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Over the last year or so we've seen some really positive steps forward when it comes to gaming monitors. We've seen the arrival of higher resolutions in top-end gaming screens, pushing beyond 1920 x 1080 and up to 2560 x 1440. We've seen the successful arrival of high refresh rate IPS-type panels finally in this sector in the form of the Acer XB270HU, offering buyers something beyond the wide range of TN Film panels out there in the market. We've also seen a significant development when it comes to handling refresh rates from the graphics card side of things, with the arrival of adaptive refresh rate technologies from both NVIDIA (G-sync) and AMD (FreeSync).

The Acer XB270HU we tested in February was a significant change in the gaming monitor market, bringing users a high refresh 144Hz IPS-type panel with 2560 x 1440 resolution and support for NVIDIA G-sync technology. Until now Acer have had the monopoly on high refresh IPS gaming, but we now have with us the new Asus MG279Q display. This features the same 1440p panel and 144Hz refresh rate support, but is combined here with AMD FreeSync technology as opposed to NVIDIA's version. We will of course compare the two displays throughout this review and see whether the MG279Q can deliver another sterling IPS gaming experience like we saw from the Acer.

Incidentally, the last Asus gaming screen we tested was the excellent Asus ROG Swift PG278Q, a bench-mark for TN Film gaming excellence. That model offered a 1440p TN Film panel, 144Hz refresh rate and NVIDIA G-sync support. It should be noted that the MG279Q does not form part of Asus' ROG (Republic of Gamers) brand. A new ROG Swift PG279Q monitor is planned for later this year which will feature the same 144Hz IPS-type panel as this MG279Q but with ROG branding, and a return to NVIDIA G-sync instead of FreeSync. A quick summary of the key features of the screens we've just talked about is below for reference to try and make that a bit clearer:

Acer Predator XB270HU

Asus MG279Q

Asus ROG Swift PG278Q

Asus ROG Swift PB279Q

  • Available now

  • IPS-type panel

  • 2560 x 1440

  • 144Hz

  • G-sync

  • ULMB

  • Available now

  • IPS-type panel

  • 2560 x 1440

  • 144Hz

  • FreeSync

  • Available now

  • TN Film panel

  • 2560 x 1440

  • 144Hz

  • G-sync

  • ULMB

  • Expected late 2015

  • IPS-type panel

  • 2560 x 1440

  • 144Hz

  • G-sync

  • ULMB

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Specifications and Features

The following table gives detailed information about the specs of the screen:

Monitor Specifications


27"WS (68.47 cm)

Panel Coating

Light AG coating

Aspect Ratio



1x DisplayPort 1.2
1x Mini DisplayPort 1.2



2560 x 1440

Pixel Pitch

0.233 mm

Design colour

Matte black bezel and stand, some minor red trim in places

Response Time

4ms G2G


Tilt, 150mm height, swivel and rotate

Static Contrast Ratio


Dynamic Contrast Ratio

100 million:1

VESA Compatible

Yes 100mm


350 cd/m2


Power, DisplayPort to Mini DisplayPort, USB cables

Viewing Angles

178 / 178

Panel Technology

AU Optronics AHVA (IPS-type)


net: 7.3Kg

Backlight Technology


Physical Dimensions

(WxHxD) with stand:
625 x 559 x 238 mm

Colour Depth

16.78m (8-bit)

Refresh Rate

144Hz max
FreeSync range 35 - 90Hz

Special Features

2x USB 3.0 ports (with charging capability), headphone port, AMD FreeSync, 2x 2W speakers

Colour Gamut

Standard gamut
~sRGB, ~72% NTSC

The MG279Q offers a decent range of connectivity options with DisplayPort, Mini DisplayPort and 2x HDMI 1.4 (with MHL support) provided. The screen is not limited to DisplayPort-only like G-sync screens are, including the rival Acer XB270HU (a limitation of the current G-sync module from NVIDIA), as FreeSync allows for other connections to still be offered on the screen, even though the DisplayPort is the only one to support the actual FreeSync technology. That is certainly a pro for FreeSync over G-sync The digital interfaces are HDCP certified for encrypted content and the video cables are provided in the box for DisplayPort to Mini DisplayPort only, along with a USB cable.

Above: Asus MG279Q boxed up

The screen has an internal power supply but comes packaged with the power cable you need. There are also 2x USB 3.0 ports, located on the bottom edge of the back section next to the video and power connections. They have charging capabilities as well. There are also some basic 2x 2W integrated speakers, but no further extras like card readers, ambient light sensors or human motion sensors provided as those are more aimed at office uses, while this is primarily a gaming screen.

Below is a summary of the features and connections of the screen:


Yes / No


Yes / No

Tilt adjust


Height adjust


Swivel adjust


Rotate adjust


VESA compliant


USB 2.0 Ports


USB 3.0 Ports

Audio connection

Card Reader

HDCP Support

Ambient Light Sensor

MHL Support

Human Motion Sensor

Integrated Speakers

Touch Screen

PiP / PbP

Factory Calibration

Blur Reduction Mode

Hardware calibration


Uniformity correction


Design and Ergonomics

Above: front views of the screen. Click for larger versions

The MG279Q comes in an all black design with matte plastics used for the bezel and base. There is a slight red trim design in places, such s the "Supreme Gaming Experience" writing on the base of the stand, and the cable tidy clip on the back of the stand (see below). There is a shiny silver Asus logo in the middle of the bottom bezel and DisplayPort, HDMI and MHL logos in a matte grey font on the lower left hand corner of the bezel. Apart from that there's no model designation on the screen visible. The bezel is nice and thin, measuring ~13mm thickness along the sides and top, and ~16mm along the bottom edge. A small subtle power LED is just about visible on the bottom edge of the screen in the right hand corner, glowing  white during normal operation and amber in standby. The OSD control buttons are marked on the front bezel in the bottom right hand area, but the actual buttons are located on the back edge of the screen (which we will show you in a moment).

Above: view of the base of the stand. Click for larger version

The base of the stand is pretty big, but provides a sturdy base for the screen. There's some red writing on the front of the stand as you can see above, and some "Maya gaming" pattern on the plastic sides as well.

The OSD control buttons and joystick are located on the back right hand edge of the screen (if you were looking at the screen from the front). The red cable tidy clip can be detached if you want as well from the back of the stand.

Above: rear view of the screen. Click for larger version

The back of the screen is also finished in matte black plastic, with some sections being smooth and some being "dotted".

The stand is also easily detached via a button and the screen can be VESA mounted (100 x 100mm) if required.

There is a full range of ergonomic adjustments offered from the stand as well which is great to see as detailed above.

Above: full range of tilt adjustment shown. Click for larger versions

The tilt function is smooth but quite stiff to move, but it does offer a wide range of angles to choose from as shown above.

Above: full range of height adjustment shown. Click for larger versions

Height adjustment is also smooth but stiff, but still offering a very good range of adjustment again. At the lowest height setting the bottom edge of the screen is approximately 40mm from the edge of the desk. At the maximum setting it is ~190mm, and so there is a 150 mm total adjustment range available here.

Side to side swivel has a smooth movement but is heavy to move since the whole screen is turned side to side on a small rotating section in the base. Rotation in to portrait mode is also very stiff to move. Overall when making adjustments to your viewing angle and position the screen has some low levels of wobble. It is sturdy though during normal uses on the desk.

A summary of the screens ergonomic adjustments is shown below:




Ease of Use




Quite stiff











Quite Smooth

Very Stiff


Good range of adjustments  offered, although quite stiff to move most of them.

The materials were of a good standard and the build quality felt good as well. There was no audible noise from the screen, even when conducting specific tests which can often identify buzzing issues. The whole screen remained very cool even during prolonged use as well which was pleasing.

Above: rear views of the screen showing connections.

The back of the screen provides all the connections as listed and shown above.


OSD Menu

Above: OSD control buttons on the back right hand edge and labels on front bezel.
Click for larger versions

The OSD menu is accessed and controlled through a series 5 pressable buttons and one joystick (also pressable) located on the back right hand edge of the screen, as looking at it from the front. The location of these buttons is labelled on the front bezel as well as shown so you know where they are. Feeling behind the screen is actually pretty easy as well, and it's easy to select the right button as they are nice and big and obvious to the touch.

There is quick access to the video input selection and 'GameVisual' menu as shown above. The latter being a series of preset modes basically. There are several preset modes geared at different gaming uses here as you can see.

There is also quick access to the 'GamePlus' options with cross hair and timer settings if you want to play with them.

Pressing the joystick button in then brings up the main OSD menu as shown above. This is split in to 7 sections down the left hand side, with options available in each shown on the right hand side. The first section allows you to change the 'GameVisual' preset mode if you want.

The second section is dedicated to the Blue Light Filter settings, with 5 levels available.

The third section has controls for brightness, contrast and colour levels. There are some pre-defined colour temperature modes and a user configurable option as well.

The fourth section has some controls for useful settings like Trace Free (overdrive control), aspect ratio control, dynamic contrast ratio (ACR) and FreeSync.

The fifth section allows you to switch between video inputs.

The sixth section allows you to control various things relating to the system, including the volume, OSD itself etc. There are some further options in this section if you go in to it and select "more":

The additional options in the 'system setup' menu are shown above.

The 'MyFavourite' menu allows you to set and save 4 favourite modes if you want to.

