I’m a bit of a gamer (and by “a bit” I really mean that I spend far too much money and time on my gaming habit than is probably healthy) so I am always on the lookout for the best ways to improve my experience through new and updated gamer-centric gear such as video cards, keyboard and mouse options, and monitors. I’ve been using the same ASUS gaming monitor for about five years now, and recently had the chance to try out and review the ASUS VG279 IPS Gaming Monitor. Would I spend the cash on an upgrade? Read on and find out.
IPS vs TN panel monitors
Before we get into the ASUS VG279 Gaming Monitor review itself, we should just cover the basics of what exactly an IPS monitor entails, as this is one of the first 1080p 144Hz gaming monitors available with an IPS panel.
Okay, I’ll try to keep this simple. If you are using a gaming monitor, then chances are it is a TN or “Twisted Nematic” panel. TN panels offer the fastest response time, which eliminates ghosting, trailing and motion blur of those super fast-moving things in games. When a TN monitor also has a fast refresh rate, it will offer the smoothest and fastest gaming experience, which is why these are the preferred choice for hardcore and competitive pro gamers. The downside to these types of monitors is that they also have pretty crappy colour reproduction and viewing angles.
On the other hand, we have IPS or “In-Plane Switching” panel monitors, which typically offer the most accurate colour reproduction, as well as wide viewing angles, but much slower response times than the TN. IPS monitors also apparently don’t look as good in a dark room. If you are a casual gamer, you likely won’t even notice the difference between the performance of the two types of monitors. If you are a hardcore competitive or professional gamer (especially if you play FPS games) though, you will notice the ghosting and motion blur of an IPS panel in most cases. I bring all this up, as I said, because the ASUS VG279 is an IPS panel gaming monitor with extremely fast response time, wide viewing angles and great peak brightness. It is sort of a whole new ball game.
ASUS VG279 Monitor out of the box and design
Not much to see here. If you’ve unboxed one monitor, you know what to expect. The VG279 comes in the usual ASUS box that it packs all its monitors in. Just pop out the top piece of Styrofoam and remove the surprisingly small power brick and the assorted connection cables and the stand base. Once those are out, you can pull out the monitor, which has the stand arm already attached. You just need to attach and screw in the base bottom, and Bob’s your uncle!
In terms of aesthetics and design, the ASUS VG279 looks great. The stand is smaller, which is perfect because it doesn’t take up much space on your desk. As I said earlier, the stand arm is already attached to the monitor, which makes it super easy to put together once you get it out of the box. The stand is reasonably solid, and offers great height and tilt adjustment, as well as the ability to rotate from landscape to portrait orientation.
The monitor is built entirely of plastic, but it is solidly built just the same. I would definitely use this monitor for a multi-monitor setup, as the bezel (or border) is quite thin and unobtrusive. In the back, the monitor sports a simple, etched design and DVI-D, HDMI 1.4, DisplayPort 1.2 and two 3.5mm jacks for the Earphone jack and AV audio. Both DisplayPort and HDMI ports support 144hz.
ASUS VG279 performance
I can’t tell the difference. Can you tell the difference? I guess you could call me a hardcore gamer, and I am very attached to my ASUS TN panel monitor, as so far it has never done me wrong. But, the VG279 performs really well. I was looking for ghosting or blurred action when playing intensive FPS games, and not only was the gaming smooth and fast, but it was also bright with colours that really popped. It is certainly brighter, with more vibrant colour reproduction than my current high-end monitor.
I tested the monitor out with a few of my old and newer favourite games. I spent some time in the Hyborian Age, killing crocodiles and enslaving the locals in Conan Exiles. Then I strapped on a glider and dove out of a flying bus with some friends to see who would win the Battle Royale in Fortnite. Finally, I spent a few hours joyfully gunning down members of the Blue team in a few Team Fortress 2 matches. As a side note, don’t go looking for any footage of me playing Fortnite in the review video. I can master most video games easily, getting top rankings within a few days of starting to play. But, Fortnite, for some reason, is a challenge for me. I run. I gun. But ultimately, I die really early every game.
Regardless of the game I was playing though, the VG279 performed admirably, delivering smooth and blur-free gameplay and bright, full colours. The 27-inch screen is the ideal size, too. However, some folks may find the 1080p resolution on this monitor a bit low. I did feel the image was slightly pixelated when I was playing more graphically intensive and less cartoony titles.
Final thoughts on the ASUS VG279 Monitor
In addition to being a great overall gaming monitor, the ASUS VG279 also comes with a number of gamer-centric features, such as the ability to add a crosshair, timer, or FPS counter to any program or game, and it can display alignment indicators to assist you in aligning multiple monitors. There are built-in speakers, but it does not support HDR. These features can be accessed using the GamePlus menu, which is accessed by pressing the dedicated button for it on the back of the monitor.
So, would I upgrade from my older monitor? It is hard to say. I love the bright colours and blur-free gameplay on this monitor, but I do find the resolution a tad low. You should check one of these babies out and see for yourself, or check out all the gaming monitors available online at Best Buy.