Asus Swift PG278Q Gaming Monitor Review
Today I will be taking a look at the most Gaming focused monitor that we have ever seen here at pcGameware. This is the Asus Swift PG278Q Gaming Monitor a gaming monitor like no other, no really there’s no other like it! 😉 Why? Well let’s go over the specifications and features to give us some idea.
The Asus Swift PG278Q is a 27″ TN panel monitor featuring a WQHD resolution of 2560×1440 with a Refresh Rate of up to 144Hz (2D mode) and 120Hz (3D mode). Add to this a 1ms Response Time and the most important feature of all G-SYNC! If you’re unsure about what G-Sync is take a look here for more information. The long and short of it is that it eliminates tearing and screen stuttering issues by synchronizing both the GPU (and it has to be an Nvidia GPU) and the monitor.
The monitor also features a USB Hub and is connected via a single DisplayPort cable, no other inputs are provided, how’s that for focus… 😉
The Asus Swift PG278Q came in a large, relatively nondescript box, with the Republic of Gamers logo lurking up in the left hand corner. In the lower half of the front of the box (the back is the same BTW) we see various highlighted features of the PG278Q.
Opening the box there’s not too much to see, other than the fact that we can see that the monitor is well packaged, encased in hard foam and hiding within a plastic bag. As you can see this product sample is not new to pcG and has obviously been opened before. It’s not the best presentation in the world, but it’s difficult to present such a large item well I guess…
The contents of the box (other than monitor itself) are shown above and listed below.
- Power cable
- Power adapter
- DisplayPort cable
- USB cable
- Asus VIP Member Notice
- Quick Start Guide
- Driver & Manual CD
- Warranty card
At the time of writing the Asus Swift PG278Q Gaming Monitor is retailing for approximately £666 on Ebuyer and comes with a 3 year warranty.
courtesy of Asus
First impressions of the Asus Swift PG278Q Gaming Monitor are good, but it’s just a monitor right? Well yes and no, for a start there no assembly, this monitor comes straight out of the box ready to go. It looks good too, which is an odd thing to say about a monitor, but in this case it’s true. Let’s take a look around the Swift and see what makes it such a focused Gaming monitor…
First there’s the 27″ 2560×1440 screen, which is the perfect resolution for high-res Gaming, we have already established that 4K is just not the way to go (see here). Then there’s the nice slim bezel, one of the thinnest that I’ve seen at 7mm (top & sides) and 12mm (bottom), which is also free from logos, LEDs and controls as the controls are actually on the back.
The stand is pretty cool too (you wait until you turn it on!), with its red surround around the base of the stand. There’s actually degree markings and a central point to help position the monitor to your liking. The stand supports both swivel, tilt, pivot and height adjustment, meaning that you’re likely to position the Asus Swift PG278Q exactly where you want it. The base is a good weight and size too holding the monitor nicely in position with no wobble.
In the bottom left corner there are a couple of endorsements, showing that the Asus Swift is both G-Sync ready and 3D Vision Ready. Although 3D has already been and gone… 😉
INPUTS & OUTPUTS
There’s only one display input on the Swift, yes that’s right one input! To get the best out of the Asus Swift PG278Q Gaming monitor you have to use a DisplayPort cable for the 2560×1440 @144Hz resolution, so that’s all that’s provided. There’s focus for you! 😮 In addition to this there’s an inbuilt USB hub with one upstream connection (input) and two outputs. Finally we have the power connection (with a nice small cable and plug) fed via an external power brick.
The controls for the Asus Swift seem to be on the lower right side of the bezel, but in fact they are actually behind the bezel, which I rather like. Just below the line of control labels (at the very base of the monitor) there’s a small LED that glows red when On. It’s not too bright either.
Looking at the controls at the back we can see that there’s a joystick control at the top followed by four buttons. The joystick is a joy to use and can be used for almost all operations, the OSD menu is also extremely fast, which is always nice to see. Reaching for the buttons is not so easy, as it’s a little difficult to work out which one is which. But to be fair once the monitor is set up, you wont be using them anyway.
Looking at the back of the Asus Swift PG278Q there’s not that much to see, it’s all angles and panels which at least looks kind of cool, dare I say it looks a little stealth like! There’s nice Republic of Gamers (RoG) log in the centre of the stand also, with a large Asus logo above. You can also clearly see here that the Swift offers some form of cable management by way of the gap in the stand. The main arm is attached to a VESA mount, that can be removed should you wish to mount the Asus Swift another way.
The Swift PG278Q supports a good deal of height adjustment; at its lowest the monitor sits approximately 70mm of the desk, this increases to around 185mm at its highest. And we have the Swift’s party trick of doing Portrait mode, although I’m not sure many Gamers will be doing this! 😉
As you take a look around the Asus Swift PG278Q Gaming Monitor you really begin to appreciate a lot of the things that Asus have done with this monitor, from the thin bezel to the smart looking (illuminating) stand, the hidden controls and the simple (yet focused) I/O panel at the back.
The Asus Swift PG278Q Gaming Monitor was tested using our Test Rig with a fresh installation of Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit (service pack 1) installed together with all the latest relevant drivers and software. No additional screen calibration software was used, all of the default modes were tested and then the screen was calibrated by hand and eye to the best of my ability.