Navigation was quick, easy and intuitive and the joystick control made that nice and simple. There were lots of options to adjust as well, so all in all a good menu here.


Power Consumption

In terms of power consumption the manufacturer lists typical usage of <38.7W (based on ES 6.0 according to the spec page), and<0.5W in standby. We carried out our normal tests to establish its power consumption ourselves.

State and Brightness Setting

Manufacturer Spec (W)

Measured Power Usage (W)

Default (90%)



Calibrated (31%)



Maximum Brightness (100%)



Minimum Brightness (0%)






We tested this ourselves and found that out of the box the screen used 39.6W at the default 90% brightness setting. Once calibrated the screen reached 24.9W consumption, and in standby it used only 0.5W. We have plotted these results below compared with other screens we have tested. The calibrated consumption is comparable actually to the other W-LED backlit displays we have tested, with slightly higher usage from larger screens like the Dell U3415W and LG 34UM95.

Panel and Backlighting

Panel Manufacturer

AU Optronics

Colour Palette

16.7 million

Panel Technology

AHVA (IPS-type)

Colour Depth


Panel Module


Colour space

Standard gamut

Backlighting Type


Colour space coverage (%)

~sRGB, ~72% NTSC

Panel Part and Colour Depth

The Asus MG279Q features an AU Optronics M270DAN02.3 AHVA (IPS-type) panel which is capable of producing 16.78 million colours. The panel offers an 8-bit colour depth and the part is confirmed when dismantling the screen as shown below. We want to try and ensure there's no confusion between AHVA and IPS as well at this juncture. AHVA (Advanced Hyper Viewing Angle) is a relatively new technology developed by AU Optronics, not to be confused with their more long-standing technology AMVA (Advanced Multi-Domain Vertical Alignment). It is AU Optronics' answer to LG.Display's very popular, and long-established IPS (In Plane Switching) technology. Testing of this technology has revealed that it is for all intents and purposes the same as IPS. Performance characteristics, features and specs are all pretty much identical. AUO weren't allowed to simply call their technology IPS due to trademark issues, which is why they adopted their own new name. Samsung are the same with their PLS (Plane to Line Switching) panel tech, which is another IPS-clone. You will see pretty much all monitor manufacturers now simply use the term IPS, since it is so well known in the market, but underneath they may be using an IPS version from LG.Display, AU Optronics or Samsung potentially. People should not get concerned with the semantics here, which is why we will continually refer to this as an "IPS-type" panel throughout the review.

Incidentally this is the exact same panel as used in the Acer XB270HU display.

Screen Coating

The screen coating on the MG279Q is a light anti-glare (AG) offering. It isn't a semi-glossy coating, but it is light as seen on other modern IPS type panels. Thankfully it isn't a heavily grainy coating like some old IPS panels feature and is also lighter than modern TN Film panel coating, including that on the Asus ROG Swift PG278Q screen. It retains its anti-glare properties to avoid too many unwanted reflections of a full glossy coating, but does not produce an too grainy or dirty an image that some thicker AG coatings can. There were some very slight cross-hatching patterns visible on the coating if you looked very closely, but nothing to the extent of what some people find problematic on the U2713HM model.

Backlight Type and Colour Gamut

The screen uses a White-LED (W-LED) backlight unit which has become very popular in today's market. This helps reduce power consumption compared with older CCFL backlight units and brings about some environmental benefits as well. The W-LED unit offers a standard colour gamut which is approximately equal to the sRGB colour space. Anyone wanting to work with wider colour spaces would need to consider wide gamut CCFL screens or the newer range of GB-r-LED type displays available now. If you want to read more about colour spaces and gamut then please have a read of our detailed article.

Backlight Dimming and Flicker

We tested the screen to establish the methods used to control backlight dimming. Our in depth article talks in more details about a common method used for this which is called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM). This in itself gives cause for concern to some users who have experienced eye strain, headaches and other symptoms as a result of the flickering backlight caused by this technology. We use a photosensor + oscilloscope system to measure backlight dimming control with a high level of accuracy and ease. These tests allow us to establish

1) Whether PWM is being used to control the backlight
2) The frequency and other characteristics at which this operates, if it is used
3) Whether a flicker may be introduced or potentially noticeable at certain settings

If PWM is used for backlight dimming, the higher the frequency, the less likely you are to see artefacts and flicker. The duty cycle (the time for which the backlight is on) is also important and the shorter the duty cycle, the more potential there is that you may see flicker. The other factor which can influence flicker is the amplitude of the PWM, measuring the difference in brightness output between the 'on' and 'off' states. Please remember that not every user would notice a flicker from a backlight using PWM, but it is something to be wary of. It is also a hard thing to quantify as it is very subjective when talking about whether a user may or may not experience the side effects.

100%                                                  50%                                                  0%

Above scale = 1 horizontal grid = 5ms

At 100% brightness a constant voltage is applied to the backlight. As you reduce the brightness setting to dim the backlight a Direct Current (DC) method is used, as opposed to any form of PWM. This applies to all brightness settings from 100% down to 0%. The screen is flicker free as a result as advertised.

Pulse Width Modulation Used


Cycling Frequency


Possible Flicker at


100% Brightness


50% Brightness


0% Brightness


For an up to date list of all flicker-free (PWM free) monitors please see our Flicker Free Monitor Database.


Contrast Stability and Brightness

We wanted to see how much variance there was in the screens contrast as we adjusted the monitor setting for brightness. In theory, brightness and contrast are two independent parameters, and good contrast is a requirement regardless of the brightness adjustment. Unfortunately, such is not always the case in practice. We recorded the screens luminance and black depth at various OSD brightness settings, and calculated the contrast ratio from there. Graphics card settings were left at default with no ICC profile or calibration active. Tests were made using an X-rite i1 Display Pro colorimeter. It should be noted that we used the BasICColor calibration software here to record these, and so luminance at default settings may vary a little from the LaCie Blue Eye Pro report.

OSD Brightness


Black Point (cd/m2)

Contrast Ratio
( x:1)














































Total Luminance Adjustment Range (cd/m2)


Brightness OSD setting controls backlight?

Total Black Point Adjustment Range (cd/m2)


Average Static Contrast Ratio


PWM Free? 

Recommended OSD setting for 120 cd/m2


The brightness control gave us a very good range of adjustment. At the top end the maximum luminance reached 343 cd/m2 which was high, and only just shy of the specified maximum brightness of 350 cd/m2 from the manufacturer. There was a decent 297 cd/m2 adjustment range in total, and so at the minimum setting you could reach down to a low luminance of 46 cd/m2. This should be more than adequate for those wanting to work in darkened room conditions with low ambient light. A setting of 24 in the OSD menu should return you a luminance of around 120 cd/m2 at default settings. It should be noted that the brightness regulation is controlled without the need for Pulse Width Modulation, using a Direct Current (DC) method for all brightness settings between 100 and 0% and so the screen is flicker free as advertised.

We have plotted the luminance trend on the graph above. The screen behaves as it should in this regard, with a reduction in the luminance output of the screen controlled by the reduction in the OSD brightness setting. This is pretty much a linear relationship, although the brightness adjustments between settings of 50 and 0 controls a slightly less steep luminance range than settings between 100 and 50.

The average contrast ratio of the screen was very impressive, excellent for an IPS-type panel with an average of 1221:1. This was mostly stable across the brightness adjustment range as shown above with some fluctuation at the lower brightness settings below 30, but still remaining above 1116:1 in the worse case anyway which was very pleasing.

Testing Methodology

An important thing to consider for most users is how a screen will perform out of the box and with some basic manual adjustments. Since most users won't have access to hardware colorimeter tools, it is important to understand how the screen is going to perform in terms of colour accuracy for the average user.

We restored our graphics card to default settings and disabled any previously active ICC profiles and gamma corrections. The screen was tested at default factory settings using an X-rite i1 Pro Spectrophotometer (not to be confused with the i1 Display Pro colorimeter) combined with LaCie's Blue Eye Pro software suite. An X-rite i1 Display Pro colorimeter was also used to verify the black point and contrast ratio since the i1 Pro spectrophotometer is less reliable at the darker end.

Targets for these tests are as follows:

  • CIE Diagram - validates the colour space covered by the monitors backlighting in a 2D view, with the black triangle representing the displays gamut, and other reference colour spaces shown for comparison

  • Gamma - we aim for 2.2 which is the default for computer monitors

  • Colour temperature / white point - we aim for 6500k which is the temperature of daylight

  • Luminance - we aim for 120 cd/m2, which is the recommended luminance for LCD monitors in normal lighting conditions

  • Black depth - we aim for as low as possible to maximise shadow detail and to offer us the best contrast ratio

  • Contrast ratio - we aim for as high as possible. Any dynamic contrast ratio controls are turned off here if present

  • dE average / maximum - as low as possible. If DeltaE >3, the color displayed is significantly different from the theoretical one, meaning that the difference will be perceptible to the viewer. If DeltaE <2, LaCie considers the calibration a success; there remains a slight difference, but it is barely undetectable. If DeltaE < 1, the color fidelity is excellent.

