Asus VG278H review: Asus VG278H

Using the Game preset, Dragon Age II looked looked a bit too foggy and drab. It's best to use the Scenery preset instead, in which images remain vibrant and the contrast stays high. You will see a bit of a green push, but as with movies, switching to Standard and lowering the green to about 80 worked wonders. The trade-off however is that you lose some vibrancy.

To test refresh rate, I used DisplayMate's motion graphics tests and stared at a number of colored blocks as they moved around the screen at various speeds. With the refresh rate for the monitor switched to 120Hz, I witnessed some of the smallest afterimages I've seen on any monitor. This thankfully carries over a bit when playing games. When panning the camera in a first-person shooter, screen motion blur wasn't as noticeable.

3D performance: I used Crysis 2 to evaluate the VG278H's 3D capability. Thanks to Nvidia's 3D Vision Kit with LightBoost, the monitor delivered the best 3D I've yet seen on a monitor. LightBoost allows for brighter images than are typical with 3D, and the multiple levels of depth demonstrated in Crysis 2's interface were impressive. Even after increasing 3D depth to its max level, the effect never felt disoriented or distracting, aside from one exception. Whenever text-based keyboard prompts would appear on the screen, my eyes experienced that familiar "pulling" effect and took a few seconds to adjust back.

The VG278H comes with a pair of Nvidia's 3D Vision Kit 2 glasses. The glasses have a more comfortable fit and do a much better job of keeping out ambient light than the first-gen specs. Josh Miller/CNET

Photos: In the Standard preset, the VG278H's colors sometimes dip ever so slightly into a greenish hue on faces and light-colored hair, but the bright colors of clothing and environments pop with vibrancy.

Viewing angle: The optimal viewing angle for a monitor is usually directly in front, about a quarter of the screen's distance down from the top. At this angle, you're viewing colors as the manufacturer intended. Most monitors aren't designed to be viewed at any other angle. Depending on its panel type, picture quality at nonoptimal angles varies. Most monitors use TN panels, which get overly bright or overly dark in parts of the screen when not viewed from optimal angles.

Antiglare (AG) screen coating plays a part as well. Some viewers prefer the coating not be applied at all, while others favor only a limited amount. Still others are completely indifferent; however, AG coating doesn't adversely affect quality, and its merits or, lack thereof, are strictly a question of preference.

The VG278H uses an TN panel, which provides narrow viewing angles. Here, color and contrast changes are clearly seen only a few inches off from center. The viewing angle seemed even more sensitive than other TN panels, as I found myself constantly adjusting the screen after changing my position only by a few inches.

The AG coating works dramatically well here, keeping out nearly all reflections.

Juice box
Asus VG278H Average watts per hour
On (default luminance) 46.8
On (max luminance) 46.8
On (min luminance) 25.3
Sleep 0.74
Calibrated (200 cd/m2) 32.8
Annual power consumption cost $14.47
Score Fair

Power consumption: The Asus VG278H achieved only fair power consumption, with a Default/On power draw of 46.8 watts, compared with the Samsung SyncMaster S23A750D's 20.8 watts in the same test.

In our Sleep/Standby test, the VG278H cost 0.74 watt, and the S23A750D pulled a slightly higher 0.8 watt. Based on our formula, the VG278H would incur slightly more in cost, with a per-year pull of $14.47 per year, compared with the S23A750D's $13.35 per year.

Brightness (in cd/m2)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Contrast ratio
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Performance
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Find out more about how we test LCD monitors.

Service and support
Asus backs the VG278H with a three-year casing-and-panel warranty that covers the backlight. This includes its Zero Bright Dot guarantee, which promises full monitor replacement if any stuck pixels are found. The company also offers support through a 24-7 toll-free number, e-mail, and Web chat. At the time of this review, no drivers were available on the company's Web site for the VG278H; that's surprising, given that the monitor was released weeks ago. That's not a deal breaker, of course -- the monitor does come with these files -- but an online repository for such support is always welcome. The monitor's manual, however, is available on the site.

Conclusion
The VG278H excels at 3D and its 120Hz refresh rate creates a noticeable (if you look for it) improvement in the amount of motion blur in games. 3D technology has still yet to make a convincing-enough argument to persuade me appreciate it the way I'm sure most movie and video game companies out there would like me to. However, when things are done well, the giving of props is warranted.

Normal games and movies performed well after a bit of tweaking, but didn't match the best monitors out there. Also, its connection options are difficult to access and the OSD has a clunky design, but I do appreciate the ergonomic options.

For $600, you get a 27-inch monitor that does excellent 3D, but not really much else. If you're riding high on the 3D hype train and don't mind the price, this is probably the best pure 3D monitor experience out there. For passive 3D fans and those not interested in the additional dimension, there are better options available.

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Display Type LCD monitor / TFT active matrix
  • Interface VGA (HD-15)
  • Diagonal Size 27 in
  • Pixel Pitch 0.311 mm
About The Author

Eric Franklin is a section editor covering how to and tablets. He's also co-host of CNET's do-it-yourself and how-to show, The Fix and is a 20-year tech industry veteran.