ASUS RoG Swift PG278Q G-Sync monitor review - The First RoG monitor

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PG278Q uses an anti-glare coated, W-LED backlit, 8-bit TN panel, akin to that of PB287Q, measuring a peak brightness of 313 candelas per square milimeter, which is brighter than the PB287Q, and far too bright for normal eyes under extended use. 

Uniformity

It's no secret that monitors don't have the same image quality across the entirety of their surface. There are many characteristics one can analyse for uniformity, but I am interested in luminance (partly because it's the only one I can consistently, and accurately measure). Of course, the results apply on to the review sample, and testing a different monitor might come with different results altogether.

So, after setting the center of the screen at 220cd/m2, I took 8 other readings from the surrounding regions. 

Here, the monitor performs as expected, just around average. The darkest region was in the bottom-right corner with a 21% deviation from the center. This is slightly noticeable to the naked eye, though not something dramatically so.

Color fidelity

Most gaming screens are concerned with speed. Color accuracy is almost never on the list, so I wasn't expecting stellar results with PG278Q. The fact that it uses a TN-panel, further decreased my expectations.

To my surprise though, the monitor had something to prove. PG-278Q achieved an average Delta-E of 1.6, out of the box (max of 2.5), and a 1.1 Delta-E calibrated at 200cd/m2. This kind of performance is impressive, especially for a gaming monitor.

Contrast

The monitor measured a 0.3362 cd/m2 (uncalibrated, 0.2778 calibrated) black-point, and a static contrast ratio of 933:1, which is fairly decent, close to the advertised 1000:1. Overall, PG278Q sports some impressive numbers, especially for a TN-Panel gaming monitor.

Viewing Angle

ASUS advertises the screen with a 170° vertical range and 160° horizontal viewing angle. However, theres some obvious colorshift and contrast shift going on, especially on the vertical axis. 

As you move from side to side, the screen becomes darker, and a green-ish tint is also added to the mix. Going on the vertical axis, the image becomes washed out, and the corners darken, until the image is akin to 'that of a film-negative. This is something common to TN panel monitors, which often sacrifice image quality for pixel-response time and refresh rate. 

G-Sync

So, since RoG Swift PG278Q is the first G-Sync enabled monitor, I thought it'd be a good idea to lay out what G-Sync iis, and what it's supposed to do. Most screens operate at a fixed refresh rate, that being 60, 120, and even 144Hz. Now, playing almost every game, but most importantly, demanding ones, will cause the frame-rate to vary, sometimes wildly. Now, the GPU renders frames at varying rates, whilst the monitor is fixed. As the GPU works to synchronise with the monitor, persistent tearing occurs. The way to bypass this and create a smoother experience, is with the aid of V-Sync. this option eliminates tearing, but increases lag and stutter as GPU and monitor refresh at different rates (PayDay 2 with V-Sync on is a perfect example of increased lag).

The variable refresh-rate solution is added to monitors allowing them to adopt a variable refresh rate, dynamically modifying the way a monitor behaves in relation to the GPU output and the game's frame-rate. Supposedly, the monitor refresh rate is synchronised with the GPU, which means that you won't get the stutter, or increased lag of V-Sync, nor will you get any visible screen tearing. 

Here's where the previously mentioned games come into play. Using either the built-in benchmark tool, or just playing the game, I registered varying frame-rates frequently, which is something to be expected. With V-Sync turned on, there was a noticeable stutter, especially when playing Battlefield 4, and lag when playing PayDay 2. With G-Sync on however, the results were so much more impressive. However, it's worth noting that the results are most striking when playing at frame-rates lower than 80fps, though they are noticeable even at 144fps. However, input lag is completely gone, at high & low fps.

Power Consumption

The monitor eats up 2watts in idle, 26watts in minimum usage, and 60 in extreme conditions. Day to day, it averages at around 31watts. G-Sync also adds to the consumption, and even though the monitor is in stand-by it will still consume 20+watts until G-Sync is turned off, which might take about 10 minutes.

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