ASUS VG278HE review
Asus's VG278HE could lay claim to being the ultimate gaming monitor. It's a 27in 1080p LCD with Nvidia 3D Vision support and a huge 144Hz refresh rate for super-smooth visuals.
It's an expensive screen, but it looks classy. We're fans of the glossy bezel and stand (if not the cheesy "3D" sticker) and the monitor usefully adjusts for height. You get VGA, HDMI and DVI inputs on the rear as well as audio line-in and -out, and you'll need to use the included dual-link DVI cable to take advantage of the monitor's high refresh rates.
The VG278HE has a TN rather than IPS LCD panel. While IPS screens tend to have superior colour accuracy, IPS monitors with 120Hz refresh rates only exist as Korean imports in the darker recesses of eBay. The monitor showed itself to have good rather than outstanding image quality in our calibration tests. The screen came within 95.7% of the sRGB colour gamut after calibration, which isn't far off the 97% we've seen from the best IPS and TN screens. It's easy to tweak the monitor's image with the logical on-screen menus, and we were impressed with its contrast levels - our test photo of a sunlit beach hut showed plenty of detail in both light and dark areas.
There are some special preset modes, including Game and Scenery. Game adds punch to colours at the expense of colour accuracy, and was fun to use in the artificial reality of 3D titles, but Scenery made colours so overblown as to be almost fluorescent. We preferred to leave the monitor on Standard most of the time, which also let us tweak the brightness, contrast and colour settings - these are locked out in the preset modes. Colours were generally accurate, but whites looked a little off-colour towards the top of the screen and large areas of black showed some light leakage at the bottom of the display.
The monitor's party trick is its high refresh rate. Most PC screens have a refresh rate of 60Hz, which means they can display a maximum of 60 frames per second. If your graphics card is putting out more than 60fps, it can lead to graphical artefacts known as "tearing", where vertical lines break up as you pan from side to side. To solve this, you can turn on vertical sync (vsync), which locks the graphics card's maximum fps to the refresh rate of the monitor - in most cases, 60fps.
While 60fps is very smooth, it's not quite as silky smooth as a game could be, and restraining your graphics card in this way is a waste of its power. The higher refresh rates of 120Hz screens, such as the Iiyama G2773HS means that, even if you enable vsync, your frame rate will top out at 120Hz, leading to much smoother gameplay.
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