Asus ProArt PA32UC 4K HDR Professional Monitor

      Photo Review 8.8

      In summary

      The ASUS PA32UC monitor looks and operates like a premium product, thanks to high build quality and smooth physical adjustments as well as the attractive matte anti-glare surface on the screen.

      Our ratings are based on its value to a serious photographer, rather than a video editor or gamer. While the factory settings on the PA32UC are fine for gamers, the white point is too far off the mark for image editing. Photographers will need to re-set the white point to 5500K and save the adjustment as a Custom setting. This done, it put the PA32UC’s performance up there with the best of the monitors we’ve reviewed in overall performance.


      Full review

      Showcased at Computex   in May 2017, the Asus ProArt PA32UC has just been released locally to replace the ProArt PA329Q model we reviewed in May 2017 as the company’s flagship monitor. Like the previous model, is targeted at professional users and boasts higher specifications, plus a price tag to match. Photo Review received one of the first review units, ahead of its local release in May 2018. A bonus X-rite Calibrator will be bundled with the monitor during the early launch period.


      Angled view of the Asus ProArt PA32UC monitor. (Source: Asus.)

      The screen has a maximum resolution  of 3840 x 2160 pixels and, thanks   to a 384-zone Full Array Local Dimming (FALD) backlight, claims a maximum brightness of 1000 candelas per square metre (cd/m2). Asus claims its wide colour gamut exceeds industry standards by achieving 85% coverage of the Rec. 2020 colour space, 99.5% of Adobe RGB, 95% of DCI-P3 and 100% of sRGB.

      Its 14-bit colour graphics capability enables it to display more than 1.07 billion colours. It also uses a 14-bit internal lookup table (LUT) and supports Gamma values of 2.6, 2.4, 2.2, 2.0, and 1.8 covering an eye-popping contrast ratio of 100 million to one (100,000,000:1). For advanced calibration, the monitor includes 5 x 5 grid uniformity testing.

      Like the ProArt PA329Q model, each ProArt PA32UC monitor leaves the factory fully calibrated and comes with a unit-specific calibration report that includes data for both sRGB and Adobe RGB color gamuts along with gamma, grayscale and uniformity test results.

      According to Asus, the acceptable variation from the ideal colour space value for each colour channel is less than two deviations, which means colour accuracy should be excellent straight out of the box.  The supplied CD contains the user manual and drivers plus a calibration application.

      There’s no built-in calibrator, but the PA32UC supports hardware calibration but the 14-bit LUT can be accessed with the  Asus ProArt Calibration Software that is provided. This enables it to be calibrated with Datacolor’s Spyder5 or X-Rite’s i1 DisplayPro colorimeters (one of which was supplied with the monitor). To maintain consistency with other monitor reviews, we used the Spyder 5 Elite to measure the key parameters of the review screen.

      The PA32UC comes in a large cardboard carton measuring 913 x 365 x 521 mm (WxHxD) and weighing 16.7 kg. The screen and its stand are cradled in styrofoam for protection against impact. Also in the box are a support CD, quick start guide, warranty card and colour pre-calibration report, along with an HDMI cable, DisplayPort cable, Thunderbolt cable, USB cable, cable clip, input/output port cover and a mains power lead.

      Who’s it for?
       The PA32UC’s specifications make it equally suitable for photo and video editing and viewing but the large size and high resolution of the screen make it suitable for graphic designers, video editors and high-end gamers. With a maximum resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels along with support for all popular lower resolution settings (2560 x 1090, 1920 x 1080, 1600 x 1200, 1440 x 900, etc.), it can be used for soft-proofing and comes with the main printing industry colour certifications.

      To utilise the full capabilities of this screen, your computer will need a powerful graphics card. The Support > FAQ page on the Asus website lists the following graphic cards for 4K display: Nvidia GeForce GTX690/680/670 series or  GTX780/770/760/750Ti  series, the AMD Radeon 79xx/78xx/77xx series,  R7 or R9 270/280/290  or FirePRO workstation graphics cards are recommended. Note: this list was published in early December 2017 and all models on the list have been superseded.

