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ASUS PA27UCX 4K IPS model with 576-zone Mini LED backlight

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A convincing HDR performance requires a monitor that can simultaneously display deep dark shades and very bright light shades. For LCDs, this is achieved by local dimming solutions on the backlight, with more advanced systems taking the form of FALD (Full Array Local Dimming) arrangements. The ASUS PA27UCX of the ProArt series promises a strong performance, not just for HDR but also colour-critical work more broadly. The aesthetics are in keeping with its larger and more expensive brother, the PA32UCX. A mixture of brushed metal, matte plastic and a few gold-coloured touches. Indeed, a premium look and feel is a trademark of newer members of the ProArt series. The design differs in that single-stage bezels are used, with a moderately thick plastic bezel that will almost entirely cover any panel border. The monitor also includes a detachable anti-glare shading hood.The OSD (On Screen Display) is controlled by a combination of pressable buttons and a joystick at the rear of the monitor, running vertically near the right edge as viewed from the front.

A premium design

The monitor uses a 27” IPS-type (In-Plane Switching or similar) panel, an AUO AHVA (Advanced Hyper Viewing Angle) part. This has a 3840 x 2160 (‘4K’ UHD’) resolution, uses a light matte anti-glare screen surface and has a specified 1000:1 static contrast ratio. This is combined with a 60Hz refresh rate and support for Adaptive-Sync, which includes AMD FreeSync (variable refresh rate range currently unknown). True 10-bit colour is supported with a factory calibration included that yields a DeltaE of <1. A flicker-free Quantum Dot Mini LED FALD backlight solution with 576 dimming zones is included, yielding a specified 99% DCI-P3 colour gamut coverage (99.5% Adobe RGB) and 1000 cd/m² peak luminance. Half as many dimming zones as the larger model, but spread across a smaller screen size. The monitor is VESA DisplayHDR 1000 certified, putting its colour and contrast credentials to good use for HDR10 content. Additional HDR modes are included – Dolby Vision and HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma). Various colour space emulation modes are included, including but not limited to; ‘sRGB,’ Adobe RGB’, ‘DCI-P3’ and ‘Rec. 2020’. Hardware calibration is also supported with a compatible colorimeter (including popular X-Rite and Datacolor models). This is supported via ProArt calibration software or Light Illusion ColourSpace CMS calibration software for both SDR and HDR.

The monitor also includes ‘Off-Axis Contrast Optimization (OCO)’ which the manufacturer claims “reduces halo effects by 80% and provides a 7X contrast-ratio enhancement for dark parts of the image when viewing the screen from an angle”. The technology is demonstrated in this promo video. A 5ms grey to grey response time is specified, but as usual don’t put too much weight on such specifications. Additional features include Low Blue Light (LBL) settings, 6-axis colour channel adjustment and 2-way PbP (Picture by Picture) and PiP (Picture in Picture) functionality. The included stand attaches using a quick-release mechanism, offering full ergonomic flexibility. It can be removed to make way for an alternative 100 x 100mm; AC power input (internal power converter), 2 HDMI 2.0 ports, DP 1.4, USB-C (60W PD and DP Alt Mode), 3.5mm headphone jack and 4 USB 3.0 ports. 2 x 2W stereo speakers are also included, for basic sound output.

The rear view

Further information can be found on the manufacturer’s website. The ‘K’ variant (includes colorimeter) is listed for ~$3000 USD.