A few months back, we reviewed the 24.1-inch ASUS PA246Q display. The display was decent but a steep price tag meant it was ideal for professional graphics artists. Anyone looking for a good display under Rs. 20,000 had few options. The PA238Q is a slightly smaller display but does it manage to maintain the same strong performance as the larger PA238Q display?
The PA238 as its model number suggests is a 23-inch panel that supports the standard 16:9 aspect ratio HD resolution of 1920x1080. This PA238 is based on an IPS panel whereas the PA246Q was based on a P-IPS panel. IPS panels are known to offer superior colours than traditionally used TN panels. ASUS claims that the display has a response time of just 6ms and the ability to render 16.7M colours. We’ve seen in the past that displays with really quick refresh rates and comparatively slower ones don’t necessarily result in a more responsive display. Display refresh delays don’t matter as much as they used to back when LCD displays first started pouring into the market.
Sufficient connectivity ports
The display comes with a bunch of connectivity options. There’s an HDMI, a D-Sub, DisplayPort and the traditional D-Sub port. If you’re looking for USB expansion ports, there are four present, two at the rear and two on one side. Switching between sources on some monitors can be slow. It takes a couple of seconds. In this display especially, there’s close to no delay in the switchover. The menu is very minimalistic but using it is simple. The buttons are self-explanatory and it's one of the easier interfaces to get used to. There's also a lot of customisation that one can do to tweak the characteristics of the display. Picture-in-picture is supported and it works well. Users can switch between HDMI, DisplayPort and VGA connections.
Large easy-to-use controls on one side
The QuickFit feature that was present in the larger PA246Q is also present on this model. It allows design artists to fit page formats on screen without having to print test copies. There’s a dedicated button for that very purpose.
The design of the ASUS PA238Q is very similar to the PA246 in many ways. It has the same stand that allows you to raise the screen, rotate and swivel it. The monitor can also be tilted easily for better viewing angles. The motion of the stand is fluid and rotating the screen around is simple.
The screen stand lets it be very flexible
The stand takes a large area on the table. The display itself has a thin bezel and there’s a neat red band that runs along the bottom of the monitor. The controls are positioned on the right panel of the display’s bezel.
DisplayMate shows promising performance. Once the display was set up with the ideal brightness and contrast levels, we ran through a queue of gradient tests for colour intensities and also detail. The gradient test where blocks with increasing intensities of grey are displayed, appeared flawless. In TN panels, where different shades of greys appear, there's often a tint of red or green. This was not the case with the the PA238Q. Similar tests with gradients across different colours also appear in easily distinguishable blocks. There is no blending of shades except for in red and blue. This too was very slightly visible on the brighter end of spectrum. We noticed no interference with colours and patterns across any of the tests. Colours in DisplayMate appeared natural and unemphasised like is the case with many displays. We noticed colours to be somewhat more enhanced.
Videos and movies look great. There is absolutely no framing or blurring of the image. Colours are natural and there's good detail visible. Viewing angles are decent as well. The ASUS PA238Q doesn't come with built-in speakers but users can connect headphones or external speakers to the 3.5mm audio connector present on the display. All-in-all, a very good performance.
The ASUS PA238 sells at a much more reasonable Rs. 17,600. At this price, it’s much better value for money than the more expensive PA246Q that was priced at Rs. 31,000.
A display with good, vibrant colours
The colours on the PA238Q are much better, out of the box, than the ASUS PA246Q. On the other hand, the larger PA246Q had a slightly better image overall and also a little more workspace, not just in terms of screen size but also resolution (1920x1200 instead of 1920x1080). Whether you’re a graphics artist or just a gamer who wants a crisp display with near-natural colours and are willing to spend a couple of thousand rupees more for for a IPS panel, the ASUS PA238 will suit you well.
Updated 19 May, 2013, 5:16 pm IST
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