Every time we post a story that mentions a high-PPI notebook, tablet, or smartphone screen, folks chime in about the need for higher pixel densities on the desktop. Well, here you go. Asus has announced a 31.5" monitor with a "4K Ultra HD" resultion of 3840x2160.
The PQ321 squeezes the equivalent of four 1080p displays into a single panel with 140 PPI. While that pixel density might not match what you'll find on the best mobile devices, it's a nice upgrade from typical PC monitors. The 2560x1600 resolution common among 30" displays delivers only 101 PPI, and the 24" 1920x1200 monitors hooked up to my desktop are just 94 PPI.
According to the press release, the display is based on an IGZO panel tech similar to Sharp's high-PPI notebook screens. The LED backlit panel promises wide 176° horizontal and viewing angles and 10-bit color reproduction. It also has a 350 cd/m² brightness rating and a claimed 8-ms gray-to-gray response time.
Despite its impressive pixel count, the PQ321 is only 1.4" thick. You can hang it on the wall or use the stand, which offers height, swivel, and tilt adjustments. Video inputs include dual HDMI ports and one DisplayPort. The multiple inputs can be used for a picture-in-picture mode, which is a nice touch.
Unfortunately, pricing and availability details are missing from Asus' announcement. The firm's 27" 2560x1440 PB278Q is selling for $634, so you can expect to pay more than that—probably a lot more. Unless you're shopping on eBay, 30" 2560x1600 displays run over a grand. The cheapest 4K display I can find is this Seiki unit selling for $1,400, but it's a 50-incher with only 88 PPI.
Monitors tend to last through multiple upgrade cycles, so it's worth investing in a good one. We've asked Asus for the skinny on pricing and street dates, and we'll update this story when we get a reply.
Update: Asus tells us the PQ321 should be available in North America by the end of June. We expect pricing info on Monday.