Asus TUF Gaming VG279QM

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Over the years we have seen a major investment in the LCD gaming monitor market with one of the most significant improvements being the support for higher refresh rates. Long gone are the days of LCD monitors being limited to only 60Hz input, and we now see a wide range of models from many different manufacturers offering 120Hz+ refresh rates today. 144Hz has rapidly become the norm for gaming displays as some recent market analysis revealed. We also see some screens with higher refresh rates than that, all the way up to a native 240Hz being increasingly common nowadays.

Refresh rate has a direct impact on perceived motion blur for fast moving content and gaming, due to the way that LCD monitors operate. There is a major improvement in motion clarity and performance when jumping from 60Hz to 120/144Hz. There is a smaller, but still noticeable benefit in some situations when increasing refresh rate higher to 240Hz. This may arise from the improved frame rate support, additional benefits from the higher refresh rate for eye tracking of content, and also sometimes because of the way that the pixel response times improve.

Until very recently, 240Hz native refresh rates have been restricted to the fastest TN Film panel technology. We’ve tested quite a few 240Hz TN Film models over the last couple of years, most recently the Acer Nitro XF252Q which is a 24.5″ sized model and impressed us with its fast response times and excellent motion clarity. It is only recently that other panel technologies have been pushed up to 240Hz, which is likely due to their underlying slower pixel response times and the need to improve things quite significantly if they are to keep up. Our high refresh rate monitor and panel roadmap article talks more about all the high refresh rate options, but the first IPS-type panels with 240Hz have now started to appear in the market. We already tested the first 240Hz IPS screen back in November 2019 in the form of the Acer Nitro XV273 X and we’ve seen a few other models emerge in recent times with the same spec.

Not to be outdone, Asus are releasing their new TUF Gaming VG279QM display which we have with us now for review. This increases that 240Hz refresh rate up to a whopping 280Hz via an overclocking feature, making it the highest refresh rate commercially available monitor on the market to date!

The VG279QM is 27″ in size and offers a 1920 x 1080 resolution IPS-type panel. It has an advertised 1ms G2G typical response time from what Asus call their “Fast IPS” technology. There is variable refresh rate support via adaptive-sync for both AMD FreeSync and NVIDIA G-sync systems which helps accommodate the high refresh rate of the screen. The screen has also been certified under the G-sync Compatible scheme. Of other important note is that this screen will also feature Asus’ ELMB-sync technology, which provides a strobing blur reduction backlight that can also be used at the same time as VRR!

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Specifications and Features

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

The VG279QM offers a reasonable range of modern connectivity with 1x DisplayPort 1.2 and 2 x HDMI 2.0 offered for video connections. These are located on the back of the screen along with a headphone output. There are no USB ports provided on this model which is rare nowadays. For PC connectivity the DisplayPort is the most common option, with HDMI being available then for connecting external games consoles or Blu-ray players potentially. HDMI supports VRR for games consoles while the DP connection should be used for PC systems, whether that’s an AMD or NVIDIA graphics card. The screen has a small external power supply brick and the screen also comes packaged with the power cable that you need.

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

Design and Ergonomics

The VG279QM comes in a mostly black design, with matte plastics used for the bezel and rear enclosure. There is a silver ‘asus’ logo in the middle of the bottom bezel, and light grey logos in the bottom left for DisplayPort and HDMI. The bezels are very thin around the sides and top but it’s not a common “borderless” design here, although the total black edges are  on this screen are thin overall. There is an 8mm black plastic edge and then an additional 2mm black panel border before the image starts on the sides and top. The bottom of the screen has a thicker 13mm plastic bezel + 2mm black panel border. There is a thin white power LED strip located on the bottom right hand edge of the screen which is out of sight from a normal viewing position.

The back of the screen is encased in a matte black plastic for a simple design. The stand comes ready attached in the box, you need only screw on the foot. This stand can be removed as well, but would need to be unscrewed as there is no quick release mechanism. Behind that there are VESA 100mm mounting holes if you’d rather. The arm for the stand is also a matte black plastic with a cable tidy hole in the back. There is a small section of red plastic trim around the base of the arm as you can see from the first photo. The base of the stand is a matte black plastic as well and provides a decent and sturdy foot for the screen.

The stand offers a good range of ergonomic adjustments. Tilt provides a very wide range of adjustment and is smooth and easy to operate. Height is also smooth and easy, and provides a wide adjustment range as well. It can be lowered to basically sit on the foot of the stand, and at the lowest setting the bottom edge of the screen is only 10mm from the desk. At maximum extension it’s 140mm which provides a decent 130mm adjustment range for the height adjustment as advertised. Side to side swivel is smooth and easy to move, and a rotation function is available, although a little “bumpy” to operate. The screen remains very stable when you are moving it around thanks to the solid and sturdy base.

A summary of the ergonomic adjustments are shown below:

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

The connections are available on the back of the screen and shown above. The one thing noticeably missing from this model is added USB ports.

The OSD is controlled through a joystick control located on the back right hand side of the screen (when using it from the front). There are also 3 pressable buttons which help you navigate, including two for quick access to certain settings. There is quick launch access to the preset mode menu and additional gaming option controls by default although these quick access buttons can be changed in the main menu if you want. The main OSD menu is split in to 6 sections down the left hand side, with available options shown in the middle and right columns. There are a wide range of settings to play with and configure and navigation was fast, intuitive and simple thanks to the joystick controller.

