Asus PG279Q ROG Swift 27-inch 165Hz Gaming Monitor Review

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.

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Uncalibrated – Maximum Backlight Level

We've reviewed so many adaptive-refresh monitors over the past 18 months that it was difficult to decide which ones to include in the comparison group. Since the PG279Q is a premium product, that's the direction we went. All the screens here are 27-inch QHD panels with either G-Sync or FreeSync, representing IPS and TN technology. From last year we have the previous ROG Swift PG278Q plus Asus' two FreeSync displays, the MG278Q and MG279Q. Completing the round-up are Acer's XG270HU and XB270HU gaming displays. All are priced at the high end but FreeSync will save you around $200 at the same size and resolution.

There's no shortage of light output from any of the monitors but you can see what a difference the backlight strobing of ULMB makes. This is a 67 percent reduction and that's with both Brightness and Pulse Width at their maximums. Dropping the PW for greater blur-reduction makes the picture even darker.

The reduction in black level is about the same in ULMB mode, which means that contrast isn't affected too greatly. Compared to the rest, the PG279Q comes in mid-pack for blacks. It's a decent panel but the MG279Q and XB270HU are a little better.

Max contrast just cracks the 1000:1 level we look for. One caveat though—this is at the Contrast slider's default setting, which clips detail and reduces gamma accuracy. We'll see how calibration affects the final outcome below.

Uncalibrated – Minimum Backlight Level

Turning Brightness down to zero yields a 61.2828cd/m2 white level. It isn't quite at our preferred 50cd/m2 point but it's close enough for good image quality and gameplay in a completely dark room. The MG278Q and XB270HU are pretty much unusable at their minimum settings.

The PG279Q's minimum black level is consistent with the results we've recorded so far. The only way to do any better is with an AMVA display like the BenQ XR3501, but that means giving up both vertical resolution and adaptive refresh.

This represents very consistent contrast performance through the entire range of the backlight. But as we said above, there are bright-level detail issues associated with an incorrectly set contrast slider. We'll see how the fix affects the results now.

After Calibration to 200cd/m2

After calibration, the PG279Q retains its third-place standing in the black level test. The adjustment doesn't seem to affect the quality of low-end image detail.

We thought reducing the Contrast slider eight steps would kill the contrast ratio but it has only come down a small amount to our great relief. The drop is a mere seven percent, which is not much at all. What is obvious is the huge improvement in highlight detail and mid-range color saturation. The best IPS gaming monitors are based on the part shared by the MG279Q and XB270HU but the PG279Q isn't too far behind. So you aren't giving up any image quality to go with G-Sync and a super-high refresh rate.

ANSI Contrast Ratio

ANSI contrast is affected by a panel's uniformity, hence the lower result here. We could see slight hotspots at the upper-left and lower-right portions of our PG279Q sample. It doesn't impact most content but in very dark material, those corners look a bit washed-out.

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  • TechyInAZ
    That is one sweet monitor! I can't imagine how good the OLED versions will be. : )

    It's interesting to note that this monitor is actually more demanding than a 4k 60hz monitor. Even though this is only a 2k monitor, it actually has nearly 3x the Hz compared to it's 4k counterparts, making it not supprising that you need at least dual GTX 980tis/Titan Xes to run everything at good settings.
  • Epsilon_0EVP
    This isn't the first 165Hz+ monitor. Plenty of CRT's could achieve around 200Hz at low resolutions, and that was over 10 years ago.
  • Uri___Pisarev
    I don't know, i went from a 32 inch TV to a 34 inch ultra wide Dell. I feel like i can still use a bigger monitor, anything sub 30 is just too small.
  • ubercake
    What I like about these G-sync monitors is you don't have to use an SLI setup to push maximum framerates to minimize perceivable tearing. Ever since the GTX 980 and the Asus PG278Q, all I've needed for great smooth video performance is a G-sync monitor and a single video card. I don't need 165Hz/165fps. I just need smooth gaming through the gamut of my GTX 980's performance whether the framerates are in the 30s or 100s, it's still smooth; no tearing. This G-sync is great tech.

    Now add the PG279Q's fast IPS performance and better contrast to the mix and it seems like an intriguing proposition...
  • Robert Dunlop
    I bought the Acer XB27HU with 165hz and what l wasn't prepared for was how fun these types of monitors make playing games again.

