With a test of the Asus TUF Gaming VG279QM, we continue our look at the latest generation of IPS gaming monitors with high updates. Although the TUF family is generally associated with value offerings, there are some unique and high quality features that Asus offers with the VG279QM.
The first is the possibility to "overclock" this monitor from 240 Hz to 280 Hz, another is ELMB-Sync, with which you can use backlight and adaptive synchronization at the same time. In combination with Asus & # 39; promise a response time of 1 ms between gray and gray, we are set to a very high performance level.
After you've been impressed with the performance of other new 1080p 240 Hz IPS displays – namely the MSI MAG251RX and LG 27GN750 – it will be interesting to see how this Asus alternative does.
Asus claims that this is the "fastest gaming monitor in the world", which is probably correct if you strictly refer to the refresh rate. On the other hand, they also touted the support of HDR technology through the DisplayHDR 400 certification. However, this is not an HDR monitor in the truest sense of the word, as it lacks most of the necessary hardware functions.
The TUF Gaming VG279QM has a list price of $ 400, which rivals the LG 27GN750 and makes it a little more expensive than the MSI MAG251RX, although this is a smaller display.
Speaking of size: We already mentioned that 27 inches are a bit too big for a monitor that only offers a resolution of 1920 x 1080. We believe the sweet spot or even the maximum size for this resolution is 24-25 inches. The pixel density isn't particularly good, but Asus also offers a 24.5-inch alternative in the VG259QM – the same features, including a refresh rate of 280 Hz and the same panel class from AU Optronics. This does not mean that the 27 and 24 inch monitors perform the same. If you are interested, however, you should point out that there are two models in this series.
The physical design of the monitor is similar to that of other TUF gaming displays and we like it very much. It's not as aggressive or overkill as ROG products, it's a little bit easier on the eyes, but it still contains enough player elements that you don't consider an office monitor. In contrast to ROG, the outer cladding materials for this display are almost entirely made of plastic. It doesn't look bad, but metal often gives it a higher quality touch.
There is decent stand adjustability, including full height, tilt, pan, and pan support. We would have liked a bit more height, but it still ends up pretty decent and has VESA mounting support if you need it. Despite all moving parts, it is also a stable display stand.
Asus offers a direction switch to control the screen display on the right side of the monitor, as well as some quick access keys. The Asus software stack built into the screens is top notch and includes a variety of game features including crosshairs, timers, refresh rate indicators, shadow enhancement modes and even a "sniper" mode. It is also easy to navigate. Asus knows exactly what they are doing.
For inputs you get two HDMI 2.0 connections and DisplayPort 1.2. The HDMI connections are limited to 240 Hz. So if you want to overclock the monitor and run it at 280 Hz, you need to use DisplayPort. There are built-in speakers, but they can hardly be serviced.
We come to the most important tests of the response time. In typical Asus fashion, they offer six overdrive modes labeled 0 through 100. Let's go through the basics and then focus on some of these options, as half of them really aren't worth talking about.
Response times / overdrive modes
The 0-overdrive mode is overdrive-deactivated, there is not much going on here. The average 5.64 ms response time is pretty good for native panel performance. 20 is also quite mild in the overdrive range. In 40 mode, things warm up a bit. We are now reaching a gray to gray average under 5 ms at 280 Hz, although this is not fast enough to achieve a real 280 Hz experience. There is an incredibly tight 3.57 ms refresh window requirement, so in this mode only 50% of the transitions get close to it.
Asus TUF VG279QM – Overdrive Off (280 Hz)
Asus TUF VG279QM – Overdrive 20 (280 Hz)
Asus TUF VG279QM – Overdrive 40 (280 Hz)
Asus TUF VG279QM – Overdrive 60 (280 Hz)
Asus TUF VG279QM – Overdrive 80 (280 Hz)
Asus TUF VG279QM – Overdrive 100 (280 Hz)
Climbing to Overdrive 60 is an interesting situation that I have never seen with a monitor. Although this mode is a higher-listed overdrive mode, it is actually slower on average than overdrive 40. Asus seems to change the way overdrive is implemented for levels 40 and below compared to 60 and higher, resulting in one leads to another experience. The difference is not massive, but slower is slower.
In Overdrive 80, you want to play at maximum refresh rate. The response times drop to an average of 3.82 ms and there is no significant overshoot. We only achieve a conformity rate of approx. 75%, so it is a limit experience of 280 Hz, in practice, however, it is a slight increase of 240 Hz. With Overdrive 100 we see a typical situation in which marketing material a response time of 1 ms between gray and gray is achieved and the overshoots are blown out to the point where the mode is unusable.
