Asus PB279Q review

Michael Passingham
2 Feb 2015
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Our Rating 
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Serving up gorgeous 4K images, the Asus PB279Q is perfect for colour-sensitive designers, photographers and gamers


4K monitors just keep on getting cheaper, with manufacturers attempting to wow consumers with sub-£400 monitors with that all-important 3,840x2,160 pixel resolution. However, the twisted-nematic (TN) panel technology they use in these cut-price displays simply can't do stunning high-resolution images, videos and games justice. The Asus PB279Q is one of the first of a new generation of 4K monitors to come equipped with a 27in AHVA panel, which on paper should mean superior image quality.

AHVA stands for Advanced Hyper-Viewing Angle and should not be confused with VA technology; AHVA is more akin to IPS, but with slightly different viewing angle characteristics and slightly lower manufacturing costs, even though the £680 PB279Q is hardly what we would call cheap. Asus says it will deliver high colour accuracy and 1,000:1 contrast ratios, as well as quick response times for delay-free work and gaming.

First impressions are great. The PB279Q is bright and colours pop out of the screen, while the resolution does justice to high quality 4K video content. What's more, black levels and contrast levels appear low enough to make even the darkest scenes, such as the night sky, appear rich and deep.

No calibration is required if you're looking for peak sRGB colour performance; in our calibration tests performed on the monitor at its default settings, the panel was already displaying the full 100 per cent of the gamut.

With 10-bit colour processing allowing for 1.07bn colours, the panel is also very accurate, producing an average delta E of 1.18. Delta E figures represent the difference between a perfect colour and the colour displayed on screen, and smaller numbers are better. An average delta E of 1.18 is a very strong score, with the vast majority of colours accurate enough that the average human eye can't tell the difference. Reds were the only exception, which our software detected as slightly oversaturated, but otherwise the PB279Q has well-balanced colours that make it suitable for graphic designers and photographers who need accurate colours.

Contrast levels were measured at 1063:1 with black levels at 0.25 cd/m2. While this can’t match some of the incredible contrast and black levels that VA screens are capable of, they were still superior to TN screens, which tend to mask a little detail when confronted with images containing darker shades.

Viewing angles are fairly wide and are rated at 178 degrees horizontal and vertical, although there's a definite blue tint when the screen is viewed from angles greater than 30 degrees horizontally, and some moderate contrast shifting from slightly more extreme vertical viewpoints.