Default Performance and Setup

Default settings of the screen were as follows:

Monitor OSD Option

Default Settings

Preset mode (GameVisual mode)

Racing Mode





Colour Temp

User Mode


100, 100, 100

Asus MG279Q - Default Settings



Default Settings

luminance (cd/m2)


Black Point (cd/m2)


Contrast Ratio



Initially out of the box the screen was set in the default 'Racing Mode' GameVisual preset mode. Presumably this is a target gaming use for this particular display over first person shooters and other gaming types which are also included as preset modes. The Racing Mode does give you access to a lot of the OSD controls though.  The screen was extremely bright as it was set at a default 90% brightness setting. Colour balance and temperature felt good although a little cool, and you could tell it was a standard gamut screen. We went ahead and measured the default state with the i1 Pro.


The CIE diagram on the left of the image confirms that the monitors colour gamut (black triangle) is roughly equal to the sRGB colour space. There is some minor over-coverage in all shades but not by anything significant. Default gamma was recorded at 2.2 average, leaving it with only a 2% deviance from the target which was good news. Especially in the absence of any gamma adjustment in the OSD menu. White point was measured at 6904k being a bit too cool from the target of 6500k but with a fairly low 6% deviance.


There are 3 preset colour temp modes available in the OSD menu as well which we tested. The 'cool' setting was 8995k, 'warm' was 6404k and 'normal' was 7524k. In fact the 'warm' setting would return a white point closer to our target here in the Racing Mode. We will provide some recommended OSD setting adjustments in the following section to achieve a more accurate white point and default setup, even for those without a calibration tool available.



Luminance was recorded at a very bright 333 cd/m2 which is too high for prolonged general use. The screen was set at a default 90% brightness in the OSD menu but that is easy to change of course to reach a more comfortable setting without impacting any other aspect of the setup. The black depth was 0.26 cd/m2 at this default brightness setting, giving us a very impressive excellent static contrast ratio (for an IPS-type panel) of 1265:1. Colour accuracy was very good out of the box with a default dE average of 1.2, and a maximum of only 3.0. Testing the screen with various gradients showed smooth transitions with no sign of any banding thankfully. There was some very slight gradation evident as you will see from most monitors in darker tones but it was not obvious here. Overall the default setup was good, although some corrections are needed to the white point which should actually be easy even with just some basic OSD changes to the RGB levels (which we will look at shortly).


In the GameVisual preset mode menu there isn't really a preset for standard every day use, they are all aimed at specific uses like gaming, photos and movies. There is an sRGB preset mode available though which we also tested in its default state out of interest.

Monitor OSD Option

Default Settings

Preset mode (GameVisual mode)






Colour Temp




Asus MG279Q - Default Settings, sRGB preset


Default Settings,
sRGB mode

luminance (cd/m2)


Black Point (cd/m2)


Contrast Ratio


In the sRGB preset mode all of the OSD settings for brightness, contrast and colour are greyed out and not available. This is very much a locked down preset mode with very little control for the user. Thankfully you can tell the brightness is lower than before, but having measured the luminance with the i1 Pro it is still a bit too high at 169 cd/m2. The main issue though is that it appears that rather than turning down the backlight intensity (the black depth is the same as it was before), this mode has an altered digital white level to produce a lower luminance. However, while it does achieve a lower luminance it also crushes the contrast ratio badly, now being about half of what it should be at 654:1.

In this preset mode the gamma was very similar to before, straying slightly further away from the target and now showing an average 2.1 and 3% deviance. White point was now a little warmer than the target, but within 4% deviance which was slightly better than the cool Racing Mode preset. Colour accuracy remained good, but didn't really change. This mode is pretty inflexible really and for some reason is the only preset mode where the brightness, contrast and colour controls are locked.

You'd probably be better choosing one of the other preset modes to set up for your standard day to day uses since they allow full control over the OSD settings. Each preset mode can be individually saved as well. This will also avoid you having to live with the crushed contrast ratio in this preset mode.


Blue Light Filter

The MG279Q features a Blue Light Filter, which even has its own dedicated section in the OSD menu as shown above. We wanted to test this out to see what impact it had on the blue spectral output of the backlight. It is designed to cut back on the blue output from LED backlights which can lead to some eye strain and other related issues with some users. We left the screen at all its default settings and without any ICC profile activated, changing only the blue light filter mode each time. We measured the change in colour temperature at each setting and also measured the spectral output.


Blue Light Filter mode

Measured Colour Temperature












As you can see from the table above, the colour temperature got progressively warmer as you increased the Blue Light Filter setting. Not surprising since you are limiting the blue output from the backlight here. The graphs below show the spectral distribution for each setting as well.


Blue Light Filter Mode = 1


We have not shown Mode 0 here since Blue Light Filter is off, and in fact the above graph reverts to a different vertical scale, making it hard to compare. It is not that different to the mode 1 shown here though. At mode 1, you can see the high peak on the blue spectrum which is pretty typical for a W-LED backlight type.


Blue Light Filter Mode = 2


Blue Light Filter Mode = 3


As you increase the Blue Light Filter the blue peak reduces slightly, although even by mode 3 it has not changed much.


Blue Light Filter Mode = 4


Mode 4 brings about an obvious change, with a significant reduction in the blue light. The colour temp has been reduced though from 6490k (mode 1) to 5689k (mode 4). You can certainly use this setting if you are sensitive to blue light output, but mode 4 is really the only one which makes a significant difference in practice.


Optimum OSD Adjustments

Having tested the various settings and preset modes we thought it would be useful to summarise what we would consider to be the optimum OSD adjustments out of the box, before any calibration device is used to profile the screen. These are designed to help you reach a more comfortable and reliable setup without the need for a calibration tool. In the following section we will calibrate the screen properly and provide a calibrated ICC profile for those who would like to try it.


All the GameVisual preset modes (Scenery, FPS etc) all have preset brightness and contrast levels, and some also have boosted sharpness settings as well. The Racing Mode is as easy as any to customise as it's already a decent starting point.


Monitor OSD Option

Recommended Optimum Settings

GameVisual preset mode

Racing Mode





Colour Temp



100, 96, 96

Asus MG279Q - Optimum OSD settings


Optimum OSD Settings

luminance (cd/m2)


Black Point (cd/m2)


Contrast Ratio



We stuck with the default 'Racing Mode' preset which had already provided a pretty decent starting point out of the box, and which allowed us to make alterations to all of the OSD settings. We changed the RGB levels slightly within the 'user' colour temperature mode to correct the slight offset to the white point, which had been a little too cool out of the box. Through those adjustments we managed to achieve a better white point at 6538k (1% deviance). An adjustment to the brightness setting achieved a far more comfortable luminance and we still maintained a nice high contrast ratio of 1221:1. The reason for the slight drop in contrast ratio is the adjustment to the RGB channels to correct the white point. The gamma curve was still pretty good as it had been before, with a minor 4% deviance from the target. This would need to be corrected with a calibration tool as there's no gamma setting in the menu. However, it was not far off the target and should be fine for most normal users. Colour accuracy remained decent with dE average of 1.3, although some higher errors where dE reached up to 3.8 were detected. These settings do represent a decent setup for your average user though and it's very easy to achieve these results through just some simple OSD changes as we've shown.






We used the X-rite i1 Pro spectrophotometer combined with the LaCie Blue Eye Pro software package to achieve these results and reports. An X-rite i1 Display Pro colorimeter was used to validate the black depth and contrast ratios due to lower end limitations of the i1 Pro device.


Monitor OSD Option

Calibrated Settings

GameVisual preset mode

Racing Mode





Colour Temp



100, 96, 96

Asus MG279Q - Calibrated Settings



Calibrated Settings

luminance (cd/m2)


Black Point (cd/m2)


Contrast Ratio



We stuck with the 'Racing Mode' preset mode first of all which would give us access to the RGB channels, as well as the brightness and contrast settings. All these OSD changes allowed us to obtain an optimum hardware starting point and setup before software level changes would be made at the graphics card level. We left the  LaCie software to calibrate to "max" brightness which would just retain the luminance of whatever brightness we'd set the screen to, and would not in any way try and alter the luminance at the graphics card level, which can reduce contrast ratio. These adjustments before profiling the screen would help preserve tonal values and limit banding issues. After this we let the software carry out the LUT adjustments and create an ICC profile.



Average gamma was now corrected to 2.2 average, correcting the 3 - 4% deviance we'd seen out of the box, depending on the OSD settings used. The white point had already been corrected nicely in the previous section through adjustments to the OSD RGB levels. It was maintained at an accurate level, measured at 6504k (0% deviance), correcting the minor offset from before. Luminance had been improved thanks to the adjustment to the brightness control and was now being measured at 120 cd/m2. This left us a black depth of 0.11 cd/m2 and maintained an excellent static contrast ratio (for an IPS-type panel) of 1087:1. This had dropped a little from the non-calibrated state (1221:1) due to the gamma curve correction. Colour accuracy of the resulting profile was excellent, with dE average of 0.4 and maximum of 1.2. LaCie would consider colour fidelity to be very good overall. Testing the screen with various colour gradients showed mostly smooth transitions. There was some slight gradation in darker tones and some minor banding introduced due to the adjustments to the graphics card LUT from the profilation of the screen. Nothing significant though. You can use our settings and try our calibrated ICC profile if you wish, which are available in our ICC profile database. Keep in mind that results will vary from one screen to another and from one computer / graphics card to another.





