ASUS PA329Q 4K 10-Bit 99.5 Adobe RGB ProArt 32.0″ Screen LCD Monitor Review
The ASUS PA329Q is a 4K monitor which straddles the border between being a superb sort of professional wide color gamut visual design model of a monitor with genuinely high-caliber pro specs and a sort of rugged, regular-use work monitor with the specs necessary for great handling of a wide variety of serious digital work tasks at a price that’s not astronomical. We’d argue that this particular model leans more towards the professional premium design monitor side of this imaginary border but to its favor, despite being on the expensive side, it’s priced nowhere near as highly as some of the precision color calibrated visual designers pro monitors we’ve previously reviewed.
Quite simply, the ASUS PA329Q delivers close to perfect professional color accuracy and this is because that word “professional” is what defines this piece of technology most clearly across the board. The PA329Q offers up highly precise and extremely rich 10-bit color calibration along with associated tools while also delivering other specs and a physical design which are superb for assorted regular working applications. With the monitor’s 32 inch display surface and sleek black design, you also get the benefit of roomy screen real estate for easy viewing of large graphics and a physical build which looks good in home offices, professional designs studios or even gamer’s dens if a gamer were willing to spend about $1200 on a monitor that they’re not going to also use for paid work.
But gaming and all of these other potential workday uses aside, the ASUS PA329Q is truly a visual artist’s and graphics professional’s monitor par excellence, with specs that come great for these sorts of uses right out of the box and only get better with a bit of calibration in the device’s very decent control menus.
The overall performance quality of the PA329Q from ASUS is what we’d definitely call superb and well rounded. As we had said above, this is a monitor with great versatility but which also packs a major amount of highly specific visual design punch as far as the needs of precision-oriented designers and visual artists are concerned in particular. At covering these types of uses, the PA329Q excels almost across the board.
For starters, its 10-bit display panel is further expanded by an internal 14-bit lookup table and a screen which delivers more than sRGB coverage and above-100% AdobeRGB coverage. In addition to these, the PA329Q offers up the ability to handle the even larger Rec.2020 color gamut to a high degree and even manages HDR mastering, which is impressive indeed in a 4K PC monitor of any kind. The PA329Q also delivers DCI-P3 color space support and comes with a factory calibration data sheet which is included in the box for calibrating its sRGB and AdobeRGB modes. All of them can be easily calibrated in the monitor’s picture menu in a fairly easy way that lets a user set up their favorite color space spec with very little adjustment.
Moving along, the PA329Q is superbly designed in other key ways as well and as a result delivers more sources for its great overall performance. Key specs include the high quality IPS panel which delivers slightly weaker contrast than TN or VA panels would but which does offer grater color display vibrancy and extremely wide 179 degree viewing angles from one side to the other. Furthermore, in its connectivity specs, the PA329Q is a real powerhouse of a monitor with a fantastic array of ports which include four HDMI 2.0 slots for 4K graphics at a much smoother 60Hz. In addition to these there are several USB ports, DisplayPort 1.2 and a rather handy and unexpected SD card reader as well.
Physically, the PA329Q is also downright stylish almost through and through. It comes with a nicely thin 10mm (1cm) metal bezel which further serves to enhance the feeling of spaciousness on the 32 inch screen and comes with push button controls for its main menu items in a hidden space along the back of the lower right corner of the screen. There is also a robust anti-glare layer built over this monitor’s display which creates maximal clarity and preserves image quality with no visible softness or any sort of distracting graininess, and in addition to this the screen of the PA329Q is in any case more than bright enough to nicely allow for clean viewing even in brightly lit spaces or sunny rooms.
The PA329Q is also very adjustable in a way ASUS is known for giving to its 4K monitors. Thus the display panel can be adjusted for height by nearly 6 inches while also being capable of 5 degree forward tilt and 25 degrees of tilt backwards. In addition to this, the panel can be VESA mounted and is rotatable into landscape or portrait modes.
