OSD Setup, Calibration And GamePlus
Asus has adopted the joystick controller on several of its models including the MG278Q. It's around back atop the other function keys. Pressing it brings up the main OSD.
First up are the picture modes, which are all gaming-oriented; an sRGB preset is included as well. Each has a slightly different interpretation of color and gamma to provide an ideal setting for that type of game. The default mode is Racing and after our tests, it turned out to be the most color-accurate; the sRGB mode was surprisingly less so.
The Blue Light filter is a feature designed to warm the white point and reduce eye fatigue. Level 0 (the default) is off. By the time you get to Level 4 the picture has an obvious red tint. We recommend leaving the option alone and performing a grayscale calibration for best results.
The Color menu has everything you need for calibration except a gamma control. Fortunately it's not an issue because the MG278Q is pretty good out of the box on that score. Two additional color controls caught our attention: Saturation and Skin Tone. However, they aren't available in every picture mode. When unlocked, Saturation adds extra punch to all colors and Skin Tone emphasizes only, well, skin tones. We found little need for either option in the Racing mode and feel that preset works fine for all game types.
There are three color temp presets plus a User mode with a set of RGB controls. They start at 100 percent so you can only reduce them when adjusting the white point. Overall contrast only took a small hit when we calibrated and we recommend selecting the User preset even if you don't make changes.
Smart View is meant to make shadow detail more visible but it raises the black level by a significant amount, which results in a huge contrast reduction.
TraceFree is Asus' version of overdrive. It does a good job of reducing motion blur without introducing too much ghosting. Aspect options include Full (expands all resolutions to fill the screen), 4:3, 1:1 (maps each pixel so signals below 2560x1440 are windowed) and OverScan, which zooms the image out approximately two percent. Use it if you have video garbage at the edge of your full-screen image.
Audio signals can come from an HDMI or DisplayPort feed or you can use the analog input with the included cable. Volume controls both the internal speaker and headphone outputs simultaneously.
The MG278Q will automatically lock onto the first active signal it finds when powering on. If you have multiple sources switch between them here or with one of the bezel function keys.
System Setup has the rest of the monitor's convenience settings. Everything is set to logical defaults including the DP version so you probably won't need to make any changes here. GamePlus is the same feature we've seen on other Asus screens but with the addition of an FPS counter; more on that below.
The MG278Q provides basic signal information but nothing about FreeSync status. If you want to reset your monitor to its factory configuration choose All Reset.
Four memory slots are provided if you wish to create multiple presets. This is something we'd like to see on all monitors but it comes in especially handy when you play different games.
The MG278Q comes set to Racing mode and we discovered that's also the best choice if you don't calibrate. Grayscale, gamma and color are all pretty close and only required slight adjustments to hit a reasonably high standard of precision. sRGB is not quite as good and it locks out all adjustments including brightness. Our recommended settings are in the table below.
|Asus MG278Q Calibration Settings|
|Color Temp User||Red 95, Green 99, Blue 99|
GamePlus has been a feature on Asus' gaming monitors since the VG248QE. On previous models it's offered a choice of on-screen crosshairs and a countdown timer. The MG278Q adds an fps counter to the list of choices. Another display we've seen with this feature is Acer's XR341CK.
You can only use one GamePlus feature at time. The crosshair is great for first-person shooter novices since it makes aiming much easier.
Two different reticule shapes are available in either green or red.
Once you select the countdown timer, the display can be moved around the screen with the joystick.
The fps counter is small and unobtrusive. It can be moved to any position on the screen with the joystick. This is a much easier solution for tracking performance than software apps like FRAPS. There is no recording function though.