Asus 24″ Monitor: Perfect Color for Perfect Prints
By Arthur H. Bleich—
You may own cameras and software worth thousands of dollars, but that won’t result in good prints unless you’re able to view your images accurately on your monitor. The 24” Asus PA248QV allows you to do just that; in fact, it out-performs many monitors costing a lot more than its modest price of $219—which includes free shipping.
Don’t take my word for it; over 80% of more than 750 reviews from those who’ve purchased one (or more) from Amazon rated it at 5 stars. Tech reviewers (as well as Consumer Reports) were impressed with its stellar performance. But there are some issues you should know about that I’ll get into later. What’s most impressive about the PA148QV is that each display comes factory pre-calibrated to display 100% of the sRGB color gamut for excellent color accuracy when you print your original images. (For techies reading this, it’s Calman-verified with a color accuracy delta E value of less than two and also covers 100% of the Rec.709 color space.)
Now before we go further, let’s say a word (or more) about colors. Photographers talk about color fidelity but what is it, exactly? There are scientific standards that describe each color, but that’s laboratory stuff—not what we see in real life where colors constantly change. They’re affected by the light that illuminates them (morning, noon, twilight, overcast days) and by how your prints are viewed (daylight, incandescent, fluorescent, LED). So the quest for “accurate” color boils down to what you, the photographer or artist, conceive it to be.
Of course, no one wants off-color prints and that can easily result from using a sub-par monitor. A good monitor, on the other hand, will display images and text sharply and be accurate enough to give a near-perfect rendition of the colors and other attributes (brightness, contrast, sharpness) of the photo you shot. But here’s something to remember: Your printer does NOT output images from what is displayed on your monitor; it outputs them from the image files on your computer. So if your monitor doesn’t show you exactly the colors in those files, you can make color (and other) changes to your image in Photoshop that may look good on your monitor but result in off-color prints.
Here’s how that can happen. Let’s say your image has an overall red cast to it. A cheap monitor may not be able to display that error and you won’t know that until you output a print that’s too red. Or maybe your original image is perfect, but your monitor falsely displays it as being too light. You then correct that in Photoshop by reducing the brightness only to have the print come out looking too dark. So you can see why it’s important to have a monitor that displays exactly what your image file looks like—or you’re going to be wasting a lot of ink and good Red River paper by using trial and error to get an acceptable print.
Which brings us back to the Asus PA248QVthat’s propfessionally pre-calibrated to save you all that frustrating trial and error—and lots of money—because when you’ve finished making adjustments to your images in Photoshop or any other imaging program, what you see on the monitor will be it exactly what should print out—provided you use quality paper (such as Red River) and a decent photo printer (cheap ones can also distort colors).
Aside from image accuracy, the Asus ProArt monitor has a good range of tilt and height adjustments and can easily be rotated to a vertical position if you’d like to. There are built-in speakers (increase their volume in the menu if it’s too low), a headphone jack and multiple computer connectivity options such as HDMI, DisplayPort and even good, old VGA (aka D-Sub). Its native (and sharpest) screen resolution is 1920 by 1200 pixels which gives you a more spacious desktop than most 24” monitors that are only 1920 by 1080, and it can be scaled to other resolutions and still look good. It also has four USB 3.0 Type A ports to plug devices into and includes an HDMI cable. With a warranty of three years, parts and labor, including free shipping to and from Asus, it’s an outstanding deal.
Now let’s move on to what I found to be frustrating about the PA248QV. The 32-page manual, which you should download and print out, was obviously written before the monitor was finalized because it inaccurately illustrates some On Screen Display (OSD) icons. Certain other descriptions of functions are not clearly explained, glossed over or not explained at all. I made multiple inquiries to Asus Media Relations Department for clarification but received no answers.
The OSD itself is not intuitive and is not consistent in its sequence of choices which led one Amazon reviewer to call it “weird.” I call it bad programming. On the positive side, only a few settings need be fiddled with for you to be up-and-running within 15 minutes or so. The first is to increase the timeout of the OSD; its default is only 10 seconds, hardly enough time for you to get acquainted with the menu. As for the monitor’s different modes, you can try them later on knowing there’s always the safety net of reverting to the monitor’s default settings if you get tangled up.
