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Sharp PN-K321 4k Display Monitor Review: Powerful Screen, Optimized for Mac

by on June 20, 2014
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Overview

Are you a Mac owner who wants to have their own Apple certified compatible 4K screen for your machine? If so, then the Sharp PN-K321 is the display for you. Perfectly usable for any sort of high powered PC it’s also the only 4K screen currently available for compatibility with Mac Pro computers.

As is typical of Apple products and anything they’re approved to work with, the K321 is an extremely powerful high performance display monitor that won’t leave you disappointed in the slightest in terms of visual and functional quality. Let’s cover its specs, pros and cons.

The Good

Featuring a 32 inch display and support for 1.07 billion colors and shades, the PN-K321 gives you a 3,840-by-2,160 pixel resolution that will fully bring out anything you’d like to view on it to its maximum possible brilliance. This display has numerous features that make it great.

For one thing, it maintains full connectivity for DisplayPort and 4K capable HDMI, a built in 2W per channel stereo audio functionality, excellent brightness and contrast ratios, LED edge lit backlighting and a utilitarian matte design that, while not deliberately pretty is highly functional and aesthetic in its design.

This is an excellent display screen for professionals who need a maximum of resolution quality and performance and it’s especially useful for heavy duty quad or 6-core Mac Pro machines used by designers, architects and those who need truly premium visual rendering performance.

The Bad

There isn’t much that can be considered truly bad about the PN-K321. However, it is a very expensive piece of hardware, even as far as 4K display screens go. Furthermore, it could use at least one more HDMI cable port and a preset refresh rate that’s better than what it comes preset to. Unless you manually adjust its refresh to 60Hz, the original settings could leave your mouse movements and overall page rendering noticeably choppy. Also, the grey-to-grey response time of 8 milliseconds could be better considering that the much cheaper Samsung U28D590D features a 1 millisecond time.

For Mac users who are thinking of buying this screen, there is also the problem of functionality when combined with the slightly older OS X 10.9.2 . The K321 definitely works much better running on OS X 10.9.3.

Final Thoughts

For Mac users who are thinking of buying this screen, there is also the problem of functionality when combined with the slightly older OS X 10.9.2 . The K321 definitely works much better running on OS X 10.9.3.

Check the Price of Sharp PN-K321 on Amazon:

Specs

Sharp PN-K321 Specs
• Weight: 16.5 pounds
• Dimensions: 17.36” x 29.53” x 1.38 inches
• Screen size: 32 inches, measured diagonally
• Response Time: 8 milliseconds
• Colors: 1.07 billion
• Brightness: 350cd/m2
• Refresh Rate: up to 60Hz
• Screen Lighting: LED Backlighting
• Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160 pixeles UHD
• OS Compatibility: Mac, Windows
• Connectivity Ports: 2 HDM1 ports, 1 DisplayPort, 1 mini stereo jack,
• Speakers: 2 2W stereo audio speakers
• Contrast Ratio: 800:1

Highlights

One basic but highly flexible highlight of the K321 that you won’t find in many display monitors is its ability to be set up on its stand either in a portrait or landscape configuration, depending on your visual needs.

Furthermore, the design is wonderfully stylish and sleek even for a thin UHD screen; at no point is the monitor more than 1.38 inches wide. Other cool highlights include an energy efficient edge-lit LED backlighting configuration and the latest IGZO (Indium, Gallium and Zinc) technology that’s been incorporated into the screen for extreme high resolution and maximal energy efficiency.

The screens matte finish also helps reduce color glare and light glare in general while the presence of internal speakers puts it a cut above what you’ll get with cheaper and lesser 4K screens. This is a monitor built specifically for the needs of professionals.

Visual Specs

We’ve already mentioned some of these but let’s get into some deeper details. For starters, the screen features a 3,840 x 2,160 pixel 4K UHD resolution that’s further augmented by edge lit LED backlighting and the introduction of IGZO technology, both of which serve to make its colors, contrasts and overall picture clarity absolutely phenomenal. The IGZO development in particular is powerful because it allows for smaller that consequently produce much tinier pixels.

This combination of technologies makes the screen perfect for work related situations in which highly detailed and complex information or visuals need to be displayed with the most precise possible clarity such as various 4k movies. In many cases, this picture clarity is so strong that even very small scale image manipulation can be done without the use of built-in magnification features on many design and draw programs.

Furthermore, new compatibility updates for the latest version of Mac OS 10.9.3 will enable even better resolution through a process of pixel doubling and increased refresh rates of 60Hz.

Finally, the specs for the contrast ratio, brightness and response time are excellent at 800:1, 350 candles per m2, and 8 milliseconds respectively.

Connectivity

The connectivity features on the K321 are about as good as they can be for any normal connection needs. This monitor features 2 4K capable HDMI ports, 1 DisplayPort that’s also 4K compatible (only in Mac Pro machines) and the usual inputs such as the RS-232C input, and one 3.5 mm mini stereo jack.

Pricing

The price of the PN-K321 is one of its few negatives. Although you are getting an enormous amount of value with this UHD display screen, it will cost you quite a bit more than the prices offered by many competitor products. At $3,500, this 4K screen costs several hundred to over $2000 dollars more than similar products offered by competitors such as Samsung and Asus. However, it is currently the only Mac OS compatible 4K screen on the market.

Check the Price of Sharp PN-K321 on Amazon:

Not so Great

As we’ve already covered, the main less than ideal features of the K321 are its steep price tag, low preset refresh rate and a matte utilitarian design that some people might find to be turn off. Furthermore, its refresh rate, brightness and contrast ratio are actually inferior to those of the Samsung U28D590D. Furthermore, the Sharp PN-K321 lacks a couple of interactive features such as split screen capacity which are also found in its much cheaper Samsung competitor product.

One of the main reasons this screen seems to be so pricey is its unique Mac compatibility and if you want a screen for your PC, go for something else by Asus or Samsung.

Positives

• Fantastic 4K/UHD picture quality
• Excellent rendering of regular HD content
• Full HDMI and Display connectivity
• Highly sleek, thin screen design
• IGZO semiconductor technology improves power usage
• This is a nicely large screen
• 8 millisecond response time
• Support for 1.07 billion colors
• Built-in speakers

Negatives

• 4K HDMI and DisplayPort tech only compatible with Mac Pro
• It’s very expensive
• Low preset refresh rate
• Some of its specs could be better

Editor Rating
 
Features
B+

 
Quality
B+

 
User Friendliness
A

 
Connectivity
A+

 
Price
C-

Total Score
C+

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User Rating
 
Features
C-

 
Quality
B

 
User Friendliness
C+

 
Connectivity
C+

 
Price
D

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C

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Bottom Line
 

The bottom line for the PN-K321 is that if you’re a Mac Pro user and you need a 4K screen, then you need to get this excellent professional grade monitor. This applies particularly if you’re in search of something that will render even the finest details of your design, drawing and photographic work. However, if you want an excellent 4K monitor for your PC, then you might want to go with something cheaper by a competing brand name.

Check the Price of Sharp PN-K321 on Amazon:

 
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