling at both the light and dark ends of the spectrum. Hotkeys display on-screen grids that show images' exact size in inches and centimeters, and the monitor rotates from portrait to landscape mode. Lilly considers the monitor an exceptional value and awards it a Hot Hardware Recommended designation.
Review: Asus PA246Q ProArt 24-Inch Monitor Review, Paul Lilly, April 11, 2011
Review Credibility: Excellent The Asus PA246Q has "terrific performance with vibrant colors," writes Eric Franklin; the display is relatively affordable, ergonomic and truly professional-class. Drawbacks include a powerful backlight that keeps black levels on the light side; also, CNET's testing suggests a color fault that gives images a slightly reddish hue. However, it still receives an Editors' Choice nod and a rating of "Excellent."
Review: Asus PA246Q Review, Eric Franklin, June 24, 2011
Review Credibility: Excellent AnandTech.com doesn't recommend the Asus PA246Q, mainly due to its price, but Chris Heinonen says it "could easily be the best choice" for those who need a professional-grade IPS monitor. The review relies heavily on performance-based testing and can get exceedingly detailed in spots, making it best for technically-oriented readers.
Review: Asus PA246Q, Chris Heinonen, July 2, 2012
Review Credibility: Very Good The Asus PA246Q earns an Editors' Choice award at PCMag.com, where John Delaney describes it as having "excellent wide gamut performance" and "loads of connectivity ports." He says grayscale performance "could be better," however. The review notes performance as "professional grade" and the feature set as "robust."
Review: Asus PA246Q, John Delaney, Dec. 20, 2011
Review Credibility: Very Good About 100 Newegg.com user leave reviews here for the Asus PA246Q. Overall, the monitor earns a 4-star rating (out of 5). Asus "customer loyalty" representatives regularly respond to those who are less happy, offering them a direct company contact to assist in getting issues resolved.
Review: Asus ProArt Series PA246Q, Contributors to Newegg.com, As of April 2013
Review Credibility: Very Good There are fewer user reviews here than at Newegg.com; while most are pleased with the Asus PA246Q, it receives an overall rating of 3.6 stars. Many positive points include the color quality, while complaints involve defective products and poor customer service.
Review: Asus PA246Q ProArt, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of April 2013