For this test to help in the evaluation of the monitor we will also be using the new MSI GTX 980 GAMING 4G card. Mainly because our normal test card is an AMD R9 290 and for G-Sync to work you must be using an Nvidia card (sorry guys, don’t shoot the messenger!).
During the review I used the following Benchmarks and Games to help in the evaluation of the Asus Swift PG278Q.
One thing that becomes clear when you first fire up the Asus Swift PG287Q is that the monitor not only has that smart red glow at the base of the stand (that can be turned off if you wish), but also that is seems to have an instant on feature. I spent the first 10 mins playing with the on/off button and sure enough, you press the button and the screen is on (at pretty much full brightness too!), simple yes but I like it. It really helps with those ‘press delete to enter setup moments’; as you must have been caught out in the past waiting for the message but your screen is still warming up! No such issues with the Asus Swift.
Once I was past the excitement of the instant on feature, I booted into Windows. It was at this point I started to worry about the Swift’s TN panel technology, guessing that it would be nowhere near as good as my current Dell U2711 with its IPS panel. Well, I was wrong…
The image was far better than I expected and for a brief moment I thought it was as good if not better than my IPS based Dell. After studying some colour depths and looking at the brightness and contrast settings it was apparent that the screen was suffering a little from (what I like to call) the Samsung effect! An overly bright high contrast image, with rather too much colour, but to the layperson it looks great! Certainly not representative of an Adobe sRGB colour depth, so no good for photo editing professionals (like duh James this is a Gaming monitor!).
With a few tweaks here and there (there’s not many options by the way) mainly to turn settings down I got a better, less saturated image. Still not Adobe sRGB compliant but damn good nonetheless. Now with the Asus Swift PG287Q sporting a damn fine picture it was time for the main event, GAMING! 😉
If you have ever suffered from or been sensitive to tearing and GPU stuttering then this is the section that you’ll want to read (of course you’ll want to read all of the others too!). As this is what this monitor is geared up to do courtesy of Nvidia’s G-Sync technology. The first question is does it work? The best answer that I can give to that is, hell yes! Gaming (with the right GPU and horsepower) on the Asus Swift PG 278Q is sublime. Smooth is not the word, everything is like butter, to be fair trying to describe such a smooth, stutter free, fluid image is difficult, it’s one of those thing that you really just need to see for yourself. Then you will know!
Of course it doesn’t stop there as G-Sync is only half of the equation. On top of that smooth G-Sync enabled image we have a refresh rate of up to 144Hz, meaning that (if we can drive the monitor fast enough) you can enjoy this beautiful synchronization all the was up to 144 times a second. If that wasn’t enough just to help keep that image as clear and concise as possible Asus also delivers with a Response Time of 1ms (gray to gray).
All of the above means that you end up with a great image, in sync with your Nvidia GPU at up to 144 FPS with a Response Time of 1ms! If there was ever a true Gaming monitor guys, this is it, there is no doubt about it! And it makes me very happy indeed… 😉
I actually did some testing with my own Gaming Rig (sorry I couldn’t resist) as I have an SLI GTX 780 setup and I have often found that with two cards and SLI tearing and stutter is often worse. This is likely then to be the acid test, result? Exactly the same, not a sign of tearing just a awesomely smooth experience. I would honestly say that if you have a powerful, Nvidia SLI setup and you’re a keen Gamer (or though if you have that setup that’s probably a given!) then this monitor has your name written all over it…
You may have already gathered that I’m rather impressed with the Asus Swift PG278Q Gaming Monitor, and I am, very impressed! Never have I seen such focus in a Gaming monitor, Asus no doubt had one goal in mind, when they designed this monitor and that was to create the best Gaming monitor on the planet, and I think they have.
The monitor came well packaged although I feel that they could have done more considering the high asking price. It was nice that there was no assembly, the Asus Swift is ready to go straight out of the box. As a monitor you cant help but admire that smart base with its illumination and that slim bezel, even the back of the Swift looks good with its stealth like appearance, it almost looks like this monitor was designed to go fast.
Once powered up and once you get past the really rather useful and cool instant on feature, you can marvel at this TN panel! That’s right I did say TN panel. No it’s not Adobe sRGB compliant but the image produced is crisp, colorful and vibrant. The out of the box image is a little too over the top, but after some simple calibration (the Swift only has basic controls) the image was very good, with a better overall brightness and colour balance.
The in Game performance of the Asus Swift PG278Q was excellent and the best that I have ever witnessed from any monitor to date. The G-Sync technology coupled with a 144Hz Refresh Rate and a 1ms Response time provides the smoothest Gaming experience to date. Please note that given the high resolution and the high refresh rate of the panel, you’ll want a high powered GPU (or better still, two GPUs!) to make the most of the Asus Swift PG278Q.
To be honest I can’t praise the monitor enough, if you’re a really serious Gamer then this monitor is for you. I know it’s for me as I want one so much that I might just have to buy one! But at approximately £620 (street price) at the time of review there is no denying that the Asus Swift PG278Q Gaming Monitor is an expensive bit of Gaming hardware!
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Many thanks to Asus for providing this sample for review