The road to affordable Ultra HD gaming has been a long one. Maybe we aren’t there yet, but we’re getting close. Three years ago the big hurdle was astronomical monitor prices. 32-inch screens for $3000 just didn’t compute for most of us. And none of them were really suitable for gaming. Where was the blur reduction? Where was the adaptive refresh? Where will I find another $1000 for a faster video card?
Well the need for a fast graphics card hasn’t changed, but you might not have to spend quite $1000 to get the necessary processing power; $300-500 should about do it these days. And the prices of decent Ultra HD panels have dropped tremendously. There are plenty of options for well under $1000 that can provide good color accuracy, reasonably fast panel response, low latency and most importantly, adaptive refresh.
The 28-inch TN category continues to be the value leader in Ultra HD displays and with today’s review subject, we can count three such gaming monitors in our database. We first looked at Acer’s XB280HK about a year ago. It offers G-Sync and still represents the premium end of the spectrum. More recently we evaluated AOC’s U2879VF and it to offers class-leading value and excellent performance. Today we have the Asus MG28UQ in our lab.
When we first received our press sample, we were a little confused. This is supposed to be a FreeSync gaming monitor right? A thorough check of the packaging and the Asus website finds no mention of the technology anywhere. Is adaptive refresh so commonplace now that manufacturers don’t even tout it in their marketing?
The MG28UQ is indeed equipped with the necessary DisplayPort firmware to support adaptive sync over a range of 40-60Hz. This smallish window prevents the use of low framerate compensation (LFC) so you’ll have to adjust your gaming detail, or upgrade your video board, to ensure the action remains above 40fps. We don’t consider this a limitation simply because FreeSync or not, games aren’t much fun to play below that speed.
Gaming features aside, Asus’ MG-series represents a good alternative to the more-expensive Republic of Gamers line. You won’t find things like blur-reduction, but the MG28UQ does sport comparable build quality, an internal power supply (rare in 28-inch TN displays), a fully adjustable stand (equally rare in this category), and good value at a street price just over $500.
The panel part is the same one we see in all monitors of this type. It's made by AU Optronics, has a flicker-free backlight and 10-bit color courtesy of FRC. It also offers something we haven’t seen too much of yet: an HDMI 2.0 input. It accepts a full 3840x2160 signal at 60Hz but does not support adaptive refresh.
We’ve reviewed quite a few monitors similar to this one, so it’s time to see what Asus brings to the table in its latest implementation. Let’s take a look.
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