Calibration Performance Comparisons


The comparisons made in this section try to give you a better view of how each screen performs, particularly out of the box which is what is going to matter to most consumers. When comparing the default factory settings for each monitor it is important to take into account several measurement areas - gamma, white point and colour accuracy. There's no point having a low dE colour accuracy figure if the gamma curve is way off for instance. A good factory calibration requires all 3 to be well set up. We have deliberately not included luminance in this comparison since this is normally far too high by default on every screen. However, that is very easily controlled through the brightness setting (on most screens) and should not impact the other areas being measured anyway. It is easy enough to obtain a suitable luminance for your working conditions and individual preferences, but a reliable factory setup in gamma, white point and colour accuracy is important and not as easy to change accurately without a calibration tool.


From these comparisons we can also compare the calibrated colour accuracy, black depth and contrast ratio. After a calibration the gamma, white point and luminance should all be at their desired targets.



Default setup of the screen out of the box was pretty good with the white point being the only real issue, and thankfully fairly easy to correct through the OSD menu. The gamma was only slightly off with a 2% deviance which was good news, especially in the absence of any gamma adjustments in the menu. With white point at 6904k it was 5% too cool, but could be corrected quite well through simple RGB changes in the menu. We were pleased though with the low dE (1.2 average) and very strong contrast ratio (1265:1) before calibration. Brightness of course needed to be turned down from the default 90%, but doing so does not impact other aspects of the setup here so we won't worry about that. The default setup was a bit better than the rival Acer XB270HU which has a more skewed gamma (2.4 average, 9% out). It was similar in other areas however. The Asus ROG Swift PG278Q had a more accurate default setup it should be noted (0% deviance in gamma and white point), although being TN Film technology it didn't offer the image quality and viewing angles that the MG279Q and XB270HU's IPS-type panels can deliver.




The display was strong when it came to black depth and contrast ratio for an IPS-type panel. With a calibrated contrast ratio of 1087:1 it was comparable to some of the better screens using this kind of panel technology. It was not quite as high as the recently tested Dell U2515H (1138:1) which holds the record for an IPS contrast ratio. It did out perform the Asus ROG Swift PG278Q with its TN Film panel only reaching 858:1. It was also marginally better than the Acer XB270HU at 1000:1. Of course it can't compete with VA panel types which can reach over 2000:1 easily, and commonly up to 3000:1, even close to 5000:1 in the case of the Eizo FG2421.

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Viewing Angles

Above: Viewing angles shown from front and side, and  from above and below. Click for larger image

Viewing angles of the screen were very good as you would expect from an IPS-type panel. Horizontally there was very little colour tone shift until wide angles past about 45. A slight darkening of the image occurred horizontally from wider angles as you can see above as the contrast shifted slighting. Contrast shifts were more noticeable in the vertical field but overall they were very good. The screen offered the wide viewing angles of IPS technology and was free from the restrictive fields of view of TN Film panels, especially in the vertical plane. It was also free of the off-centre contrast shift you see from VA panels and a lot of the quite obvious gamma and colour tone shift you see from some of the modern VA panel type offerings. All as expected really from a modern IPS-type panel. This is one of the key areas which separates screens like the Asus MG279Q and Acer XB270HU from other gaming screens in the market which are nearly all TN Film based. TN Film has long been the panel choice for gaming screens thanks to its response times, but users have had to sacrifice in viewing angles and image stability as a result. That's no longer the case with the arrival of high refresh rate gaming IPS-type panels thankfully.

Above: View of an all black screen from the side. Click for larger version

On a black image there is a characteristic white glow when viewed from an angle, commonly referred to as IPS-glow. This is common on most modern IPS-type panels and can be distracting to some users. If you view dark content from a normal head-on viewing position, you can actually see this glow as your eyes look towards the edges of the screen if the screen is of a large size. This could be distracting if you work with a lot of dark content. The glow was normal here for a modern IPS-type panel. While the general viewing angles of IPS technology are better than TN Film, this glow is one area where they are not as well off. Being based on the same panel as the Acer XB270HU, the glow was the same here as on that model.

Panel Uniformity

We wanted to test here how uniform the brightness and colour temperature was across the screen, as well as identify any leakage from the backlight in dark lighting conditions. Measurements of the luminance and colour temperature were taken at 35 points across the panel on a pure white background. The measurements for luminance were taken using BasICColor's calibration software package, combined with an X-rite i1 Display Pro colorimeter with a central point on the screen calibrated to 120 cd/m2. Measurements for colour temperature (white point) were taken using BasICColor software and the i1 Pro spectrophotometer which can more accurately measure the white point of different backlighting technologies. The below uniformity diagram shows the difference, as a percentage, between the measurement recorded at each point on the screen, as compared with the central reference point.

It is worth noting that panel uniformity can vary from one screen to another, and can depend on manufacturing lines, screen transport and other local factors. This is only a guide of the uniformity of the sample screen we have for review.

Uniformity of Luminance

The luminance uniformity of the screen was moderate. The screen seemed to be darker towards the four corners, where it dropped down to 100 cd/m2 in the worst case. The upper middle area was also a little darker than the central areas of the screen. Around 63% of the screen was within a 10% deviance from the centrally calibrated point which was moderate.

Backlight Leakage

Above: All black screen in a darkened room. Click for larger version

As usual we also tested the screen with an all black image and in a darkened room. A camera was used to capture the result. The camera showed there was some slight clouding detected in the right hand corners. It was not too bad though, not easy to pick out with the naked eye, and should not present any problems in normal use.


General and Office Applications

The MG279Q feature a large 2560 x 1440 WQHD resolution, a significant step up from the wide range of 1920 x 1080 screens on the market. The pixel pitch of 0.233 mm is quite small as a result, and by comparison a standard 16:10 format 24" model has a pixel pitch of 0.270mm and a 30" model has 0.250mm. These ultra-high resolution 27" models offer a tight pixel pitch and therefore small text as well. We found it quite a change originally coming from 21.5 - 24" sized screens back in the day, even those offering quite high resolutions and small pixel pitches. Although now we are very used to working with 27" 1440p screens all the time and find them very comfortable and a significant upgrade over 1080 / 1200p models. Some users may find the small text a little too small to read comfortably, and we'd advise caution if you are coming from a 19" or 22" screen for instance where the pixel pitch and text are much larger. The extra screen size takes some getting used to over a few days as there really is a lot of room to work with but once you do, it's excellent. For those wanting a high resolution for CAD, design, photo work etc, this is a really good option. The image was very sharp and crisp and text was very clear. With its WQHD display, you enjoy 77% more desktop space than a full HD screen to spread out your windows and palettes.

The thin bezel design mean that the MG279Q could be easily integrated into a multi-screen set up if you wanted. It doesn't have a 'frameless' design like some modern screens, but it's certainly not a thick bezel. The light AG coating of the modern AHVA (IPS-type) panel is certainly welcome, and much better than the older grainy and 'dirty' appearance of older IPS AG coatings. The wide viewing angles provided by this panel technology on both horizontal and vertical planes, helps minimize on-screen colour shift when viewed from different angles. The default setup of the screen was pretty decent, offering a decent gamma curve, strong contrast ratio and low dE. Correcting the white point is easy through a couple of RGB changes in the menu, and even without calibration we thought the image looked decent for day to day office work.

The brightness range of the screen was also very good, with the ability to offer a luminance between 343 and 46 cd/m2. This should mean the screen is perfectly useable in a wide variety of ambient light conditions, including darkened rooms. A setting of ~24 in the OSD brightness control should return you a luminance close to 120 cd/m2 out of the box. On another positive note, the brightness regulation is controlled without the need for the use of the now infamous Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM), and so those who suffer from eye fatigue or headaches associated with flickering backlights need not worry.

There was no audible noise or buzzing from the screen, even when specifically looking for it using test images with a large amount of text at once. The screen also remains fairly cool even during prolonged use. There is no specific preset mode for office work or reading but you could set up one of the other modes to your liking if you wanted something a little different for reading. The other presets are set up by default for gaming though so might take a fair amount of user-tweaking to get to something more suited to text. With the use of FreeSync instead of G-sync, the screen can offer a good range of connectivity options making it flexible for a lot of systems thankfully.

The screen offers 2x USB 3.0 ports which can be useful and it was nice to keep this up to date with the modern version. They also offer charging support but both are located on the back of the display so are not easy-access really. Integrated speakers can provide sound for the odd YouTube clip or mp3 if you want. There are no further extras like ambient light sensors or card readers which can be useful in office environments. Remember, this is aimed at gamers really. There was a great range of ergonomic adjustments available from the stand allowing you to obtain a comfortable position for a wide variety of angles. They were mostly pretty stiff though so you might not want to move it around too often. The VESA mounting support may also be useful to some people as well.

Above: photo of text at 2560 x 1440 (top) and 1920 x 1080 (bottom)

The screen is designed to run at its native resolution of 2560 x 1440 and at a 60 - 144Hz recommended refresh rate. However, if you want you are able to run the screen outside of this resolution. We tested the screen at a lower 1920 x 1080 resolution to see how the screen handles the interpolation of the resolution, while maintaining the same aspect ratio of 16:9. At native resolution the text was very sharp and clear. When running at a 1080p resolution the text is still reasonably clear, with moderate levels of blurring. You do lose some screen real-estate as well of course but the image seems to be quite well interpolated from 1080p sources if needed.


