Asus TUF Gaming VG27AQ review

The ultimate 27in all-rounder gaming display

Asus TUF Gaming VG27AQ review

The Asus VG27AQ is the company’s affordable take on a 27in, 1440p, IPS gaming monitor with a 144Hz refresh rate that’s overclockable to 165Hz and support for both Freesync and Gsync. It takes on the likes of the LG 27GL850, Gigabyte FI27Q-P and Viewsonic XG270QG for the title of best all-rounder 27-inch gaming monitor, and it puts in quite an impressive performance.

Asus TUF Gaming VG27AQ specs:

  • Screen size: 27inch
  • Resolution: 2560 x 1440
  • Panel type: IPS
  • Maximum refresh rate: 165Hz (overclocked)
  • Response time: 1ms
  • Inputs: DisplayPort 1.4, 2 x HDMI 2.0
  • Stand adjustability: Height, Tilt, Pivot, Rotation
  • Adaptive sync: Freesync and G-Sync
  • Extras: VESA mount, ELMB-sync
  • Speakers: No
  • Buy now: https://locally.link/GoT0

Asus TUF Gaming VG27AQ video review

However, like its sibling, the VG279QM, one thing this display doesn’t do is particularly impress with its design or list extra physical features. It has a modest, all-plastic build with bezels around the screen that are narrow but not sunk into the surface of the screen. It’s actually quite a practical way of designing a screen, but it doesn’t look as sleek as other panels.

You also miss out on any RGB LEDs, a headphone stand or even any USB ports. It’s just a display, a stand and some video connections. Oh, and you do at least get some basic speakers 2watt speakers. The video connections are your standard array of one DisplayPort 1.2 and two HDMI 2.0.

Although fairly basic looking, the stand does thankfully offer a full range of movement options including two-way pivot as well as height, rotation and tilt, and it’s of course removable so you can use an 100x100mm VESA compatible mount instead.

The onscreen menus controls are very good too, which certainly isn’t a given on more affordable monitors. The mini joystick and four buttons are easy to locate by feel alone and have a nice snappy response. The menus also respond quickly and have all the options you should need, including full colour balance control, an sRGB mode, overdrive controls and surprisingly useful extras like an FPS counter and crosshair overlay. The only slip up is the lack of a gamma adjustment setting.

As to the display itself, the key thing here is the balance of IPS image quality, a 2560 x 1440 resolution and the 27inch screen size. It just makes for a really practical, sharp-looking display that’s great for work and gaming. 27inch displays with a 1080p resolution are fine for gaming but can feel a little cramped for most other things while 4K models involve the headache of having to use Windows scaling settings to make the desktop readable.

As for that IPS image quality, sure enough it’s pretty good. Viewing angles are gexcellent and overall colour accuracy is very good too. Out of the box, colour balance and gamma are a smidge off the ideal, but this display is still perfectly useable for most things. What’s more, its 1200:1 contrast is very impressive for an IPS panel, particularly when compared to this display’s chief rival the LG 27GL850. That panel struggled to get much above 700:1 contrast in my testing, making it look very dull and washed out in comparison to the Asus.

Switch to this monitors user colour mode and it’s also easy to tweak the colour balance to be closer to an ideal figure, though the lack of a gamma adjustment means that this wasn’t a reading I could fix. Still, you could certainly use this display for all but the most demanding of colour critical work.

One thing you don’t get here, though, is any significant HDR ability. The colour range of the monitor stretches slightly beyond the normal sRGB range to around 110 per cent, but it’s a long way off the 140 per cent that proper HDR standards require. This is one area where the LG 27GL850 pulls well ahead, though both displays lack the contrast to produce proper HDR anyway.

It’s actually a good thing this display doesn’t stretch its colour gamut too much as well, because the sRGB setting doesn’t significantly drop the colour gamut and it destroys the contrast, bringing it all the way down to just 500:1.

So, that sRGB mode aside, you get solid image quality, but what about gaming performance? Well, solid would again be the word to describe it. Average response time of the panel of course doesn’t match the 1ms that Asus claims but according to TFTCentral it manages 5.1ms, which is only a fraction behind the fastest display in its class, the LG 27GL850.

In use, that small fraction is just about noticeable but, crucially, the Asus pulls well ahead in terms of responsiveness thanks to its inclusion of ELMB-Sync. This is a blur reduction mode that flashes the backlight of the monitor on and off to reduce perceived motion blur, which is a common enough feature, but unlike most other screens that have a similar setting, ELMB-Sync works with Freesync and GSync. This immediately puts this and other Asus screens that have ELMB-Sync at the top of the pile for fast-paced gaming where responsiveness is so crucial.

The only thing to bear in mind is that image quality drops noticeably when the display is running at lower than 100Hz, so ELMB-Sync isn’t really suited to console gaming. But you can just turn it off in those situations.

So all an in all, this is an impressive display, considering its very reasonable price of around £400 or $400 USD. It has all the essential features, solid image quality and great gaming performance. Set against its chief competitor, the LG27GL850, the Asus offers much better contrast and gaming performance when ELMB-sync is enabled while the LG has better raw response time without ELMB-sync and has a higher colour gamut. Which you should chose will come down to where your priorities lie.

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