One a final note, the PA329Q offers a great deal of ventilation for smooth and relatively cool performance even after prolonged use and also offers a robust four-way Picture-in-Picture mode for viewing content from a combo of four different devices connected through any four of the monitors several HDMI 2.0 ports and two DisplayPort 1.2 ports.
3.9 - 7 Reviews
The ASUS PA329Q is without a doubt a stunner of a 4K monitor and its price is nowhere near terrible for the sort of quality you’re going to get your hands on with this display, especially if you’re a serious working visual design professional and need the tools to do your job well. That said however, the retail price of over $1200 for the monitor is without a doubt not something to take lightly unless you’ve got a hefty budget and unless you really do need this monitor for its graphic and color calibration specs, you might want to consider something several hundred dollars cheaper if what you’re looking for is simply a decent 4K office monitor, a machine for ordinary browsing and movie watching at home or a 4K gaming PC display.
Aside from this price consideration, we should note that the few things we didn’t like greatly about the PA329Q included its poor brightness uniformity right out of the box. This can of course be made to go away with some calibration adjustments in the menu settings but for a PC monitor which is supposedly factory calibrated for precision color delivery, you’d think that ASUS could also manage to offer better brightness performance right out of the box for those who don’t want to play too much with adjustment of internal settings before getting down to using this device.
Another major criticism we could level here is that the PA329Q is such a great monitor but in such an exclusionary way as well. Basically --and this is something we criticize not so much about the PA329Q itself but about the manufacturing tendencies of the 4K monitor makers active today—if a monitor is really good for one thing, it lacks easy to include core features for something else, and there’s no practical reason why this needs to be the case. In the case of the PA329Q, it could make for one absolutely spectacular 4K gaming monitor and especially given all of its numerous connectivity and display qualities but ASUS, which is known for making gaming-oriented PC displays and has experience in them, couldn’t also decide to include a gamer friendly feature like G-Sync or AMD FreeSync. If either of these were also present in the PA329Q, it would make this particular monitor into one of the best high-end gaming displays you could get your hands on. Heck, the monitor already looks stylish enough to be a gaming rig, so why not tweak it a bit further with a couple of additional gameplay specific specs.
Finally, on a much more product-specific note directed at professional users, the PA329Q lacks certain professional calibration featurs like uniformity compensation and 6-axis color control in all of its preset picture modes. This can get downright annoying in some ways such as when the brightness control is closed off in certain presets in which a slightly higher level of brightness would have been perfect. Additionally, the IPS panel design of the PA329Q will obviously result in less than stunning contrast levels but even by the standards of other IPS monitors, this model performs on the lower end of the contrast scale. It’s ratio of 850:1 is not bad but we’ve seen considerably better from other professional visual design monitors on the market.
The ASUS PA329Q has so many great specs and features going for it that it’s hard not to genuinely love this monitor, especially for serious visual design-oriented uses. It’s a superb piece of hardware and you’re a graphic designer, visual editor or photo and video artist, we absolutely recommend the PA329Q.
• Screen Size: 32 inches
• Response Time: 5 ms
• Aspect Ratio: 16:9
• Backlight Technology: LED
• Panel Technology: In-plane Switching (IPS) Technology
• Maximum Resolution: 3840 x 2160
• Standard Refresh Rate: 60 Hz
• Color Support: 1.07 Billion Colors
• Contrast Ratio: 850:1
• Brightness: 355 cd/m²
• Ports: 4 x HDMI 2.0, 2 x DisplayPort 1.2, 5 x USB 3.0 ports,
• Speakers: No
• Stand adjustability: Yes, for tilt, swivel, height
• Dimensions without stand: 28.94 x 24.21 x 9.45"
• Dimensions with stand: 33.35 x 21.73 x 13.78"
• Weight (without stand): 27.6 lbs
Design-wise, the PA329Q ProArt monitor is a robust and sturdy piece of hardware whose build reflects its inner hardware and software quality. The bottom of the monitor’s partly metal display body is edged with a strip of gold trim which also features in the log lettering along the back of the monitor. There are somewhat hard to access push button controls along the right bottom backside of the display and while they’re good for activating and manipulating menu controls, they’re also a bit difficult to use while also looking at the screen due to their location along the back of the display. Onn the other hand, for each button you press, indicators appear on the screen itself showing you exactly what you’re about to do, which is useful.