    The reviewer is spot on.
  • Uri___Pisarev
    Quote:
    That is one sweet monitor! I can't imagine how good the OLED versions will be. : ) It's interesting to note that this monitor is actually more demanding than a 4k 60hz monitor. Even though this is only a 2k monitor, it actually has nearly 3x the Hz compared to it's 4k counterparts, making it not supprising that you need at least dual GTX 980tis/Titan Xes to run everything at good settings.


    So you need to spend over 2K to really enjoy the product? That's insane to be honest. If you are a regular person out there and all you are willing to spend is $200 on the card (most common option that people chose) that means you will be able to buy that card and fully maxout this monitor oh in about 7 years or so, that's how long it will take for a GTX960 equivalent to be as powerful as 2 980ti's.
  • TechyInAZ
    2160553 said:
    Quote:
    That is one sweet monitor! I can't imagine how good the OLED versions will be. : ) It's interesting to note that this monitor is actually more demanding than a 4k 60hz monitor. Even though this is only a 2k monitor, it actually has nearly 3x the Hz compared to it's 4k counterparts, making it not supprising that you need at least dual GTX 980tis/Titan Xes to run everything at good settings.
    So you need to spend over 2K to really enjoy the product? That's insane to be honest. If you are a regular person out there and all you are willing to spend is $200 on the card (most common option that people chose) that means you will be able to buy that card and fully maxout this monitor oh in about 7 years or so, that's how long it will take for a GTX960 equivalent to be as powerful as 2 980ti's.


    G sync will help with that.

    Plus, like the reviewer said, this monitor is has future proofing in mind. It's designed for future cards that can handle this kind of product.
  • toddybody
    I sold my G-Sync 4K panel for a DELL 2716DG (27"@1440p G-Sync 144hz)...90fps has become the new 60fps for me. Can't tell folks how huge it is to go past 60hz.
  • agentsi1511
    Quote:
    That is one sweet monitor! I can't imagine how good the OLED versions will be. : ) It's interesting to note that this monitor is actually more demanding than a 4k 60hz monitor. Even though this is only a 2k monitor, it actually has nearly 3x the Hz compared to it's 4k counterparts, making it not supprising that you need at least dual GTX 980tis/Titan Xes to run everything at good settings.



    This is totally wrong, don't mislead people researching things. I have the Acer XB270HU and run everything at max settings on single GTX 970. IT is not more demanding than a 4k monitor in anyway. As someone with Techy in their name I would imagine you had a clue about this.
  • TechyInAZ
    893570 said:
    Quote:
    That is one sweet monitor! I can't imagine how good the OLED versions will be. : ) It's interesting to note that this monitor is actually more demanding than a 4k 60hz monitor. Even though this is only a 2k monitor, it actually has nearly 3x the Hz compared to it's 4k counterparts, making it not supprising that you need at least dual GTX 980tis/Titan Xes to run everything at good settings.
    This is totally wrong, don't mislead people researching things. I have the Acer XB270HU and run everything at max settings on single GTX 970. IT is not more demanding than a 4k monitor in anyway. As someone with Techy in their name I would imagine you had a clue about this.


    What games do you play?
  • agentsi1511
    Quote:
    Quote:
    That is one sweet monitor! I can't imagine how good the OLED versions will be. : ) It's interesting to note that this monitor is actually more demanding than a 4k 60hz monitor. Even though this is only a 2k monitor, it actually has nearly 3x the Hz compared to it's 4k counterparts, making it not supprising that you need at least dual GTX 980tis/Titan Xes to run everything at good settings.
    So you need to spend over 2K to really enjoy the product? That's insane to be honest. If you are a regular person out there and all you are willing to spend is $200 on the card (most common option that people chose) that means you will be able to buy that card and fully maxout this monitor oh in about 7 years or so, that's how long it will take for a GTX960 equivalent to be as powerful as 2 980ti's.


