Review: Asus PA238Q

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Review: Asus PA238Q

Page 1: Overview

Fed up with cheap and not-always-cheerful monitors based on TN panel technology? Then get a load of the new Asus PA238Q.

At around £235, it’s pricier than your average 23-inch TN screen. But, joy of joys, it’s got an IPS panel.

IPS stands for in-plane switching and just so happens to be the finest panel technology known to man or beast. That’s why Apple, for instance, exclusively uses IPS in its iPhones and iPads. It’s simply the best when it comes to colour accuracy and viewing angles.

As it happens, colour accuracy is a big part of the remit for the Asus PA238Q.

It’s pitched as a low-cost screen for graphics professionals. However, Asus is also claiming 6ms response times, which makes for a tantalising all-round package. Could this affordable, colour-accurate screen also be killer for games and at the movies?

Armed with these objective metrics and our own experience, we’re able to deliver the definitive verdict on the Asus PA238Q. So, how does it fare?

Page 2: Verdict

Asus pa238q

We’ve been desperate for something, anything, other than a TN screen at an affordable price for a while now. Few monitor makers have been willing to deliver. Admittedly, BenQ has given us a couple of cheap screens with VA panels, but the recent BenQ EW2430 was seriously disappointing.

There’s an open goal waiting for Asus to slide home a winner.

On paper, the Asus PA238Q certainly looks like premier league material. Along with that all-important IPS panel, you get an LED backlight and a huge colour gamut that captures 100% of sRGB. Nice. You also get a full complement of inputs, including HDMI, DVI, VGA and even DisplayPort. There’s picture-in-picture support, too.

The Asus PA238Q is a fine physical specimen too.

The stand is fully adjustable in all directions and hewn from the right sort of plastics. It’s sturdy stuff. We also love the minimalist styling vibe. The overall effect is like an IBM laptop from the ThinkPad heyday – no nonsense quality, in other words.

But the real clincher involves image quality.

Asus claims every PA238Q is carefully colour calibrated at the factory and the result is indeed impressive. Rarely, if ever, have we seen a screen with such deft black, white and colour scales out of the box. The viewing angles are impeccable, too.

As for pixel response, we have very good news indeed: this is one of the snappiest IPS panels we’ve ever seen.

We liked

The panel. The backlight. The chassis. The colours. The input options. The price. Frankly, what’s not to like?

All of our previous experience with cut-price VA and IPS panels has lead us to expect some kind of downside, visual nasty or obvious specification faux pas, but not here.

We disliked

It isn’t easy picking holes in this classy screen, but one or two imperfections are visible.

Our review sample had the slightest whiff of backlight bleed on the right-hand edge. And like all IPS screens, there’s a little backlight glow at some angles when viewing very dark tones. But that’s about it.

Final verdict


It’s been a long time coming, but the (very nearly) perfect PC monitor has finally arrived. Buy one.

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Review: StarTech USB to HDMI External Dual or Multi Monitor Video Adapter with Audio

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Review: StarTech USB to HDMI External Dual or Multi Monitor Video Adapter with Audio

HDMI ports on computers can be incredibly useful – the ability to transform your HD TV into a huge monitor has excellent uses from watching movies to playing games on the big screen. Or for work, you can also use HDMI to display presentations on TVs and projectors.

If your laptop or desktop PC doesn’t come with an HDMI-out port then the StarTech USB to HDMI External Dual or Multi Monitor Video Adapter with Audio is very useful, since it effectively transforms a USB port into an HDMI one.

Another benefit is that even if your PC comes with HDMI, you can use this adaptor to extend your desktop over an extra monitor – a worthwhile feature if your graphics card isn’t up to the task.

While some people use a DVI to HDMI cable to connect their PC to a high-definition TV – because DVI ports are far more popular than HDMIs on computers – the DVI can’t handle audio.

The StarTech USB to HDMI External Dual or Multi Monitor Video Adapter with Audio, as the very long-winded name suggests, can handle audio. A small feature perhaps, but it’s very valuable if you use your TV’s speakers when watching media via HDMI.

Verdict

This is a useful product, although if you have a decent graphics card that comes with HDMI and can support multiple monitors then you’re not going to need it.

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Review: Patriot Gamer 2 AMD Black Edition

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Review: Patriot Gamer 2 AMD Black Edition

Overview

Memory maestro Patriot has launched the Patriot Gamer 2 AMD Black Edition DDR3 4GB RAM kit specifically aimed at the AMD crowd. With the launch of AMD’s new Accelerated Processing Unit (APU), Llano, RAM is a vital performance component again.

Since the launch of Intel’s Sandy Bridge architecture, there has been a whole raft of memory modules launched claiming to be the ideal support for the new chipset. Indeed, Kingston’s HyperX Plug n Play claimed the same thing, but with, it has to said, a lot more justification than most.

Well now it’s the turn of the thorn in Intel’s side, AMD, to get some memory attention. It’s been a long time coming.