      The motherboard list specified Intel Core 4th ~  6th  generation platform (Skylake) or higher but, again, this is out-of-date. Provided your computer’s motherboard has higher specifications, it should be able to run the 4K display. (Lower-specified computers will still run the monitor but its maximum resolution will fall to 1920 x 1080 pixels.)

      For video editors, the screen has the ability to display multiple 4K UHD video inputs at up to 60 Hz (50 Hz with Australian mains power). It can also support High Dynamic Range (HDR) and the larger colour gamut of Rec.2020, which is used in  ultra-high-definition television (UHDTV).

      The HDMI V.2b interface supports Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) is able to match the capabilities of recently-released 4K cameras that support 10-bit   4:2:2 output. It can also carry content at 4:2:0 natively to save bandwidth. The Thunderbolt interfaces support data transfers at up to 40 Gbps, while the USB-C interface with Power Delivery provides up to 60W of power to external devices.

      Design and Ergonomics
       The large (725 x 425 mm), IPS panel is 31 mm thick around the bezel, extending to a bit less than 50 mm at its thickest point where there is a flattened area containing the mount for the stand. The stand clips onto this mount with a push-up-and in action that holds it securely. The screen can also be wall mounted, if desired.

      The ‘frameless’ bezel surrounding the screen is only 8 mm wide along the top and sides and 18 mm wide at the base so you get a little more screen real estate than you would with the PA329Q model. The interface ports are located on the rear side just above the base of the panel and below the stand mount.


      Rear view  of the Asus ProArt PA32UC monitor. (Source: Asus.)

      Here you’ll find (from the left) a Kensington lock slot, the AC-IN power connection and power switch, four HDMI 2.0 inputs, a DisplayPort interface, a USB 2.0 A-type port for service use, two Thunderbolt ports for connecting compatible devices, a USB 3.0 Type C downstream port for power and data delivery two USB 3.0 ports for connecting downstream devices and an upstream USB 3.0 connector and, finally an earphone jack.


      The control panel is on the right side of the screen, but just around the back, as shown in the graphic above. It’s easily reached with your right hand. At the top is a joystick that you press to call up the menu and then move up, down, left or right to navigate through the various functions.

      Below the joystick is a close button that lets you exit the OSD menu and toggles the Key Lock function on and off when pressed for five seconds. It is followed by an input select button then a QuickFit button for selecting the alignment pattern (five options provided). Two shortcut buttons come next; the upper one defaulting as the brightness hotkey and the lower one for the Blue Light   Filter. These shortcuts can be reprogrammed. The final button is the power on/off button.

      The monitor stand and base are solidly constructed providing a height adjustment range of 130 mm plus tilts of 23 degrees to the rear and five degrees forward. The screen can be swivelled through 60 degrees in each direction and pivoted through 90 degrees into portrait format. The monitor is also compatible with VESA wall mounts.

       The OSD menu contains settings for six colour emulation modes plus two programmable User Mode settings. The pre-set modes are as follows:
       Standard Mode: Best choice for document editing with SplendidPlus Video Enhancement.

      sRGB Mode: Compatible with sRGB colour space, sRGB mode is the best choice for document editing.

      Adobe sRGB Mode: Compatible with Adobe RGB colour space. May be preferred when editing images that will be printed.

      Rec. 2020 Mode: Compatible with Rec. 2020 colour space.

      DCI-P3 Mode: Compatible with DCI-P3 colour space.

      HDR Mode: Transfers all formats to HDR-10 performance.

      In the two User Modes, colour adjustments can be made via the Advanced Setting and users can save one or two ProArt Calibration profiles for quick access after calibrating the monitor.