    No, he is wrong, a single GTX 970 will handle this just fine at 1440p and 144hz ( Assuming you have a decent i5 or i7 cpu or amd equivalent ). The refresh rate itself doesn't add to system performance degradation, but scaling the resolution would. Hence why you need 2 high end cards to run anything at max settings on ''4k'', and even that isn't enough most of the time.
  • agentsi1511
    1695593 said:
    893570 said:
    Quote:
    That is one sweet monitor! I can't imagine how good the OLED versions will be. : ) It's interesting to note that this monitor is actually more demanding than a 4k 60hz monitor. Even though this is only a 2k monitor, it actually has nearly 3x the Hz compared to it's 4k counterparts, making it not supprising that you need at least dual GTX 980tis/Titan Xes to run everything at good settings.
    This is totally wrong, don't mislead people researching things. I have the Acer XB270HU and run everything at max settings on single GTX 970. IT is not more demanding than a 4k monitor in anyway. As someone with Techy in their name I would imagine you had a clue about this.
    What games do you play?


    Been playing a lot of CoD Black Ops 3 lately, Guild Wars 2, Diablo 3, Shadows or mordor when really bored.
  • Thomas_123
    A TN + Film Panel is an Advantage.
    IPS is too slow.
  • TechyInAZ
    I guess what I'm not understanding is how a gtx 970 is fine for 165fps at 2k while it can't even do well at 60hz in 4k? That doesn't make sence to me.
  • agentsi1511
    2182520 said:
    A TN + Film Panel is an Advantage. IPS is too slow.


    1695593 said:
    I guess what I'm not understanding is how a gtx 970 is fine for 165fps at 2k while it can't even do well at 60hz in 4k? That doesn't make sence to me.


    The objective of 165hz isn't for you to reach that many frames per seconds(would be great if you could, but not realistic) . It allows for more refreshes in-between frames as well. That with the addition of G-Sync allow for the "smooth as glass" type images you see from people using these monitors. 2560x1440 is only 3.686 million pixels, 3840*2160 is 8.294 million pixels. HUGE difference when it comes to processing power on your GPU. If you get 60 fps on 1440p, you'll get less than 30 fps on 4k.
  • DookieDraws
    Note: The Amazon link for buying the monitor is linking to the older model! Here's the link to the monitor featured in this review, the ASUS ROG SWIFT PG279Q
    http://www.amazon.com/SWIFT-PG279Q-Screen-LED-Lit-Monitor/dp/B017EVR2VM/ref=sr_1_1?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1456168896&sr=1-1&keywords=Asus+PG279Q
  • TechyInAZ
    893570 said:
    2182520 said:
    A TN + Film Panel is an Advantage. IPS is too slow.
    1695593 said:
    I guess what I'm not understanding is how a gtx 970 is fine for 165fps at 2k while it can't even do well at 60hz in 4k? That doesn't make sence to me.
    The objective of 165hz isn't for you to reach that many frames per seconds(would be great if you could, but not realistic) . It allows for more refreshes in-between frames as well. That with the addition of G-Sync allow for the "smooth as glass" type images you see from people using these monitors. 2560x1440 is only 3.686 million pixels, 3840*2160 is 8.294 million pixels. HUGE difference when it comes to processing power on your GPU. If you get 60 fps on 1440p, you'll get less than 30 fps on 4k.


    Oh ok. Cause for me, when I want to buy a monitor, I want to get the fully blown 165fps out of it. Not being able to max out the refresh rate on a monitor your buying that expensive is dumb in my opinion.
  • ubercake
    If you're shooting for full details and high minimum or average framerates close to 165Hz/165fps at 2560x1440 and have the hardware to do this, I'd say don't spend the premium on something that says G-sync as the strength of G-sync tech lies in eliminating tearing from a range of 30Hz/30fps to the monitor's maximum potential refresh rate (and a matching corresponding framerate).

    You either pay for the performance once with the G-sync monitor or you keep buying a multi-card setup to push framerates higher to reduce perceivable tearing (even though it's still there).
  • Robert Dunlop
    It's not dumb at all its called planning for the future. When nVidia gets their new cards out this year l will be all over it. I have a 970 and a i7 4790K and yeah its certainly not the best card out there but it will do for now. Techy it's not just about fps dude! If it was then l wouldn't have upgraded. Its about the IPS and Gsync for me. The color on this monitor is what l notice the most, it's beautiful to look at. So what l can't do 165 fps but l will in this monitors lifetime. Oh and l got the new October model of the XB27HU for $566 on sale. :-)
  • TechyInAZ
    1752750 said:
    It's not dumb at all its called planning for the future. When nVidia gets their new cards out this year l will be all over it. I have a 970 and a i7 4790K and yeah its certainly not the best card out there but it will do for now. Techy it's not just about fps dude! If it was then l wouldn't have upgraded. Its about the IPS and Gsync for me. The color on this monitor is what l notice the most, it's beautiful to look at. So what l can't do 165 fps but l will in this monitors lifetime. Oh and l got the new October model of the XB27HU for $566 on sale. :-)


    Understood. Yeah sorry, I'm typically an FPS dude. I really don't like the latency that comes from not being at the maximum/equal refresh rate.

