Today, we have a really special treat for you. ASUS hooked us up with the new Swift PG278Q monitor for a review, and we are practically speechless. In a word: gorgeous. But, I can't let too much go right now.
The PG278Q features NVIDIA G-Sync technology, which allows the monitor to sync its refresh rate to the frame rate of the GPU. It's said to create a better gaming experience, a claim we will be putting to the test in today's review.
Some other great teasers: 3D Vision 2, WQHD, 144Hz, 1440p, and super-slim bezels. But you'll have to read on to find out all about it.
Specifications, General Features & Pricing
Instead of covering all of the specifications, we're going to direct you at the chart below, taken from ASUS's product page. After the image, we're going to highlight some of the more important specs before moving on to the features, pricing, and gaming specific features.
The ROG Swift PG278Q (PG278Q from here on out) is a 27-inch beast. It pumps out WQHD resolution-2560x1440 in common terms-and does so at a lightning 144Hz refresh rate. The extra refresh cycles above 120Hz do make this a screen to behold.
The panel is of the TN variety, meaning color reproduction and viewing angles will be affected. The PG278Q is spec'd at 350 cb/m^2 for brightness, 1ms gray-to-gray response time, 170/160 horizontal/vertical viewing angles, and less than 90 watts of power draw, which is unbelievably high.
Aside from some of the gaming features, noted below, the monitor is actually somewhat barebones. You get an excellent stand that features swivel, tilt, pivot (for going into portrait mode), and height adjustment.
It comes with a glowing red loop around the bottom of the stand, and the chassis is clearly inspired by ASUS' ROG line of gaming notebooks. You'll see what I mean shortly.
Gaming Specific Features
As far as gaming features go, this is where ASUS has spent most of its time. This is one of the first G-Sync monitors on the market. For those who haven't been hammered by NVIDIA's marketing, G-Sync is a technology that syncs the monitor's refresh rate to the rate of the drawing frame rate of the GPU itself. This should eliminate tearing and the lag associated with V-Sync.
It does require a special chip in the monitor to sync up with the GPU, and you have to be running an NVIDIA GPU newer than the GTX 650 Ti Boost. A full GPU list is available on NVIDIA's site.
ASUS has also included its standard gaming features, allowing you to easily overlay a crosshair in the middle of the screen-for hardcore modes and games that don't have one when shooting from the hip-and a timer for timing in-game events. These are easily accessible through the GamePlus key on the monitor.
The other gaming features are the 1ms response time and 144Hz refresh rate mentioned above, which provide for a super-smooth gaming experience. Another gaming feature-in my opinion-is the super-slim bezels around the edge of the display. Width-wise, it's less than one USB, or about 1cm, making Surround and Eyefinity setups merge together that much easier, and better.
Oh, and it supports NVIDIA Vision 2, like most 144Hz monitors. I'm not very convinced that this is a good gaming feature. It's cool, but certainly didn't help playing Battlefield 3. And, it seems like it's a dying feature in games as the supported games list is rather short and doesn't really contain any modern titles such as Battlefield 4, COD: Ghosts, and so on.
For movies, I can see 3D Vision being nice, but do know that it is a pain to setup and I still had problems getting NVIDIA's demo apps to work. Battlefield 3, however, did play well, but quick turns were blurred by the 3D Vision setup.