Top positive review
478 people found this helpful
Beautifully built IPS panel with great construction and color reproduction
on February 1, 2013
UPDATE 4/15/2014: More than a year later, this monitor is still working perfectly! Also it appears the ICC profile was removed from the ASUS site - not sure where it can be found now.
UPDATE 2/8/13: Be sure to download the correct ICC profile (driver) from Asus' website - this file is critical as it defines the proper color space for this monitor. You will need to manually enter device manager to install this driver, otherwise you will use the Windows default. The windows 7 version works fine on windows 8. I occasionally noticed some green pixelating effect in certain .mkv movie files, that disappeared when I loaded the correct ICC profile.
My ASUS MX279H arrived snugly packed and covered in plenty of protective tapes. Included were a VGA cable, HDMI to DVI (male) cable, 3.5mm AUX audio cable and proprietary power adapter. This is a design tradeoff - the panel is so slim because the power adapter is external. It is the size of a MacBook power adapter, and is one more thing you need to keep track of if you decide to move this monitor as any old power cable will not work.
Thankfully, the monitor arrived with no dead/stuck pixels. Out of the box, the monitor was extremely bright and this washed out the colors. The monitor definitely needed calibration out of the box (hint: they all do). In addition, some of my biggest fears were backlight bleed and unbalanced lighting. I am happy to report that along with no dead/stuck pixels, backlighting was extremely even and there was almost no bleed (see uploaded picture). The silver base attaches with a single screw, and is very stable. Kicking the desk barely shook the monitor, and if you find yourself kicking your desk often, seek therapy.
The panel itself is extremely thin - sitting at just about 2 CM (see uploaded picture). The display, while not true edge-to edge, is the closest I have seen with the panel thickness sitting about 1 cm at the sides, and 1.5 at the top. The result is a beautifully flush panel (think apple cinema display - you can run your hand from end to end without hitting a bezel that does not have protruding edges around the border. Furthermore, this is matte screen, of which any computer gamer worth their salt already knows the benefits (no reflection/glare). Unlike many monitors, the inputs extend straight backwards (perpendicular) to the monitor, as opposed to down toward the desk (see uploaded pics). While this makes things easier to connect, it adds a layer of unnecessary depth to the monitor, as most cables cannot (and shouldn't) bend 90 degrees. I prefer the ports angled downwards, as this makes cable management easier. Anyone who wants to keep this monitor flush against a wall should take this into account. You might not be able to take advantage of the thin bezel in this scenario.
The OSD is very fluid, and there are touch controls neatly tucked away below the bottom edge which take a bit getting used to. However, they are very responsive and easy to learn. First things first, I changed the color mode to sRGB within ASUS' splendid feature. This lowered the brightness to an acceptable level down from stock, without affecting the colors. The color reproduction is very accurate and very clear. This is my first IPS monitor, and the advantages are immediately noticeable as I can lean back in my chair and move off to the side, and the monitor picture remains fantastic. Furthermore, I dialed down the trace free feature down from 60 to 20. This eliminated a major amount of ghosting. Anybody who wants to do their own calibrations should use the above settings as a starting base.
My measured contrast ratio hovered around 1000:1, and ghosting time around 10ms. This is pretty much the limit for casual gaming. Coming out of Far Cry 3 and Battlefield 3, I definitely noticed a difference coming from a 2ms monitor. (The above times are actual response times, not Grey to Grey (G2G). If you don't know the difference, do some research and stay quiet instead of rejoicing about the G2G times and confusing newbie buyers.) Adjusting the Trace Free feature eliminated almost all ghosting in Battlefield 3 and FC3, both powered by an EVGA GTX 670 FTW+. Although the higher response time was noticeable, I was blown away by the accurate colors in the game. The foliage in Far Cry 3 and streets and explosions in BF3 came to life by beautiful colors, which in of itself easily outweighed the higher response time. Adjusting the trace free feature eliminated the ghosting that I could see/care about. Finally, I popped in a Blu-Ray movie, and the picture again simply amazed me. Skin tones within sRGB were accurate, and colors were neutral. I prefer my picture a little warm, which can be adjusted within the OSD. Input lag was measured at 18~20 ms - not a problem. At 1080P resolution, the display looks sharp - text is rendered clearly, and pictures are crystal clear when sitting roughly 23 inches away. This resolution will satisfy most peoples' tastes as icons are large enough to see and there is still plenty of screen real estate. Even with the pixel pitch of 0.311mm, which worried me as this is a little on the higher side, text and images are sharp and defined sitting as close as 1.5 feet. Given this is a 27 inch panel, the neighborhood of .3xx pixel pitch is not uncommon. (Note: If you choose to opt for a higher resolution monitor, be prepared to shell out a lot more cash. Furthermore, people who do not have the graphics hardware to drive such a resolution will be shooting themselves in the foot). 1080p is more than enough in my opinion for gaming and watching Blu-ray movies.
Base Neutral Calibration Settings (start here and calibrate away!):
Color (splendid) mode: sRGB
Trace Free: 0 or 20
Backlight: The lower the better; I kept mine stock sRGB. Pay attention to your surroundings and your preferences.
I also tried out the speakers. Chances are you will never use them, but they are better than most monitor speakers. Don't expect them to replace desktop units; definitely not tinny. In addition, they fire to the sides, making it odd during directional action scenes. I hooked up my PS3 and popped in a Blu-ray movie, and the speakers were fine sitting as far as 5 feet away. But don't expect this to replace your living room TV. The monitor also supports audio passthrough, which is nice if you want to use headphones with your console (or computer I suppose).
-Stable stand, beautiful silver/black design.
-Very thin panel with near edge to edge matte screen - but comes at a cost (see cons)
-Excellent color reproduction
-Very even LED lighting with little backlight bleed.
-Fluid OSD with neatly tucked away touch controls
-Dual HDMI input - PC and an additional media source like a PS3, Blu-ray player, etc.
-HDMI Audio passthrough with headphone port if your graphics card allows it - Good for plugging in headphones when playing games, especially if using a console.
- ports are aligned perpendicular to the monitor. This makes it easier to connect, but makes cable management a little more complicated. I don't care for it.
-1080P - Comfortable with me, but not the highest resolution you can find on these kinds of panels. Be prepared to shell out a lot more cash for a much higher resolution.
-Etched feature adverts in the silver bar on the bottom left. I'm well aware of what I bought, I don't need to be reminded this is an IPS HDMI panel. To each his own.
-No DisplayPort - A bit of a future proofing issue here, as I'd like to take advantage of DisplayPort's higher bandwidth.
-Proprietary power adapter & cable - Asus uses their own proprietary power brick, with a unique cable. Not a huge deal, but one more thing to keep track of if you move the monitor somewhere else.
-Not the quickest response times - will probably only irritate hardcore gamers.
For the price, this monitor is a great buy. An extremely slim bezel, stable stand, beautiful construction, IPS, excellent color reproduction, decent response times, and large matte near edge-to-edge display makes this a solid panel. The only cons I care about, the port orientation, lack of displayport, and proprietary power adapter are greatly outweighed by the slim construction and sleek edge to edge design.
If you are a hardcore gamer, stray towards Asus' VG series with a 144Hz refresh rate (and be prepared to have your pockets flushed). Demanding gamers may not appreciate the slower response times of the MX series. If you find yourself watching lots of movies and editing pictures, web surfing, needing lots of screen real-estate for getting work done and don't play games competitively, this monitor is for you.