Power Consumption

We have plotted these results below compared with other screens we have tested. The consumption (comparing the calibrated states) is comparable to most of the other 27″ sized screens we’ve tested as you might expect. The larger screens tend to have additional power usage as does the 27″ Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ with it’s FALD backlight.

Panel and Backlighting

Backlight dimming at calibrated brightness setting (no PWM)

Above: backlight operation showing constant Direct Current voltage instead of PWM. Measured at calibrated brightness level

Brightness and Contrast

This section tests the full range of luminance (the brightness of the screen) possible from the backlight, while changing the monitors brightness setting in the OSD menu. This allows us to measure the maximum and minimum adjustment ranges, as well as identify the recommended setting to reach a target of 120 cd/m2 for comfortable day to day use in normal lighting conditions. Some users have specific requirements for a very bright display, while others like a much darker display for night time viewing or in low ambient light conditions. At each brightness level we also measure the contrast ratio produced by the screen when comparing a small white sample vs. a black sample (not unrealistic full screen white vs. full screen black tests). The contrast ratio should remain stable across the adjustment range so we also check that.

Graphics card settings were left at default with no ICC profile or calibration active. Tests were made using an X-rite i1 Display Pro Plus colorimeter. It should be noted that we used the BasICColor calibration software here to record these measurements, and so luminance at default settings may vary a little from the LaCie Blue Eye Pro report you will see in other sections of the review.

At the full brightness setting in the OSD the maximum luminance reached a very high 378 cd/m2 which was a little lower than the 400 peak brightness spec from the manufacturer. There was a pretty decent 280 cd/m2 adjustment range in total, so at the minimum setting you could reach down to a luminance of 98 cd/m2. This doesn’t afford you a super-low luminance option for working in darkened room conditions with low ambient light however so be a little wary if that is a specific requirement for you. A setting of 12 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 for all brightness settings so the screen is flicker free.

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 not a linear relationship as settings from 100 – 70 control a steeper adjustment curve, which then flattens out a bit to more subtle changes to the screens luminance between 70 – 0 settings.

The average contrast ratio of the screen was measured at 1128:1 out of the box which was strong for an IPS-type panel. It remained pretty stable across the brightness adjustment range as you can see above.

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 our new X-rite i1 Pro 2 Spectrophotometer combined with LaCie’s Blue Eye Pro software suite. An X-rite i1 Display Pro Plus colorimeter was also used to verify the black point and contrast ratio since the i1 Pro 2 spectrophotometer is less reliable at the darker end.

Targets for these tests are as follows:

  • CIE Diagram – confirms 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. Usually shown as a comparison against the common sRGB space
  • Colour space coverage volumes – we also measure using a piece of software called ChromaPure the colour space (gamut) volumes produced by the backlight in comparison to the sRGB, DCI-P3 and Rec.2020 colour spaces. sRGB is the most commonly used colour space so it is important to have a decent coverage from the screen here. If the colour space is >100% sRGB then the screen can produce a wider colour gamut, often reaching further in to the wider gamut DCI-P3 (commonly used for HDR) and Rec.2020 reference spaces.
  • 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 (static) – we aim for as high as possible. Any dynamic contrast ratio controls are turned off here if present
  • dE average / maximum – we aim for 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:

Initially out of the box the screen was set in the ‘Racing Mode’ preset mode. The display was set with a bright 70% brightness which was not overly bright but still a bit uncomfortable to use for long periods. You will want to turn that down as with most screens. The colour balance felt fairly good and you could tell the screen had a standard sRGB gamut backlight. We went ahead and measured the default state with the i1 Pro 2. The CIE diagram on the left of the image confirms that the monitors colour gamut (black triangle) extends a little bit beyond the sRGB reference space (orange triangle), mostly in green and blue shades but not by anything significant. We measured using ChromaPure software a 108.6% sRGB gamut volume coverage which corresponds to 80.1% of the DCI-P3 reference and 57.4% of the Rec.2020 reference. This is basically a standard sRGB gamut screen with some minor over-coverage. This shouldn’t represent any real issue in practice. Default gamma was recorded at 2.3 average with a minor 3% deviance from the target which was pleasing. There are no gamma modes available in the OSD menu so you are restricted to the default setup unless you have a calibration device. Thankfully the gamma was pretty decent here. White point was measured at 6223k, being a little too warm with a 4% deviance which is ok. This was in the default ‘warm’ mode.

Luminance at the default 70% brightness level was recorded at 237 cd/m2 which is a bit too high for prolonged general use, you will need to turn that down. The black depth was 0.21 cd/m2 at this default brightness setting, giving us a strong static contrast ratio for an IPS-type panel of 1135:1. Colour accuracy measurements showed an average dE of 2.2, maximum of 7.6 which was fairly decent but showed most deviance in blue and green shades where there was over-coverage of the sRGB colour space. When testing the screen with colour gradients there were very smooth transitions and no sign of any banding.

We will also briefly mention the sRGB preset mode which we also tested. This does not restrict the gamut of the screen any further and so you still have that minor over-coverage in blue and green shades. Again nothing really to worry about, we just mention it for reference here. This sRGB preset basically just locks the brightness, contrast and colour settings of the display. It is set at a more comfortable brightness level which produces a luminance of ~144 cd/m2. The gamma curve is slightly more accurate but white point and colour accuracy are basically the same as the default ‘Racing Mode’. Given the sRGB mode locks a lot of the settings, it isn’t of much use.