As we said above already the monitor’s anti-glare layer is firmly and smoothly laid in place over the screen to ensure maximum crispness and no blurriness or graininess while also of course doing its job of keeping glare even in bright rooms down to a very nice minimal level. Quite frankly, there are virtually no light reflections which should seriously affect your ability to view even fine content on the screen and this applies to both daylight conditions and bright sunlight conditions. It’s quite nice and easy on the eyes.
The monitor itself is quite think at just under 2.5 inches and is quite heavy as well at a little over 25 lbs. However, this weight combined with the PA329Q’s robust and strongly built stand makes sure that the monitor stays quite firmly in place and doesn’t suffer from wobble even when being adjusted. Along the backside of the monitor are the plentiful ventilation grills and plenty of strong protection for the PA329Q’s internal hardware should the display panel fall over backwards for any reason. Furthermore, looking at the back of the monitor reveals two speakers hidden inside the display body under one of the ventilation grills. These offer 3 amps of power and create an audio experience which is above average but also far from anything amazing. For the PA329Q, we do recommend an external speaker system if you want rich sound performance. As for the VESA mounting system on the PA329Q, simply unsnap the vertical stand post and you’ll have the 100mm VESA mounts exposed for use.
The connectivity ports for the PA329Q are extremely plentiful and cutting edge and we’re truly impressed with just how many HDMI ports, USB ports and DisplayPort slots ASUS has included in this monitor. There are so many that we consider it to be one of the best equipped piece of PC display hardware we’ve yet seen in our time reviewing monitors.
Additionally, in terms of features, we like the inclusion of all the color calibration tools that ASUS has included with the PA329Q. The company’s ProArt Calibration technology offers assorted tuning options for color accuracy and the use of different color space types like AdobeRGB, DCI-P3 and even Rec.2020 color gamuts. There is an advanced feature in the ProArt optimization technology which also allows for quick setup of up to five different color spaces and associated options, which of course also include standard sRGB as well as the more robust above color options. ProArt also allows for tuning of Uniformity compensation for more consistent brightness levels.
Finally, the PA329Q offers Picture-In-Picture and Picture-By-picture display division options which let you segment the screen into as many as four sub-screens from four different 4K UHD or non-4K input sources at the same time. The abundance of HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.2 and USB 3.0 ports makes these features particularly usable in the PA329Q.
3.9 - 7 Reviews
The Display specs in the ASUS PA329Q are its definite strong point and the single biggest reason to buy this monitor if you’re serious about precise, accurate color representation in your PC display, especially if you’re a visual designer or graphic artist. The monitor excels almost across the board in how well it represents colors and the results are impressive indeed.
For starters, right off the bat, the PA329Q delivers solid 100% AdobeRGB coverage. This is impressive enough on its own in any conventional IPS 4K monitor in a market where most such displays manage little more than 85 to 90% Adobe space coverage but for the PA329Q it’s only the beginning of the color space coverage capabilities this display can manage. This is because moving along, the PA329Q also manages 99% NTSC color coverage and can furthermore handle an impressively large 90% of the much broader DCI-P3 color space for wide color gamut as used in the latest 4K HDR TVs from the name brands. 90% DCI-P3 puts the PA329Q on par with premium televisions such as Samsung’s KS8000 SUHD model or Sony’s 2016 XBR-D Series 4K HDR TVs in its color depth. This is definitely above average performance for a 4K UHD monitor with the PA329Q’s price.
