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Asus MG279Q 27-Inch FreeSync Monitor Review

Today we're reviewing Asus' MG279Q FreeSync gaming monitor, looking at how well it compares to Acer's XB270HU IPS G-Sync monitor?

Our Verdict

While we didn't find the 90Hz FreeSync limit to be a problem, we would rather see it implemented to the full 144Hz rate the monitor is capable of. Still, we had a hard time finding a fault with the MG279Q during gameplay or any other use for that matter. This is a high-quality IPS screen with superb color accuracy and contrast. In our book, it's a winner no matter what you use it for and it is a little less expensive than many business class QHD screens.

For

  • 144Hz
  • FreeSync
  • IPS panel
  • QHD resolution
  • Relatively low price
  • Superior off-axis image quality to typical IPS screens

Against

  • 90Hz limit on FreeSync
  • No ULMB

Introduction

For many years, manufacturers have marketed certain displays as "gaming monitors" by endowing them with features like special image modes, overdrive and slick styling. But to truly appeal to gamers, one needs a refresh rate higher than 60Hz.

While plenty of CRT displays could be driven to faster rates, LCD panels were stuck at 60Hz until just a few years ago. Asus was the first to mass-market a 144Hz panel at 1080p resolution with its VG248QE, which we reviewed almost two years ago, and the monitor is still available for sale today.

Many imitators followed, having one thing in common: TN technology. While TN's 6-bit color depth and fast panel response made for a good gaming experience, users longed for the superior image quality and viewing angles of IPS screens. Now we're happy to report that the landscape has changed with QHD (2560x1440) offerings from two mainstream companies, Acer and Asus.

We've already covered Acer's superb XB270HU G-Sync screen. Today, we have a FreeSync version from Asus based on the same panel. Introducing, the MG279Q.

Specifications

The core part is the same in both products and comes from AU Optronics; internally it's known as M270DAN02.3. It was first made available in 2014 and runs at 144Hz in its stock form. No further modification is required, which means it will run reliably all day long and every sample works at the peak refresh rate.

The panel offers 8-bit color depth and a white LED arrayed at the edges. Our tests of the Acer version revealed excellent color accuracy, high contrast and superb screen uniformity. It also displays great off-axis image quality thanks to Advanced Hyper Viewing Angle (AHVA) technology, which has already proved itself in the XB270HU.

The only functional difference between the two is the Asus monitor has chosen to employ AMD's FreeSync and therein lies an issue. Because of the chosen scalar chip, the MG279Q's fps-matching range is only 35-90Hz. Now before you throw up your hands in frustration, at least read about our gaming experiences on page seven. It's actually not a big deal in practice.

The other thing left out here is any sort of blur-reduction feature. Since you can't use ULMB at the same time as FreeSync or G-Sync, we don't think it's an issue. After testing many other screens that provide smooth motion, courtesy of their high framerates, we found we didn't use ULMB much at all. Besides, it reduces light output, sometimes significantly.

Does the MG279Q live up to the high standard set by Acer's XB270HU? Let's take a look.

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  • Kridian
    I'll buy one when they get to the $300 mark. Come on OLED, let's push some prices down!
    Reply
  • moogleslam
    Any 21:9 3440x1440p G-Sync/FreeSync monitor reviews on the horizon? Thanks
    Reply
  • ceberle
    Any 21:9 3440x1440p G-Sync/FreeSync monitor reviews on the horizon? Thanks

    I've just finished testing the Acer XR341CK. Look for the review soon!

    -Christian-
    Reply
  • moogleslam
    16520347 said:
    Any 21:9 3440x1440p G-Sync/FreeSync monitor reviews on the horizon? Thanks

    I've just finished testing the Acer XR341CK. Look for the review soon!

    -Christian-

    Awesome Christian - thank you! This week? :) Will you be reviewing the G-Sync version when it comes out also? It's supposedly a little different in that it will be 100Hz whereas the FreeSync is 75Hz. Thanks

    Reply
  • nate1492
    You tested a $600 144hz ips monitor with a $150 graphics card and you didn't push the framerates?

    I don't see the validity of this review, why would you use such a middle range graphics card for a high end monitor? I don't see many people shelling out $600 for monitor and $150 for a gfx card!

    It almost sounds like you chose the amd 285 because you realized it couldn't push the monitor to the upper 100s FPS.
    Reply
  • nate1492
    You tested a $600 144hz ips monitor with a $150 graphics card and you didn't push the framerates?

    I don't see the validity of this review, why would you use such a middle range graphics card for a high end monitor? I don't see many people shelling out $600 for monitor and $150 for a gfx card!

    It almost sounds like you chose the amd 285 because you realized it couldn't push the monitor to the upper 100s FPS.
    Reply
  • TechyInAZ
    Looks good, at least free sync users now get an IPS monitor for themselves.
    Reply
  • picture_perfect
    why would you use such a middle range graphics card for a high end monitor?.

    The results will probably be more in line with people's experience. Great review. I prefer fps over resolution so will pass on this monitor.
    Reply
  • hannibal
    The problem in image quality is when the frame rate drops too low, so not too powerfull GPU is good for testing that. If you have GPU that can run 144 FPS all the time, it does not need G-sync of Freesync...
    And I personally would put any day more money to monitor than graphic card. Good monitor is so much better deal in the long run!
    Reply
  • skit75
    16520396 said:
    You tested a $600 144hz ips monitor with a $150 graphics card and you didn't push the framerates?

    I don't see the validity of this review, why would you use such a middle range graphics card for a high end monitor? I don't see many people shelling out $600 for monitor and $150 for a gfx card!

    It almost sounds like you chose the amd 285 because you realized it couldn't push the monitor to the upper 100s FPS.

    What would be the point of that? It is a QHD IPS panel with a known sync range. If you have a monster GPU, just get a 144Hz monitor and be done. You likely don't need Free-Sync or G-Sync if all your games play at 100FPS +.
    Reply