Optimal Settings Pre-Calibration

We also measured the screen after adjusting only the OSD controls, to obtain the optimal setup without a full calibration, and without the use of an ICC correction profile. This represents what could be achieved through just simple changes to the monitor itself, and also what you could expect when working with content outside of an ICC profile managed workflow. The early stages of our calibration software helped identity these optimal OSD settings.

This has helped correct the white point to approximately 6500k and reduce the brightness to a more comfortable level. The contrast ratio remains strong for an IPS-type panel and basically unchanged from the default setup as we’ve only had to make minor changes to the RGB levels. Further calibration and profiling below will help improve things even further.


We used the X-rite i1 Pro 2 Spectrophotometer combined with the LaCie Blue Eye Pro software package to achieve these results and reports. An X-rite i1 Display Pro Plus colorimeter was used to validate the black depth and contrast ratios due to lower end limitations of the i1 Pro device.

The OSD settings were adjusted as shown in the table above, as guided during the calibration process and measurements. These OSD changes allowed us to obtain an optimal 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.

The already pretty decent out of the box gamma curve had been improved to 2.2 average, leaving only a minor 1% deviance after calibration. The white point was also now corrected to 6512k which was great news. The brightness control adjustment had reduced the luminance to a comfortable level now, and the screen maintained a strong static contrast ratio of 1163:1 for an IPS-type panel. Colour accuracy of the resulting profile was very good, with dE average of 0.6 and maximum of 1.7. LaCie would consider colour fidelity to be very good overall. Gradients remained smooth and free from banding.

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.

Setup 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. We have divided the table up by panel technology as well to make it easier to compare similar models. 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 some (gamma especially) are 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 good overall. There was a reliable gamma which was great news as this is often the hardest thing to correct without a calibration device, especially as there are no further gamma settings in the OSD on this model. There was a strong default contrast ratio for an IPS panel, and a reasonably low dE average. White point was also pretty decent, being only very slightly too warm. Overall a decent performance considering it’s a gaming screen and these are often set up with much less accurate options. If you look at most of the other 240Hz screens we’ve tested (the TN Film models), they had a less accurate setup, especially when it came to gamma out of the box – the Acer Nitro XF252Q, AOC AGON AG251FZ and Asus ROG Swift PG25Q. The additional attention to a more accurate setup from Asus was welcome here. We had seen the same thing from the recently tested Acer Nitro XV273 X which features a 240Hz IPS panel like this Asus model, but minus the overclocking boost.

The contrast ratio was strong for an IPS panel and was measured at 1163:1 after calibration. This was higher than some other IPS panels which ranged down to around 850 – 900:1, but of course can’t live up to the much higher contrast ratios of VA-type panels which are more like 2000 – 3000:1 commonly.

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Viewing Angles

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 slightly 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.

On a black image there is a characteristic pale glow introduced to the image when viewed from a wide angle, commonly referred to as IPS glow. This type of glow 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 may see this glow as your eyes look towards the edges of the screen. The level of glow on this panel was the same as the Acer Nitro XV273 X (not surprising as it uses the same panel), and also comparable to other high refresh rate AUO IPS panels we’ve tested in the past such as the Asus ROG Swift PG279Q and Asus TUF Gaming VG27AQ for instance.

This type of glow 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 may see this glow as your eyes look towards the edges of the screen depending on your viewing position. It will also be more noticeable in darker ambient light conditions and if you’re viewing a lot of dark content. Some people may find this problematic if they are playing a lot of darker games or watching darker movies. In normal day to day uses you couldn’t really notice this unless you were viewing darker content. If you move your viewing position back, which is probably likely for movies and games keep in mind, the effect reduces as you do not have such an extreme angle from your eye position to the screen edges.

Panel Uniformity

We wanted to test here how uniform the brightness was across the screen, as well as identify any leakage from the backlight in dark lighting conditions. Measurements of the luminance 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. 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

Luminance uniformity of the screen was moderate on our sample, with 60% of the screen within a 10% deviance of the centrally calibrated area. Along the bottom area and along the sides the screen was a little darker and there was a modest drop in luminance down to 102 cd/m2 in the most extreme case (-18%) in the bottom right hand corner. This was not too drastic though.

Backlight Leakage

We also tested the screen with an all black image and in a darkened room. A camera was used to capture the result. There was some slight clouding and leakage from the bottom and top left hand corners, most notably in the top area. This was hard to see during normal usage though of course, but might show on darker content.

Note: if you want to test your own screen for backlight bleed and uniformity problems at any point you need to ensure you have suitable testing conditions. Set the monitor to a sensible day to day brightness level, preferably as close to 120 cd/m2 as you can get it (our tests are once the screen is calibrated to this luminance). Don’t just take a photo at the default brightness which is almost always far too high and not a realistic usage condition. You need to take the photo from about 1.5 – 2m back to avoid capturing viewing angle characteristics, especially on IPS-type panels where off-angle glow can come in to play easily. Photos should be taken in a darkened room at a shutter speed which captures what you see reliably and doesn’t over-expose the image. A shutter speed of 1/8 second will probably be suitable for this.

