When we reviewed the Asus VG278H earlier this year we awarded it an Editors’ Choice for its overall performance and the fact that it was one of the first 120Hz monitors to support Nvidia’s 3D Vision 2 with LightBoost technology. However, we weren’t thrilled with its lofty price, lack of USB ports, and narrow viewing angles. The new Asus VG278HE ($499.99 list) also supports 3D Vision 2 with LightBoost, but it doesn’t come with a 3D Vision kit like the earlier model does. Unfortunately, it also suffers from narrow viewing angles and weak grayscale reproduction. On the plus side, it boasts a faster 144Hz refresh rate and delivers a sharp, detailed picture, especially when it comes to gaming. It’s still more expensive than most similarly sized TN (twisted nematic) monitors, though.
Design and Features
The VG278HE uses a 27-inch TN panel with a maximum resolution of 1,920-by-1,080 and a matte anti-glare coating. The screen is framed by thin 0.75-inch black bezels with a silver Asus logo attached to the bottom edge. The 16-pound cabinet is 2.75 inches thick and is supported by a mounting arm and base assembly that provides height, tilt, and swivel maneuverability. The round base sports a 3D emblem and a glossy black finish.
There are seven clearly labeled buttons located beneath the bottom bezel, off to the right. In addition to acting as menu navigation buttons they are also hot keys for selecting an Asus Splendid (picture preset) mode, adjusting volume and brightness, and selecting an input source. The Menu button launches the OSD (on screen display) where you can also select one of the Splendid presets (standard, scenery, theater, game, night view, sRGB), and adjust brightness, contrast, saturation, skin tone, and color temperature levels. There’s also a Smart View setting that is supposed to improve picture quality when viewed from an angle but colors appear washed out with this setting enabled.
The rear of the cabinet holds DVI, HDMI, and VGA video inputs as well as headphone and audio input jacks, all of which are downward facing. While the headphone jack is a nice touch it would be more convenient if it was mounted on the side of the cabinet. There are no USB ports on this model nor is there a built-in 3D transmitter such as the one embedded in the VG278H’s upper bezel. As mentioned earlier the Nvidia 3D Vision 2 kit is not part of the package and must be purchased separately for around $150 if you want 3D capabilities. The 3-watt speakers are appropriately loud and crisp sounding but are no substitute for a good 2.1 channel desktop speaker setup.
The VG278HE comes with a three-year warranty covering parts, labor, and backlighting. Included in the box are a dual link DVI cable, a VGA cable, and an audio cable. An HDMI cable is not included. You also get a CD containing a user guide and drivers.
The VG278HE turned in mixed performance results. Color gradation was even throughout the DisplayMate color Scales test and the panel delivered bold, well saturated colors in my test photos but it had trouble reproducing dark shades of gray. The three darkest shades of the 64-Step Grayscale test appeared black when they should have been progressing to a dark gray. Light grayscale performance was only slightly better.
The panel’s 144Hz refresh rate coupled with a 2-millisecond (gray-to-gray) pixel response provided excellent motion handling, a plus for the gaming crowd. The action was fast and smooth while playing Far Cry 2 on the PC, and there was no discernible judder or ghosting. With the monitor connected to a PS3 console it performed flawlessly while I played Burnout Paradise, an action packed street racing game. As with the PC game there was no noticeable judder, smearing, or ghosting while displaying fast moving images.
The VG278HE used 29 watts of power during testing with ECO mode disabled. Enabling Eco mode brings that number down to 25-watts without making the picture too dim. That’s much better than the earlier VG278H, which used 41-watts of power. Still, the VG278HE can’t match the energy efficiency of the Samsung S27B750V, which used just 19-watts of power.
The Asus VG278HE will appeal to gamers who want trace-free performance while blasting their way through today’s graphics-laden action games, but it may not be the best choice for users who rely on accurate grayscale reproduction to edit photos. Its fast refresh and pixel response notwithstanding, it can’t measure up to the Asus VG278H’s performance and 3D features. As such, the Asus VG278H remains our Editors’ Choice for big-screen gaming monitors.
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|Native Resolution||1920 x 1080|
|Supported Video Formats||1080p|
|PC Interfaces||Analog VGA, Digital (DVI-D), Dual-mode (DVI-I)|
|Video Inputs||DVI, HDMI|
|Diagonal Screen Size||27 inches|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc