Thursday, November 20, 2014

Asus PB287Q review

An affordable, powerful 4K monitor

By Juan Martinez


  • Stunning images
  • Price
  • Versatility


  • Navigation
  • Blindspots
  • Boring design

Hands on Asus PB287Q

Overview and picture quality

Unless you’re a design professional, creative artist, videographer or gaming fanatic, you probably don’t need a 4K computer monitor. The same can be said for most luxury items: I’m not a professional fisherman, but I’d love to own a boat.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much 4K content available for the average person to consume, so even those of you with money to blow might find yourselves wishing you’d held out a little longer for the 4K movement to accelerate.
For an excellent in-depth explanation of what 4K is and whether it’s worth exploring, check out this primer. For those of you who are sure a 4K monitor is exactly what you need for personal or professional tasks, the Asus PB287Q is a safe bet at a reasonable price ($649, £599, AU$799).

Specs and picture quality

The Asus PB287Q sports a 3840 x 2160 UHD resolution that packs 157 pixels into every one of the monitor’s 28-inches. The 10-bit color screen delivers crisp images that really bring out the depth in photos. With standard 1080p monitors, colors fade toward the corners of your images, specifically darker colors that aren’t directly in focus. When looking at old wedding photos on the PB287Q, you’ll clearly be able to see grandma dancing in the background.

Asus PB287q review
Gamers will love the monitor’s 1ms GTG response time and 60Hz refresh rate. You’ll never have to worry about your FIFA 15 image sputtering as Ronaldo leans into his hesitation during a penalty kick. For people like my wife, who enjoy seeing Ronaldo as clearly as possible (as often as possible), the monitor’s 16:9 aspect ratio delivers more than 8 million pixels and more than one billion colors. Eight million pixels and one billion colors is pretty standard for 4K, but double what you’ll get with typical full HD displays.

Contrast ratio

Contrast ratio is a huge plus for this unit. The higher the contrast ratio, the more life-like your images will look. You’ll want to reach out and touch the images on your Asus PB287Q.

Asus PB287q review
It features a 100,000,000:1 measurement, which is mind-bogglingly fantastic when stacked up against even the most awesome standard 1920 X 1080 units like the BenQ XL2720Z. It won’t impress you in comparison to LG’s $10,000 Ultra HD 4K OLED TV model 65EC9700, which has no backlighting and can provide infinite contrast. But you’re not reading this because you’re interested in top-of-the-line televisions. You’re interested in the best 4K monitors available. At 100,000,000:1, the Asus PB287Q is among the best monitors on the market in terms of contrast ratio. 

Features and cons

The unit provides you with one DisplayPort 1.2 input and two HDMI inputs, one of which supports MHL. The unit’s Smart Cable Management will keep your cords tidy and behind the monitor stand, but it will be a useless feature if you enjoy rotating your screen to 90-degrees and back.
I suggest you rotate this screen often: it features easy to manipulate tilt, swivel, pivot, and height adjustment so you can comfortably adjust the screen to suit your vantage point (more on this later).
Some units, like the gorgeous Samsung UD970 offer similar flexibility, but because their bases can be creaky you’ll worry about damaging the unit with every adjustment. Not the Asus PB287Q.

Asus PB287q review

Display features

The Asus PB287Q offers two picture-in-picture modes: one allows you to place one picture in a corner of the display and the other allows you to split the screen directly in half. This is a pretty neat feature. Unfortunately, models like the aforementioned Samsung unit provide you with viewing quadrants, rather than split modes, so you don’t have to limit your display to two images.
Photographers will enjoy the unit’s ability to scale its display into multiple image formats. You can adjust the screen to fit the following page sizes: B5, A4, Letter, 8”x10”, 5”x7”, 4”x6”, 3”x5”, and 2”x2”. So you’ll be able to see exactly what your image will look like in size and clarity prior to pressing the print button.


The matted bezel offers nothing you haven’t already seen. The monitor itself won’t wow anyone who walks into your office or studio. But that’s not why you’re buying it, right? The images on the screen will cause enough wowing that no one will notice the boring exterior.
You’ll be horrified by how hard it is to insert cables. If you’re standing in front of the unit you’ll have to reach underneath the bottom of the unit and up toward the mid-rear, where you’ll find The Valley of the Forgotten Inputs. Here, you’ll have to stick your fingers into a one-inch-deep hole where you’ll hopefully be able to align your plug with the socket. Godspeed. It’s a much easier process if you can get behind the unit, but that can be a pain in cramped offices.

Asus PB287q review
I’m always shocked by how awful navigation on these monitors is. Even a wonderfully crafted unit like the Asus PB287Q doesn’t make it easy for me to switch between modes. This unit has your standard Menu button that triggers six option buttons. These six buttons allow you to choose how your screen will display. However, the buttons are behind the screen and don’t correspond with the guides at the front of the screen. So as I went to select the Menu button I hit the Power button. When I went to hit the Increase button in order to brighten the display, I wound up hitting the Decrease button and darkened the display. Oy vey.
Perhaps the biggest issue I had with the unit was blind-spotting. If the sun is parallel to the unit and you look at the display from a side angle, you will lose some of the image. You’re typically used to losing image quality when the sun shines directly onto an image. However, I’ve never experienced this particular type of blind-spotting. Even my crappy Insignia TV from 2012 doesn’t have this issue.

Final verdict

We liked

If you’re buying a 4K monitor for viewing pleasure the Asus PB287Q stands toe-to-toe with any 4K monitor I’ve tested. Because 4K hasn’t really taken off in terms of content, you don’t want to spend a boatload of money to watch standard definition content. This unit comes at a great value.

We disliked

It isn’t the sexiest monitor in the world. It’s difficult to navigate and inserting plugs is a headache. But worst of all: if the sun cascades along the side of your monitor you might lose some of the image.


The Asus PB287Q is a high-quality machine that will change the way you view photo and video. Your images will have more depth and realism than you’ve ever seen them have. Details will stand out in your photos’ backgrounds that you’ve never seen before, and the splendid textures and colors will make you want to run your fingers across the screen the way you would a painting’s brushstrokes. There are some obvious design flaws that will irk you, but image quality will definitely not be one of them.