ASUS ROG Swift PG278Q 27-in Monitor Review - NVIDIA G-Sync at 2560x1440
The ASUS ROG Swift PG278Q 27-in WQHD Monitor
G-Sync-specific technology aside, the ASUS ROG Swift PG278Q monitor has a lot to offer just in terms of being a display. Specifications, like refresh rate and response time are hard to beat, the build quality is impressive, as is the screen quality.
The PG278Q is a 27-inch display with a resolution of 2560x1440. This size and resolution has become quite popular with gamers over the last year, as the transition away from 1080p starts to ramp up (thankfully). It is a TN panel, but much like we found with the recently released ASUS 4K TN screen, the quality of TN is creeping up. Matching the performance of IPS or IGZO is still not in the cards, but the differences in level of TN design and extremely low cost implementations are night and day.
Usage by several people here at the PC Perspective offices resulted in almost entirely positive impressions. The viewing angles seem to be even better than those found on the ASUS 4K PB287Q monitor, which we reviewed early in the summer, and had a surprisingly high left, right and top result. Only when trying to view the panel from below did I see the typical quick color shift of other TN panels. Obviously, looking UNDER the panel is one of the least common viewing directions. Still, keep that in mind, especially if you decide to place the monitor in portrait mode.
The backlight is a white LED design, but the color reproduction is still fantastic. I ran this monitor through our color calibration process and it had no issues hitting 100% sRGB and, in fact, out of the box, was only about 3-5% off. For a TN panel that doesn’t come from the ASUS professional lineup of displays, that is another strength for the PG278Q.
Maybe the most important specification is the 144 Hz refresh speed. More than double that of your standard 60 Hz LCD, the ASUS PG278Q is one of the first major brands to offer a 2560x1440 panel with that high of a refresh rate. Of course, you can run the panel at other refresh rates lower than 144 Hz, including 120 Hz, 85Hz and 60 Hz, but there is very little reason to do so. With a 144 Hz refresh you’ll see much smoother screen animation in games but also a faster “feeling” interface in Windows. You’ll never look at your mouse cursor the same again.
For gaming specifically, a 144 Hz refresh rate means dramatically less horizontal tearing when playing games with V-Sync disabled. Because this monitor supports NVIDIA G-Sync though, as long as you have a GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost card (or higher) you’ll definitely be enabling that feature, so that particular benefit of the refresh rate speed is lost. If you happen to buy this monitor and decide to use it with an AMD Radeon card, you will not get G-Sync support, of course, but you will still see the improvement of a 144 Hz refresh rate.
Building on the design of the ASUS PB287Q 4K display, the body and stand design on the ROG Swift PG278Q is top notch. Attempting to summon the essence of the Republic of Gamers line, the Swift has an angular design that looks aggressive and attractive at the same time. The base doesn’t quite have 90 degree edges and the stand sweeps inward with an opening in the middle for cable routing.
Along the circular center of the monitor base you’ll find a red light that ASUS calls “Light in Motion” that illuminates to give the display a bit more character. I’m not quite sure why it’s referenced as being in motion, because it stayed at a static brightness all the time, at least, as far I could tell, but it makes a nice addition none the less.
The bezel on the sides is impressively narrow at just 6mm wide. This gives the ROG Swift the look of almost no bezel, which is awesome even in a single display setup. The real magic would occur when you used three of these in a NVIDIA Surround gaming configuration, with three monitors all in landscape mode. Unfortunately, the bottom bezel is a big larger so the 5-display portrait style Surround wouldn’t be as impressive, if it were even possible today.
Controls for the monitor are located on the back, at the lower right corner of the display, with its labels facing the front. The primary navigation is done with a small joystick that can move up, down, and in, to represent the click. One button on the back actually is called the "Turbo Button", which makes it sound cool, which it is, but not for the reasons you might think.
The Turbo Button allows you to switch quickly between 60 Hz, 120 Hz and 144 Hz refresh rates, without having to enter the graphics card control panel and without entering the on-screen display of the ROG Swift itself. This is handy to showcase the differences between these refresh rates in games, or even in Windows itself, and it also allows you to shift between modes should some particular game show artifacting.
The OSD is clean and fast, though the feature set found in the PB287Q 4K display is obviously missing. You can adjust brightness, contrast, color temperature, enable ULMB, turn on or off the ring light on the stand, and so forth. You can also turn on ASUS-specific features, like GamePlus targeting reticules that are enabled in hardware, not in the game. If specific games do not have sights in them for some reason, this could be helpful.
ASUS also includes a timer functionality that simply counts down from a specified starting point. RTS gamers that need to keep track of build times, or MMO players want to track rebuff times, might find them more convenient than looking at your watch or your cell phone.
The back of the ASUS PG278Q is just as sleek and angled as the rest of the display, but the stand is for more than just looks. It is fully height adjustable, has the ability to tilt up or down, and it supports rotation, including portrait mode. As mentioned earlier, this mode is less desirable in a TN display where standard viewing angles are changed, but it’s there if you want it.
If you want to mount the PG278Q to another stand or arm, you can do that thanks to ASUS’ inclusion of a standard VESA mount.
Connectivity is an interesting area though – the PG278Q only supports DisplayPort input, period. There is no fall back for DVI or HDMI. ASUS chose this obviously because support for G-Sync requires DisplayPort and I believe that, since the NVIDIA G-Sync module takes over the controller duties for the display, that’s all we are getting. It would have been nice for ASUS or NVIDIA to figure out a way to get at least DVI on the display, if only for a fall back option when G-Sync is not required.
ASUS did include a USB 3.0 hub though, which is a nice touch. Run the included USB 3.0 B-A cable to your machine and take advantage of two USB 3.0 ports on the bottom of your monitor. There is a service USB port on the right as well, but it is covered up to prevent you from trying to use it accidentally.