    I also forgot that the monitor included G sync. My bad. :)
  • 10tacle
    I've been on a Dell IPS 60Hz 1440p monitor with 970 SLI for nearly two years now. I do overclock the monitor to 80Hz for games and then Vsync cap it since it's a waste of GPU power/heat beyond that anyway.

    The two primary reasons I have not gone for a G-Sync monitor in the past were because of price and them being TN panels. Sure, TN panels these days are much better than in years past and when calibrated with a decent tool like from X-Rite or Datacolor, can be real close to IPS quality. But a TN's viewing angle still falls short of IPS.

    Optimally I'd like to run 100-120FPS in games at the full capability of my GPU power. G-Sync would fit that bill, but at the price point even though it's AHVA-IPS, I'm still not feeling the love at $800(US). For $600, then I'll seriously consider it even though I've tried two different ASUS PB278Q 1440p monitors and had to return them both due to poor quality (too many dead pixels on one, severe light bleed on the other)...the reason I gave up and went Dell.
  • Robert Dunlop
    I didn't understand the difference between TN and IPS but l sure do now, it's a real treat. I also didn't understand how important the color gamut error was either but trust me, l don't need 165fps to kill you in any fps. :-)
  • sect
    "Each screen is tested for stability before leaving the factory so you can be sure that every sample runs at the advertised speed."

    I'm sorry to inform, but this monitor has been riddled with unacceptable QC problems. A quick google and you will find countless comments of people RMA'ing upto 5-6 panels before they got a good one.

    I strongly encourage anyone interested in buying one of these to check this video where they compared a big pool of the monitor, and around half and over were terrible with bleed.

    https://goo.gl/arzccq

    Add to that Asus not saying anything officially should inform you about what you're getting into.

    If you get a good sample, awesome. Be prepared to spend a lot of waiting around and stress though if you luck out (high chance of this). Pretty unacceptable for such a pricey product.

    Did reviewers not know about this?
  • chenw
    I currently have PG278Q (the TN one) and have seen the PG279Q personally at one of the IT conventions in Taipei near the end of last year, as well as XB271HU (the refresh version of XB270HU), they have the PG279Q on both static display and for racing. I was in the market for an IPS monitor to complement my PG278Q, but the largest constraint was that the IPS glow MUST be less noticeable than PG278Q's BLB.

    My immediate conclusion to the monitors are:

    1) The response times on the PG279Q wasn't noticeable (they were demonstrating a racing game). Actually the only time I really notice blurring was when I switched from PG278Q and BL3201PT to compare the IQ of the two, but the blurring largely disappears after several minutes. So, IMHO, the response time difference between the monitors are mostly on paper. Some people may notice it more.

    2) IPS Glow: XB271HU completely blows PG279Q out of the water on this one. The Acer stand allowed me to see a fully black screen, and my immediate reaction was that XB271HU's glow is comparable to that of PG278Q, but PG279Q was woeful. I concentrated on a black patch of a webpage (the Asus stand won't let me change the picture), and it was placed right next to a white background, which should make IPS glow less noticeable (due to perceived contrast), but it was actually MORE noticeable in that configuration than Acer's completely black screen. So for all intents and purposes, I struck off PG279Q as a possible purchase. I was completely unwilling to sacrifice black levels for viewing angles.

    3) Price: PG279Q and XB271HU costs the same here, but cost is somewhat irrelevant to me at the price range (sub $1000), I was more than willing to spend extra on a better monitor.

    In the end, I settled on BL3201PT. XB271HU might have swayed me if I was looking into replacing my PG278Q, but I wasn't, though if I was doing it all over again, Acer would be my first pick, followed by PG278Q, THEN PG279Q. YMMV as I have a greater tolerance towards TN and far less tolerance towards IPS glow.