Therefore, Overdrive 80 is best suited for games with a maximum refresh rate, but is not suitable for lower refresh rates. In my tests, I found that the mode is fine up to around 200 Hz, but when it drops to 144 Hz and below, there is a significant overshoot. While the response times are constantly between 3 and 4 ms, you can easily recognize inverse ghost images at any refresh rate below 144 Hz.
Asus TUF VG279QM – Overdrive 40 (144 Hz)
Asus TUF VG279QM – Overdrive 40 (60 Hz)
We then have two options for games over the adaptive synchronization area: OD 40 and OD 60. As already mentioned, OD 60 is actually slower on average, and this applies to the entire update area. While 60 provides a gray to gray average of 5.2 ms for most frame rates, OD 40 is more likely to be 4.6 ms, which is about 10-15% faster. In the response time charts, you can see how the overdrive implementation appears to change between the two options.
OD 40 is slightly better than OD 60 even at lower refresh rates. At 85 Hz, for example, OD 60 produces an average error of 5%, with 15% of the transitions producing a noticeable inverse ghosting. With OD 40 the error average is slightly lower and we only have 8% of the transitions with inverse ghosting. This is again the case, although OD 40 is faster overall.
Asus TUF VG279QM – Overdrive 80 (200 Hz)
This gives the VG279QM two options for overdrive mode, depending on how the monitor is used. At high refresh rates, you want to use OD 80 for best clarity above 200 Hz. For lower refresh rates at 144 Hz or less, OD 40 is the way to go. However, this mode is not fast enough to achieve a “real” 280 Hz experience at the upper end. Ultimately, there isn't a single overdrive mode that works best for the entire refresh area. I would probably stick to 40 if you only occasionally go over 200 Hz, but for esport titles like Fortnite and Overwatch on a high-performance PC, you should use 80.
Let's compare the VG279QM to some other high-update monitor options. This table shows the maximum performance you can get with a monitor. It is interesting that despite the 27GN750 and the VG279QM, which use different panels, both have a very similar response time, both around the 3.8 ms mark. The Asus variant is of course somewhat faster and can achieve a refresh rate of 280 Hz instead of 240 Hz.
The MSI MAG251RX uses the smaller 24.5-inch AU Optronics panel and is a little more aggressive than the overdrive, so it achieves slightly better performance. However, the inherent differences between each of these three models are quite small, and performance largely depends on how well the overdrive controls are set up.
Then we have TN options that are generally one step higher in terms of response time performance. These 0.5 ms class panels typically offer 3 ms response times across the entire refresh rate range without many overdrive problems and are the first choice for those who care more about performance than all color qualities.
If the refresh rate is adhered to, the VG279QM suffers a little from the pursuit of a refresh rate of 280 Hz, which is why it is slightly lower than other 240 Hz IPS monitors in this table. While 280 Hz is a borderline experience, 240 Hz with a conformity rate of over 90% can easily be reached. Speaking of this difference, is 280 Hz worth it at all?
For starters, a 280 Hz panel is only 17% faster than a 240 Hz panel in terms of maximum refresh rate, which is difficult to distinguish at these types of refresh rates. Here are some chase camera tests with the Blur Busters UFO image and the VG279QM. The 280 Hz picture is a bit clearer, but frankly the difference is pretty small, and I don't think 280 Hz is worth a high price premium over 240 Hz.
We have not encountered any problems with the input delay at 280 Hz. This is a very responsive monitor with no concerns about input delay. We noticed that the monitor is slightly slower in terms of input delay at 60 Hz and refresh rate below 100 Hz, at least with fixed updates. We're not sure what the cause is, but the 27GN750 didn't have this problem.
The other important selling point for the VG279QM is ELMB-Sync, which tries to deliver backlight strobing with adaptive synchronization at the same time. Stroboscoping the backlight only with fixed refresh rates is a major limitation of the technology in my eyes. So I appreciate that Asus is trying to innovate to address this significant disadvantage of using strobing.
Although the implementation is decent compared to similar IPS monitors, I don't think the mode makes sense if there are problems with strobe crosstalk or double images. The VG279QM generates only minor frame rates when using ELMB-Sync with a large number of frame rates. This can be distracting when playing compared to normal non-strobed mode. However, these artifacts are less noticeable than on a monitor like the MAG251RX, making them far from the worst offender.
Personally, I would not use this mode as it is supposed to produce a crystal clear image while playing and somehow does not, but other people may be less sensitive to these artifacts and this may depend on the game you are playing. The implementation required a bit more work to achieve what it wanted to achieve.
