Asus ROG Swift PG278Q 27-inch G-Sync Monitor Review

Results: Brightness and Contrast

Uncalibrated

Before calibrating any panel, we measure zero and 100-percent signals at both ends of the brightness control range. This shows us how contrast is affected at the extremes of a monitor's luminance capability. We do not increase contrast past the clipping point. While doing this would increase a monitor’s light output, the brightest signal levels would not be visible, resulting in crushed highlight detail. Our numbers show the maximum light level possible with no clipping of the signal.

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The comparison group today consists of gaming-oriented monitors running at 120 or 144 Hz, with the exception of BenQ’s RL2460HT, which tops out at 60 Hz. We have Asus’ VG248QE, BenQ’s XL2720Z, AOC’s G2460PQU, and the lone IPS screen, an Overlord Tempest X270OC.

A gaming monitor, especially one with a backlight strobe, needs plenty of output. Asus' PG278Q delivers. It’s rated at 350 cd/m2, but we measured nearly 400 in our test. Of course, enabling ULMB drops this figure by about 57 percent.

A bright backlight usually means an elevated black level. The Swift just cracks the .4 cd/m2 mark, similar to the brightest competitor, AOC’s G2460PQU.

Contrast is pretty solid at just under 1000 to 1. And as we'll point out in subsequent tests, it stays fairly consistent regardless of brightness or level of blur-reduction.

We believe 50 cd/m2 is a practical minimum standard for screen brightness. Any lower and you risk eyestrain and fatigue. The PG278Q bottoms out at 51.9157 cd/m2. This is a great light level for playing games in total darkness as long as you don’t use the ULMB feature. As you’ll see below, black levels and contrast hold up extremely well too.

Minimum output is right in the middle of the group at .0540 cd/m2. The main takeaway is that IPS is still a bit behind TN in the black level department.

Contrast remains consistent at 960.7 to 1. You’re able to use the Swift in pretty much any room environment we can think of. And you can tailor the brightness to your preference without having to worry about a contrast sweet spot.

After Calibration

Since we consider 200 cd/m2 to be an ideal point for peak output, we calibrate all of our test monitors to that value. In a room with some ambient light (like an office), you get a sharp, punchy image with maximum detail and minimum eye fatigue. On many monitors, this is also the sweet spot for gamma and grayscale tracking, which we'll look at on the next page.

In a dark room, many professionals prefer a 120 cd/m2 calibration. We have found it makes little to no difference on the calibrated black level and contrast measurements, though.

Calibration has little effect on black level or contrast. The adjustments we made were small, so the result is not surprising.

We only took a slight hit to contrast with a final value of 929.6 to 1. That's mainly because we can only reduce the RGB levels, not increase them. It’s always best if the controls start at their center positions.

ANSI Contrast Ratio

Another important measure of contrast is ANSI. To perform this test, a checkerboard pattern of sixteen zero and 100-percent squares is measured, yielding a somewhat more real-world metric than on/off readings because we see a display’s ability to simultaneously maintain both low black and full white levels, factoring in screen uniformity, too. The average of the eight full-white measurements is divided by the average of the eight full-black measurements to arrive at the ANSI result.

The PG278Q finishes fifth in an extremely tight race. Those middle four screens will look identical to the naked eye, though, and 915.2 to 1 is a solid result. This display shows excellent build quality and an image with good depth and dimension.

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78 comments
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  • ubercake
    That Amazon link is to the PB278Q, not the PG278Q! ARRGGGGHHHHH!!!
    6
  • TechyInAZ
    Nice! This is great since I am one of those picky guys that believes that 30fps doesn't bring a good enough gaming experience.

    But one thing I do hope for is a 144hz g-sync IPS monitor, ever since I've gotten my new Asus MX239H the ips makes a huge difference in games.

    But besides that, it is a glorious monitor, resolution is great, 144hz, and of course g sync makes it a wonderful monitor.

