ASUS PB278Q 27-inch WQHD Monitor Review

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A growing number of graphics professionals, gamers, and all-around power users are turning to WQHD (Wide Quad High-Definition) monitors as cost-conscious alternatives to pricey 30-inch panels, and ASUS is all too happy to oblige. The PB278Q we're looking at here slips into ASUS' Professional lineup and brings with it a 27-inch PLS (Plane-to-Line Switching) panel with a 2560x1440 display and LED backlighting. At around $700 street, it's one of the least expensive 27-inch WQHD monitors available, yet it boasts some posh features, like swivel support, the ability to rotate into portrait mode, and 100 percent sRGB gamut fidelity

One thing to keep in mind with a monitor this size is that if you plan on gaming, you'll need a relatively powerful graphics card to drive the display's pixels at the panel's native resolution. That's not something the CAD crowd necessarily has to worry about, but if your primary objective is to blow up bad guys in virtual worlds in full graphical splendor, be mindful of the 2650x1440 resolution for optimal image quality.  Though any LCD can scale down to lower resolutions, things just won't look as sharp as native res. 


ASUS PB278Q - 27 inches of PLS sex appeal.

As luck would have it, there's a bit of an arms race going on between AMD and NVIDIA, so even if you don't own graphics card capable of pushing a WQHD display, you can upgrade to one without having without putting yourself in the poor house. Either way, the Samsung-built PLS panel on board the PB278Q is precisely the main attraction here. It packs four times the number of pixels as 720p HD, and it's supposed to be on par with those coveted IPS (In-Plane Switching) panels that typically carry a price premium. For the sake of comparison, at the time of this writing, the least expensive 30-inch IPS monitor on Newegg sells for nearly $500 more, while the most expensive one runs nearly three times as much as the PB278Q.

Paper specs and pricing advantages are both fine and dandy, but at the end of the day, image quality and performance plays the biggest role in determining a monitor's worth. Can the PB278Q stand up to our battery of visual quality tests? It's time to find out.

ASUS PB278Q Professional 27-inch WHQD Monitor
Specifications & Features
Display Size
27" Widescreen
Resolution
2560 x 1440
Aspect Ratio     
16:9
Brightness
300 cd/m2 
Contrast Ratio 
1,000:1 (static); 80,000,000:1 (Smart Contrast Ratio)
Response Time
5ms (gray to gray)
Viewing Angle
178° vertical / 178° horizontal
Display Type
PLS (Plane-to-Line Switching)
Connectors
1 x HDMI v1.4; 1 x D-Sub; 1 x DisplayPort v1.2; 1 x Dual-link DVI-D; 3.5mm Mini-Jack
Power Consumption 
<60W (Typical); <0.5W (Power Saving Mode); <0.5W (Power Off Mode)
Speakers
2 x 3W Stereo RMS
Stand
Height, swivel, tilt, and pivot adjustable
I/O Ports N/A
Dimensions (with stand)
643 mm x 552.3 mm x 218mm (HxWxD) / 25.31 inches x 21.74 inches x 8.58 inches
Weight
8.8 kg / 19.4 lbs
Included Accessories

Dual-link DVI cable; VGA cable; audio cable; power cord; DisplayPort cable; Quick Start quide; HDMI cable; warranty card
Warranty
3 years casing and panel; 1 year parts and accessories (optional)
Price $700 street



The PB278Q is kind of an odd mix of feature additions and subtractions. It has built in stereo speakers, plenty of ports, and a flexible stand that supports rotate, tilt, pivot, and height adjustments, but there's no USB hub or media card reader built into the panel. Perhaps they were sacrificed for a lower price tag, though we'd argue a graphics professional would likely benefit more from those items than the pair of speakers jammed inside, and gamers are likely to wield a high quality headset or a bookshelf system anyway.

One other thing to note is the weight. Even though the PB278Q is not much smaller than a 30-inch panel, it's significantly lighter than the larger monitors we've played with.

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Comments

Comments
kidbest100 2 years ago

4K PLEASE!!!!

TAKE MY MONEY! D:

Im glad its in the 2560 x XXXX resolutions, but why is 4K being held back so much? :(

elbeback 2 years ago

Oh man...drool!!!

marco c 2 years ago

@Kidbest100 - Cost is holding 4K back, along with the fact that you currently need multiple DP outputs to power a single display.

WendellWoW 2 years ago

Still happy with HP 2709m, even if it's just 1920x1080, it works really well.

