Q&A: Designing the ASUS PA-series professional monitors

Matt Black
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It’s time for another quick Q&A! We grabbed five minutes with Jo Chang and Liwei Hung from ASUS Design Center, for chat about the new PA-series professional monitors.

What was the idea behind the PA-series?

The core design goal is for professionals to control everything. It’s that they have access to as much stuff as we can give them, so they can do their work. Did you know our concept comes from the digital camera?



Well, uhh, I do now!

Haaa-well OK, let me be specific. Not digital cameras like a point-and-shoot, but dSLR to professional grade photography. We tried to emulate the solid feeling you get from them. dSLR’s don’t attempt to be super thin or fashionable: they are hyper functional. They fit beautifully in the hand and everything is where you need it; at a glance or finger flick.

So our idea was to bring this to our PA-series. We give users precision measurements moulded into the plastic everywhere you can rotate, twist or change its position, as well as around the display itself. They aren’t there just for show – these are accurate and can be used to measure the degree of movement.

The red line on [the PA246Q] is also inspired by the red ring on higher quality lenses, to further reinforce that relationship.

PA246Q stand redesign and devlopment

PA246Q stand redesign and development

Why did you choose 23 and 24 inch monitors and not 27 or 30 inch?

Actually we plan to do a 27-inch version as well – it’s in the early stages now. Currently we have the PA238Q and PA246Q. The 27-inch will have a greater resolution but we have to chase the right panel for each PA-series, to make sure the quality is right. We’re in no huge rush because the PA’s are our new brand so it’s critical we get things right.

Right now the initial designs on the 27-inch will have a much slimmer bezel as well, since this is something we found users have really requested from the 24-inch [PA246Q].

While 30-inch and other sizes are a consideration for us, we have to buy the right panels to put in them, and that’s down to the panel manufacturers.

What’s your opinion of cathode versus LED backlighting?

In the PA246Q we used cathode back-lighting to give improved color accuracy, because it’s brighter. However LED technology is an undeniable trend, which is increasing in quality and brightness all the time. A lot of people want LED panels so it drives this innovation.

It’s true that in the past the white LEDs was not as accurate so the display color was not so great, but this is accepted for budget panels that need to be thin and fast, with a low power and price, rather than offering exceptional color accuracy.
However, we are getting new samples of white LEDs to test all the time, and they are greatly improving, so it’s inevitable we’ll be moving to LED in the future.

PA246Q stand redesign and devlopment

The PA246Q smaller, lighter stand redesign on the left, the old stand on the right.

So why did you decide to design QuickFit?

The idea followed on from the accuracy control and photography relationship, so we put the dimensions and measurements into the display as an OSD itself. Again its’ an accurate scale of real paper sizes at a 1:1 ratio so it can help publishers and designers save money, by not having to print stuff out to check it. It also means that users don’t have to change from the design screen to a print preview, which saves considerable time if they want to only make slight adjustments.

While we don’t expect to change the working routines of seasoned professionals, we could help semi-pro or casual users. Since it’s an OSD built right into the firmware it will work with any software; so it can be used by anyone of any skill level for anything they need. It’s main advantage is it’s incredibly flexability.

Typically high quality displays are super-thick. Will it ever be possible to create a fashionably thin design and keep the color quality?

Well, it goes back to why we started the new PA-series. The PA246Q was our first and we decided to launch with the best real quality we could cram into it. ASUS has done monitors for many years but we were unsure if professional users would accept the PA-series if it was anything less than the best. The design of the PA-series is taken very seriously but fashionably thin, right now, comes second to getting the quality and functionality (like the tilt, swivel, height adjustment) right.

What we did actually redesign was the stand to make it smaller and lighter, but in keeping with the all-movement the functionality. (As you can can see in the photos above).

If you’ve any questions for the displays team please feel free to drop them below or on our Facebook page.

If you are media and you’d like to conduct your own interview, please contact us below or via our Facebook page.

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