    But really $800? I know that it is one of the few g sync equipped monitors, but you can buy a 4k monitor for $650!
    2
  • CraigN
    Yes - please fix that Amazon link. I almost shat myself thinking that was available already.
    7
  • apertotes
    Anybody knows if the incompatibility between G-Sync and ULMB is something that will get fixed or is here to stay?
    0
  • CraigN
    Anonymous said:
    Anybody knows if the incompatibility between G-Sync and ULMB is something that will get fixed or is here to stay?


    Pretty unlikely. ULMB requires a static refresh rate, because it has to strobe the monitor at a constant rate. GSYNC would mean that it would have to strobe in time with each frame, at a variable rate. You would introduce a lag time on the strobing if you tried to do this, since it would be at a variable rate instead of a constant one.
    0
  • rh_dog
    I know it's expensive for 2560x1440, I know it's not IPS, but to get the refresh rate @144hz and the 1ms g2g and g-sync? The few reviews for this monitor that are out there are all glowing. Come on, Asus, release the thing already, I've been waiting since the Jan announcement for this monitor. Shut up and take my money!!!
    3
  • pchampn
    Guys ROG Swift PG278Q is not even listed on Amazon. Update your links, please!!
    1
  • Rendezvous
    Omg! I need this now..... I alrdy have 800 set aside for it...I need a exact release date now!
    3
  • agentbb007
    Asus has said on Twitter it should be in the US by the end of August. I can't wait for this, I'm checking newegg everyday to see when it shows up! I hope they have enough of these coming in because there seems to be a lot of people waiting to buy this monitor.
    0
  • Merry_Blind
    Yayy finally a review for this monitor! Thanks Tom's!

    Off to read it now! lol
    -2
  • Rendezvous
    Anonymous said:
    Yayy finally a review for this monitor! Thanks Tom's!

    Off to read it now! lol


    There have been plenty reviews for this monitor just Google it. And they have all been great reviews...makes me want it even more
    2
  • Merry_Blind
    As amazing as this monitor looks, it still sucks that you can't use ULMB with G-Sync.

    Personally, I'm sick of the crappy motion resolution in LCDs. It's not so bad in some games, but it's nigh-unbearable in certain games. My next monitor/TV WILL have Strobing-Backlights since it's the best way to get rid of motion blur.

    However, maybe someone can help me out on this, I don't understand why monitors that feature such motion-enhancing technologies seem very nitpicky with which frame rate, refresh rate, etc. it's being used with. I'm saying this because more and more TVs are coming out with such Strobing-backlight technology, and I'm pretty sure those don't require an absolute steady framerate for it to work.

    For example, if I were to connect a console to this ASUS Swift monitor, could I use ULMB in 120hz mode with a 30fps game?
    0
  • CraigN
    No, because the console won't output 120 Hz, especially not through HDMI to DisplayPort conversion.

    It's not the framerate they're being picky about, it's the refresh rate. The light has to strobe in time with when the next frame is being introduced. When the refresh rate is constant (i.e., locked at 80, 100, or 120 Hz) then the strobe knows exactly when the next frame will be displayed. You're asking the display to strobe the backlight at will whenever the GPU can put out a frame. You're essentially asking the GPU to not only handshake with GSYNC when to render a frame, but to trigger the backlight to strobe then too. The tricky part here is that's another layer where you will have to reduce response time (response from the GPU's frame being rendered to backlight being strobed) since the refresh rate is no longer constant (it's now dependent on your game's refresh rate - which is barely ever anywhere near "constant").

    How awful would your strobing backlight look if it came a few ms after your frame rendered? That'd probably screw all of the blur reduction qualities you want from it. At best, you could make an algorithm that would strobe at the *average* framerate you're outputting since framerate can rise and dip so quickly, but that could still cause a lot of problems
    0
  • agentbb007
    Anonymous said:

    For example, if I were to connect a console to this ASUS Swift monitor, could I use ULMB in 120hz mode with a 30fps game?

    I'm definitely not an expert on ULMB or Gsync but the blurbusters website says "LightBoost motion blur elimination is not noticeable at 60 frames per second." So even if you could get a console hooked up to the Asus Swift I don't think you would be able to notice any difference unless you get 85+ fps.
    0
  • Merry_Blind
    Quote:
    Anonymous said:
    Yayy finally a review for this monitor! Thanks Tom's!

