When Asus’ PR company dumped the PA238Q in our office a week or so back, one of the first questions that popped in my mind was, why? The monitor did not look anything out of the ordinary, and neither did the feature list on the simple purple box of its. We usually don’t get monitors unless they are special in some way or are from a higher-end spectrum of the product line-up.
But as the popular saying goes, looks can be deceiving and it was exactly what was true for the PA238Q. From the moment of its unpacking to the moment it was first lit up, the PA238Q exuded a certain kind of sophistication and command that immediately got our attention. With a price tag of AED 2200, and a monitor coming from the designer-aimed line-up of Asus’ ProArt series, we checked our expectations and put the monitor through its paces.
I believe the correct word to describe the looks of PA238Q is “industrial”, however I am just going to call it serious and studiously nerdy. It features none of the jazz, gloss and style that many of its competitors have in abandon. But what it lacks in flair, it more than makes up for in bravura and all round sturdiness.
For that, it’s not even one of the slimmer models, and it doesn’t have to be, but Asus has shown considerable restraint in containing the size and form so as not to be the elephant in the room, and yet provide the acrobatics that the monitor can provide.
And this baby can twist, alright, and it’s one of its most impressive abilities. The monitor offers full height and swivel adjustments that helps to place it just how one would want it. The height slider is tall enough to work comfortably will standing, if you have the means; and the entire screen can be rotated on at least 180 degree axis without having to shift the whole unit and have everything on the desk top loose its peaceful existence. The monitor can also lean backward and forward to a great extent, giving ample comfort to place the screen however you have seated yourself around it.
The PA238Q is also a Swiss knife in terms of ports and supports everything from HDMI, DVI-D, VGA, DisplayPort, headphone jack, and even USB ports (2 rear, 2 on the side). We wish Asus had swapped the VGA for an extra HDMI slot as more and more manufacturers are moving in to support the format. It’s a safe play from Asus, it is after all geared mainly towards designers and web professionals, but a little fun on the side never hurts (and by that we mean hooking up a PS3 or an Xbox 360, of course).
The monitor also takes its office duties seriously, and has a nifty little feature called “Quick Fit” that displays various grids such as A4, letter, centimeter, inches, etc., overlaid on top of the image. We are not sure how many would be comfortable using it, but we can see it being quite useful once one gets the hang of it.
Another thing that the PA238Q does right is the OSD controls. For one, they are in the front, clearly marked and non-touch, making them easy to decipher and use than those that has them stash away in the back, and relies purely on memory to get one across. It only helps that the menus are efficiently stacked and are responsive for quick changes.