General and Office Applications

With a 1920 x 1080 resolution, the desktop real estate  of the VG279QM feels a pretty big step down compared with all the high resolution panels we’ve tested, and the 27″ 2560 x 1440 models we are used to using day to day. You do lose a large amount of desktop space, and although side by side split screen working is possible, it’s not as easy due to the more limited resolution and space. With a 0.311 mm pixel pitch, text is comfortable and easy to read natively, providing a still fairly sharp and crisp image. It is not as sharp as the 1440p panels we’ve become accustomed to, or of course any ultra HD/4K resolutions where scaling is used, but it is perfectly adequate. We would have preferred a full 1440p resolution on a 27″ screen like this to be honest, although it is primarily aimed at gaming. With the high 280Hz refresh rate in mind, it’s probably more realistic to be powering a 1920 x 1080 resolution than 2560 x 1440 anyway for those purposes. Not to mention the fact that this is one of the first 240Hz IPS panel and it is currently only available at 1080p maximum anyway. It’s just a shame when it comes to more general office work that the resolution is pretty low.

The light AG coating of the IPS technology panel is certainly welcome, and much better than the older grainy and ‘dirty’ appearance of older IPS AG coatings. Although it’s been several years since those more grainy coatings were used. 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 out of the box setup was decent enough for these kind of uses, with only minor deviance from our targets for gamma and white point, pretty low dE and decent contrast ratio for an IPS panel. The brightness range of the screen was a bit limited for these kind of uses, with the ability to offer a luminance between 378 and 98 cd/m2. This might mean that you are more limited in darker room conditions and low ambient light and for lots of text and office work. Although getting down to 120 cd/m2 will still be adequate for many users. Again, this is a gaming screen and so most people will want the brighter settings for gaming, especially if you also want to use the ELMB-sync blur reduction mode which will impact brightness quite a lot. We would have just liked to see a lower minimum adjustment for office and general uses ideally.

A setting of 12 in the OSD brightness control should return you a luminance close to 120 cd/m2 out of the box. The brightness regulation is controlled via a flicker free backlight, without the need for 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 from the screen, even when conducting specific tests which can sometimes cause issues.

Spectral distribution graph showing calibrated mode at 6500k

Spectral distribution graph showing Blue Light Filter mode set to level 4 (maximum)

There are 4 modes provided for Blue Light filtering in the OSD. You can see above a fairly typical backlight spectral output for the screen calibrated to 6500k where the blue light peak is particularly high. Using the Low blue light filter modes makes the image progressively warmer, reducing the blue light and making the image look a little more yellow/green each time. The highest level 4 mode has a locked brightness setting which is close to our calibrated state so is still useable if you want. The other 3 levels can be enabled while still allowing you access to the brightness control of the screen so are a bit more flexible. We have provided the spectral output graph for the maximum level 4 mode above where the colour temperature is warmer at 5081k.

There are no USB ports provided on this screen, which is pretty rare for a modern display. There are also no other extras like ambient light sensors, motion sensors or card readers on this screen which are sometimes useful for office-type uses. There is a decent range of ergonomic adjustments from the stand with tilt, height, swivel and rotate offered. There is also VESA 100mm mounting capabilities for those who want to mount the screen instead.

Responsiveness and Gaming

The screen uses overdrive technology to boost pixel transitions across grey to grey changes as with nearly all modern displays. The part being used is an AU Optronics M270HAN03.0 AHVA (IPS-type) technology panel. Have a read about response time in our specs section if you need additional information about this measurement.

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 Times and Refresh Rate

There’s various things you need to consider when it comes to response times and gaming, particularly on a display with high refresh rate support. Gaming screens invariably give you a control for the overdrive impulse in the OSD menu which can help you tweak things, but response time performance and overshoot levels can vary depending on the active refresh rate. This behaviour is often different depending on whether the screen is a traditional G-sync screens (with hardware module) or whether it’s an adaptive-sync screen as well, and not all screens behave in the same way. We always try to test each variable in our reviews but the key considerations you need to make are:

  1. Performance at 60Hz – this is important if you want to use an external games console (or other device like a Blu-ray player etc) which typically run at 60Hz. Response time performance may well be different than at the higher refresh rates supported, and you may need a different overdrive setting for optimal experience.
  2. Performance during VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) – bearing in mind that the refresh rate will fluctuate anywhere from 1Hz up to the maximum supported by the screen (e.g. 1 – 144Hz on a 144Hz display). It’s important to understand if the response times and overshoot will vary as the refresh rate changes. There may be a need to switch between different overdrive settings in some cases, depending on your usually attained refresh rate output and graphics card capability. This can sometimes become fiddly if your refresh rates fluctuate a lot, especially between different games, so it’s always easier if you can leave a display on a single overdrive setting which is suited to the whole range. Some screens also feature “variable overdrive” which helps control the response times and overshoot depending on the active refresh rate. This is particularly apparent with traditional G-sync module screens.
  3. Performance at fixed refresh rates including maximum – this is important for those who have a powerful enough system to consistently output a frame rate to meet the max refresh rate capability of the screen. They may want to run at max refresh rate without VRR active, or even is VRR is active they may know they will be consistently at the upper end of the range. Many gaming screens show their optimal response time performance at the maximum refresh rate. Knowing the performance at high fixed refresh rates may also be applicable if you want to use any added blur reduction backlight which typically operate at a fixed refresh rate.
  4. Whether the response times can keep up with the frame rate – you will also want to consider whether the response times of the panel can consistently keep up with the frame rate. For instance a 144Hz screen sends a new frame to the display every 6.94ms, so the pixel response times need to ideally be consistently and reliably under this threshold. If they are too slow, it can lead to added blurring in practice and sometimes make the higher refresh rates unusable in real life. We consider this in our analysis.

  We carried out some initial response time measurements and visual tests in each of the overdrive settings, and at a range of refresh rates. The overdrive control is available in the OSD menu via the ‘Over Drive’ option as shown. There are 6 levels available – 0, 20, 40, 60, 80, 100.  