      The QuickFit button is the same as on the PA329Q  and contains the same five patterns covering alignment grids for A4 and B5 paper sizes and a ruler display. The frame sizes are customisable with measurements in millimeters for high precision.

      The two Shortcut buttons are also identical. As before, the Blue Light Filter is provided to enable users to reduce the high-energy blue light that can cause eye strain and age-related macular Degeneration). The user manual recommends taking short breaks away from the screen after each hour of continuous working at the computer.

      It’s best not to tinker with the Blue Light Filter until you have calibrated the screen, after which you can set the compensation to suit your vision. Five presets are provided for the Blue Light Filter, ranging from no change from the factory preset through increasing levels to Level 4, which is optimised to comply with TUV Low Blue Light Certification. Brightness is not adjustable beyond Level 3.

      The PA32UC provides the same range of adjustments for brightness, contrast, saturation, hue, colour temperature and gamma as the PA329Q, along with an Advanced Setting that adds six-axis hue and saturation adjustments as well as adjustments for RGB gain and black level offset values. A colour reset is provided to return all colour settings to the factory default value.

      The Image sub-menu contains the same settings as the PA329Q’s, covering Sharpness, TraceFree, Aspect Control, Uniformity Compensation and  VividPixel but the ASCR is replaced by Motion Sync. This setting simulates a high refresh rate performance to generate different backlight frequencies and will be useful for video editors and gamers.

      The Sound page contains adjustments for Volume, Mute and Source, the latter deciding where the audio input will come from.   Below it is a PIP/PBP Setting, which are the same as those provided in the PA329Q.

      The Input Select page lets you choose between four HDMI sources or a DiplayPort or Thunderbolt input. The final page is for System Setup with settings for the Splendid Demo Mode, ECO Mode, Adaptive-Sync (for DisplayPort/Thunderbolt only), Dynamic Dimming, HDR, Power Saving and OSD timeout function.

      Users can also select from 21 languages, choose between two DisplayPort options for different graphic cards, turn the Key Lock and power LED indicator on and off and set the screen to adapt to ambient light changes.

       Bundled with the monitor is Asus ProArt Calibration software which can be used with hardware calibrators such as X-rite i1 Display Pro and Datacolor Spyder 5 series. It saves all colour parameter profiles on the ProArt monitor’s internal scaler IC chip instead of the PC.

      This lets you connect your monitor to different devices without needing to continuously change existing settings. It also reduces the signal distortion between the IC and the LCD optical spectrum. The colour profiles can be easily activated by using the hotkey on the monitor next time without a PC or calibrators.


      The launch page for Asus ProArt Calibration software.

      Opening ProArt Calibration uploads an attractively designed user interface (shown above) that shows the measurements it can provide. There are buttons for testing colour accuracy and uniformity as well as a Settings tab, which opens a page where you can set the re-calibration interval and save profiles for two calibration modes. The about tab provides version information and links to relevant websites.


      The two calibration options.

      Clicking on the Next button takes you to the main calibration page, where there are two options: Standard and Advanced. The main difference between them is that the Advanced setting lets you customise the calibration by selecting different presets for Colour Gamut, Brightness, Black Level, Gamma, and Colour Temperature.   Both options provide Uniformity Adjustment.


      The next page (shown above) lets you select which calibrator to use. Note: the calibrator must be plugged into the USB Type-B connector on the back of the monitor because the data is saved to the monitor itself.  

      According to ASUS, ProArt saves all colour parameter profiles on the IC chips within the monitor instead of the PC. This is to enable users to connect the monitor to different devices without changing any settings or colour shift.   It alsoreduces the signal distortion between the IC and the display.
       ProArt lets you work with any of the colour gamuts listed. It also lets you re-adjust settings like the gamma and white point, which could be useful at times. Adjusted settings can be assigned to the two User modes for quick access.


