Asus ProArt PA329Q 32-inch UHD Pro Monitor Review

If you’re in the market for a premium professional wide-gamut monitor, it makes sense to add high pixel density to your list of criteria. To that end, we’re looking at Asus’ PA329Q today. It’s a 32-inch IPS panel with Ultra HD resolution.

With the advent of technologies like G-Sync, FreeSync and fast refresh rates, gamers have plenty of reasons to upgrade to a new monitor. However, progress in the professional category has hit something of a plateau. After all, where do you go once perfectly accurate color is achieved? We’ve reviewed plenty of displays that can’t get any better when it comes to rendering precise color gamuts, white points and gamma curves.

The only two things left then are panel technology and resolution. IPS has pretty much become the de facto standard in every monitor category thanks to its superior viewing angles and more consistent color and uniformity over old-school TN. That tech still has a place in value-oriented products but as more choices become available, the price gap shrinks accordingly.

It is logical then that those shopping for a new pro screen will put Ultra HD atop their list of must-haves. We’ve seen a couple of 5K monitors from Dell and HP but the resolution sweet spot seems to be shifting from QHD to UHD thanks to many new product introductions.

Asus’ ProArt series provides several compelling choices for users needing factory-calibrated color and a rugged workaday tool that can get the job done reliably. Last December we looked at the PA328Q, which offers everything needed for color-critical applications except a wide-gamut option. Today we’re looking at the PA329Q, which adds Adobe RGB to the mix along with a bright 32-inch IPS panel and Ultra HD resolution.

Specifications

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A quick check online reveals that the PA328Q is selling for just under $1,000 while the PA329Q comes in around $300 higher. That extra cash buys you an Adobe RGB gamut option and an internal lookup table that reaches a 14-bit depth rather than 12. Native panel bandwidth is still 10 bits. Of course you’ll need a 10-bit-capable video board to take full advantage of this feature. When editing the latest content however, you’ll have the ability to master for High Dynamic Range (HDR) and larger color gamuts like Rec.2020.

Our initial measurements reveal the PA329Q’s native gamut to be larger than Adobe RGB, particularly in the red primary. While we couldn’t create a full Rec.2020 spec through calibration, that extra red will get you closer than many other professional displays. DCI-P3 is also supported and since that gamut falls within the monitor’s native parameters, you can create a custom preset using Asus ProArt Calibration software which is included in the package.

Also in the box is a factory calibration data sheet for sRGB and Adobe RGB modes. These are fixed in the picture menu and provide an easy way for users to simply plug and play their desired color spec without further adjustment. Another notable feature is the four HDMI 2.0 inputs. Though this version has been standardized for nearly two years, it’s only just starting to appear in computer monitors. The extra bandwidth allows it to accept 3840x2160 signals at 60Hz.

With the addition of a great-looking Ultra HD IPS panel, the latest model in the ProArt line shows a lot of promise when compared to more expensive products like NEC’s PA322UHD and the 5K panels from Dell and HP. Can the PA329Q measure up to the competition? Let’s take a look.

Packaging, Physical Layout, And Accessories

The PA329Q’s carton is quite substantial and is well-qualified to protect its fragile and expensive contents. The base and upright are already assembled and need only to be snapped onto the panel to complete the package. Accessories include an IEC cord for the internal power supply plus USB 3.0, DisplayPort and HDMI cables. You also get an Asus-branded cable tie to keep things tidy behind the monitor. The factory calibration sheet is individual to each sample and shows data for both sRGB and Adobe RGB color gamuts along with gamma, grayscale and uniformity test results. A CD contains the user manual plus drivers and a calibration app.

Product 360

Asus has upped the style quotient with a super-thin metal bezel that measures only 10mm. The bottom is accented with a gold trim strip and that finish is extended to the logo featured prominently around back. Controls are via push-buttons that are on the reverse side of the bottom right corner. Their positions are marked by small icons. Don’t worry if you can’t read them, large indicators appear on the screen when you press any key.

The anti-glare layer is fitted tightly to maximize clarity and results in a crisp image with no grain or softness. Reflections are virtually non-existent even in brightly-lit rooms and the screen has plenty of output to cope with sunny conditions.

The base and stand are solidly-built and feature a 5.25-inch height adjustment plus the pictured portrait mode. You also get 25 degrees rearward tilt, five degrees forward. and 60 degrees swivel in each direction. The hardware easily befits a monitor in this price category.

The panel is a bit thicker than most at nearly 2.75 inches. Its flat back makes wall mounting easy, however. In the side-view photo you can see three USB 3.0 ports plus a handy SD card reader. That slot also accepts MultiMediaCard and Memory Stick with an adapter.

The PA329Q’s backside is an example of ventilation overkill but we aren’t complaining. The internal parts are heavily shielded and through the upward-facing grill you can see two decent-sized speakers. They are driven by 3W amps so their volume is a little higher than most. The drivers present a reasonable frequency range given their small size, and distortion is minimal. To expose the 100mm VESA mount, simply unsnap the upright.