60Hz Refresh Rate

We are going to start with 60Hz and work our way up in this section as there are some considerations when selecting the optimal Over Drive (OD) setting on this screen. At 60Hz we saw some minor improvements in motion clarity as you increased the OD setting between the 3 levels shown above. OD 40 felt the right balance, being slightly clearer than OD 20 but without any noticeable halos or overshoot being evident in visual tests. If you pushed the OD up to 60, there are some noticeable pale halos on moving content from the higher levels of overshoot, and without really any improvements in response time anyway.

Increasing Refresh Rates – Over Drive 60

As the refresh rate increases the response time behaviour is similar to many other adaptive-sync screens we’ve tested in the past. With the OD setting at the same level of 60 here, the response times were slightly slower each time the refresh rate was increased. This was only a minor change overall, but it did also help reduce the overshoot as the refresh rate increased. At 100Hz, the OD 60 mode was probably a bit too high, and there were some pale halos on lighter backgrounds in particular, so at 100Hz you are probably best to drop down to OD 40. For refresh rates above 120Hz the OD 60 mode was optimal and improved the motion clarity and image sharpness compared to OD 40, without any noticeable halos or overshoot. By the time you reach up to 200Hz and above, you can even push the OD setting up higher to 80 as we measure in the next section.

High Refresh Rates – Over Drive 80

We also experimented with the OD 80 setting for the upper refresh rates. We created a couple of custom resolutions at 175Hz and 200Hz to help identify the point where OD 80 becomes useable. At 175Hz the overshoot and pale halos are too noticeable for OD 80, but once you reach 200Hz and above this higher OD setting is perfectly useable. It brings about some minor additional benefits in motion clarity and sharpness compared with OD 60. By the time you reach refresh rates of 240Hz and above, there is no real overshoot present at all.

Achieving 1ms G2G Response Time?

How is the 1ms G2G response time figure achieved then on this screen? Unsurprisingly it is only achieved in unrealistic and unusable circumstances. We pushed the OD setting up to the maximum 100 and ran the screen at the maximum 280Hz overclocked refresh rate. The best response time we measured was now 0.9ms G2G (come on Asus, you’re missing a trick there with “only” a 1ms G2G response time! :p), which was very impressive. However, as we’ve seen from all other 1ms rated IPS screens to date, this is only possible with very high levels of overshoot. The pale halos and artefacts are very obvious in practice and this mode isn’t useable. We will reiterate what we’ve said in other reviews – we would really rather manufacturers didn’t quote silly response times like this when they are in no way useable or practical.

Overclocking and Variable Refresh Rates (VRR)

The native refresh rate of the VG279QM is 240Hz but Asus also offer an overclocking option from within the OSD menu. This can boost the refresh rate up to a maximum 280Hz, although it is not guaranteed and may vary from one sample to another, or depending on your system. If you experience any issues with flickering or artefacts at the overclocked 280Hz mode, there is also the option in the OSD to limit the overclock to 270Hz, so you can also try that. If not, the native 240Hz should work fine for everyone given it’s the native panel refresh rate.

The screen has adaptive-sync support and so natively supports AMD FreeSync for variable refresh rates between 48 and 280Hz with the overclock activated. The screen has also been officially certified under NVIDIA’s recent ‘G-sync Compatible’ scheme. This means you can use it from NVIDIA graphics cards with variable refresh rates with validated performance levels. You can disable and enable ‘Adaptive-Sync’ from within the OSD menu if you want to use FreeSync or G-sync. The screen also supports HDMI-VRR for compatible games consoles.

The support for FreeSync and G-sync will be very useful given the significant system demands of running a screen at 1920 x 1080 resolution and up to 280Hz refresh rate. It was of course very good to see it included here. We will discuss some of the considerations for using VRR in the following section when it comes to response time performance. You might also want to read our newly updated article about Variable Refresh Rates here.

Detailed Response Times

To achieve the optimal performance from the VG279QM you do have to make some considerations about your system performance before selecting the optimal Over Drive mode in the menu. This is similar to many other FreeSync screens we’ve tested in the past, and it makes it a bit more complicated than displays featuring the Native hardware G-sync module where variable overdrive is featured. You can’t just stick with one mode for everything, you will have to change the Over Drive setting depending on your achieved refresh rate if you want optimal performance. Alternatively you can find a middle ground and live with sub-optimal response times/overshoot in certain situations. This may depend on your system, game and game settings. The built-in frame rate counter might be useful to help you identify your active frame rate/refresh rate in VRR situations, and then set the overdrive control to the optimal level from there.

The higher refresh rates supported by the screen really do help improve motion clarity and reduce perceived  blur, making the screen far better for gaming than 60Hz-only models. There were also a reasonable improvement in perceived motion clarity we felt when switching between 144Hz and 240/280Hz modes as well, as we had also seen on the Acer Nitro XV273 X. The support for VRR from both AMD and NVIDIA systems was welcome as ever, particularly useful given the high demands of this resolution and refresh rate combination.