Walter Conn 2 years ago

I bought a much cheaper 27 inch ASUS monitor a year ago around black Friday for about $200.00. You could have three of those monitors for the price of this one. I do highly recommend getting a 27 inch monitor though.

choibean 2 years ago

This one will be really nice fo sho

 

nickb64 2 years ago

Always happy to see more 27" displays coming out to add some more competition into the mix. I really wish prices would come down just a bit more.

OSunday 2 years ago

Wow this thing is absolutely gorgeous... but is the $700 price tag worth it when I've seen a couple ASUS and other branded 27 inch monitors for almost half the price at $300-$400 with the same specs?

I've only recently started to explore the difference in panel types and I can't say I've ever had viewing angles be an issue on TN monitors or even known that I had owned IPS monitors while people claim IPS looked so much better than TN color wise... (And they were the Samsung/Dell monitors at my families advertising agency where video and photography editing was done so they weren't lower tier in terms of quality and brand)

Is there really that much of a difference between IPS, TN and the new PLS type shown in this monitor?

truk007 2 years ago

I would love to see three of these set up in 4320 X 2560. The bezel looks wider on the bottom, but I bet it would still look pretty.

mhenriday 2 years ago

I may be buying one of these, if I can just find a good deal on a graphics card that would allow me to run it at full resolution. But I agree with Kidbest100 and others (including, not least, Linus Torvalds) : what's keeping manufacturers from launching reasonably priced 27" monitors in the 4k range ? If Japan Display can produce and market a 7-inch tablet screen with a resolution of 2560 x 1600, surely we should be able to see a 27" monitor with a resolution of, say, 4096 x 2560 that doesn't cost half a year's wages ?...

Henri

bikemanAMD 2 years ago

Oh Wow Awesome Monitor there, just wish price tag wasn't so steep for me lol, oh well drools anyways, and maybe something can get in the future

 

dorkstar 2 years ago

mhenriday, If you take a look at monitor prices around, you'll notice that the majority of LCD monitors have dropped in price. I remember buying my 22" 4 years ago and paying over $200. Today you can find a 24" for $199, and if you look around on the used/refurbed market, you can sometimes find 27" for below $200. While the used market is a bad example of falling prices, the prices on new monitors are dropping. Just give it sometime, even VCR's cost 100's of dollars when they first came out.

mhenriday 2 years ago

Dorkstar, here in Sweden high-resolution monitor prices did drop significantly a couple of years ago, but since then they've held steady. I was, however, encouraged to see that the price of the 27" ASUS monitor described here is lower than that of, say, the older Samsung 27" monitors with similar specs ; thus I'm hopeful that even in the monitor field we shall see increasing performance and sinking prices. On the other hand, the fact that desktops seem to have gone out of fashion - despite the fact that, or perhaps just because old fuddie-duddies like myself prefer them - means that competition in the monitor market doesn't seem to be particularly sharp. Still, hope springs eternal - I'd love to see an affordable 27" monitor with a 4096 x 2560 resolution before I depart for a better (or as the case may be, worse) world....

 

Henri

Dorkstar 2 years ago

Ahh, you're talking about some serious resolution there man.  I know theres a few technology experts pushing for the standard to be raised 2048 x  1536, but i dont see us getting anywhere close to 4096 x 2560 at an affordable cost for quite some time. 

  Most of these high res monitors are reserved for medical or design etc.  I used to purchase parts used in medical equipment repair, one 21", high resolution, black and white, lcd monitor used in identify abnormalities during brest exams cost over $20,000.  At least we aren't paying those prices!

mhenriday 2 years ago

Don't forget, Dorkstar, that the monitor which is the subject of this review has a resolution of 2560 x 1440, so the situation is not quite as dire as you paint it. But the question I posed above remains - if Japan Display can produce and market a 7-inch tablet screen with a resolution of 2560 x 1600, surely we should be able to see a 27" monitor with a resolution of, say, 4096 x 2560 that doesn't cost half a year's wages ?...

Henri

mhenriday 2 years ago

I note that Sharp is soon going to introduce a 32" monitor with a resolution of 3840 × 2160 pixels to the Japanese market. Alas, at a price of, as I understand it, some 450000JPY, it costs about five times as much as I'd be willing/can afford to to pay, but if other manufacturers follow this lead (OK, I know that Eizo RadiForce GX1030CL, a 30" monitor with a resolution of 4096 x 2160 pixels has been on the market for years, but it doesn't seem to have inspired any followers and with a prices some 7½ times that of the Sharp, wasn't of interest for most of us), perhaps we can see prices sink to more reasonable levels within a couple of years....

Henri

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