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ASUS PA32UCX 4K HDR model with 1152 zone Mini LED backlight

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When it comes to convincing HDR output there are several important factors. Of pivotal importance, though, is a strong contrast performance. Which typically comes from the use of a complex backlighting solution with a high number of dimming zones. The ASUS PA32UCX (PA32UCX-K if bundled with X-Rite i1Display Pro) of the ProArt series makes use of such a solution, combining it with the refined premium aesthetic that higher-end models in the series are known for. Brushed metal is used alongside matte plastics for a solid feel and elegant appearance. A mixed grey, black and gold colour scheme is used as you can see in the image below. The bottom and side bezels are fairly slender, with a dual-stage bezel design. This combines a panel border that blends in seamlessly when the monitor is switched off with a slim hard outer component. 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.

An elegant appearance

The monitor employs a 32” IPS-type (In-Plane Switching) panel, more specifically the AU Optronics M320QAN02.5 AHVA (Advanced Hyper-Viewing Angle) panel. This has a 3840 x 2160 ‘4K’ UHD resolution, combined with a light matte anti-glare screen surface and typical specified static contrast of 1000:1. A 60Hz refresh rate is supported with Adaptive-Sync (includes AMD FreeSync) with a 40 – 60Hz variable refresh rate range. True 10-bit colour is supported, whilst the monitor is factory calibrated with an impressive promised average DeltaE of <1. A wide range of presets (including colour space emulation) are provided, including but not limited to; ‘sRGB’, ‘Adobe RGB’, ‘DCI-P3’ and Rec. 2020. Hardware calibration using a compatible colorimeter (including popular Datacolor and X-Rite models) is also possible via ProArt software or Light Illusion ColourSpace CMS calibration software for both SDR and HDR. The monitor supports HDR, including not just the usual HDR10 with VESA DisplayHDR 1000 certification but also Dolby Vision and HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma). Part of the magic comes from the use of a flicker-free Mini LED Quantum Dot backlight with 1152 dimming zones. This yields a specified contrast under HDR of 10m:1 and a peak luminance of 1200 cd/m² (600 cd/m² typical – including SDR usage). It also gives the monitor support for an exceptionally generous colour gamut (99% DCI-P3, 99.5% Adobe RGB and 89% Rec.2020).

Other features of note include various Low Blue Light (LBL) settings, 4-way PbP (Picture by Picture) and PiP (Picture in Picture) and a 5ms grey to grey response time. The included stand offers tilt, swivel, height and pivot adjustment (90° rotation into portrait). It can be detached using a quick-release mechanism to make way for an alternative 100 x 100mm VESA compatible solution. The ports include; AC power input (internal power converter), 2 Thunderbolt 3 USB Type-C ports (1 in, 1 out with 60W PD), DP 1.2, 3 HDMI 2.0b ports, 3 USB 3.0 ports and a 3.5mm headphone jack. 2 x 3W stereo speakers are also included. Further information can be found on the manufacturer’s website. Another variant (PA32UCX-P) is also listed on the manufacturer’s website. This 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. The PA32UCX-PK (‘P’ variant with colorimeter package) retails for ~$4500 in the US.

ASUS PA32UCX-PK