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
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
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
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
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
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.