ASUS ProArt PA27AC HDR Professional Monitor
Quality monitor for anyone wanting wide colour gamut and Thunderbolt 3, but poor value for money.
[SPECS]27-inch 16:9, 2560 x 1440 resolution, 5ms GtG response, flicker free, low blue light, 100% sRGB colour gamut, HDR10 support, 2x Thunderbolt 3 USB-C, 2x HDMI 1.4, 1x HDMI 2.0, 1x DisplayPort 1.2
Asus pitch the ProArt PA27AC as a “professional” monitor for anyone carrying out tasks on their computer that requires a no compromises approach to how colours are rendered. This display isn’t for gamers wanting insane refresh rates, nor is it a monitor for every day users who just want something that looks good to browse the web on. This monitor is a high-quality unit with colour accuracy in mind.
The ProArt PA27AC is built around a 27-inch WQHD (2560×1440) IPS panel that supports 100% of the sRGB colour gamut and is calibrated from the factory. It also supports the HDR10 colour space if you’re using it over HDMI 2.0a. Connectivity wise, there’s DisplayPort 1.2, 2x HDMI 1.4, 1x HDMI 2.0a and 2x Thunderbolt 3 USB-C pots (1x in, 1x out). The USB-C port will also deliver up to 45W of power and act as a DisplayPort input, so you can connect your laptop to the ProArt PA27AC with a single cable for power and video. The stand can be tilted, swivelled, pivoted and can be height extended to 120mm. There’s built-in speakers, but they’re only good for system noises, not pumping tunes.
Colour accuracy is important for computer graphics professionals because colours aren’t always displayed the same between different computers. What looks like a nice shade of blue on one monitor might look grotesque on another, even though the computer is sending the same signal to both monitors. The same goes for when something is printed on paper versus displayed on a screen. The way monitors handle these discrepancies is called colour accuracy.
A real-world example of the importance of colour accuracy is printing images to paper. If your monitor can’t display all the colours a printer can produce on paper, how are you meant to know what your final product will look like? Luckily, there are standards that determine the colours a monitor should be able to display to match a print out, or a TV screen, or a projector. These are called colour standards – some you may be familiar with are DCI-P3 (popular for digital movie projection), Rec. 2020 (for Ultra HD Blu-ray discs), Adobe RGB (Adobe’s attempt to match CMYK printers) and the most common, sRGB, which is used for digital images between computers.
The ProArt PA27AC’s panel claims to support 100% of the sRGB colour gamut and comes pre-calibrated from the factory. In testing with an X-rite i1 Display Pro calibration device, Asus delivers on this claim. This makes the ProArt PA27AC an ideal monitor for people doing colour sensitive work that doesn’t need to be printed. The ProArt PA27AC makes it easy to calibrate too, as its settings can be controlled via the hardware calibrators like the X-rite i1 Display Pro and Datacolor Spyder 5.
Unfortunately, the ProArt PA27AC doesn’t support the full Adobe RGB gamut, nor does it support the full DCI-P3 colour gamut. If you’re in the market for a monitor to use to match your digital photos to a printing process or your video colour grading to a projection standard, you’ll need to shell out more cash for a monitor with a wider colour gamut.
That’s that issue with the ProArt PA27AC – who exactly is it for? The refresh rate isn’t suitable for gamers, the colour gamut support isn’t wide enough for true professionals and the $1200 price tag is quite high for anyone simply wanting a solid, good looking monitor. For $400 less than the ProArt PA27AC, Dell sell the UltraSharp UP2716D, which does 100% Adobe RGB, 100% sRGB, 100% REC 709 and 98% DCI-P3, the only thing it lacks is Thunderbolt 3 support and that’s a niche requirement anyway. The Asus ProArt PA27AC is a great looking monitor and the Thunderbolt 3 ports with 45W of power delivery are nice, but when you can get the superior UP2716D from Dell, the Asus ProArt PA27AC is tough to recommend.