       The final page (shown above) indicates where to place the calibrator after clicking on the Start button, which launches the calibration. The process is similar to normal calibration, with the software stepping the display through a series of brightness and colour variations. The time taken varies, depending on the speed of your system but is typically around five minutes, which is par for the course.

      We found some inconsistencies in the calibration runs we did with the ProArt software; sometimes the result was close to standard targets but at other times a long way off. This would tend to put us off using ProArt on a regular basis since re-calibrating is quite time consuming.

      The ASUS ProArt software delivers data to the monitor, rather than the computer, which creates its own issues.  No instructions were provided on how to export a saved profile for subsequent use. We also found we had to re-adjust the scaling in Windows from the ‘recommended’ 150% to 100% to prevent the Uniformity Compensation patches sliding off the screen.

      The monitor comes factory calibrated with a two-page report containing factory test data relating to the unit itself with sRGB and Adobe RGB values. This was missing from the monitor we received so out performance tests were carried out with the factory default settings.

       We tested the monitor on a Windows desktop system with an Intel Core i7 processor running at 3.6GHz with 8MB of RAM. The graphics card used was a Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1060 Gaming G1 6GB Video Card, which was fully capable of delivering high-speed, high-resolution data to the screen.  

      Because we routinely use Datacolor Spyder hardware and software for all monitor tests, the results below were obtained with our regular equipment. This enabled us to compare its performance with other monitors we have reviewed in the past year or so.

      Once our tests were completed we checked a couple of overseas reviews, which we assumed had been done on brand new models with their factory calibrations intact. The close correspondence between the results we obtained and those obtained by other reviewers suggested our assumptions were essentially correct and reflected the performance of the monitor as it would be out-of-the-box.

      Advanced Analysis of measurements taken with the Spyder5 Elite showed this monitor to be a good performer overall, with a perfect score for the colour gamut and contrast and  4.5 out of a possible 5 each for colour accuracy and colour uniformity. Tonal response and luminance uniformity each rated 4 out of 5, which is also very good.

      The only weakness was White Point, which was rated at 1.5, pulling the overall rating down to 4 out of a possible score of 5. Interestingly, one of the more technically-orientated reviews we checked commented that the White Point on the unit they received was a little over 7800K, which is far above the normal ‘daylight’ target of 6500K (D65).   If the unit we received had similar factory settings, that would account for the low rating the tests attached to that particular category.


      The overall rating shows the PA329Q to be a good performer in most   parameters but relatively poor in White Point performance. Whether that will be important will depend on the use to which this monitor is put.

      Our tests suggest that was the case. We re-tested the screen after adjusting the white point setting from the default 6500K to 5500K. This reduced the Kelvin value to around 7000, which is much closer to the desired 6500K ‘Daylight’ standard and brought the White Point rating up to a more credible 4 out of 5, which raised the Overall rating to 4.5, as shown in the graphic below.


      Re-setting the white point to 5500K raised the review unit’s Overall rating to a level where we would normally recommend the monitor.

      When we compared key results from the three analyses, they proved to be very similar, with only the 5500K test showing significant variation ““ as expected. The results are shown in the table below.



      Adobe RGB

      sRGB at 5500K

      sRGB Gamut

      100 %

      100 %

      100 %

      Adobe RGB Gamut

      97 %

      98 percent

      97 percent

      Tonal Response

      Gamma 2.3

      Gamma 2.3

      Gamma 2.2

      White Point








      Luminance Uniformity at 100%

      Max. 7% deviation

      Max. 8% deviation

      Max. 7% deviation

      Luminance Uniformity at 50%

      Max. 8% deviation

      Max. 7% deviation

      Max. 8% deviation

      Colour Uniformity at 100%

      Max. 1.9 deviation

      Max. 1.9 deviation

      Max. 1.9 deviation

      Colour Uniformity at 50%

      Max. 1.6 deviation

      Max. 1.6 deviation

      Max. 1.6 deviation

      Colour Accuracy

      Av. 0.56

      Av. 1.00

      Av. 0.86

      ASUS claims the monitors are pre-calibrated with a Delta E value of below 2, a measure of how much each colour deviates from its ideal colour space value. Note: a Delta E value greater than 3 is likely to be noticeable. Going on the table above ““ and the results of our tests ““ we can support the validity of this claim.

