ASUS ProArt PA27UCX-K monitor

      Photo Review 8.8

      In summary

      The ProArt PA27UCX-K has a lot of features in its favour to justify its relatively high price tag. It is solidly built and offers plenty of settings and its overall performance has merited it a ‘Recommended’ rating.

      The bundled X-rite i1 Display Pro is a bonus, which should be considered when assessing the overall cost of the package.

      Full review

      The ASUS ProArt PA27UCX-K 4K HDR IPS monitor is a cut above the typical 27-inch screens with wide horizontal and vertical viewing angles, 13 preset modes, HDR support and a bundled X-rite i1 Display Pro colorimeter (indicated by the ‘K’ suffix in its model name. A key feature of the screen is its Mini LED backlighting system, which provides 576 zones of local dimming, along with greater efficiency than regular LED displays plus close to OLED levels of performance without OLED’s perceived problems. The PA27UCX-K is supplied pre-calibrated and tested by the factory and comes with a detailed report.

      Angled view of the ASUS ProArt PA27UCX-K monitor. (Source: ASUS.)

      These features put the PA27UCX-K in a completely different class from the PA279CV monitor we reviewed in August 2021 which is also a 4K screen but is less than a third of the price of the PA27UCX-K. Although both screens share some features but the PA27UCX-K is more solidly built and targeted at a different audience. The table below lists the key differences between the two models.

      PA27UCX-K PA279CV
      Panel type IPS with Mini-LED backlight and non-glare surface IPS with LED backlight
      Brightness 300 cd/m2 (typical); 1000 cd/m2 (HDR peak) 350 cd/m2 (typical)
      Wide gamut coverage 100% sRGB, 99.5% Adobe RGB, 97% DCI-P3, 100% Rec. 709 and 83% Rec.2020 100% sRGB, 100% Rec. 709
      Preset modes Standard, sRGB, Adobe RGB, DCI-P3, Rec. 2020, DICOM, Rec. 709, HDR_PQ DCI, HDR_PQ Rec2020, HDR_HLG, Dolby Vision plus 2x user selectable modes Standard, sRGB, Rec. 709, DCI-P3, Rapid Rendering, HDR, DICOM, Scenery, Reading, Darkroom, User mode 1, User mode 2
      Certification Calman Ready, TÜV Flicker Free, TÜV Low Blue Light, VESA DisplayHDR 1000 Calman Verified, TÜV Flicker Free, TÜV Low Blue Light
      Video input terminals DisplayPort 1.2 x 1, HDMI (v2.0) x 2
      USB ports / standard 1x USB C,  USB Hub with 4x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports, USB-C Power Delivery: 90W 1x USB C, USB Hub (4 ports USB 3.1)
      Power consumption <46W  Power On (Typical); <0.5W Power Saving Mode; Voltage : 100-240V, 50/60Hz <32W, Power Saving Mode: <0.5W; Off: 0W
      Tilt / Swivel / Pivot Tilt: +23° ~ -5°; Swivel: +60° ~ -60°; Pivot: +90° ~ -90° +35° ~ -5° tilt, +45° ~ -45° swivel, +90° ~ -90° pivot
      Height adjustment 0~120 mm 0~150 mm
      In the box Colour pre-calibration report, DisplayPort cable, HDMI cable, Monitor hood, Power cord, Quick start guide, USB-C cable, USB-C to A cable, Warranty Card, X-rite i1 Display Pro Calibrator Colour pre-calibration report, DisplayPort cable, HDMI cable, Power cord, USB-C cable, Warranty Card, Welcome Card
      Dimensions (w x h x d) 625.2 x (424.5~544.5) x 228.8  mm with stand;  (625.2 x 367.2 x 91.3 mm without stand) 614x (373.5~523.5) x 227.82  mm with stand;  (614 x 369.9 x 59.9 mm without stand)
      Net weight With stand: 11.5  Kg;  without stand: 7.6  Kg With stand: 8.6 Kg; without stand: 5.7 Kg

      The most noteworthy functional differences between the entry-level screen and the PA27UCX-K – aside from the bundled colorimeter – are the latter’s support for HDR formats, including Dolby Vision, HLG and HDR-10. High brightness enables the screen to reproduce the brightest whites and the deepest blacks with excellent detail rendition.

      The Mini LED screen will provide better contrast and less light bleed than the regular LED panel as well as and independently controlled lighting zones. Quantum Dot technology – which enhances the brightness of the LED backlight system without producing blooming or colour bleeding – along with support for DCI-P3, Rec. 709, Rec. 2020, and Adobe RGB colour spaces, will make it ready for any professional workflow.

