Asus PB287Q 28-Inch Screen LED-Lit 4k Monitor Review
The Asus PB287Q 4K UHD monitor is something close to a work-horse model in the slightly rarified world of ultra HD PC displays. Featuring both the superior visual clarity and sharpness of 4K resolution and a rather utilitarian design and some pared down specs, this particular monitor offers a mix of superior graphics, mostly solid performance and a price tag that leaves room for mass purchase office use if someone is willing to spend a bit more on a large order of work monitors.
As far as home use goes, the PB287Q also has plenty to offer without being particularly special as far as 4K display screens go. It’s rendering of 4K ultra HD resolution looks great, without a doubt, but a TN display and less than professional color calibration specs mean that the PB287Q isn’t an ideal choice for design and visual project professionals. Instead, the PB287Q might be more of a good choice for 4K PC gamers and casual users who want more bang for their PC display power without spending a fortune.
Since everyone loves 4K now, the Asus PB287Q True 4K ultra-high definition (4K UHD) monitor aims to please with a 16:9 aspect ratio WLED display for “next generation 4K UHD visuals” that is good enough for 3840 by 2160 resolution. Furthermore, that same resolution, which amounts to just under 8.3 million pixels creates density on the screen at 157 pixels-per-inch (PPI), which is more than enough for some very fine levels of sharpness and clarity for any native 4K UHD content that you might get your hands on, or for the 4K-scaling graphics of Windows 8.1 or Windows 10. As we said, the PB287Q puts out some superbly sharp native UHD visuals.
Furthermore, this monitor, as a TN display, also offers a lightning fast 1ms GTG fast response time which makes it a rather solid choice as a PC gaming monitor. This, combined with a price that’s definitely on the side of reasonable means that the PB287Q is one of the better choices on the market for 4K gamers, at least in these regards. Another feature of the PB287Q that works wonderfully in favour of 4K gamers is the monitor’s native 60Hz refresh rate, which, as ASUS correctly states, is good for “ultra-smooth gameplay”.
Moving along, three other aspects of the PB287Q from Asus that we liked are worth mentioning. First of all, while the color rendering on this monitor isn’t on par with the best we’ve seen in many 4K UHD displays, partly due to the screen’s TN display technology, the contrast of the PB287Q is definitely a winner. We’ve also seen better native contrast in many 4K screens but for its price, the PB287Q delivers the goods really well, with a level of nuance, range and richness to its blacks that creates a definite impression of realism.
In addition to that contrast, there is also the monitor’s design. While this is hardly what we’d call an aesthetically pleasing or particularly stylish piece of PC hardware, it’s also not ugly by any means and its roomy 28 inch screen can be adjust very flexibly for tilt, swivel, height and portrait or landscape modes.
Finally, there is the color rendering capacity of the PB287Q. While TN displays don’t generally put out the vibrancy of IPS monitors, the PB287Q does actually offer the much broader real 10-bit color range, which amounts to just over 1 billion colors instead of the more common 16.7 million of 8-bit monitors. This means a rather remarkably smooth color gradation for “a natural-looking transition between hues”. This is something that we were surprised to see in such a low cost 4K display with many otherwise middle-of-the-road specs.
4.2 - 260 Reviews
Right off the bat, one of our biggest beefs with the PB287Q was the simple fact that for some ridiculous reason, Asus decided not to bother including any USB ports in this particular monitor. This is an odd and major omission in what is otherwise a very decent modern PC display and it certainly makes for charging a phone a little awkward as USB is the standard for most chargers, not to mention other kinds of accessories.
Another major complaint for the PB287Q that we have are the physical buttons located on the back of the display, which can be seen by a line of tiny lights on the bezel. There are six of them plus power, and it is very easy to hit the wrong button. This can often result in the menu timing out while you’re busy fiddling around uncomfortably and in an inconvenient way to push the rich control button without accidentally pressing something else. This isn’t really a major issue but it’s annoying nonetheless and in certain moments when you actually need these hidden little buttons for some adjustment, it just gets problematic.
Next, we have to mention the TN display of the PB287Q in this section. While TN vs. IPS is a fair and honest trade-off between more vibrant picture quality and better viewing angles on the one hand (with IPS) and much faster response times and greater affordability in the case of TN, that doesn’t eliminate the fact that TN monitors do underperform in terms of color vibrancy and off-center viewing. Both of these factors are problems in the PB287Q and despite its 10-bit color, the monitor loses a lot of the potential it could have created with that color range because of TN technology.
Finally, two other defects in the PB287Q are worth covering briefly here. First of all, this 4K UHD monitor simply doesn’t keep up with the competition in terms of sheer vibrancy or rendering of some display elements. While its native 4K UHD resolution is certainly noticeable and looks quite good, we also noticed that text in particular, as well as other finer details of on-screen content, could sometimes look a bit too grainy. This problem manifests itself particularly with content and graphics which haven’t quite been designed to scale smoothly with 4K UHD resolution. This of course isn’t entirely the fault of Asus itself but the graininess of some on-screen elements weren’t present in other, better 4K UHD monitors we’ve seen so we can assume that something inside the rendering software of the PB287Q simply doesn’t stack up as well as it potentially could.
Second, the PB287Q suffers in the connectivity department and even more so now that 4K UHD monitors with HDMI 2.0 are becoming common. With only two HDMI 1.4 ports which can output 4K video at no more than 30Hz and no USB hub to speak of, the PB287Q pretty much relies on its single DisplayPort 1.2 slot for all of your serious 60Hz 4K Ultra HD connectivity needs. Thus, you can also forget about daisy-chaining a couple of these monitors together and still keeping those pixels running in 4K at 60 frames per second.
