“4k” seems to be one of the buzzwords that people like throwing around these days. Retailers don’t know how to sell it, and consumers don’t quite know if they want it. While we’ve traditionally seen 4k content been harped about with consumer TVs, the term is slowly making its way to the PC market as well. Enter the ASUS PB287Q, a 4K monitor that will simply blow you away from anything you’ve seen on your PC so far – with a few exceptions.
Build Quality & Design
ASUS has always favored a non-flashy and minimalist appearance to its monitors, and the PB287Q is no exception. The dark black matte look of the monitor contrasts sharply with the subtle metallic base, making it quite a stylish effort. Once the stand is attached to the actual display, you can move the screen up and down to a comfortable height – this does take a bit of effort given the size and weight of the panel itself.
Around the back you’ll find two HDMI ports as well as a DisplayPort and audio jacks. There’s no DVI input here, given that it would be incompatible with the 4k resolution. At the lower left oddly enough, are the OSD controls – I have no idea why ASUS put these here as they are almost impossible to use at times without pressing the wrong button.
The PB287Q can be connected either via HDMI or DisplayPort, depending on what you prefer. However, if you connect the display via HDMI, you only get a paltry 30Hz with one cable. Attach two HDMI cables and you can in theory hi 60Hz, but the results are mixed. Things do get better with a DisplayPort connection in MST mode, so as long as your graphics card can support this you’ll be in good hands.
So just how good is a 4k monitor in the end? The simple answer? Exceedingly good. The 3840×2160 resolution is simply ridiculous, but thankfully Windows was able to scale certain menus and icons accordingly. Programs however, were a different story – running a single program at the high resolution could prove to be a nightmare, especially something like a web browser or word document. It make more sense to run several applications side by side, rather than trying to fill the entire screen with one program.
On a multimedia side of things, the PB287Q played 4k content back flawlessly. One 4k test video of a chef cooking in a busy kitchen was simply breathtaking. From the bright colors of the vegetables he was chopping to the roaring reds and oranges coming from the flames in the stove, videos were crisp and bright. Every single detail could be made out in stunning clarity, almost as if you were watching things in real life.
Where things did start to go downhill was in the gaming department, and this is simply because at the time I didn’t have access to a PC in the office that was powerful enough to output a game in 4k smoothly. Even our most powerful rig equipped with a solid NVIDIA graphics card was unable to keep the frame rate consistent. You’re going to need to look at a multi-graphic setup in order to comfortably game or render 4K content.
The burning question is of course whether or not you really need a 4k monitor. And truthfully, the answer is no. Trust me, the PB287Q is a phenomenal piece of kit with an insane resolution, but running anything at 4k is going to require a fair amount of GPU power, so in addition to investing in this monitor you’re probably going to need to invest in an additional (and just as expensive) graphics card. But if you’ve got the cash to burn (about $700), the ASUS PB287Q produces some of the most stunning images that you’ll ever see, and is sure to be a PC enthusiast’s dream come true.
+ Gorgeous high-resolution display
+ Incredibly quick refresh rate
+ Makes 4k affordable to the average user
- Requires supremely powerful machine to render properly
- OSD controls are awkward to reach