Gaming Introduction

The Asus MG279Q is very exciting when it comes to gaming for various reasons. This is only the second IPS-type panel on the market to natively support refresh rates up to 144Hz that we have seen, and the first to combine an IPS-type panel with AMD FreeSync support. We've already thoroughly tested the impressive Acer XB270HU which featured the same panel, but NVIDIA G-sync support so it will be interesting to see how the Asus screen compares.  We already know that FreeSync is an extremely effective alternative to Vsync methods and adds a significant performance advantage when used in games with variable frame rates and on systems of differing capabilities. Up until now though the FreeSync screens we have tested (Acer XG270HU and BenQ XL2730Z) have had a bug whereby the overdrive settings do not work from a FreeSync enabled system, making the use of FreeSync a little limited when it comes to optimizing response times. Asus promise that the MG279Q does not have this issue, making it the first on the market to support FreeSync, but still allow the user to use the overdrive settings properly.

As a side note, some Korean model IPS screens have been "overclockable" up to 100 - 120Hz or so over the last couple of years, but results vary a lot and it's by no means a native support from a panel level. Furthermore, from what we've seen of Korean screens the response times never seem to be up to much and don't reach low enough levels that make the screen practical for the frame rate demands that the high refresh rate has. A lot of blurring and ghosting is common on those models as a result. We will test in the following sections how the pixel response times are, but the first thing to note is that this panel is designed to operate with the high refresh rate natively.

Sadly one thing which is missing from the MG279Q is a Blur Reduction mode. The Acer XB270HU (IPS, 144Hz, G-Sync) featured an ULMB blur reduction mode as part of the NVIDIA G-sync module, but that is not something included by default with FreeSync support. As a result, manufacturers would need to add their own blur reduction mode, but that has sadly not been included here on the MG279Q and is missed.

IPS-type panel technology

Native high refresh rate support

FreeSync support

Blur Reduction mode

NVIDIA 3D Vision

To make the most of this screen you will want to have a suitable AMD graphics card which supports Adaptive Sync/FreeSync. That will allow you to use one of the most interesting new features of this latest screen. One of the key selling points of FreeSync is that unlike G-sync it does not add a massive cost overhead to the display, and so actually even if you don't have a suitable graphics card to use FreeSync you can still benefit from everything else this screen has to offer. It should be noted that the screen can also be used from NVIDIA graphics cards without issue, and there's a good range of connectivity options provided to suit whatever card you've got. Again, you won't be able to use FreeSync, but everything else should work fine. This is therefore an attractive solution even if you don't intend to use FreeSync since it still provides a 144Hz capable IPS-type panel for gaming, without the additional cost that the G-sync alternatives carry (Acer XB270HU at the moment).

We expect if you're looking at such a high end gaming display that you will also have a pretty high end gaming PC to run it, so 2560 x 1440 at 144Hz would of course be preferable over anything else. That will give you the highest frame rate and smoothest motion in gaming. We hope you have a system powerful enough to run this screen at its intended 2560 x 1440 resolution and 144Hz refresh rate, as really that's where you will get the optimum performance. You do need to consider the power of your graphics card though as there will be a big demand on your system for gaming at these kind of settings. Fortunately though there is also the new AMD FreeSync technology which will offer you smooth gaming even at lower frame rate outputs. Read on for more information.

Responsiveness and Gaming

Quoted G2G Response Time

4ms G2G

Quoted ISO Response Time


Panel Manufacturer and Technology

AU Optronics

Panel Part


Overdrive Used


Overdrive Control Available to User

Trace Free

Overdrive Settings

0, 20, 40, 60, 80, 100

The MG279Q is rated by Asus as having a 4ms G2G response time, which indicates the panel uses overdrive / response time compensation (RTC) technology to boost pixel transitions across grey to grey changes. There is user control over the overdrive impulse within the OSD menu using the 'Trace Free' option. The part being used is the AU Optronics M270DAN02.3 AHVA (IPS-type) panel, the exact same panel as already used in the Acer XB270HU display. Have a read about response time in our specs section if you need additional information about this measurement.

We will first test the screen using our thorough response time testing method. This uses an oscilloscope and photosensor to measure the pixel response times across a series of different transitions, in the full range from 0 (black) to 255 (white). This will give us a realistic view of how the monitor performs in real life, as opposed to being reliant only on a manufacturers spec. We can work out the response times for changing between many different shades, calculate the maximum, minimum and average grey to grey (G2G) response times, and provide an evaluation of any overshoot present on the monitor.

We use an ETC M526 oscilloscope for these measurements along with a custom photosensor device. Have a read of our response time measurement article for a full explanation of the testing methodology and reported data.

Response Time Setting Comparison

The MG279Q comes with a user control for the overdrive impulse available within the OSD menu in the 'image' section as shown above. There are 6 options available here under the Trace Free option, with settings of 0, 20, 40, 60, 80 and 100 available (default is 60). First of all we carried out a smaller sample set of measurements in all 6 of the Trace Free settings. These, along with various motion tests allowed us to quickly identify which was the optimum overdrive setting for this screen.

For completeness we tested the response times in each of these Trace Free modes at various refresh rates, ranging from a normal 60Hz, up to the maximum 144Hz. This allowed us to establish if there were any differences in response time behaviour at each refresh rate as well. Since FreeSync will by its nature dynamically control the refresh rate, it's important to establish if there is any impact on pixel response time behaviour when it does. We will say up front now to save time that there was practically no difference in pixel response time/overshoot behaviour between each refresh rate setting. The tests shown below are at 144Hz for reference, but it made no difference really over 60Hz or anything in between.

Firstly we tested the response times with Trace Free set to 0, effectively turning off the overdrive impulse. Response times were 9.8ms G2G on average which was actually not that slow compared with many IPS-type panels on the market. However, for 144Hz to work effectively you need to have consistent G2G response times of <6.94ms to keep up with the frame rate - since a new frame is sent to the screen every 6.94ms at 144Hz. There was no overshoot at all at Trace Free 0 setting, but the response times were too slow for a refresh rate this high. There was also a noticeable blur to the moving image.

Moving up to Trace Free 20 brought about some minor improvements in response times, with an average 9.0ms G2G now being recorded. It was still too slow to cope with 144Hz though. Pushing it again to a setting of 40 reduced response times to 8.0ms G2G on average. There was still no overshoot detected and so a Trace Free setting of 40 was actually slightly better than even the best 60Hz IPS-type panels out there. They can reach down to around 8.5ms G2G without overshoot at best.

The Trace Free 60 setting was the monitor default, and that is normally optimum for Asus screens we have found in the past. Response times were again a little faster, with 7.3ms G2G response time being measured. This was almost fast enough to handle 144Hz effectively, and there was still no overshoot detected as well which was positive.

Trace Free 80 seemed to provide a better overall performance though. Response times were now down to an impressive 5.8ms G2G, bringing them under the 6.94ms requirement for effective 144Hz operation. Some overshoot was introduced on some transitions, but mostly it was not too bad. Visually this Trace Free setting seemed to look better as well than the lower settings. Some transitions exceeded the advertised 4ms G2G response time as well which was pleasing.

Finally, the Trace Free 100 setting was tested, but this was not as good as the Trace Free 80 setting. Response times were actually increased slightly to 6.2ms G2G here as a couple of transitions (255 - 50, 255 - 150) seemed to have slowed down here to 9.5 - 11ms. Some very high levels of overshoot were also introduced, producing noticeable artefacts in practice as well. This mode should be avoided.

Trace Free Comparison Using PixPerAn Motion Tests

If we take some test photos using the PixPerAn tool you can make some further visual comparisons between the overdrive settings. With Trace Free set to 0 there is a noticeable blur to the moving image and some obvious trailing detected. This diminishes gradually as you alter the Trace Free setting up to the default 60 setting, with minor improvements in blurring as you increase the setting. Trace Free 80 brings about some further minor improvements in perceived blurring and the moving image looks a little sharper and clearer. Some minor overshoot can be detected where some slight dark trails begin to appear (e.g. behind the moving speech bubble). Trace Free 100 pushed the overdrive too far and the dark trailing becomes very noticeable and problematic. There are also some pale halos introduced in places at that maximum setting.

Overdrive (Trace Free) setting and FreeSync systems = Working

You may be aware already but the initial batch of screens we've tested with FreeSync (BenQ XL2730Z, Acer XG270HU) have had a bug whereby the overdrive control does not function properly when the screen is connected to a FreeSync system. In those scenarios the screen behaves as if overdrive was turned off all the time. The screen behaves as it should if you connect to a non-FreeSync system or NVIDIA graphics card. To overcome this issue AMD released an updated driver (See AMD website for latest version) and the display manufacturers had to issue a firmware update as well.

Thankfully we have confirmed that the Asus MG279Q performs as it should out of the box, and overdrive (Trace Free) works correctly even from a FreeSync system. You can benefit from the optimum response time performance from the Trace Free setting of 80, even when using FreeSync which is great news.


More Detailed Measurements
Trace Free = 80 and 144Hz refresh rate

Having established that the Trace Free 80 setting offered the best response/overshoot balance we carried out our normal wider range of measurements as shown below. Tests were completed at the maximum 144Hz refresh rate.

The average G2G response time was more accurately measured at 6.5ms which was excellent overall, especially for an IPS-type panel. Transitions were fairly consistent across the board although there was one transition (50-100) which seemed to be unexplainably slower than every other transition, at 15ms. This anomaly pushed the average G2G up slightly, as it would have been ~6.2ms G2G without this slow transition included. At 6.5ms G2G average the pixel transitions times were on average under the 6.94ms threshold needed for reliable 144Hz operation. This was a very pleasing result and we were very impressed for an IPS-type panel.

