Update: The ASUS VG278H is now available to buy from select retailers in the United States and United Kingdom, although many retailers are quickly running out of stock. Another piece has been published by 3D Vision Blog. This isn’t as in-depth as éreNuméRique’s testing but reports that the monitor has negligible input lag – music to the ears of gamers. The reviewer also found the gamma to be a bit off at 2.0 using the ‘Standard’ mode which is some way off the target of 2.2, but didn’t explore how this could be rectified using the monitor settings. According to user report the ‘Theatre’ preset improves this.
French technology website (and magazine) éreNuméRique has produced a review of ASUS VG278H in their native French. The website is the first to focus on the monitor itself and not just the Nvidia 3D Vision 2 system which is of course also looked at. The overall tone of the review was positive and it looks as if this could be a very interesting choice as a 27″ gaming monitor for both 2D and 3D.
Some general points were made about the exterior of the monitor which has a good ‘quality feel’ to it with solid black plastics – matte at the back, glossy at the front with a matte screen surface. The screen also features ‘thin bezels’, although from the photography it appears that this is very much a relative term. The monitor was also praised for the good adjustability offered; height, swivel and tilt but not rotation (pivot). The reviewer was also keen to point out that three important inputs were also included on the monitor; VGA for analogue connectivity, DVI Dual Link for 120Hz on the PC and HDMI 1.4a for connection to a games console or suitable Blu-ray player for 3D viewing. éreNuméRique also noted a low power consumption of 27W when the screen is calibrated at 160 cd/m2 but obviously under high luminances (i.e. 3D viewing) this will increase.
When it comes to 2D performance the monitor seemed to tick a lot of the reviewers boxes. As far as colour reproduction goes the subjective assessment was sadly lacking and the review was quite narrowly focussed on colorimeter readings from the centre of the screen – which are only a very small piece of the puzzle. Nonetheless the findings here were positive. The default settings yield a colour temperature of 6800K which is some way off the usual target of 6500K. Around 6600K can be achieved by using ‘sRGB’ mode with further improvements yielded by some manual tweaking. The reviewer found setting the contrast to 60-80 and lowering the red channel from ‘100’ to ‘94’ produced good centre-point colour accuracy. The VG278H also offers a good level of luminance – the maximum brightness recorded was 340 cd/m2 which is ample luminance for 3D using Nvidia 3D Vision 2. The default settings of the ASUS yielded a promising contrast ratio of 967:1 but after calibration this dropped to a fairly average 800:1. The reviewer seemed disappointed with the contrast performance, particularly during dark movie scenes, but it was unclear whether this was based on subjective experience or their relative disappointment at the post-calibration contrast ratio. The review sample showed excellent luminance uniformity on whites – not to take anything away from this, but mileage will vary and due to the viewing angle restrictions on TN panel monitors the bottom of the perceived brightness will vary from top to bottom. Finally the review looked at pixel responsiveness, although no mention was made of input lag. Overdrive levels (‘ASUS TraceFree’) are adjustable and according to testing 80% was the optimal level for gaming offering good responsiveness without problematic artifacts. Some artifacts were noticed in movies though and this called for a reduction in the ‘TraceFree’ level to even things out.
The reviewer seemed thoroughly impressed with the 3D performance of the monitor in both games and movies. It was noted that the new 3D glasses are more comfortable to wear than the predecessors, giving a larger lens area and better clearance around the nose larger and more comfortable around the nose. They are around 6g heavier than the already relatively heavy first generation Nvidia 3D Vision glasses. Given the larger size the weight distribution should cancel this out and the fact that they were specifically noted for their improved comfort is excellent. The overall performance of the glasses was also improved with much less of a dimming effect (contrast reduction) in 3D and the ability to maintain good detail and colour distinctions even in dark areas. éreNuméRique were particularly pleased to find that their experience was not plagued by noticeable cross-talk and ghosting was slight. They wrapped up by saying that it is the best 3D solution they’ve used for movies which certainly contrasts with their findings in 2D.
If the testing presented here is anything to go by then the monitor will certainly be one to look out for if you’re interested in a 27″ gaming monitor and even more so if you’re interested in 3D gaming on an Nvidia-based system. The most obvious comparison to draw is between the ASUS and Samsung’s similarly priced SA750 and SA950 series 3D monitors. Our considerable experience (and indeed physics) strongly suggests that the ASUS monitor won’t share the arresting vibrancy or luminescent purity that was readily apparent from the Samsung S27A750D and its imprssive Ultra Clear Panel. The bezels and screen aren’t as thin and the design isn’t as ‘aesthetically charming’, either, and if you’re an AMD user; you can forget about 3D. But based on this review and other available information the monitor provides a more ‘sensible’ solution which many people will find very appealing. With its matte screen surface you won’t have to worry about ambient reflection hampering the experience. And with the height, swivel and tilt adjustment alongside the ability to VESA mount you have much greater ergonmic flexibility. The screen also offers the widely used DVI Dual Link port, which isn’t an option of the S27A750D (but is on the S27A950D). Finally, if you’re an Nvidia user interested in 3D then it sounds as if the Nvidia 3D Vision 2 experience will set the benchmark as far as 3D goes on the PC going into 2012.