If you now turn to color performance, this IPS offering is not particularly unique as it is just a standard sRGB display. This is identical to the other high-refresh 240 Hz options I tested, which also only offer an sRGB color gamut. Asus immediately calibrated this monitor for grayscale performance on our test device.
Standard color performance
The CCT curve is relatively flat and the monitor follows the sRGB gamma curve to a good degree. This results in an impressive dEITP average of 2.94 or just 1.29 using the old dE2000 metric. This is an excellent result for a ready-to-use gaming display without any noteworthy color tint.
The saturation performance is not quite as good, but it is not due to an unclamped color gamut. Instead, there is little drift at higher saturation levels, which is particularly evident in some of the blue and green results. Nothing too bad, but a 6.22 saturation deITP average could be improved. However, this is not something that OSD controls can address. Similar to ColorChecker, the deITP average is decent overall, but nothing amazing.
Calibrated color performance
I haven't been able to improve performance through OSD optimizations, so the next step is a full color calibration, which I hope will fix some of the small color variations we've seen. And quite well, while at the same time the grayscale accuracy is improved to a dEITP average below 2.0. Saturation is now also below 2.0, only limited by the panel, which is unable to achieve 99% sRGB coverage. Then we see standard results for ColorChecker from a calibrated IPS panel, which means that the performance is very strong.
After calibration, the VG279QM can reach high brightness levels around the 400-nit mark, which corresponds to the DisplayHDR 400 certification. This should be suitable for most applications. Then, for contrast ratios, fairly standard footage from an AU Optronics IPS at around 1000: 1. This is better than the 27GN750 that uses a LG Nano IPS panel that is known to have poorer contrast, but not as good as that MAG251RX.
I actually expected the VG279QM to perform better in line with the MSI monitor, and I've seen some reviews that showed about 10% more contrast than I could achieve. So it seems my device is on the bottom for what this panel can achieve, but I'm still happy with this 1000: 1 mark. If you want a higher contrast, you have to sacrifice speed and choose a VA panel instead.
The viewing angles are excellent, there are no complaints, and the uniformity was also very good on my monitor. Not quite as solid for dark shades of gray, but for full white, almost the entire display is the same, with just a little drop on the left edge of my device. When you buy an IPS, you expect high consistency, and that's exactly what you get. As far as IPS lighting is concerned, there is nothing unusual to report on my device.
As mentioned in the overview intro, the VG279QM DisplayHDR 400 is certified, but realistically speaking, this monitor cannot offer an HDR experience. Without local dimming, the single image contrast ratio cannot be nearly high enough for the HDR requirements, while the brightness is not good enough and a wide color range is not supported. This monitor does not meet all three requirements of HDR.
280Hz or not?
Overall, this is another solid result for IPS monitors with a high refresh rate. We have now tested three 1080p displays that reach or exceed 240 Hz and all deliver excellent performance at this refresh rate. While TN panels continue to wear the performance crown, IPS is real competition, and potential buyers have a great alternative that doesn't affect color quality.
The TUF Gaming VG279QM works almost identical to the other 1080p 240Hz IPS displays we tested. From a reaction time perspective, there is no clear winner. No model we've reviewed is perfect – you'll need to change overdrive mode depending on whether you're playing at extremely high or moderate refresh rates – but in general, we were impressed with the overall performance. These panels process 240 Hz very well and in the case of the Asus TUF a borderline of 280 Hz.
While the upgrade from 240 Hz to 280 Hz is small in most cases, the performance is otherwise the same between the VG279QM and the 27GN750 from LG. Suddenly, this slight increase in refresh rate becomes a selling point. Usually we would just say that the difference is negligible and you don't need to include it in your purchase decision. In this case, however, we have the feeling that the refresh rate of 280 Hz Asus gives a performance advantage.
What is less of a selling point is ELMB-Sync, which has limited usability due to double image problems, although it is better than other implementations that we have seen on IPS monitors. LG does not offer this feature on the display at all, so Asus offers additional features if you want to use it.
Everything else about this monitor is pretty good. Fantastic factory grayscale calibration, excellent brightness, better contrast than the 27GN750, a neat, functional design and numerous OSD functions. Promoting HDR if it's not HDR-capable is a shit, but not a big deal.
Based on what we've seen so far, this is the best high-update IPS monitor on the market. At a competitive price of $ 400, it's no more expensive than similar options. We therefore recommend the display.
If you're a bit worried about pixel density, if the 24.5-inch variant delivers a similar performance, this could be an even better choice when it hits the market. Asus has done a great job with this monitor and continues to offer excellent value for money for its TUF monitors.