Transition: 150-255-150 (scale = 20ms)

The above graph is a fairly typical view of what we saw on this panel, with fast rise and fall times and little to no overshoot.

Transition: 50-100-50 (scale = 20ms)

The 50-100 rise time was an anomaly, taking 15ms to reach 90% of the desired brightness level, and representing one transition which was for some reason a lot slower than all the others we measured.


There were a couple of transitions which showed quite high levels of overshoot, but on the most part there was very little to be seen, even considering we had pushed the Trace Free setting up to 80 here. The higher 100 setting had far more noticeable overshoot, so should be avoided. Considering the response times had been driven down to a low level of 6.5ms G2G, these minimal overshoot issues were pleasing.

Transition: 200-255-200 (scale = 20ms)

Above shows the highest overshoot we recorded in this mode, where the transition falls from 255 to 200. This results in a 27.6% overshoot.

Transition: 0-150-0 (scale = 20ms)

On the above transition the rise time shows some overshoot as well, at a value of 24.4%.

144Hz Frame Skipping Bug = Fixed

When the MG279Q was first released, a few early samples started to make their way out into distribution, mostly on mainland Europe. At the time, tested the screen and found a bug when running the screen at 144Hz refresh rate. It seemed to drop frames for some reason at this maximum refresh rate. Stock was recalled from distribution and a firmware update was carried out by Asus. This is one of the reasons why our test sample was delayed and why the screen has been a little late making its way out to customers.

We are pleased to confirm that an updated firmware has been applied to the screen and the issue has been fixed. We confirmed this from an AMD and NVIDIA graphics card at 144Hz. All stock available to buy now/soon should be the updated version. Only a small hand full of very early units were affected, and we would suggest contacting Asus support if you have one from the very early batches and are experiencing problems.

Display Comparisons

The above comparison table and graph shows you the lowest, average and highest G2G response time measurement for each screen we have tested with our oscilloscope system. There is also a colour coded mark next to each screen in the table to indicate the RTC overshoot error, as the response time figure alone doesn't tell the whole story.

Much like the Acer XB270HU when we tested it, the response time performance of the MG279Q was impressive. It's only the second 144Hz capable IPS-type panel on the market so it needed to be able to deliver when it comes to pixel response times. To even keep up with the frame rate demands of 144fps it needs to consistently deliver average response times at <6.94ms G2G. With an average G2G figure of 6.5ms measured, it did achieve this and so can support the 144Hz refresh rate fine. If we ignore the one anomalous high transition measurement (15ms measured) the G2G would be more like 6.2ms.

At 144Hz it was a little slower than the Acer XB270HU which had reached 5.5ms G2G average and didn't have any slow transitions either beyond 6.9ms. The MG279Q also had some occasional moderate levels of overshoot in certain transitions, whereas the Acer had next to no overshoot. However, on the Acer model the response times varied depending on the refresh rate as it seemed to impact the overdrive control on that screen. At optimum overdrive setting the Acer ranged from 8.7ms G2G (60Hz) to 5.9ms G2G (144Hz). The Asus MG279Q on the other hand showed consistent response time / overshoot behaviour across all refresh rates, and so consistently reached 6.5ms G2G. In a straight shoot-out at 144Hz the Acer is slightly faster and has no overshoot. However, if you are using lower refresh rates, or the variable refresh rate range delivered by G-sync/FreeSync respectively then the screens are more similar. In fact the Asus has the edge when it comes to response times for refresh rates below about 110Hz in detailed measurements. Of course practical comparisons are arguably more important. Have a look at the following sections with motion and pursuit camera tests for a comparison between the two in real terms. The reason for the difference in behaviour here, despite the two screens using the exact same panel is down to the overdrive circuit and user control for the overdrive impulse.

The response time was still much faster than any other 60Hz IPS panel we have seen to date, at best reaching down to 8.6ms without introducing a lot of overshoot (Dell U2415). It was pushing past some TN Film screens even like the Samsung U28D590D (7ms G2G average). It wasn't as fast as pure gaming TN Film models like the Asus ROG Swift PG278Q (2.9ms) and BenQ XL2730Z (3.4ms) although those models did show a higher level of overshoot, more so than the occasional overshoot seen here on the MG279Q. The TN Film panels also can't offer the image quality, image stability and viewing angles that the MG279Q's IPS-type panel can so it's debatable which is better in real use. This is an excellent and fast IPS-type panel and so is an attractive option for gaming as well as other more general uses.


The screen was also tested using the chase test in PixPerAn for the following display comparisons. As a reminder, a series of pictures are taken on the highest shutter speed and compared, with the best case example shown on the left, and worst case example on the right. This should only be used as a rough guide to comparative responsiveness but is handy for a comparison between different screens and technologies as well as a means to compare those screens we tested before the introduction of our oscilloscope method.

27" 4ms G2G AU Optronics AHVA (IPS-type) @ 144Hz (Trace Free = 80)

In practice the Asus MG279Q performed best with the Trace Free overdrive setting at 80. Motion blur was minimal and the moving image looked sharp and crisp. Motion felt very fast and fluid thanks to the 144Hz refresh rate, something which you can't really pick out with the camera in these tests, but which we can pick out more easily with a pursuit camera later on. There was minimal overshoot detected with some slight dark trailing evident behind the  speech bubble in this test. We know from our oscilloscope measurements that there's only a few transitions which show any noticeable overshoot, and overall we would say overshoot was minor here.


27" 4ms G2G AU Optronics AHVA (IPS-type) @ 144Hz (Trace Free = 80)

27" 4ms G2G AU Optronics AHVA (IPS-type) @ 144Hz (OD = Normal)

The most interesting comparison is of course directly against the only other 144Hz IPS screen on the market at the moment, the Acer XB270HU which even uses the same panel as the Asus. Both performed very similarly in these tests, and in practice, with it being incredibly hard to separate the two. The Acer had perhaps a marginally lower blur when running at 144Hz (we're splitting hairs here) and we know that it had no overshoot as well. If you were to compare them at lower refresh rates, or at a refresh rate more likely achieved during G-sync/FreeSync use then the performance was even more similar between the two in real World use. It's hard to separate them at all.

27" 4ms G2G AU Optronics AHVA (IPS-type) @ 144Hz (Trace Free = 80)

27" 12ms G2G Samsung PLS (Response Time = Advanced)

27" 8ms G2G LG.Display AH-IPS (Response Time = Normal)

27" 8ms G2G LG.Display AH-IPS

It is also interesting to compare the MG279Q to some of the other popular 27" models we have tested with 2560 x 1440 resolutions and IPS-type panels (IPS and PLS here). You can see first of all a comparison against the ViewSonic VP2770-LED and Dell U2715H which show a more noticeable blurred image. The  Dell U2713HM is a little faster, but in practice cannot compete with the speed of the MG279Q still. The movement is clearer and smoother on the MG279Q, and you also have the massive benefit of the 144Hz refresh rate. Not to mention the further gaming enhancement from FreeSync which we will cover in a moment.

27" 4ms G2G AU Optronics AHVA (IPS-type) @ 144Hz (Trace Free = 80)

27" 1ms G2G AU Optronics TN Film @ 144Hz (OD = Normal)

27" 1ms G2G AU Optronics TN Film @ 144Hz (AMA = High)

23.5" 4ms G2G Sharp MVA + 120Hz

We've also included a comparison above against 3 other very fast 120Hz+ compatible screens we have tested. The screens shown here are all aimed primarily at gamers and have various features and extras which make them more suitable overall for gaming. Firstly there is a comparison against the very popular Asus ROG Swift PG278Q with its 144Hz refresh rate and fast response time TN Film panel. This showed very fast pixel response times (2.9ms G2G), ahead of the MG279Q (6.5ms G2G), and smooth movement thanks to its increased refresh rate. You are able to reduce the motion blur even more through the use of the ULMB strobed backlight as well if you need to. In other related areas this screen also supports NVIDIA's G-sync technology. There was some overshoot noticeable on the Asus but nothing too severe, although it was higher than on the MG279Q.

Then there is a comparison against the BenQ XL2730Z with another very fast TN Film panel and 144Hz refresh rate. This showed very low levels of motion blur, but some dark overshoot was introduced as a side-effect as you can see. This screen also includes a native Blur Reduction mode to help eliminate further perceived motion blur and works well, along with AMD FreeSync support.

Lastly there is the MVA based Eizo FG2421 screen with a fast response time (especially for the panel technology being used) and 120Hz refresh rate support. There is also an additional 'Turbo 240' motion blur reduction mode which really helps reduce the perceived motion blur in practice.


