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Asus ProArt Display PA278QV review: Fantastic value for professionals (and everyone else)

Tim Danton
27 Jan 2022
Expert Reviews Recommended Logo
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
349
inc VAT

Even without the guaranteed colour accuracy, this 27in IPS screen would have been terrific value

Pros 
Incredibly flexible stand
Competitively priced
Peak brightness exceeds estimates
Cons 
Mediocre base contrast ratio
No USB-C port
Unimpressive speakers
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It wasn’t so long ago that a pre-calibrated monitor with guaranteed colour accuracy sent accountants’ blood pressure soaring. The PA278QV’s price is less likely to cause any cardiac concerns, coming in lower than similar competitors, while also including a Calman and Pantone certification and the guarantee of a Delta E less than two.

Delta E is a measure of colour accuracy, and a sub-two figure effectively means it’s so accurate that even a professional would assess the colours as perfect. However, it’s also become almost irrelevant as many humble gaming monitors consistently have average Delta E figures of under one.

READ NEXT: Check out some of our favourite budget gaming monitors

Asus ProArt Display PA278QV review: Display and OSD

Instead, the biggest points of difference for displays aimed at design professionals are which colour spaces they cover and how well they do so. The ProArt targets the sRGB and Rec.709 spaces (in simple terms, Rec.709 is sRGB for video editors) and does so comprehensively. Slip it into sRGB mode and it covers 94.9% of sRGB with a 98.4% volume.

The ProArt lacks the flexibility to cover the Adobe RGB or DCI-P3 colour gamuts, hovering around the 70% mark, but Asus offers more advanced colour control thanks to its “6-axis colour adjustment”. This allows you to embolden the red colour balance, for example, without affecting the white background and will be a godsend to anyone who loves to fine-tune colours to the nth degree.

It helps that Asus provides an intuitive OSD. This uses five buttons on the bottom bezel of the screen that change depending on the menu’s context, and thanks to clear visual labelling and a nippy response to commands, it’s easy to play around (there’s always a reset option in the OSD if you go too far).

Being an IPS panel, the PA278QV is more at home displaying crisp whites than first-person shooters, but Asus throws gamers a bone by offering adaptive sync support up to the screen’s peak 75Hz refresh rate. You may also want to switch on Asus’ cryptic ASCR (Asus Smart Contrast Ratio) option in the OSD, because this will dynamically boost the panel’s mediocre static contrast ratio of 866:1. This was our measurement, with Asus claiming a typical value of 1,000:1, but we found that Asus understated the brightness: we measured a peak of 462cd/m² where the official figure is 350cd/m².

Buy now from CCL Computers


Asus ProArt Display PA278QV review: Design

The ProArt’s flexibility extends to the stand. At first sight, this matte-grey block seems tame and boring, but start grappling with the PA278QV and you’ll soon realise it can squeeze into positions that would make contortionists blush: it swivels 90° in either direction, supports portrait mode and tilts back a generous 35°. It also offers 140mm of height adjustment, dropping right down to a centimetre from the stand. And it does all this while staying solidly in place when you want it to. If only all stands were this well made.

Asus finds room in the budget for two 2W speakers, but keep your headphones to hand; Prince’s “Kiss” emerged with all the passion of a Rich Tea biscuit. There’s an earphone jack at the rear, where you’ll find a curious selection of video inputs. HDMI and DisplayPort are to be expected, the mini-DisplayPort and DVI input less so. Note that the Asus ProArt Display PA278QV supports HDCP-encrypted content.

One obvious negative is that a USB-C input isn’t nestled among these ports; if your primary computer is a laptop that can be powered via USB-C, this alone is a reason to consider other models. There is minor consolation in the form of a four-port USB 3 hub, and Asus sensibly positions two of those ports on the left so that they’re within easy reach.

READ NEXT: These are the best gaming monitors on the market right now

Asus ProArt Display PA278QV review: Verdict

Lowly contrast ratio aside – and this made no appreciable difference in general use – this is a terrific panel in an incredibly flexible stand, all backed up with the guarantees that a professional working in the sRGB or Rec.709 colour space will need. And note that if you register your monitor with Asus within three months of purchase, the company will extend the three-year warranty to five years. Considering its exceptionally low price, I have no hesitation in giving the Asus ProArt Display PA278QV a Recommended award.

Buy now from CCL Computers