Here’s what I found confusing in the OSD menu:
The menu items, each with its own icon, are listed in a left hand column. To scroll the menu, there are up and down triangle icons on the OSD with physical buttons on the monitor beneath them.. When you reach your desired menu icon, you press the OSD’s Checkmark. This gets you to a sub-menu to the right of the main menu. To go back though the menu press the button under the Reverse Arrow Icon or or, if you’re finished, just press the button under the X icon (if it shows) which removes the OSD from the screen.
Frustration arises when a menu ends with the word “More v” (see menu image above)with a down-pointing arrow next to it, suggesting that you press the Down triangle button to continue However that only brings you to the top of the menu again— unable to get to access additional menu items. To avoid being caught in an endless loop, you have to Checkmark “More v” to move on. But here’s the goofy part: On some menus “More v” does require the Down button to advance to additional items, so it’s a case of trial and error to find which does what and when —and then remember it for next time.
Moving on, some computer users set their monitors at overly bright values and may be discomfited at first by the sRGB Mode which is not as bright as they’re used to. Give it a try, though and you may eventually find it to be just right. However, you do have the option of previewing alternate modes in the ProArt Preset menu. Standard and Rec 709 allow you to make adjustments to brightness, contrast, color and more but it may affect the color accuracy of your prints.
Finally—the bottom line. The Asus PA248QV’s performance overrides its user manual and menu interface deficiencies. Its cost of $219, makes it a reasonably-priced, 24″ pro-quality monitor that’s at the top of its class and, in that respect, it will not disappoint.
Asus PA248QV Manufacturer’s Info. Here you will find and Overview, Tech Specs, and info on Support
Download the User Manual. (Easier to download here than at the Asus site).
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If you purchase the ASUS PA248QV, here’s a Quick Start Guide I’ve worked up that may save you a lot of time.
Note: Asus may have made changes to both the User Manual and OSD after this this was posted.
After you set up the monitor, the first thing you’ll want to do is increase the timeout on the OSD display so it doesn’t disappear after 10 seconds. Here’s how to do that:
- Increase The On Screen Display (OSD) Timeout:
Press Menu button (to the left of the Power button) two times slowly to bring up the ProArt Preset menu (top item in the menu).
Then keep pressing the button below the OSD down icon (V) until the Wrench icon is highlighted. (You are now in System Setup.)
Press the button under the Checkmark icon (√) to reach the menu and use the V button to reach OSD Setup.
Then press √ which gets you to OSD Timeout and press √ again. Set the time to 60 seconds.
As you become more familiar with the menu you can shorten the time, though in most cases you can remove the OSD from the screen when you’re finished setting a function by pressing the Back or “X” buttons several times.
- To Work With Images:
The PA248QV comes factory pre-set for sRGB. To confirm that:
Press the Menu button twice. ProArt Preset will appear as the heading at the top of the menu.
Press √ (Checkmark) button and you’ll see various modes. Confirm that you are in sRGB. If not, navigate to it with the up or down buttons and press √. The sub menu gives you the option to reset or not. Select Reset.
NOTE: Do not confuse the ProArt Preset with the ProArt Pallet. The Pallet menu has a color wheel icon and allows many color and other adjustments. If you are in sRGB mode most of these will be grayed out and not adjustable. In other modes, they are.
- To Work With Documents:
Bring a document up on the screen.
Press the Blue Light Filter Shortcut button twice slowly (extreme left button on the monitor) and a menu will appear.
Set the level from 1 to 4, whichever looks best to you. This mode incrementally lowers the color quality (color temperature) from bluish to yellowish for less eyestrain when viewing black text against a white background.
You can use this Shortcut button to move between Level 0 (to edit images in sRGB) and your chosen level for text. (NOTE 1: In this mode, the OSD menu will cancel itself in about 5 seconds. NOTE 2: The other Shortcut button to its right (Brightness) is disabled when in sRGB mode)
- To Reset All factory Values:
Navigate to System Setup (the Wrench icon) and keep pressing the V button until you reach the item that says More v. Press the √ button when you get there (NOT the V button.) A second menu page will appear.
Navigate down that page with the V button until you come to More v. But this time press the V button again and a new menu will appear ending with All Reset.
Check (√) All Reset and when a sub-menu appears to the right, use the Up button to select “Yes.”
NOTE: At some point in time after setting sRGB mode you may get an onscreen message suggesting a change from sRGB to “Standard Mode.” Decline that offer for now. In the future you may want to try other settings when viewing movies or gaming, but remember to go back to sRGB when working with images.
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