Please have a read of our detailed article which talks more about variable refresh rate technologies including FreeSync. We won't go in to detail about it here but will talk a bit about its operation on the MG279Q specifically. FreeSync is turned off by default and has to be enabled from your graphics card settings and in the OSD menu as shown above. The MG279Q has a limited FreeSync operational range between 35Hz and 90Hz, so if you set your refresh rate manually to anything above 90Hz it will disable FreeSync and you'll get a pop up message telling you so. This supported range might initially sound limiting and disappointing to potential buyers when you consider some other screens support dynamic refresh rates up to the maximum 144Hz. Have a think about it first before you panic. Firstly, achieving consistent frame rates above 90 fps on a screen of this resolution (2560 x 1440) is going to require some high end system specs. Secondly the real benefits of adaptive refresh rates comes at the lower ends anyway, typically between 40 and 70 Hz. The lower limit of 35Hz gives you a bit more room to play with here. If you do output more than 90fps then you have the choice as to whether the screen behaves as if Vsync is on or off, outside of FreeSync range. Tearing tends to be less problematic at higher refresh rates anyway so you could well have FreeSync operation between 35 and 90Hz, and then have Vsync off for anything above, in case you can output more than 90 fps regularly.

Asus tell us this capped upper limit of FreeSync was down to performance issues on a panel of this type, and so they took a decision to provide a lower bottom end limit and have 90Hz as the maximum. All in all we don't consider the FreeSync range to be a massive problem. If you really are bothered by it then look elsewhere, but for most people we suspect this FreeSync range will be more than adequate.

Overdrive (Trace Free) setting and FreeSync systems = Working

You may be aware already but the initial batch of screens we've tested with FreeSync (BenQ XL2730Z, Acer XG270HU) have had a bug whereby the overdrive control does not function properly when the screen is connected to a FreeSync system. In those scenarios the screen behaves as if overdrive was turned off all the time. The screen behaves as it should if you connect to a new FreeSync system or NVIDIA graphics card. To overcome this issue AMD released an updated driver (See AMD website for latest version) and the display manufacturers had to issue a firmware update as well.

Thankfully we have confirmed that the Asus MG279Q performs as it should out of the box, and overdrive (Trace Free) works correctly even from a FreeSync system. You can benefit from the optimum response time performance from the Trace Free setting of 80, even when using FreeSync which is great news.

Pursuit Camera Tests

We've already tested above the actual pixel response times and other aspects of the screen's gaming performance. We wanted to carry out some pursuit camera tests as well to give an even more complete idea of the performance of this screen.

Pursuit cameras are used to capture motion blur as a user might experience it on a display. They are simply cameras which follow the on-screen motion and are extremely accurate at measuring motion blur, ghosting and overdrive artefacts of moving images. Since they simulate the eye tracking motion of moving eyes, they can be useful in giving an idea of how a moving image appears to the end user. It is the blurring caused by eye tracking on continuously-displayed refreshes (sample-and-hold) that we are keen to analyse with this new approach. This is not pixel persistence caused by response times; but a different cause of display motion blur which cannot be captured using static camera tests. Low response times do have a positive impact on motion blur, and higher refresh rates also help reduce blurring to a degree. It does not matter how low response times are, or how high refresh rates are, you will still see motion blur from LCD displays under normal operation to some extent and that is what this section is designed to measure. Further technologies specifically designed to reduce perceived motion blur are required to eliminate the blur seen on these type of sample-and-hold displays which we will also look at.

We used the Ghosting Motion Test which is designed to be used with pursuit camera setups. The pursuit camera method is explained at BlurBusters as well as covered in this research paper. We carried out the tests at various refresh rates, with and without Blur Reduction enabled. These UFO objects were moving horizontally at 960 pixels per second, at a frame rate matching refresh rate of the monitor.

60Hz                        90Hz

120Hz                       144Hz

We conducted the above tests with Trace Free set at the optimum 80 setting. These tests capture the kind of blurring you would see with the naked eye when tracking moving objects across the screen. As you increase the refresh rate the perceived blurring is reduced, as refresh rate has a direct impact on motion blur. It is not eliminated entirely due to the nature of the sample-and-hold LCD display and the tracking of your eyes. No matter how fast the refresh rate and pixel response times are, you cannot eliminate the perceived motion blur without other methods like a blur reduction backlight. Unfortunately that is not provided here on the MG279Q.

Below are some comparisons against other gaming screens we have tested for reference:




Asus MG279Q - Trace Free Setting 80

Acer XB270HU - OD Setting Normal





Asus ROG Swift PG278Q - OD Normal

BenQ XL2730Z - AMA setting High

Acer XG270HU - OD Setting Normal

The actual perceived motion blur in practice is very similar between the Asus MG279Q and Acer XB270HU as you can see, and as we've already discussed during the response time tests. Their IPS-type panels also compare favourably with the TN Film panels of the other models, showing that these new 144Hz IPS gaming panels can offer some excellent motion performance if done right. Have a look at the reviews for the Acer XB270HU, Asus ROG Swift PG278Q or BenQ XL2730Z for tests of their blur reduction modes as that's where a real improvement can be made in perceived motion blur beyond the results obtained here.


Additional Gaming Features

  • Aspect Ratio Control - The MG279Q has 3 options for aspect ratio control through the OSD 'image' section menu, using the 'Aspect control' as shown above. There are options for full, 4:3, and 1:1 pixel mapping and overscan. Sadly there isn't an automatic aspect ratio option available which would be useful to maintain the source input aspect ratio and scale to fill as much of the screen as possible. It was good to see a 1:1 pixel mapping mode though. These are certainly useful for connection of external games consoles etc not running at 2560 x 1440 resolution. Note that NVIDIA G-sync screens at this time are not provided with an internal scaler, and so having these options available here is an advantage of using AMD FreeSync instead.

  • Preset Modes - There are quite a few preset modes set up for specific gaming needs through the GameVisual menu, where colours, brightness and even sharpness vary. You can edit each preset mode to your tastes as well and save the settings for each which is nice.

  • GamePlus - The fourth OSD button down (with the small game controller logo) is a quick access to the "game plus" menu. This gives you options to display a crosshair or timer on the screen. You can choose the colour and type of crosshair as shown above, and the length of the timer. The GamePlus function provides a toolkit and creates a better gaming environment for users when playing different types of games. In addition, Crosshair function is specially designed for new gamers or beginners interested in First Person Shooter (FPS) games.


We have written an in depth article about input lag and the various measurement techniques which are used to evaluate this aspect of a display. It's important to first of all understand the different methods available and also what this lag means to you as an end-user.

Input Lag vs. Display Lag vs. Signal Processing

To avoid confusion with different terminology we will refer to this section of our reviews as just "lag" from now on, as there are a few different aspects to consider, and different interpretations of the term "input lag". We will consider the following points here as much as possible. The overall "display lag" is the first, that being the delay between the image being shown on the TFT display and that being shown on a CRT. This is what many people will know as input lag and originally was the measure made to explain why the image is a little behind when using a CRT. The older stopwatch based methods were the common way to measure this in the past, but through advanced studies have been shown to be quite inaccurate. As a result, more advanced tools like SMTT provide a method to measure that delay between a TFT and CRT while removing the inaccuracies of older stopwatch methods.

In reality that lag / delay is caused by a combination of two things - the signal processing delay caused by the TFT electronics / scaler, and the response time of the pixels themselves. Most "input lag" measurements over the years have always been based on the overall display lag (signal processing + response time) and indeed the SMTT tool is based on this visual difference between a CRT and TFT and so measures the overall display lag. In practice the signal processing is the element which gives the feel of lag to the user, and the response time of course can impact blurring, and overall image quality in moving scenes. As people become more aware of lag as a possible issue, we are of course keen to try and understand the split between the two as much as possible to give a complete picture.

The signal processing element within that is quite hard to identify without extremely high end equipment and very complicated methods. In fact the studies by Thomas Thiemann which really kicked this whole thing off were based on equipment worth >100,1000 Euro, requiring extremely high bandwidths and very complicated methods to trigger the correct behaviour and accurately measure the signal processing on its own. Other techniques which are being used since are not conducted by Thomas (he is a freelance writer) or based on this equipment or technique, and may also be subject to other errors or inaccuracies based on our conversations with him since. It's very hard as a result to produce a technique which will measure just the signal processing on its own unfortunately. Many measurement techniques are also not explained and so it is important to try and get a picture from various sources if possible to make an informed judgement about a display overall.

For our tests we will continue to use the SMTT tool to measure the overall "display lag". From there we can use our oscilloscope system to measure the response time across a wide range of grey to grey (G2G) transitions as recorded in our response time tests. Since SMTT will not include the full response time within its measurements, after speaking with Thomas further about the situation we will subtract half of the average G2G response time from the total display lag. This should allow us to give a good estimation of how much of the overall lag is attributable to the signal processing element on its own.


Lag Classification

To help in this section we will also introduce a broader classification system for these results to help categorise each screen as one of the following levels:

  • Class 1) Less than 16ms / 1 frame lag at 60Hz - should be fine for gamers, even at high levels

  • Class 2) A lag of 16 - 32ms / One to two frames of lag at 60Hz - moderate lag but should be fine for many gamers. Caution advised for serious gaming and FPS

  • Class 3) A lag of more than 32ms / more than 2 frames of lag at 60Hz - Some noticeable lag in daily usage, not suitable for high end gaming

For the full reviews of the models compared here and the dates they were written (and when screens were approximately released to the market), please see our full reviews index.

(Measurements in ms)





Total Display Lag (SMTT 2)





Pixel Response Time Element





Estimated Signal Processing Lag





Lag Classification





 Class 1

We have provided a comparison above against other models we have tested to give an indication between screens. The screens tested are split into two measurements which are based on our overall display lag tests (using SMTT) and half the average G2G response time, as measured by the oscilloscope. The response time is split from the overall display lag and shown on the graph as the green bar. From there, the signal processing (red bar) can be provided as a good estimation.