Recommended Settings

Optimal Refresh Rate 280Hz
Optimal Overdrive Setting (for above) 80
Optimal Overdrive Setting for 60Hz 40
Optimal Overdrive Setting for VRR 60 – 120Hz = 40
120 – 200Hz = 60
200 – 280Hz = 80

     Detailed Measurements at 240Hz, Over Drive 80

We carried out some further response time measurements at 240Hz which is the maximum native refresh rate of the screen. We will test the overclocked refresh rate in a moment too. The screen performed really well for an IPS-type panel, with an average G2G response time of 3.6ms G2G, all with only minor levels of overshoot measured. At this high refresh rate the overshoot was not visible in practice. Moving images looked sharp and clear and with a noticeable improvement in overall motion clarity compared with lower refresh rates, even 144Hz which has become a very popular “high refresh rate” option. We were impressed by the performance here.

We have tested one other 240Hz IPS panel so far, the Acer Nitro XV273 X. The response times on the VG279QM were a bit better than on the Acer, and the overdrive impulse (at the optimal settings) had been applied a bit more aggressively here. Response times were 3.7ms G2G average on the Asus, vs. 4.8ms G2G on the Acer. The overshoot was a little higher as a result, but not visible in practice at these levels.

This additional boost helped ensure that more of the pixel transitions fit within the 240Hz refresh rate cycle, where a new frame is sent to the screen every 4.17ms. On the Asus model here 80% of the measured transitions were within this refresh rate window (compared to only 36.7% on the Acer model). If we added a 1ms leeway to that refresh rate window then 96.7% of the measurements on the Asus were now within that time (compared with 60% on the Acer). This helps ensure that the response times are fast enough to keep up with the refresh rate and avoids any added smearing on moving content which can sometimes become evident when they are not fast enough. As a result, the motion clarity on the Asus was slightly better than the Acer, but both screens were still perfectly useable at 240Hz.

     Detailed Measurements at overclocked 280Hz, Over Drive 80

As we had seen before in our initial smaller sample of measurements, the overdrive impulse is turned down a little as the refresh rate increases. So at 280Hz here, we now had a measured 4.0ms G2G average, a little slower than the 3.6ms G2G we’d measured at 240Hz. This did eliminate pretty much all the minor overshoot as well. The response times were now not quite fast enough to keep up with the refresh rate demands, with 33.3% of transitions within the refresh rate window, 73.3% if we allow a 1ms additional leeway. This can lead to a little bit of added smearing on moving content. Actually in practice this was very hard to see, and was offset by the slight improvement in refresh rate which directly impacts perceived motion clarity. On the whole, 280Hz looked visually very similar to 240Hz mode, but does give you a bit of additional frame rate room if you need it. A perfectly useable overclocked refresh rate although in practice it’s not going to be a game changer relative to 240Hz.

Motion Blur Reduction (ELMB-sync mode)

The strobing blur reduction backlight option is available via the ‘ELMB-sync’ setting. This Asus technology is the only strobing blur reduction backlight option in the market currently that can be used at the same time as G-sync/FreeSync in a variable refresh rate (VRR) environment. This makes it a very attractive option for those who like to use blur reduction backlights for games, but don’t want to give up the all-important VRR technology to use it.

If you are using it with a fixed refresh rate (adaptive-sync turned off) then it is only available at 120Hz, 144Hz, 240Hz and the overclocked 270Hz or 280Hz levels. The overdrive control becomes locked when using ELMB-sync and from visual tests it appears to be set at the 80 level for all refresh rates. As we talked about earlier, this is fine for the higher refresh rate end from around 200 – 280Hz, but as the refresh rate lowers there is more noticeable overshoot present in the form of pale halos and trails. This means the ELMB-sync mode is less useable at lower refresh rates sadly. We would have preferred to maintain user control for the overdrive setting while this ELMB-sync mode was used. If it had to be locked like it has been, then we suppose optimising it for the upper refresh rate end is probably the right thing to do.

Normal mode – Example strobing at 280Hz, horizontal scale = 5ms

We measured the on/off strobing using our oscilloscope and confirmed that the strobing is in sync with the refresh rate. So at 280Hz for instance (shown above) the backlight is turned off/on every 3.57ms (280 times per second). As you reduce the refresh rate the strobing remains in sync with it well as you would hope.

The ‘on’ period reduces as the refresh rate increases as with most blur reduction backlights, which would normally mean that the image becomes a bit darker with the higher refresh rates. However, because this feature is designed to be used with VRR, Asus needed to develop it to avoid changes in brightness as the refresh rate changes. That would have been pretty distracting in use. While the strobing frequency and ‘on’ periods will change with the refresh rate, the backlight intensity is also being dynamically controlled to make up for it. We measured the same maximum brightness at a range of refresh rates as shown below. So there are no noticeable fluctuations in brightness as the refresh rate changes which is great news.

Max Brightness

Refresh RateLuminanceBlack PointContrast Ratio

When you enable the ELMB-sync mode the brightness control is actually still available. It doesn’t give you a huge range of actual luminance output to play with, but does allow you to adjust the brightness down a bit if you want to. One pleasing aspect is the fact that the ELMB-sync brightness setting and the normal desktop brightness setting are independent from one another, so you don’t need to keep changing your brightness control every time you turn the feature on or off. The maximum brightness achieved at a full 100% brightness setting is shown above. Note that if you lower the brightness control to 0%, it reaches down to 100 cd/m2.

Maximum Blur Reduction Brightness – Display Comparison

For ease of reference we have also provided a comparison table below of all the blur reduction enabled displays we’ve tested, showing their maximum luminance before blur reduction is turned on (normal mode) and their maximum luminance with the feature enabled. This will give you an idea of the maximum brightness you can expect from each model when using their blur reduction feature, if that is important to you. A lot of people want a brighter display for gaming and sometimes the relatively low maximum luminance from blur reduction modes is a limitation.