      Who’s it for?
      Unlike the gaming-orientated monitors we’ve reviewed recently, the PA27UCX-K has been designed as a ‘reference quality’ screen for professional and high-end enthusiast users who engage in colour-critical work. To that end, it provides the choices required for both stills editing and video editing and post production as well as the ability to calibrate and fine-tune the display whenever needed.

      Easier to fit on a desktop than most 32-inch gaming monitors, the 27-inch screen is just as easy to integrate into multi-screen setups, even when different resolutions are involved. We were able to pair it with a ten-year-old 25-inch screen with 1920 x 1200 pixel resolution – although we had to adjust the magnification for  the 4K screen to make text easier to view.

      The PA27UCX-K supports a wide range of video formats via USB-C, HDMI and DisplayPort inputs for integration into PC-based workflows. Other connectivity options include USB Type-C, HDMI and DisplayPort and once the screen is connected to mains power, users can access a built-in USB hub.

      Each monitor is calibrated in the factory before it is shipped to ensure any discrepancies in brightness and colour across the screen are detected and removed. This calibration process plus pre-set defaults mean it’s ready to use out-of-the-box.

      Design and Ergonomics
      The PA27UCX-K is supplied in a large box, packed in moulded Styrofoam with separate compartments for the screen itself and the stand. Both are wrapped in protective thin-foam plastic, as is the hood. The cables are contained in a cardboard box, while the calibration report is in a transparent plastic sleeve, attached with adhesive to the Styrofoam close to the screen.

      Setting it up is straightforward; you simply lift out the stand, remove the wrapping and place it on the desktop and then remove the wrapping from the screen and connect the fitting on its back to the one on the top of the stand. It should click solidly into place. A printed guide shows how to connect the power and interface cables to finish the task. Note: the screen itself can also be mounted on a VESA wall mount.

      It’s also easy to adjust the screen to suit your working position. With 120 mm of height adjustment plus between +23 and -5 degrees of tilt and 60 degrees of swivel each way, it is similar to most monitors. The screen can also be pivoted through 90 degrees for vertical work – and the on-screen display (OSD) will rotate automatically for vertical viewing.

      The bezels surrounding the screen are wider and thicker than those on the PA279CV, in part because the PA27UCX-K is built to a higher standard. The additional thickness is also due to extra ventilation openings in the square cut-outs that run down both sides of the screen to optimise the active cooling system.

      Unlike the PA279CV, the PA27UCX-K comes with a hood that attaches via small plastic clips – 10 of them! Sadly, this is a clumsy system when compared with some of the hoods provided by other manufacturers, which use magnetic attachments. Fitting the hood makes it difficult to calibrate the screen, regardless of whether you use the bundled colorimeter or one from a different manufacturer. It also makes it difficult to reach the control panel around the back of the screen, which drives the OSD.

      This diagram (sourced from the user manual) shows the layout of the OSD controls on the rear of the screen.

      The controls for the OSDs consist of a small joystick plus five slightly recessed buttons, which are stacked vertically close to the edge of the back of the screen, where they can be reached with the user’s right hand. Below the joystick the buttons access the following functions in order from the top down:

      • Close (CX) exits the OSD menu and also lets users toggle the Key Lock function between on and off;
      • Input select;
      • Quick Fit for activating the seven types of alignment patterns provided for layout guides;
      • Shortcut 1 (default – brightness hotkey);
      • Shortcut 2 (default – HDR hotkey);
      • Power on/off.

      You must press the top button (joystick) to activate the menu and then move it up, down, left or right to navigate through the functions. When you locate the function you need, pressing the joystick again will display the sub-menu for the selected function.

      Moving the joystick to the left enters the menu, while pressing it in selects a setting. To close the menu you press the ‘X’ button below or move the joystick to the left until the menu display disappears. As outlined below, we found this system difficult to use.

      Options available via the OSD include 13 different colour presets, four HDR modes and two user profiles where user-initiated calibration data is saved. There’s also a Blue Light Filter adjustment with five pre-set levels (0 to 4) and a ProArt Palette with adjustments for brightness, contrast, saturation, hue, colour temperature, gamma, black level, R/G/B colour and a colour reset button for restoring the factory values.

      Other adjustments include an Image menu with settings for sharpness, trace free (which adjusts the response time), aspect control, uniformity compensation. VividPixel (which enhances outlines), input range and motion sync. A separate Sound menu provides controls for volume, mute and source, while an additional page provide PIP and PBP settings.

      The next two pages cover input selection and system setup adjustments, the latter including language choice (21 options), calibration reminders, power indicators and synchronisation of the display brightness with ambient light changes. You can also adjust the speed at which the backlight reacts to the image content. The final page defines the functions for the Shortcut 1 and Shortcut 2 buttons.

      This diagram shows the interface ports.