The screen was measured at various refresh rates to see if it had any impact on the lag. At 60Hz there was a total lag of 17ms (13.75ms estimated signal processing). It reduces slightly as you get to 90Hz (upper FreeSync range) and 120Hz, but there's a significant reduction in lag at the maximum 144Hz refresh rate. Here the total lag is only 4.05ms (~0.8ms signal processing). We've seen similar patterns from other recent gaming screens like the BenQ XL2730Z (ignoring it's 'instant mode' for a moment) which was 16.22ms total lag at 60Hz and 5.25ms at 144Hz. The Acer XG270HU (TN Film model) showed 14.5ms at 60Hz and 5.0ms at 144Hz. So the pattern shown here from the MG279Q is fairly common for gaming screens with a scaler included. The Asus ROG Swift PG278Q and Acer XB270HU (IPS panel) showed very low lag at all refresh rates, since they do not have a scaler at all because of the NVIDIA G-sync module. If you are gaming at 144Hz then there's next to no signal processing lag at all which is great news. For 90Hz and below when using FreeSync there is a moderate lag of about 13 - 14 ms signal processing. Should be ok for most people although those playing very competitive games might find it a little high.

Gaming Summary

All things considered we felt that the Asus MG279Q was one of the best performers when it comes to overall gaming. We'll try and give you a summarised comparison against the Acer XB270HU here since that's its most direct competitor.

There was very little to separate it from the Acer XB270HU in real practical use when it came to responsiveness and refresh rate support. At 144Hz the Acer had a very slight edge and it was free from any overshoot, but at lower refresh rates including those more likely achieved when using G-sync/FreeSync, things were much closer. In fact at the lower end the Asus had the slight edge. It's pretty difficult to separate those two screens when it comes to response time performance. The Acer does out-perform the Asus in a couple of areas though. Firstly it has a native blur reduction mode which can really offer a great improvement in motion clarity when used. Sadly the Asus doesn't have any blur reduction mode added which is something we miss. Input lag is very comparable at the maximum 144Hz refresh rate (very low lag), but because of the scaler present in the MG279Q there is more lag at the lower refresh rates. The Acer has a wider dynamic refresh rate range between 40 and 144Hz, whereas the Asus is more limited at 35 - 90Hz. To be fair, it probably doesn't make much difference to normal users as that range is more than adequate, and in fact the slightly lower minimum range might be useful to a lot of people as opposed to the higher upper limit.

Because it is not limited to a proprietary G-sync module the Asus can offer a scaler with hardware aspect ratio options, and more importantly a wide range of video input options. You can actually use this screen from other systems and external games consoles as well which is an attractive option. The Acer is limited to a single DisplayPort PC only. There's also a few additional gaming features on the Asus as well if you need them.

Summary Gaming Comparison
Asus MG279Q vs. Acer XB270HU

  • Response times overall very hard to separate in practice

  • Acer has additional blur reduction mode offering big improvements to motion clarity when used

  • Acer has lower lag at lower refresh rates since no scaler present. Comparable at max 144Hz

  • Acer's dynamic refresh rate range is wider at 40 - 144Hz. Asus 35 - 90Hz should still be adequate for most users and systems to be fair

  • Asus has additional inputs for other systems and games consoles

  • Asus has hardware aspect ratio controls, not offered on the Acer at all

  • Asus has a few additional gaming features from GamePlus menu

  • Asus has a lower retail price thanks to FreeSync

All in all we feel it's hard to separate those two displays. For pure raw PC gaming experience we feel that the Acer has the edge, helped largely by its additional blur reduction mode. However, what this really boils down to us whether you're an AMD or NVIDIA user as the choice in variable refresh rate technology will probably dictate which screen would be most suited to you. Those who don't have a suitable graphics card for G-sync/FreeSync anyway would probably find the Asus a better option since it has a much lower retail cost than the Acer and still delivers an excellent gaming experience along with the all round performance of  an IPS panel.

Comparing the MG279Q against the fast TN Film panels we've tested was a little more tricky. The Asus ROG Swift PG278Q and BenQ XL2730Z are two of the fastest, and best, gaming screens on the market at the moment. They have faster response times, but do show more overshoot as a result, to moderate levels. However, with the Asus MG279Q you get the not-to-be-underestimated benefits of the IPS-type panel, with wider viewing angles and a more stable image appearance compared with the TN Film models.

Movies and Video

The following summarises the screens performance in video applications:

  • 27" screen size makes it a reasonable option for an all-in-one multimedia screen, much smaller than LCD TV's and many larger format desktop monitors which are now emerging.

  • 16:9 aspect ratio is well suited to videos and movies, leaving you with smaller/no borders on DVD's and wide screen content at the top and bottom than on a 16:10 aspect display.

  • 2560 x 1440 resolution can support full 1080 HD resolution content.

  • Digital DisplayPort interface support HDCP for any encrypted and protected content

  • Good range of interface options available thanks to the use of FreeSync, as opposed to G-sync which is only limited currently to a single DisplayPort. Here there are 2x HDMI (MHL), 1x DisplayPort and 1x Mini DP available giving you a good range of options for external devices as well.

  • Cable provided in the box for DisplayPort > Mini DP only. No HDMI cables provided.

  • Light AG coating provides clear images with no major graininess, and without the unwanted reflections of a glossy solution.

  • Wide brightness range adjustment possible from the display, including high maximum luminance of ~343 cd/m2 and a good minimum luminance of 46 cd/m2. This should afford you very good control for different lighting conditions. Contrast ratio remains stable across most of that adjustment range as well and is excellent for an IPS-type panel. Brightness regulation is controlled without the need for PWM and so is flicker free at all settings which is pleasing.

  • Black depth and contrast ratio are very good for an IPS-type panel at 1087:1 after calibration. Detail in darker scenes should not be lost as a result.

  • There is a specific 'Cinema' GameVisual preset mode available for movies or video in the OSD which is a lot cooler and more blue than our calibrated custom mode. You can adjust it to your liking though and save the settings which is useful if you want something a bit different for movie viewing.

  • Very good pixel responsiveness which can handle fast moving scenes in movies without issue. No real overshoot issues when sticking to the '80' Trace Free response time mode which is good news. You could even drop down to Trace Free 60 for movies perhaps.

  • Although it has 120Hz+ refresh rate support it does not support NVIDIA 3D Vision.

  • Wide viewing angles from IPS panel technology meaning several people could view the screen at once comfortable and from a whole host of different angles. White glow from an angle on black content may be problematic to some users and is common for IPS panel technology.

  • No real backlight leakage on our sample which is good.

  • Wide range of ergonomic adjustments available from the stand, allowing you to adjust the screen to suit varying viewing positions. They are quite stiff though so you probably won't want to move the screen too often.

  • Basic 2x 2W integrated stereo speakers offered on this model along with a headphone connection. Might be ok for the odd video clip but not a full movie.

  • Hardware aspect ratio control provided with options for full, 4:3, 1:1 pixel mapping and overscan. Missing an "auto aspect" type mode though.

  • Picture By Picture (PbP) or Picture In Picture (PiP) are not available on this model.



We know how excited people were to get a detailed review of this monitor as quickly as possible, so we decided to release this as a full review straight away. We worked overtime to bring you this quickly as well so if you appreciate the early access to the review and enjoy reading and like our work, we would welcome a donation to the site to help us continue to make quality and detailed reviews for you.

We found the MG279Q to be another great option for IPS technology gaming. Obviously there's very little choice in this area at the moment, but the implementation of this native 144Hz compatible IPS-type panel has been a success here, as it was in the Acer XB270HU. Very good response times, proper 144Hz support and minimal overshoot provide a smooth gaming experience beyond anything you can get from other 60Hz IPS panels on the market. The presence of AMD FreeSync is of course very useful for compatible AMD users, but even if you don't have the necessary hardware the rest of the screens performance is very strong, and you aren't even paying a premium for the privilege anyway. It's a free extra which is always nice. The FreeSync supported range is perhaps a little more limited than some might hope, although in practical use we don't feel it is a major issue. Lag is a little higher than we would like at lower refresh rates, although on par with many other gaming screens with scalers. The one area we were pretty disappointed in though was the absence of a blur reduction mode, something certainly missed we felt.

Aside from gaming the screen provided the very good all-round performance you would hope for from an IPS technology panel. Good default setup out of the box, with some minor tweaking of the decent OSD helping to improve things even more. Contrast ratio was strong for this technology and we were pleased with the backlight adjustment range and flicker free operation. Viewing angles and image stability were as you would expect from IPS, and certainly a key area separating this from the mass of TN Film gaming screens out there. The availability of a decent range of interface options and an internal scaler help separate this screen from G-sync models out there as well, not just because of the lower retail price. Good work Asus.

If you're after a very good all round IPS-type screen which offers high refresh rate and a very good gaming experience then the MG279Q is very attractive. It retails currently for 500 GBP in the UK, making it much cheaper than the G-sync equivalent Acer XB270HU (696) and not much different to many high end TN Film gaming screens. Definitely worth a serious look.



Very good response times and high refresh support from an IPS-type panel

Missing a blur reduction mode

FreeSync support works nicely, and without affecting overdrive

IPS Glow may still be off-putting to some people

Much lower cost than G-sync equivalent

Lag a bit higher than hoped at lower refresh rates


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