The Asus PB287Q is probably the hardware that you want if you are looking for a 4K monitor that is affordable, utilitarian and can offer UHD resolution without the need for special connectivity or visual specs. In other words, this is a solid office work display for people who want UHD sharpness and detail but don’t need anything fancier than the basics for daily use. More serious users such as gamers who are looking for an ideal ultra HD display are better off going with something like the Samsung UE590.
Weight: 17.4 lbs/7.9 kg
Dimensions: 26 x 16.3 x 8.7 in (660 x 414 x 220 mm)
Screen size: 28 inches, measured diagonally
Response Time: 1 millisecond
Colors: 1.07 billion
Refresh Rate: 60 Hz
Screen Lighting: W-LED
Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160 pixels UHD
OS Compatibility: Mac, Windows
Connectivity Ports: 1 HDMI 1.4/MHL port, 1 HDMI port, 1 DisplayPort 1.2, 1 Earphone Jack, 1 Audio In
The Asus PB287Q UHD monitor isn’t exactly what we’d call a truly heavy duty spectacle of PC display power. As we’d already explained, it’s more of a bare-bones work-oriented 4K screen and as such it’s pretty light on major highlights. However, a few specific if not entirely unique or extraordinary technologies are worth mentioning:
For starters, the PB287Q has Picture-in-Picture (PiP) and Picture-by-Picture (PbP) for viewing two different sources at exactly the same time. PbP is a split screen arrangement that carves the display down the middle, while PiP puts the second input window in one corner of the display for viewing two different content sources at the same time. These are both fairly common in many more advanced displays but they do make for very useful little work tools in this particular monitor which is so particularly oriented to an office environment.
Another bonus in the PB287Q is the SplendidPlus technology installed by ASUS, which is in essence Video Intelligence Technology made upon a color engine to provide 8 preset modes for adjusting the display accordingly. These include: Reading, Darkroom, Scenery, Theater, sRGB, Game, NightView, and Standard. If you need to rapidly shift between viewing one type of content or graphics and another without wasting type on manual calibration, these presets are fairly useful.
Next up is Asus’s Flicker-free technology for using DC adjustment backlighting to gain a very clear view of what you want to see, without the irritating interference that can be caused by screen flicker in many lesser monitors. Again, not a particularly special feature as far as what we’ve seen in many 4K UHD monitors but still a useful little bonus from the manufacturer.
Also featured in the PB287Q is a QuickFit Virtual Scale onscreen alignment grid overlay, good for aligning and previewing photos as well as documents, so you can see what they look like before they print.
Finally, in terms of visual utility highlights, not only do you get good on-screen visuals like sharp 4K resolution and surprisingly robust color gamut range with the PB287Q, the screen is also very flexible. It has a height adjustment of 0 to 150 mm, swivels 60 to -60 degrees, tilts 20 to -6 degrees, and can pivot a full 90 degrees clockwise, perfect for viewing an 8 x 11 inch document. All around the PB287Q is some very 19mm bezel.
And on a final note, as far as the sound goes, there are two built-in 2W speakers, that “don’t sound at all too bad for the low-power wattage they offer”.
4.2 - 260 Reviews
As we’ve already essentially covered in the sections above, the Asus PB287Q manages to deliver something of a mix between the good and the less than great in terms of its visual specs. On the one hand, this monitor is a definite winner in terms of its excellent contrast and the rich gradation of its colors thanks to a 10-bit color spectrum that’s much more robust than we’d have expected for a 4K display of this price and general caliber. On the other hand, the TN screen technology means a sharp reduction in the quality of off-angle viewing and an overall lack of the deeper color vibrancy that an IPS panel in the monitor would have delivered with the same 10-bit color spectrum coverage.
Furthermore, the monitor’s other technologies like a native 60Hz refresh rate and a rapid-fire 1 ms GTG response time are some great gamer-friendly features that are only ruined by the somewhat crappy connectivity of the PB287Q. One other thing worth mentioning is the luminance of the screen. In the case of the PB287Q, it’s actually remarkably good. The formal specs from Asus for this screen claim a luminance of 330 cd/m2 and in practical terms, the PB287Q delivers something a bit lower at about 305 cd/m2. This however still adds up to some pretty excellent brightness and means that the PB287Q performs very nicely in a brightly lit office or home environment.
Connectivity-wise, the Asus PB287Q is at its definite weakest and its lack of robust connection ports is what does the most to make this particular monitor far below ideal for anything except for a pretty simple, straightforward office work environment where sharper than normal resolution via 4K is necessary.
With only 2 HDMI 1.4 ports and one single DisplayPort 1.2 port, along with slots for audio and the usual basics, the PB287Q offers only the basics as far 4K gaming needs go and it’s not particularly useful for daisy-chaining several of these monitors together and still getting high frame rates at ultra HD resolution. The lack of any USB hub is just silly and in our view something of a major oversight which anyone who wants to connect external media devices won’t be particularly pleased about.
Asus really wanted to make a 4K monitor available for consumers, and as such, this piece of hardware is currently retailing for $467.99 on Amazon. This is a pretty good price for a 4K display but there are now cheaper and more robustly specced out 4K monitors hitting the market.
4.2 - 260 Reviews
To summarize briefly, the Asus PB287Q is weak on color vibrancy, weak on off-angle viewing and most importantly of all, it’s really weak on connectivity, with no USB hub built into it.
1 ms GTG fast response time
No USB ports
Menu buttons are oddly done
Very limited on viewing angle
Problems with PiP audio sources.
4K content could look sharper