These comparisons are with the refresh rate as high as is available for the blur reduction feature to function. For most this is at 100 – 144Hz. You can often achieve a slightly brighter display if you use the feature at compatible lower refresh rates since the strobes are less frequent, but it’s not a significant amount. That can also introduce more visible flicker in some situations.

Note: Pulse Width setting at max where applicable.
*Note 2: The Acer XB270HU was later updated to include a 120Hz mode, which will produce a slightly darker maximum luminance

Blur Reduction Tests

Of course the main thing we want to test is what improvements the Blur Reduction mode offers when it comes to motion clarity and gaming. The following pursuit camera photos give you an indication of observed motion clarity as the human eye would see it at the top, middle and bottom areas of the screen. These were captured at the maximum refresh rate.

Pursuit camera photos capturing motion clarity with ELMB-sync enabled
Shown at the top, middle and bottom areas of the screen (refresh rate = 280Hz)

As with most strobing blur reduction backlights it did help improve eye tracking of moving objects across the screen, making them sharper and easier to follow. That’s one of the key benefits of this kind of technology. There was low levels of strobe cross talk visible in the middle region of the screen which was good news. In the top and bottom areas of the screen this was a bit more noticeable and it’s impossible to eliminate this all together. Overall we were impressed by the operation of the ELMB-sync mode on this display, it worked well. Given the very fast response times and high refresh rate, many people will find performance without this feature active very fast as well but it’s great to see it available in VRR situations on this display, so you don’t have to even make a choice. The only issue with it really was the fact the overdrive mode has to be locked, and so if your refresh rate drops below about 200Hz, the overshoot starts to become increasingly noticeable.

Gaming Comparisons

We have provided a comparison of the display against many other gaming screens we have reviewed in a similar size range and across a range of panel technologies. This table is now split by panel technology to make life a bit easier and for quicker comparison.

We have recorded the response times at the native 240Hz refresh rate here which we feel is probably the optimal mode for most situations. The overclocked 280Hz mode shows a small drop in the measured response times which leads to lower compliance with the active refresh rate, not quite keeping up with the more rapidly changing frames. Although the additional 40Hz boost does then offset that in practice when it comes to motion clarity as it helps reduce perceived motion blur a bit more. In practice the 240Hz and 280Hz modes look very similar, but considering reaching those kind of refresh rates is going to be a pretty hefty challenge for your system (even at this lower 1080p resolution), it’s probably just as good to stick with the native 240Hz maximum. This also avoids the need to overclock the screen, avoiding any potential flickering or artefacts that it may cause on some systems. 

Anyway, considering the 240Hz performance shown above, the VG279QM was the fastest overall IPS panel we have measured to date which was very impressive. With a 3.6ms G2G average it out-performed in response times the recently tested LG 38GL950G ever so slightly (3.7ms G2G). The Asus does of course also then have a higher refresh rate of up to 280Hz, compared with the 175Hz maximum of the LG, but it can’t compete with the size, resolution and immersion of that larger display. The Asus also surpassed the Acer Nitro XV273 X which was the first 240Hz IPS screen we’d tested (4.8ms G2G). Add to these excellent response times and very high refresh rate the support for ELMB-sync blur reduction, and you’ve got a very high-end gaming performance.

You can also compare the response times against the other 240Hz models we’ve tested, all with TN Film panels – the Acer Nitro XF252Q, AOC AGON AG251FZ and Asus ROG Swift PG25Q. They had slightly faster response times down to around 2.6 – 3.4ms. There was a little more overshoot introduced as a result, only minor on the Acer and Asus models, but up to moderate overshoot on the AOC.

Additional Gaming Features

  • Aspect Ratio Control – the screen has various settings for hardware level aspect ratio control. This includes options for full, 4:3 or 16:9 (24″). The latter is not available when using adaptive-sync it should be noted. We would have perhaps liked to have seen an “aspect” mode or 1:1 pixel mapping mode included as well, although the native screen aspect ratio of 16:9 is likely to be fine for most inputs anyway and from a PC you can always control the aspect ratio at the graphics card level if you need to.
  • Preset Modes – There are quite a few gamer-oriented modes available in the GameVisual menu including modes for Racing, RTS/RPG, FPS and MOBA games. You can also save 4 user modes yourself with custom settings.
  • Additional features– there are settings in the OSD menu for additional gamer features like a crosshair, timer, FPS counter, Sniper mode and Shadow Boost controls.


Read our detailed article about input lag and the various measurement techniques which are used to evaluate this aspect of a display. The screens tested are split into two measurements which are based on our overall display lag tests and half the average G2G response time, as measured by our oscilloscope. The response time element, part of the lag you can see, 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 of the lag you would feel from the display. We also classify each display as follows:

Lag Classification

  • Class 1) Less than 8.33ms – the equivalent to 1 frame lag of a display at 120Hz refresh rate – should be fine for gamers, even at high levels
  • Class 2) A lag of 8.33 – 16.66ms – the equivalent of one to two frames at a 120Hz refresh rate – moderate lag but should be fine for many gamers. Caution advised for serious gaming
  • Class 3) A lag of more than 16.66ms – the equivalent of more than 2 frames at a refresh rate of 120Hz – Some noticeable lag in daily usage, not suitable for high end gaming

At 240Hz the total lag measured was a very impressive 2.30 ms total. The pixel response times should account for pretty much all of that display lag at around 2.0ms, and so we can say that there appears to be almost no added signal processing lag on this screen at around 0.3ms. An impressive result from this display and making it suitable for fast and competitive gaming.