Specs for DeltaE, Gamma and color accuracy in the PA329Q are also decidedly impressive. The DeltaE performance of the monitor is particularly superb, with average values that sit at less than a maximum of 2.4 and above 0.34 (with lower being better). The total across different colors in different color specrums from sRGB, to AdobeRGB amounts to an average DeltaE of 0.79, which is a great average for color accuracy by the standards of even highly professional 4K monitors. Furthermore, even after assorted calibration, the average DeltaE never goes above an average of 1.15, which is still a perfectly decent result. As for Gamma, it’s pretty much at 2.2 across the board and likewise at a virtually perfect setting for all other predetermined gamma values such as 1.6, 2 and 2.8. The margin of error in each is extremely tiny, with a value variation of less than 0.09, which is downright excellent.
Finally moving onto brightness and contrast, the performance of the PA329Q is a bit more variable but still very good. In terms of its maximum possible brightness, the monitor scored a value of 422 cd/m2 in its most basic scenery mode, which shows that the screen can get incredibly bright indeed for belonging to a 4K monitor. However, the more average default brightness setting of 50%, in the standard mode sits at 225 cd/m2 and in the two color modes for sRGB and AdobeRGB maximum brightness seems to cap off at 178 cd/m2 and apparently can’t be raised beyond this, which is unfortunate. The darkest preset on the PA329Q, called “Darkroom” on the other hand produces a maximum brightness of 240 cs/m2. This is in fact the only preset in which brightness and all other calibration settings can be completely customized.
As for contrast, it too can vary depending on the preset it’s being used for but the maximum contrast ratio this monitor seems to be capable of sits at 850:1, with a much lower contrast of 602:1 being the case if uniformity compensation in the ProArt calibration settings software is kept on. Keeping uniformity compensation activated does offer the benefit of evening out the PA329Q unfortunately variable display brightness but the low contrast ratio is a major let-down and one of this monitor’s major flaws.
Connectivity-wise, the ASUS ProArt PA329Q is a marvel of a 4K monitor. We’d have loved to see it also include DisplayPort 1.4 as a connectivity port but in a market where most monitors badly need to even upgrade to the now old and standardized HDMI 2.0, asking for the next generation of connectivity in a monitor shows how well it covers todays cutting edge, and the PA329Q really does cover all the bases when it comes to connectivity, superbly. It offers a whopping total of four HDMI 2.0 ports, which is more than we’ve ever seen in any 4K monitor to-date. It’s something we’ve so far only seen in 4K TVs instead. In addition to these, the PA329Q comes with a massive 5-port USB 3.0 hub and still manages to fit in two DisplayPort 1.2 slots, one of which is a mini DisplayPort version. We’re mightily impressed with the connectivity of the ASUS PA329Q.
The Asus ProArt PA329Q 4K IPS monitor is retailing on Amazon.com for a steep but not unreasonable price of $1,279.99. For the specs and color capabilities it offers, we consider this to be a reasonably tolerable price for this monitor.
3.9 - 7 Reviews
The single greatest weakness of the ASUS PA329Q is its interplay of brightness and presets for display calibration. Basically, this monitor's main presets for sRGB and Adobe RGB cap maximum brightness at well below 190 cd/m2. Furthermore, because the monitor does indeed have some heavier variation in its brightness uniformity and this can only be corrected by activating brightness uniformity in the ProArt calibration software. However, as a consequence, the display brightness also decreases here from a very robust maximum of over 300 cd/m2 to something less than stellar at below 200 cd/m2. Contrast suffers as well, being capped at only 600:1 with Uniformity Management activated.
• Superb color performance and accuracy
• Great peak brightness
• Stunning range of connectivity ports
• HDMI 2.0
• Stylish design
• Great display quality
• Weak contrast ratio
• Poor screen uniformity in default mode
• Uniformity management tool decreases brightness