Brightness And Contrast
To read about our monitor tests in-depth, please check out Display Testing Explained: How We Test Monitors and TVs. Brightness and Contrast testing is covered on page two.
Uncalibrated – Maximum Backlight Level
Today's comparison group is a mix of IPS and TN displays, all with FreeSync capability except the Acer XB270HU, which features G-Sync. Remaining screens are Asus' MG279Q, Acer's XG270HU and XR341CK, and the value-priced 24-inch Nixeus NX-VUE24A we reviewed last month.
All the displays max out comfortably over 300cd/m2 except the Nixeus. The MG278Q takes the win here with a tiny bit more brightness than the Acer XG270HU. This is more light output than is needed for indoor use but if you were to play games in a brightly-lit space, the extra punch could be useful.
The bright backlight contributes to a higher than average black level but as you can see it's quite a bit greater than the next-place finisher.
One of the things you'll sacrifice for the MG278Q's lower price is contrast. This isn't a deal-breaker given the excellent gamma tracking we measured but other displays have deeper blacks. Asus' own MG279Q takes the win with over 1100:1. In our opinion that would be worth paying more for.
Uncalibrated – Minimum Backlight Level
The MG278Q's backlight bottoms out at a very-low 26.7435cd/m2. We wouldn't want to play games with a picture that dim; 50 is our ideal level for dark room use. You can set that level by raising the brightness control from zero to 6.
The minimum black level measurement doesn't have quite the impact when the backlight goes this low. It's a good number but not entirely useful in practice.
Contrast takes a small three percent hit, which is well within the realm of consistency we look for. Any backlight setting will yield around 800:1 contrast.
After Calibration to 200cd/m2
Calibration neither helps nor harms the MG278Q's black level. It's still a little higher than the competition. In this group, IPS seems to be the better choice, at least in the area of contrast. It does come at a higher price though.
Contrast after calibration stays about the same as before adjustment. We were able to increase the contrast slider one click, which helped add depth without introducing any clipping. When considering cost versus performance, the Nixeus easily leads the pack here. Its cost is less than half that of the 27-inch IPS monitors.
ANSI Contrast Ratio
It's rare that we see ANSI contrast exceed the calibrated result, but the MG278Q has achieved that distinction. It's still in last place but the panel part is obviously of good quality. Later you'll see that screen uniformity is excellent. Even though it doesn't have best-in-class black levels, this is a well-made product.