Movies and Video

The following summarises the screens performance for videos and movie viewing:

CategoryDisplay Specs / MeasurementsComments
Size27″ widescreenFairly typical for a desktop monitor nowadays and smaller than TV’s by a lot
Aspect Ratio16:9Well suited to most common 16:9 aspect content and input devices
Resolution1920 x 1080Can support native 1080p content only, but not Ultra HD natively
HDCPYesSuitable for encrypted content
Connectivity1x DisplayPort 1.2 and 2x HDMI 2.0Useful additional 2x HDMI input for external Blu-ray players or games consoles.
CablesDisplayPort and HDMIBoth DisplayPort and HDMI provided which is useful
ErgonomicsTilt, height. swivel and rotateGood range of adjustments suitable to positioning the screen in a variety of angles for different viewing positions. All pretty easy to move around.
CoatingLight Anti-glareProvides clear, non-grainy image and avoids unwanted reflections of full glossy solutions
Brightness range98 – 378 cd/m2Good adjustment range offered including a fairly high peak brightness only. Flicker free backlight operation with no PWM
Contrast1163:1 after calibrationStrong IPS contrast ratio which should be fine for most content. Buying an alternative VA technology panel would provide you a higher contrast ratio if you watch a lot of dark content and miss some shadow detail
Preset modesCinema modeThere is a specific movie which can be customised to your liking, or you can also save one of the 4 user-configurable modes too.
Response times3.6ms G2G, very low overshoot at 240Hz (Overdrive = 80) 5.3ms G2G at 60Hz with low overshoot (Overdrive = 40)Response times are excellent overall with no noticeable overshoot when using the optimal response time settings. For 60Hz inputs and external devices you may want to switch to the ’40’ overdrive mode to avoid unwanted overshoot artefacts. Even at 60Hz the response times are decent.
Viewing anglesVery goodThanks to the IPS panel technology, suitable for viewing from a wide range of positions. IPS glow on dark content could present a problem from some wider angles especially in darker room conditions
Backlight bleedNo major bleedSome slight clouding most noticeable in the top left hand corner on our sample but nothing major
AudioHeadphone output and 2x 2W speakersBasic integrated speakers on this model which might be ok for the occasional YouTube clip or mp3 but not much more. A headphone jack is also provided
Aspect Ratio ControlsFull , 4:3 and 16:9 (24″) modesModest options to account for non-16:9 format inputs via the 4:3 mode but lacking any option to maintain other source aspect ratios. Also lacking any 1:1 pixel mapping mode. Although the native aspect of the screen is likely to be suitable for a lot of content
PiP / PbPNeither supportedn/a
HDR supportNothing meaningfulIt can accept an HDR input source, but is only certified to the rather meaningless HDR 400 standard which does not require any form of local dimming and so cannot offer improved dynamic range/contrast. There is also only a standard sRGB gamut and 8-bit colour depth so no additional colour benefits for HDR either.


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The VG279QM was a very impressive, top-end gaming screen with some excellent features and specs. This is the highest refresh rate commercially available monitor on the market to date and despite being an IPS panel, can comfortably keep up with the high demands of even the maximum 280Hz. Response times were the best we have measured from any IPS panel to date, and there were low levels of overshoot as long as you operated at the optimal overdrive settings. Support for G-sync (certified by NVIDIA) and FreeSync via the adaptive-sync technology helped cope with the high system demands of this kind of refresh rate too which was great to see. One thing we did miss was the variable overdrive capabilities offered by Native G-sync module screens, so selection of the right overdrive setting was a bit fiddly and needs user consideration. Input lag was basically non-existent and there was a decent motion blur reduction implementation too. There are only a small hand full of displays that allow you to use blur reduction at the same time as VRR (all from Asus’ TUF line-up at the moment), so if you like this technology but don’t want to give up VRR technology, it’s a very attractive option. It wasn’t perfect, as again the overdrive control meant that when using ELMB-sync mode it was best at 200Hz+, and showed overshoot artefacts below that. It’s a great gaming screen nevertheless, but of course the other major consideration is that at 27″ and only 1080p resolution it is fairly small by modern standards. Still, there are plenty of users out there who only want something of this size and res, so it’s a great option if you’re looking to move into a modern high refresh rate IPS offering.

Away from gaming the default setup of the screen was pretty decent and the panel had a strong contrast ratio for IPS technology. There are decent connectivity options and a versatile stand provided too, along with plenty of options and settings to play with in the menu. Unlike all the TN Film based gaming screens, the IPS panel helps provide great all round performance as well with decent colours, great picture quality and wide viewing angles.

At the time of writing this review (dated at the top of the page) the Asus TUF Gaming VG279QM is available and in stock now from most regions via Amazon, and in the UK from Overclockers UK  (affiliate links). If you are looking for a high-performing IPS gaming display with the latest technologies, it’s definitely worth checking out.

The fastest IPS response times to date, low overshoot, no lag, AMD and NVIDIA VRR support1080p resolution a step down for normal day to day uses compared with 1440p on a screen this size
240Hz/280Hz support for high refresh rate gaming, with some incremental motion clarity benefits compared with 144HzOverdrive control is a bit fiddly and needs some user input
ELMB-sync mode available for blur reduction benefits and can be used at the same time as VRRELMB-sync mode shows more noticeable overshoot at lower refresh rates as overdrive control is locked
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