      The interface ports are located in the centre of the back of the panel, close to the lower edge, as shown in the diagram above, which is sourced from the instruction manual. Port identification is as follows (from left): 1. Kensington lock slot; 2. power switch; 3. AC-IN port; 4. HDMI  ports; 5. DisplayPort in; 6. USB 2.0 Type-A port; 7. USB 3.1 Type-C port; 8. USB Type-C2 port; 9. USB 3.1 Type-A 9SuperSpeed USB 5Gbps) port; 10. Earphone jack; 11. Control buttons for OSD.

      ASUS lists the key features of the PA27UCX-K monitor as follows:

      • 27-inch Mini LED Backlight with 4K HDR, 576 zones local dimming plus ASUS Off-Axis Contrast Optimization (OCO) technology to minimise halo effects from wide viewing angles
      • Quantum-dot technology provides 97% DCI-P3, 99.5% Adobe RGB, 100% sRGB and 83% Rec. 2020 colour space for exceptional colour fidelity
      • ASUS Smart HDR Technology supports multiple HDR formats (Dolby Vision, HDR-10, HLG) presents lifelike experience and flexibility
      • World-leading delta-E (∆E) <1 colour performance and ASUS ProArt Hardware Calibration technology for colour-accuracy optimization, uniformity and color profile write-back
      • USB-C supports signal, data transfer and Power Delivery provides up to 60W of power to external devices
      • X-rite i1 Display Pro included

      The screen also incorporates functions that enable users to create content for broadcast and satellite TV platforms such as the BBC iPlayer, Japan NHK TV, and DirecTV.

      The ProArt Calibration software for use with the bundled X-rite i1 Display Pro is a free download from the ASUS website. It allows you to calibrate the screen with settings written directly to the monitor. We also measured the screen with our Datacolor Spyder X Elite colorimeter and it is these results on which we have based our evaluation of the screen to keep it in line with other monitors we’ve reviewed.

      Calibration with the ProArt Calibration software takes approximately 15 minutes and is a fairly standard sequence, although the user interface is a bit more complex than the Spyder interface we use regularly and the colorimeter doesn’t sit as comfortably on the screen (we had to hold it in place most of the time). Three screen grabs are reproduced below showing the basic user interface and settings options

      The program froze and crashed a couple of times while we were using it but we managed to complete the calibration and save the profile. At the end of the process, users can nominate which of the two User Profiles is used to save the resulting profile so it can be used by the image and video editing programs on your computer.


      When we connected the PA27UCX-K to our Windows 10 computer and turned it on, the system recognised it immediately and added it as a secondary monitor. However, we had set the correct magnification for the new (higher resolution) screen to ensure text and graphics on both screens were similar in size and readability.

      Although the default factory setting for the screen was noticeably brighter than our main screen, subjectively, it produced great-looking images with plenty of colour and contrast.  Colours also appeared natural looking and videos displayed smoothly, all good indicators of initial performance.

      Unfortunately, we found the OSD system wasn’t particularly user-friendly and we had problems accessing and changing settings. This was partly due to the system’s complexity, which wasn’t helped by the buttons on the rear panel, which are so close to each other it’s easy to press the wrong one inadvertently. It’s also very easy to switch the display completely off without intending to.

      To further complicate matters, the downloadable user manual doesn’t provide much information to help you so learning to use the system can be a very frustrating – and time-consuming – task. This is the main reason for the relatively low score we’ve given the screen in the ‘Ease of use’ category.

      We set the screen to the Adobe RGB mode before carrying out our standard tests with the SpyderX Elite and Datacolor’s software, which cover the same parameters as we use for all monitor reviews. This enables us to compare its performance with other monitors we have reviewed in the past. The Advanced Analysis graphs of the individual tests are presented below.

      1. Colour Gamut

      In the diagram above, the green triangle shows the boundaries of the sRGB colour space, while the purple triangle delineates the Adobe RGB colour space and the blue triangle shows the P3 colour space. The red triangle shows the measured colour space for the monitor, which covers 100% of the sRGB colour space, 99% of the Adobe RGB colour space and 88% of the DSC-P3 colour space. This is a better result than we obtained for the PA279QV.

      1. Gamma

      Gamma plots show the relationship between the brightness of a pixel as it appears on the screen, and the numerical value of that pixel.  They are a good indicator of how mid-tones are reproduced. If gamma is set too high, mid-tones appear too dark.

      The graph of the measured gamma (above) shows it to be exactly 2.2, the recommended gamma for image editing with Windows PCs; another very good result. However, the grey ramp remains as lumpy as the one we obtained from the PA279QV indicating some unevenness in tonal rendering

      1. Colour Accuracy

      The colour accuracy showed only minor deviations from the ideal theoretical values for most of the 24 measured values. The largest deviations occurred in the dark grey and primary blue colour bands. This result is slightly more accurate than the one obtained for the PA279QV monitor.

