Top positive review
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Amazing Visual Fidelity
on November 14, 2010
I've been shopping around for a new monitor for quite some time. I always do my research before making a purchase, and it was no different with this monitor.
Having been a past ASUS component owner who is impressed with the quality and innovation in their products, I ended up searching around for quite a while only to come back to them.
I started out with quite a list of features I was looking for in a monitor, and I wasn't sure I could find any monitor that could satisfy the list of essential features. But then I found the VE278Q.
The monitor has everything I wanted in a top of the line monitor, and it delivers in every way exceptionally well. I'll do a pros and cons list first, then round this out with more info:
+Excellent color quality - very rich and accurate color when calibrated.
+Super fast - no ghosting.
+Even lighting - no backlight bleeding.
+Wide range of input options, and audio options.
+Very bright, instant on with no warm up time, and outstanding contrast.
+Solid range of adjustments, video modes, and display capabilities.
+Anti-glare coating removes nearly all glare.
+Price is low for such quality monitor.
+No dead pixels.
+Very good max viewing angles with minimal color distortion
+Decent internal speakers that don't waste visible space if you don't need them.
-I can't really think of any
**** Input options:
HDMI, Display Port, DVI, and RGB inputs - an outstanding range of input options. It also has a stereo audio input that will output sound from the internal speakers, which I might add aren't half bad for a display thats so thin. They don't have much distortion even at max volume (which is pleasingly loud), and thanks to internal Bass and Treble settings you can make them sound pretty good, though still not as good as a dedicated desktop system. I didn't expect much from them, but I was surprised. There is also a line out jack that works wonders for HDMI content. I currently have audio coming from my PS3 (along with 1080P video) in a different room through an HDMI splitter into this monitor, going out the line out on the monitor and into the line in on my PC, which then outputs the sound to my high quality desktop speakers that are connected to my PC (this lets me share audio between the two). The way it handles HDMI audio is a truly outstanding bonus, and it really made this monitor far more useful to me as a secondary display for my other HDMI entertainment devices.
**** Video options:
The display features customizable "Splendid" picture modes (5 total, with sRGB being raw, and non-configurable), sharpness adjustment, "Trace Free" which attempts to remove any additional ghosting as far as I can tell, and ASCR (ASUS Super Contrast Ratio) which is available as an option for all display modes except sRGB and "Standard", and AI Light which adjusts the back light to a balanced level with the room lighting.
Of those options I use the following settings. I set Sharpness down from 50 to 40 to give the display a nice smooth look for reading text, and it works very well, since the display is otherwise one of the sharpest I have seen. I set "Trace Free" to 0, since with a 2ms response time, ghosting is essentially nonexistent (this monitor is fast!). I leave ASCR on, since it really does do an amazing thing for gaming - the display can literally go pitch black when a dark scene is on the screen, and then within 1-2 seconds ramp up to eye burning max brightness when needed. AI Light works great, but it should be noted that it is only available when ASCR is disabled, since both cause adjustment of the LED lighting.
The monitor has no gamma adjustment, but it does feature custom color temperature settings with an R/G/B adjustment menu along with some presets (Cool/Normal/Warm). My current settings for R/G/B are R: 83, G: 76, B: 69 to make it match the calibrated output tone of my top of the line theater projector. I set color to 43 for all modes to prevent clipping, and contrast to 67 to keep color tone balance consistent across the entire grayscale, and again prevent clipping. It looks very, very nice with a bit of adjustment. Uncharacteristically warm for an LCD, in a good way. I've always been a fan of the warm, smooth, fast look of CRT's. This monitor is the first one I've seen that I could say matches and exceeds all of those characteristics.
**** More features:
Picture in picture works excellent, allowing you to move the smaller image window and change its size. You can have picture in picture from one of the other inputs that you aren't currently using as a primary for the entire screen. Audio tone adjustments allow you to make audio from the internal speakers sound pretty great for internal speakers in my opinion, and if nothing else they give you some freedom to tweak the sound coming from your HDMI line thats coming out to your speakers or headphones. The buttons on the bottom of the display are hidden well, which I like, and offer quick access to PIP, backlight brightness, speaker volume, input, and Splendid modes. Overall I love the ease of access and the audio/video features of this monitor. Its uncommon to find many of these features in a PC oriented display.
The design of the monitor is very nice. I love that the screen is antiglare, and the entire monitor is glossy. It really makes the image look raw and undisturbed in contrast to the glossy exterior. Its great. The backlighting is extremely bright if you want it to be, instantly lit with no warm up, has a very neutral color tone (I expected the typical LED blue hue), and lights the screen very evenly without any bleeding at the edges. It also makes little to no heat, no hum, and shouldn't dim over time like traditional CCFL panels. The display controls are hidden pretty well, but are easy to access when needed. The speakers output audio from grills on the top of the monitor, and sound pretty decent. The AI Light sensor sits at the top of the monitor between the two speakers. The base is very sturdy and actually looks pretty nice. It has as much tilt range as I've found myself needing. The monitor has well placed 100mm x 100mm VESA mount holes as well, which I plan to utilize very soon.
+Gamma was hard to pin down to 2.2, since out of the box it sits at about 1.8 (This could be related to my default ICC profile, as there is no driver disk with the monitor).
+Yellow push was visible in skin tones out of the box, though there is a skin tone setting to adjust around this a bit (This could also be related to my monitor ICC profile).
+I loved this monitor so much that as soon as I used it for a week, I purchased a second one. If there are noticeable differences between both monitors I will make note of it here.
UPDATE - December 9th, 2010:
As noted above, I have returned to report if there were any differences between the first VE278Q and the second one that just arrived today. I'm very pleased to say that they are visibly identical in all but completely black scenes (there is a slightly different spread on the back lighting between them). The color tone is within 100K of the original at the same settings. There are again, no dead/stuck pixels or sub pixels. Call me impressed. With extended desktop between these two identical monitors, I now have an outstanding work station. Hope this review helps others! If Amazon gets some more of these in, I may get one more for my other desktop - these are too good to pass up.