The Asus TUF Gaming VG289Q is exceptionally good out of the box. Calibration is unnecessary, but if you choose to calibrate, some small gains are possible (see our recommended settings).
Grayscale and Gamma Tracking
We describe our grayscale and gamma tests in detail here.
There are no visible grayscale errors in the VG289Q’s default Racing mode. The i1 Pro meter noted a tiny rise in green as brightness increased, but you can’t see this with the naked eye. Gamma also tracked perfectly with no visible aberration. This is an especially good thing because there are no gamma presets available in the OSD. The lack of gamma preset isn’t a big deal, but we’d like to see choices if one wants a darker or lighter presentation.
Switching to User mode allows adjustment of the RGB sliders. Though the gain in accuracy wasn’t visible to the eye, it’s easy to see in the second chart above. Check out the middle Delta E (dE) graph; errors are almost non-existent. Gamma was unchanged as well. It truly doesn’t get better than this.
Asus includes an sRGB mode (third chart above) in the presets, and it locked out all other image controls. Its errors are minimal and will be hard to spot. An average error of 1.91dE is excellent for an unadjusted monitor. Our meter found a slight rise in red, but gamma was just as true as with the other picture modes.
The VG289Q’s Racing mode has a very low grayscale error of 1.65dE out of the box. Therefore, calibration is only necessary if you want the absolute lowest possible numbers. Visually, there was no need for it, as 0.31dE is one of the lowest grayscale tracking scores we’ve recorded. In any case, after calibration (see our recommended settings) we hit professional monitor territory – from a display that costs less than $400.
Gamma was no less impressive with a tiny 0.04 range of values and an average of 2.21. This all bodes well for the color gamut test coming up next.
Color Gamut Accuracy
The Asus TUF Gaming VG289Q is a DCI-P3 monitor. It uses an expanded color gamut for all content, both SDR and HDR. Though there is an sRGB mode in the OSD, it does not reduce color saturation enough to match that standard.
For details on our color gamut testing and volume calculations, click here.
Out of the box, the TUF Gaming VG289Q hit enough of the DCI-P3 targets to post a low error of just 2.033dE. Red, blue, magenta and cyan are within 2dE of the mark, while green and yellow were under-saturated by 10-20%. This didn’t dramatically hurt HDR image quality, but some elements, like grass and sunlight, didn’t have quite as much punch. In other words, such elements didn’t look much different in HDR than if they were rendered in SDR and the sRGB color space.
Calibration lowered the average error a little (second chart), but the image looked the same in our eyes. This was achieved solely with adjustment of the RGB sliders; there was no need to change the color saturation control.
The monitor’s sRGB mode (third chart) did little to shrink the color gamut. When compared to that standard, red was nearly 20% over-saturated at all points. Other colors were only slightly over, which contributed to a low average error level.
Many of the extended color monitors we’ve reviewed only offer the DCI-P3 gamut, so we’re comparing on that basis here. The VG289Q is in excellent company, as none of these displays have visible errors. The Asus boasts slightly better calibrated grayscale numbers and a top gamma result, so overall it has a slight edge on the others.
DCI-P3 gamut volume is a touch over 80%, making the VG289Q last place here. The main reason is because the green primary is 20% under-saturated. On the other hand, there is more than enough sRGB gamut volume, And if you employ a software look-up table, you can even use this monitor for color-critical work in the sRGB realm. But if your work or gaming requires DCI, the VG289Q comes up a little short.
MORE: Best Gaming Monitors
MORE: How We Test Monitors
MORE: All Monitor Content