      1. Brightness, Contrast and White Point

      Aside from contrast ratio and white point readings at zero brightness and slightly lower contrast at 25% brightness, measurements showed reasonably consistent white point measurements  but declining contrast across the remaining brightness settings.

      1. Screen Uniformity
        The two Screen Uniformity tests check the brightness and colour consistencies of the display in nine sections of the screen, at various luminance levels. Separate graphs are provided for luminance (brightness) and colour measurements across four luminance levels. We present the upper and lower graphs for each category.

      5a. Luminance Uniformity.

      Luminance uniformity readings showed distinct hot spot in the upper right corner coupled with slight darkening across the centre of the screen plus a distinct. This is shown as a relatively poor score on the overall monitor rating.

      5b. Colour Uniformity

      Colour uniformity measurements largely reflected the luminance uniformity measurements, although the maximum uniformity occurred in the bottom right corner of the screen. Uniformity was better with lower light levels than at maximum illumination, where the centre of the screen showed significant deviation from the ideal level.

      1. Before and After Views

      The ‘before’ (top) and ‘after’ (below) displays produced by the Spyder5 Elite showing the effects of calibration. The close similarities between these displays showed the PA27UCX-K ships with excellent colour settings.

      Overall Rating

      The overall rating shows the PA27UCX-K to be a decent performer for its price. Its main weaknesses are white point and luminance uniformity, although the importance of these factors will depend on the use to which this monitor is put.


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      Panel size: 27-inch (68.4 cm diagonal)
      Aspect ratio: 16:9
      Active display size (h × v): 596.16 x 335.34 mm
      Panel type: IPS with Mini-LED backlight and non-glare surface
      Viewing angles: 178 degrees horizontal and vertical
      Brightness: 1000 cd/m2 (HDR peak); 300 cd/m2 (typical)
      Contrast ratio (typical): 1000:1; ASUS Smart Contrast Ratio (ASCR) : 100000000:1
      Response time: 5ms (GTG)
      Refresh rate (Max):  60Hz
      Native resolution: 3840 x 2160 pixels
      Pixel pitch: 0.1553mm
      Display colours: 1073.7 million (10-bit)
      Colour accuracy: ΔE>2
      Wide gamut coverage: 100% sRGB, 99.5% Adobe RGB, 97% DCI-P3, 100% Rec. 709 and 83% Rec.2020
      Built-in Calibration Sensor: No (but X-rite i1 Display Pro colorimeter included)
      Flicker-free: Yes
      Colour Temp. Selection: Yes (5 modes)
      Gamma adjustment: Supports Gamma 1.8/2.0/2.2/2.4/2.6
      Colour adjustment: 6-axis adjustment (R,G,B,C,M,Y)
      Colour accuracy: △E< 1
      Preset modes: Standard, sRGB, Adobe RGB, DCI-P3, Rec. 2020, DICOM, Rec. 709, HDR_PQ DCI, HDR_PQ Rec2020, HDR_HLG, Dolby Vision plus 2x user selectable modes
      Video input terminals: DisplayPort 1.2 x 1, HDMI (v2.0) x 2
      Adaptive Sync support:  Yes
      Certification: Calman Ready, TÜV Flicker Free, TÜV Low Blue Light, VESA DisplayHDR 1000
      USB ports / standard: 1x USB C,  USB Hub with 4x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports, USB-C Power Delivery: 90W
      Audio: 2 x 1 W (stereo), RMS, Earphone Jack
      Power consumption: <46W  Power On (Typical); <0.5W Power Saving Mode; Voltage : 100-240V, 50/60Hz
      Tilt / Swivel / Pivot: Tilt: +23° ~ -5°; Swivel: +60° ~ -60°; Pivot: +90° ~ -90°
      Height adjustment: 0~120 mm
      Other features: Kensington Lock; supports VESA Wall Mounting: 100 x 100mm
      : Colour pre-calibration report, DisplayPort cable, HDMI cable, Monitor hood, Power cord, Quick start guide, USB-C cable, USB-C to A cable, Warranty Card, X-rite i1 Display Pro Calibrator
      Dimensions (w x h x d): 625.2 x (424.5~544.5) x 228.8  mm with stand;  (625.2 x 367.2 x 91.3 mm without stand)
      Net weight: With stand: 11.5  Kg;  without stand: 7.6  Kg

      Distributor: ASUS Australia Pty Ltd, 1300 278 788



      RRP: AU$2999

      • Build: 9.0
      • Ease of use: 8.0
      • Viewing quality: 9.0
      • Versatility: 9.0