The Good The Asus VG278H delivers great 3D performance, a superfast refresh rate, and useful ergonomic options.
The Bad The monitor is expensive considering what it offers. In addition, access to connections can be surprising, there is significant backlight bleeding, and navigation on the screen is clumsy and intrusive.
The Bottom Line The Asus VG278H has great 3D performance and fast refresh rates, but is a little too expensive for what it offers.
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When it debuted several years ago, the Nvidia 3D Vision Kit requires four components to work properly: 3D glasses, an Nvidia video card, a compatible display, and a separate 3D emitter connected to USB.
Little has changed since the debut. But, while all four of these things are still needed, some manufacturers have come up with a way to make the process a little simpler, and instead of a separate USB device, Asus plugs the emitter into the monitor.
Design and features
When you first look at the Asus VG278H, it’s hard to ignore its most aesthetic feature: a built-in 3D emitter. At the top of the panel, above the top panel, is an integrated Nvidia 3D emitter with Ready-to-Play 3D Games and Videos, in fine print, in case its purpose is unclear. Previously, a separate USB-3D emitter was required to provide Nvidia-style 3D shutter performance. The emitter was plugged in with a USB cable, and while not intrusive to the experience, it still added clutter. Making it part of the monitor will put it out of the way, and adjusting the angle means that you can still fine-tune the signal it emits.
The monitor has a 27-inch screen with a resolution of 1 920×180 pixels. The full width of the panel is 25.3 inches, the left and right frames are 0.76 inches wide. The panel is unusually deep for an LED-twisted nematic (TN) display, starting at 1 inch and extending another 1.8 inches to enable connection and ventilation.
The height of the VG278H is adjustable, at the bottom of the panel, 2.1 inches from the desktop at the lowest height and 5.9 inches at the highest. There is also the possibility of tilting back by 15 degrees. Fortunately, the monitor rotates, but unfortunately the panel rotation takes more physical effort than you would expect, and it seems like a little WD-40 would win. 9.9-inch round footrest; however, even with its wide dimensions, the monitor oscillates like a crazy Weeble when it is tapped even slightly, regardless of the current height of the screen. Unscrewing the footrest from the panel, fortunately, a VESA wall mount option is found, allowing you to get around any swing issues if you wish. Erection option is not enabled; Although this usually does not cause much of a problem, this feature will come in handy when trying to access connections located in a downward-facing corner that is securely (and annoyingly) covered by the neck of the stand.
Connections include HDMI, DVI and VGA. There are also two audio connectors: one that allows you to build speakers, and another for headphone connection.
The on-screen display array is located in the lower-right corner of the panel and contains six buttons located at the bottom edge: on the left – the S button, the A button, the volume down / speaker button, the menu, the up / brightness button and the source. The power button is located right to the right. On-screen menu options include brightness, contrast; seven different presets (scenery, theater, games, night view, sRGB and standard), three different color temperature options, as well as the ability to adjust the red, green and blue values separately.
The actual interface navigation, however, is a bit clumsy. First, the Menu button functions like the Enter button. It’s confusing, but you get used to it after a while. While navigating, the S button functions as a “back” or “previous menu” button, which looks strange because it is located infarto the left, not directly to the left of the Menu button. In addition, when adjusting the red, green, and blue values, the arrow buttons no longer act as navigation buttons, but are instead used to adjust the values. The menu then becomes the only navigation button to be pressed until the next menu selection. Excuse me, please, the irony of my perverted and possibly confusing explanation of why the VG278H interface is perverted and confusing. I just think it’s worth noting, because I’d like to see how Asus has improved on subsequent monitors.
As for the overall build quality, I wouldn’t call the monitorbadlybuilt, I also would not go out of my way to say that it is also well built. It has a plastic look, without giving too much of an impression.
The monitor includes Nvidia’s 3D Vision 2 glasses, which are more comfortable to fit than first-generation glasses. Thanks to their much thicker border, they also do a much better job keeping the outside light.
|Design and feature highlights|
|Connectivity:||DVI, HDMI, VGA|
|Ergonomic options:||15-degree back tilt, 4.5-inch height adjustment|
|Audio:||Built-in speakers; headphones jack|
|VESA wall-mount support:||Yes|
|Included video cables:||DVI, VGA|
|Number of presets:||6|
|Picture options:||Brightness, contrast|
|Color controls:||RGB and 3 color temperature options|
|Additional features:||Nvidia 3D, 120Hz refresh rate|
I tested the Asus VG278H through its DVI input connected to a Windows Vista PC using a DVI cable. The display shows a composite score of 91 on CNET lab performance tests.
DisplayMate:VG278H displayed light gray to 253; 255 is considered white, and every level between it and 1 is a variation of gray, so 253 is quite high. As for the dark gray, the VG278H easily displays up to level 2, keeping the color black, indicating that the display is capable of storing dark details during dark scenes in movies.
The VG278H was excellent in most color tests, but showed a slight tendency to flush out some light colors. During a test on the DisplayMate dark screen, the monitor offered one of the worst bad cases of backlight bleeding I’ve seen lately, with very noticeable light penetration in almost every part of the screen.
Text:The black text on the white looked clear, with no obvious color-tone issues. The fonts were also clearly visible up to 6.8 points.
Movies:I tested the Asus VG278H using the Blu-ray version of Avatar. The theater pre-set too much green, but I found a nice color balance using the standard preset and lowering the green between 80 and 84. Dark details could be seen in the dark scenes and the overall brightness was quite high.