    Off to read it now! lol


    There have been plenty reviews for this monitor just Google it. And they have all been great reviews...makes me want it even more

    Oh I know that, it's just that I was waiting for Tom's Hardware specifically to do a review since I like their reviews!
    0
  • Merry_Blind
    Quote:
    No, because the console won't output 120 Hz, especially not through HDMI to DisplayPort conversion.

    It's not the framerate they're being picky about, it's the refresh rate.


    Ok, let's forget consoles then for a second, because I didn't think of the fact that they can't output at 120hz. If, for example, I had my PC hooked to the Swift monitor, set to 120Hz, and that the game I play has a fluctuating framerate going anywhere from 30fps to 90fps. Would I be able to use ULMB since the monitor is running at 120Hz? Despite the framerate being all over the place, and not ever at 120fps?

    Thanks for your reply btw.
    0
  • Merry_Blind
    Quote:
    Anonymous said:

    For example, if I were to connect a console to this ASUS Swift monitor, could I use ULMB in 120hz mode with a 30fps game?

    I'm definitely not an expert on ULMB or Gsync but the blurbusters website says "LightBoost motion blur elimination is not noticeable at 60 frames per second." So even if you could get a console hooked up to the Asus Swift I don't think you would be able to notice any difference unless you get 85+ fps.

    But like I said, more and more TVs are being released with a 'Black-Frame insertion' option, and from reviews, it gets rid of motion blur very well, even for a movie, which plays at 24fps.
    0
  • CraigN
    Anonymous said:

    Ok, let's forget consoles then for a second, because I didn't think of the fact that they can't output at 120hz. If, for example, I had my PC hooked to the Swift monitor, set to 120Hz, and that the game I play has a fluctuating framerate going anywhere from 30fps to 90fps. Would I be able to use ULMB since the monitor is running at 120Hz? Despite the framerate being all over the place, and not ever at 120fps?

    Thanks for your reply btw.


    No problem. I enjoy discussing the topic.

    Yes. You would. Because with ULMB on, the REFRESH RATE stays constant, despite your varying frame rate. The monitor (In regular, or in ULMB mode, with Gsync off) will only refresh the frame at a rate of every 8.33 ms (1 / 120Hz), regardless of your framerate. This has nothing to do with the 1ms response time. That's where your keyboard or mouse input lag comes in. This is also what causes horziontal tearing, which is what GSYNC aims to remove. If your FRAME rate is much higher, or much lower, than your monitor's REFRESH rate, you will observe lots of tearing. ULMB does not reduce tearing, just motion blur.

    You don't have to hit 120 fps to refresh at 120 Hz, but you get the most benefit out of your monitor that way. So yes, you can play ULMB at any framerate, but you *will* notice stutter if you're playing in the 90s and then drop into the 30s. This is what traditionally VSYNC tries to remove, but introduces input lag as a side effect.

    Gsync removes the stutter and the tearing with virtually no input lag. It makes it so your monitor will refresh at the same rate as your framerate. So if you set your monitor to 144 Hz, and turn GSYNC on, then suddenly your *Max* framerate becomes 144 Hz (can't update faster than the panel), and the refresh rate of the monitor (when the monitor displays new frames from the GPU) varies with the framerate of the game from any range of 35 FPS up to 144 FPS. If you drop below 30 FPS, the GSYNC module switches to traditional VSYNC.

    GSYNC can be toggled on and off from the Nvidia Control Panel. This is how you can switch between GSYNC or ULMB depending on what type of game you want to play.
    0
  • redgarl
    It's made by Asus and it is not a motherboard... stay away from it...
    -7
  • CraigN
    Not sure why you feel that way. Several of their other products I own have been outstanding. My VG248QE is great and so is my G750JX laptop. Their $650 4K monitor got fantastic reviews.

    Some of their lower-end products have some quality issues I hear, but you see that in Dell, HP, Acer... It's not exactly a new trend.
    5