OK, compared to some of the blazingly fast modules that have been launched to support the Sandy Bridge platform, Patriot’s Gamer 2 AMD Black Edition 4GB (2 x 2GB) PC3-12800 kit may seem, well, a bit conservative to say the least. At just 1600MHz, it’s a little slow.

But even so, it does make a nice change to see a company giving some component love to AMD. Even if – marketing spiel aside – the memory will work in any modern motherboard, be it made by AMD or Intel.

Benchmarks

Patriot gamer 2 amd black edition

We tested all the Patriot Gamer 2 AMD Black Edition memory in an Asus F1A75-V Pro motherboard using an AMD A6-3650 APU.

Once we finished testing at stock speeds, we gave it a tweak but just using its stock 1.65V voltage setting. A quick adjustment to the bus speed got us to the next step up – 1866MHz. While the system booted up Windows perfectly and ran SiSoft Sandra’s memory bandwidth benchmark without a problem, when we tried to run World in Conflict there were all sorts of issues with the game freezing.

Eventually we got it to boot and run both benchmarks without any problems at 1840MHz, which is still a pretty impressive boost over the stock speeds, especially without having to tinker with any voltages.

Patriot g2 amd black ed benches

Verdict

Patriot gamer 2 amd black edition

It’s been a long time coming but the Patriot Gamer 2 AMD Black Edition and others suggest we should now see AMD platforms getting some dedicated love from memory manufacturers.

That’s mainly thanks to the new Llano platform, with its strong memory performance, and AMD’s 990FX chipset and Bulldozer combo. It’s been a very long time since AMD had a strong enough offering to entice manufacturers into putting its badge on their products.

Hopefully these new platforms will see the end of one of AMD’s annoying platform traits when it comes to overclocking – they used to be quite fussy when it came to memory running at high speeds. So the prospect of getting ultra-fast memory kits designed for AMD platforms is an interesting one.

We liked


You wouldn’t class Patriot’s Gamer 2 AMD Black Edition RAM as a world-beater, especially at its stock 1600MHz speed. That said, it has bags of potential – as we found out during testing.

Thanks to its fairly relaxed 9-9-9-24 latency settings it does overclock very nicely, even at the 1.65V stock voltage. Even though it will reach the next step up from 1600MHz – 1866MHz – we couldn’t get it to run stably while playing the game World in Conflict.

We also liked the fact that the modules are low profile. You may be wondering why that’s of any importance. Well, wait until you get a large third-party CPU cooler, which usually make the first memory slot redundant. Normally it’s impossible to get a stick of memory into the slot because of these coolers, but with the Gamer 2 AMD Black Edition module you stand a fighting chance of actually using the slot.

We disliked


There’s not much to dislike about the Patriot’s Gamer 2 AMD Black Edition. It does what it says on the tin and shows some good overclocking potential. Its stock speed out of the box is a little conservative, however.

Final verdict

It may not be the fastest memory out of the box but it does show plenty of potential for the current Llano platform and the upcoming Bulldozer technology.

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Review: Fellowes Office Suites Monitor Riser Plus

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You might not always be aware that the way you sit at your computer, and the way that you use it, can lead to injuries. Fellowes specialises in ergonomic devices that can make your computer more comfortable – and safer – to use.

While the Fellowes Health V Easy Gliding Palm Support helps support and protect your wrist as you use a mouse, the Office Suites Monitor Riser Plus makes it easy to ensure that your monitor is at the right height. This might sound a bit ‘health and safety gone mad’, but in reality if you’re bending your neck to view your screen then this can become uncomfortable.

While it might not do much more than what placing a monitor on a pile of books could achieve, it is a safe and specifically designed device that ensures the monitor is positioned correctly.

We found it easy to set up and sturdy enough to hold LCD monitors up to around 24 inches in size. It can also be used as a laptop stand. At first it feels slightly odd to use a laptop this way, but it certainly makes using laptops for long periods of time far more comfortable than resting them on a desk.

Related Links

  • TechRadar’s reviews guarantee
  • Read more monitor reviews
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Review: Fellowes Office Suites Monitor Riser Plus

Share Button

You might not always be aware that the way you sit at your computer, and the way that you use it, can lead to injuries. Fellowes specialises in ergonomic devices that can make your computer more comfortable – and safer – to use.

While the Fellowes Health V Easy Gliding Palm Support helps support and protect your wrist as you use a mouse, the Office Suites Monitor Riser Plus makes it easy to ensure that your monitor is at the right height. This might sound a bit ‘health and safety gone mad’, but in reality if you’re bending your neck to view your screen then this can become uncomfortable.

While it might not do much more than what placing a monitor on a pile of books could achieve, it is a safe and specifically designed device that ensures the monitor is positioned correctly.

We found it easy to set up and sturdy enough to hold LCD monitors up to around 24 inches in size. It can also be used as a laptop stand. At first it feels slightly odd to use a laptop this way, but it certainly makes using laptops for long periods of time far more comfortable than resting them on a desk.

Related Links

  • TechRadar’s reviews guarantee
  • Read more monitor reviews
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