Asus has included four HDMI 2.0 inputs, which is a first in our experience. You also get two DisplayPorts (v1.2), one of which is the mini variety. Two more USB 3.0 downstream and a single upstream port plus a headphone jack round out the connection options.

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14 comments
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  • azbill12
    -
  • IQ11110002
    Now release a ROG Swift version 32inch 4k 120hz IPS G Sync.
    And make the LED ring and LED ROG logo RGB so people can match the rest of their system!
    Their concept 27 inch 4k is too small(I own the 28inch Samsung UD590) and the ideal 40 inch is too big for most desk pc's, 32 is the sweet spot in my opinion and I would buy it.
  • KenZen2B
    I could not find any mention of HDR for this product or did you forget to include that information ?

    For any future reviews for UHD monitors, please include information on HDR, WCG, and if the DP can be upgraded to 1.3.

    Thanks for the info.
  • nikoli707
    49858 said:
    I could not find any mention of HDR for this product or did you forget to include that information ? For any future reviews for UHD monitors, please include information on HDR, WCG, and if the DP can be upgraded to 1.3. Thanks for the info.


    clearly says rec2020 which is the standard hdr will get up to in the future.
  • bit_user
    648758 said:
    49858 said:
    I could not find any mention of HDR for this product or did you forget to include that information ? For any future reviews for UHD monitors, please include information on HDR, WCG, and if the DP can be upgraded to 1.3.
    clearly says rec2020 which is the standard hdr will get up to in the future.
    I haven't read the actual text of ITU-T Rec BT.2020, but I believe the HDR formats are optional. Is that not so?

    Personally, I don't even care about HDR, in a non-OLED display. The mere fact that you get 10-bit and an expanded color gamut is enough, for a display like this.
  • ngaio
    Did Asus send a hand-picked monitor for review? Or did Tom's purchase it retail? The uniformity results are very competitive indeed! My expectation with a mid-range 4K panel in 2016 is that panel uniformity will be uneven, given the reports of folks who have purchased this model from Asus and comparable other brands.
  • Light Illusion
    Without the ability to user true 3D LUT calibration such 'professional' displays really are not professional.

    Not being able to control gamut is the issue - for true volumetric colour accuracy you need 3D LUT based calibration.

    As for UHD, that is really just resolution.
    WCG is the colour gamut (Rec2020 for example)
    And HDR is high dynamic range (high peak white values).

    However, the UHDTV Alliance is attempting to link all three, via its 'Ultra HD Premium' specification.

    (There is info on UHDTV, some of the issues, etc, as well as more about 3D LUT calibration here - please note this is our commercial website, but we have a lot of information there that is available for all to review: http://www.lightillusion.com/uhdtv.html)
  • TeamColeINC
    What do I have to do for them to make 40" models? I know there are the Korean 40" UHD monitors, but they all have issues and about a 25% chance of getting a lemon....
  • ZippyPeanut
    A PROFESSIONAL monitor with a 16:9 aspect ratio?! This disqualifies it from consideration even if it were a third of its current price. 16:9 kills it as a professional monitor.
  • Ben Archer
    The Color Gamut And Luminance charts are nearly unreadable due to size and JPEG compression artifacts. The carousel is really unkind to these charts.
  • Lloyd_3
    This is a very lame review. One of the most salient features of this monitor is its hardware calibration ability. As a photographer, I want to know how well that works. I want to know how the dedicated software works, what adjustments are available, do they have or plan to have it for Mac, etc.
    To ignore the hardware calibration software simply because you are too cheap to buy an i1 Display Pro is ridiculous. I own both the i1Pro and the i1 Display Pro. I disagree that the spectro is the better instrument for displays. It is well known that spectros are less accurate in the dark tones than colorimeters. Omitting calibration the way the mfg intended and the way any professional user would want to do it makes this review worthless.
  • Lloyd_3
    This is a very lame review. One of the most salient features of this monitor is its hardware calibration ability. As a photographer, I want to know how well that works. I want to know how the dedicated software works, what adjustments are available, do they have or plan to have it for Mac, etc.
    To ignore the hardware calibration software simply because you are too cheap to buy an i1 Display Pro is ridiculous. I own both the i1Pro and the i1 Display Pro. I disagree that the spectro is the better instrument for displays. It is well known that spectros are less accurate in the dark tones than colorimeters. Omitting calibration the way the mfg intended and the way any professional user would want to do it makes this review worthless.
  • mrmez
    Getting used to a 27" 5K iMac, going to a 32 with almost half the pixel density seems like a significant tradeoff.
  • drajitsh
    I'm surprised that you have not called them out for providing only display port 1.2. These cannot support 4k p60 @10bpp. Which the monitor itself can support. And most high end desktop graphics cards have more display port than HDMI outputs.