      Because we feel the majority of potential purchasers of this screen may not want to keep re-adjusting the default settings and re-testing until they find the screen values match what they need, the results presented below come directly from the first set of tests we ran, with the factory default pre-sets. These used the sRGB colour space, which is the default for all web use and most screen viewing.

      The results of the individual tests are presented below.

      1. Colour Gamut



      The review monitor performed very well in this test, as shown in the graph above. The green triangle shows the boundaries of the sRGB colour space, while the purple triangle delineates the Adobe RGB colour space. The red triangle shows the measured colour space for the monitor, which is slightly shifted in the green wavelengths and is significantly larger than sRGB. Our tests showed it covered 97% of the Adobe RGB colour space.

      2. Tonal Response
       Gamma (tonal response) 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 virtually identical to 2.2, the recommended gamma for image editing with Windows PCs.

      3. Colour Accuracy  



      Colour accuracy was also very good, with only minor deviations from the ideal theoretical values.

      4. Brightness, Contrast and White Point


      Contrast and white point measurements were relatively consistent across all brightness settings from 25% to 100%. But the measures white point values of 8300K to 8800K suggest these settings are a long way from the desired values of around 6500K.  

      5. 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 was quite good and relatively consistent across the measured brightness levels. The centre of the screen was slightly brighter than the other areas measured, although not enough to be classified as a ‘hot spot’.

      5b. Colour Uniformity


      Colour uniformity measurements also showed reasonably good uniformity although variations between the left and right sides of the screen increased with screen brightness adjustments.

      Subjective evaluations of the monitor confirmed the results we obtained in our objective tests although we found it difficult to identify any bias resulting from the non-standard white point default setting.  

       The ASUS PA32UC monitor has been an interesting product to review ““ but not without its challenges. It looks and operates like a premium product, thanks to high build quality and smooth physical adjustments as well as the attractive matte anti-glare surface on the screen.

      Our ratings are based upon its value to a serious photographer, rather than a video editor or gamer. When you view still images on a screen you are far more critical when it comes to sharpness, detail and colour accuracy than you could be with moving images because you have much more time to assess them critically.

      Consequently, we can’t award an Editor’s Choice to the monitor as supplied with the factory settings. While these are fine for gamers, the white point is too far off the mark for image editing. That said, if you are prepared to re-set the white point to 5500K and save the adjustment as a Custom setting (which the PA32UC permits), this monitor’s performance would be up there with the best of the monitors we’ve reviewed in overall performance.

      One general factor in its favour is the wealth of colour space emulation modes provided, which exceeds previous monitors we’ve tested. On the downside, we found the supplied calibration software a bit hit-and-miss and would hesitate to recommend it.

      When calibrated with our Spyder system, it was an excellent screen for watching 4K video clips, where the dynamic nature of the images made the few potential weaknesses unnoticeable.   We found nothing to complain of with respect to the refresh rate and pixel responsiveness.

      When the white point was reset, it also provided a decent platform for editing still images with good enough reproduction of hues and tones to enable users to assess images for printing. With the revised settings we could happily recommend it to serious enthusiasts and entry-level professional photographers.

      It’s up to readers to make their own judgments as to whether to buy this monitor, based upon the information we’ve provided. Essentially, we think a lot will depend on how you plan to use this monitor and whether you would make the required adjustments. Subjectively, we feel most gamers and many video editors would be happy with the factory pre-sets and find the quality of the display of image and movie clips very attractive.

