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.
1 x HDMI v1.4; 1 x D-Sub; 1 x DisplayPort v1.2; 1 x Dual-link DVI-D; 3.5mm Mini-Jack
<60W (Typical); <0.5W (Power Saving Mode); <0.5W (Power Off Mode)
2 x 3W Stereo RMS
Height, swivel, tilt, and pivot adjustable
Dimensions (with stand)
643 mm x 552.3 mm x 218mm (HxWxD) / 25.31 inches x 21.74 inches x 8.58 inches
8.8 kg / 19.4 lbs
Dual-link DVI cable; VGA cable; audio cable; power cord; DisplayPort cable; Quick Start quide; HDMI cable; warranty card
3 years casing and panel; 1 year parts and accessories (optional)
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.