Games:When evaluating the appearance of games on your monitor, the two most important features to consider are brightness and color. If games with bright and clear clarity can be displayed on the monitor, it contributes to the benefits. If colors can also appear with fullness and depth, games can usually look great. Shooting causes a lot of concern, which, to be honest, is not very common for most modern monitors, but if you are concerned, be sure to read the last paragraph in this section.
The input lag is different, that is, simply put, the time it takes to enter an action using the keyboard, mouse, or gamepad before you see the action appear on the screen. Each monitor has a degree of input lag, but only a very small percentage of people even notice it. That being said, I don’t think it’s something I value enough to test. PSA, above.
Using the pre-installed game, Dragon Age II looked a little too hazy and fuzzy. It is best to use a pre-set landscape instead when the images remain bright and the contrast is high. You will see a bit of a green boost, but like the movies, switching to “Standard” and reducing “green” to about 80 wonders. However, you may lose some energy.
To check the refresh rate, I used DisplayMate graphics motion tests and looked at a number of colored blocks as they moved across the screen at different speeds. When the monitor refresh rate went up to 120 Hz, I witnessed some of the smallest effects I have seen on any monitor. Fortunately, this is a bit of a hassle when playing games. While panning the camera in the first-person shooter, the blurring of the screen was not so noticeable.
The Asus VG278H basks in the overcast sky (photos)
3D performance:I used Crysis 2 to evaluate the 3D VG278H’s capabilities. Thanks to the Nvidia 3D Vision Kit from LightBoost, the monitor got the best 3D I’ve ever seen on a monitor. LightBoost delivers brighter images than is typical with 3D, and the several levels of depth demonstrated in the Crysis 2 interface were impressive. Even increasing the depth of 3D to its maximum, the effect has never felt disoriented or distracting, with one exception. Each time a text card prompted me on the keyboard, my eyes felt the familiar pull effect and took a few seconds to adjust.
Photos:In the standard program, the VG278H colors are sometimes so slightly submerged in a greenish tint on the face and light hair, but the bright colors of the outfit and surroundings are filled with brightness.
Viewing angle:The optimum viewing angle for the monitor is usually directly in front, about a quarter of the screen down from the top. At this angle, you view the colors as intended by the manufacturer. Most monitors are not designed to be viewed from any other angle. The image quality at sub-optimal angle depends on the type of panel. Most monitors use TN panels that are too bright or too dark on parts of the screen, if you do not look at optimal angles.
Anti-glare (AG) coating also plays a role. Some viewers prefer not to cover at all, while others prefer only a limited number. Others are completely indifferent; however, AG coverage does not adversely affect quality, and its merits or lack thereof are purely a matter of preference.
The VG278H uses a TN panel that provides narrow viewing angles. Here, the color and contrast changes are clearly visible only a few centimeters from the center. The viewing angle seemed even more sensitive than other TN panels because I kept changing the screen after changing my position for just a few inches.
The AG coating works great here, keeping almost all of the reflections.
|Asus VG278H||Average watts per hour|
|On (default luminance)||46.8|
|On (max luminance)||46.8|
|On (min luminance)||25.3|
|Calibrated (200 cd/m2)||32.8|
|Annual power consumption cost||$14.47|
Energy consumption:The Asus VG278H only achieved fair power consumption, with the default power / on power being 46.8 watts, compared to the Samsung SyncMaster S23A750D’s 20.8 watts in the same test.
In our sleep / standby test, the VG278H was 0.74 watts and the S23A750D just over 0.8 watts. Based on our formula, the VG278H will have a slightly higher cost, with an annual draw of $ 14.47 a year, compared to $ 13.35 a year on the S23A750D.
Brightness (cd / m2)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Dell UltraSharp U2410
434 Asus VG278H
396 NEC MultiSync PA271W
346Samsung SyncMaster PX2370
344 Dell UltraSharp U2711
333Samsung SyncMaster T27A950D
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
NEC MultiSync PA271W
1,035:1Samsung SyncMaster PX2370
1,008:1 Asus VG278H
955:1 Dell UltraSharp U2711
947:1 Dell UltraSharp U2410
921:1Samsung SyncMaster T27A950D
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
NEC MultiSync PA271W
98 Dell UltraSharp U2711
98Samsung SyncMaster PX2370
96 Dell UltraSharp U2410
94 Asus VG278H
91Samsung SyncMaster T27A950D
Learn more about how we test LCD monitors.
Service and support
Asus supports the VG278H with a three year warranty on the backlight and panel. This includes the Zero Bright Dot warranty, which promises to replace your monitor completely if stuck pixels are found. The company also offers support through 24-7 toll free number, email and web chat. At the time of this review, there were no drivers on the company’s website for the VG278H; this is strange given that the monitor was released weeks ago. This, of course, is not a deal breaker – the monitor has these files – but online storage for such support is always welcome. However, a monitor guide is available on the site.
The VG278H outperforms 3D, and its 120GHz refresh rate creates a noticeable (if you’re looking for it) improvement in gaming blur. 3D technology does not yet have a compelling argument to convince me to appreciate it the way I am sure most movie and video game companies out there would like me. However, when all is well done, providing props is justified.
Normal games and movies performed well after cracks, but didn’t fit the best monitors. In addition, its connection options are difficult to access, and the OSD has a clunky design, but I appreciate the ergonomic settings.
For $ 600, you get a 27-inch monitor that makes great 3D, but not much else. If you ride high on a 3D noise train and don’t mind the price, this is probably the best pure 3D monitor. For passive 3D fans and those who are not interested in extra dimension, there are better options.