      At almost AU$3500, the PA32UC is priced at a premium level and will likely be out of the reach for many readers. By way of comparison, the nearest product in the Eizo range, the ColorEdge CG318-4K 31-inch Widescreen LED Backlit IPS Monitor sells for around AU$7500.  So the cost of the ASUS screen is very reasonable for its specs.



       Panel size: Wide Screen 32″ (81.28cm) 16:9 aspect ratio
       Active display size (h ø— v): 708.48 x 398.52 mm
       Panel type: IPS
       Viewing angles (h, v): 178 °(H) / 178 °(V)
       Brightness: 1000 cd/m2 (max.)
       Contrast ratio (typical): 100000000:1  
       Response time (typical): 5ms (grey to grey)
       Native resolution: 3840 x 2160
       Pixel pitch: 0.1845 mm
       Display colours: 1.07 Billion (10-bit)
       Wide gamut coverage: 85% Rec.2020, 99.5% Adobe RGB, over 95% DCI-P3 and 100% sRGB
       Built-in Calibration Sensor: No
       Look-up table: Yes (14-bit)
       Gamma adjustment: Yes (Support Gamma 1.8/2.0/2.2/2.4/2.6 )
       Screen adjustment: A4/B5/Alignment Grid/Ruler/Customisation Modes
       Colour adjustment: 4 Modes Colour Temperature Selection, 6-axis adjustment (R,G,B,C,M,Y)
       Preset modes: 8 Modes (Adobe RGB Mode/Rec. 2020/DCI-P3/HDR/sRGB Mode/Standard Mode/User Mode 1/User Mode 2)
       Input/output terminals: USB Hub (Downstream: 2 x USB 3.0 Type-A, 1 x USB 3.0 Type-C; Upstream: 1 x USB 3.0 Type-B), 2x Thunderbolt 3 USB-C   (1 x in, 1 x out), 4x HDMI (v2.0b), DisplayPort 1.2, 3.5mm Mini-Jack for earphones, PC audio output (3.5mm mini-jack), 2x 3W speakers (RMS)
       Digital signal frequency (h / v): DisplayPort, Thunderbolt 3:142 KHz (H) / 40 ~60 Hz(V)  
       HDMI : 109 ~142 KHz (H) /29 ~65 Hz(V)
       USB ports / standard: USB3.0 Type-B x1 upstream, USB3.0 Type-A x2, USB3.0 Type-C x1 downstream
       Audio: 3W x 2 Stereo RMS speakers
       Power consumption: Power On (Typical): < 56.84W, Power Off Mode : 0W (Hard Switch), 100-240V, 50/60Hz
       Power Management: Power Saving Mode : < 0.5W
       Compliance standards: Energy Star, BSMI, CB, CCC, CE, CU, ErP, FCC, ICES, ISO-9241-307, J-MOSS, KCC, Mac Compliance, PSE, RoHS, UkrSEPRO, UL/cUL, VCCI, WEEE, WHQL (Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 7), RCM, TUV Flicker-free , KC , eStandby, TUV Low Blue Light, UHDA
       Height adjustment range: 0~130 mm
       Tilt / Swivel / Pivot: -5 °~+23 ° tilt, -60 °~+60 ° swivel, -90 °~+90 ° pivot
       Dimensions (w x h x d): With Stand: 727 x (470 ““ 600) x 229 mm; Without Stand: 727 x 426 x 69 mm
       Net weight: With Stand: 11.4 kg; Without Stand: 7.8 kg
       Computer requirements: Intel Core 4th ~  6th  generation platform (Skylake)  or higher platform  motherboard; Nvidia GeForce GTX690/680/670 series,  GTX780/770/760/750Ti  or higher; Quadro workstation graphics card or AMD/ATI Radeon 79xx/78xx/77xx series,  R7 or R9 270/280/290  or higher; FirePRO workstation graphics card

       Distributor: Asus Australia, 1300 278 788,  




      • Build: 9.0
      • Ease of use: 8.8
      • Viewing quality: 8.8
      • Versatility: 8.8