ASUS TUF VG27AQ3A Review: A Gaming Monitor
vemuda.com - There’s a new bang for the buck 27” 1440p gaming monitor in town and it is now more affordable than ever. I’m talking about the new ASUS TUF VG27AQ3A. The NEW ASUS TUF VG27AQ3A features a 27” 1440p IPS Panel with up to 180hz native refresh rate, 1ms GTG response time, and up to 130% sRGB color accuracy for just around PHP 17,840 SRP. Now, there are other two new 180hz variants that are going to be available at least here in the Philippines, the 1080p ASUS TUF VG279Q3A and the 24” 1080p ASUS TUF VG249Q3A.
With that said, there are a ton of ASUS TUF Monitor variants out in the market and to make things easier for you, the exact predecessor of the ASUS TUF VG27AQ3A is the ASUS TUF VG27AQ1A which upon release is priced at around Php 24540 which makes the new ASUS TUF VG27AQ3A very competitive in terms of price.
On the surface, they look almost exactly the same with the same dimensions and physical attributes, but the new ASUS TUF VG27AQ3A now offers a higher 180hz refresh rate, natively without the need for overclocking and it’s 1ms response time is already GTG or grey to grey compared to the MPRT of its predecessor. Which in theory, allows you to get a faster response time without having to use the ELMB feature. Will get to that later.
The NEW ASUS TUF VG27AQ3A also features an upgraded display port 1.4 from 1.2 and boasts a couple more certifications with AMD Freesync Premium and VESA AdaptiveSync Display 180hz certifications. Other than that, everything else is identical. Well, the price difference itself validates the overall better value of the NEW ASUS TUF VG27AQ3A. However, it also shares some of the shortcomings of its predecessor which I’ll share with you in this review, so let’s get into it.
Now before we move on, I just want to share with you that i partnered with Quenched Philippines which is a local brand here in the Philippines to promote their new tumblers. I've been using these for the past few weeks now and the quality of the materials used is very good and it can hold up the temperature really well.
1. Parts Overview
With that out of the way, let’s start with a proper tour around the ASUS TUF VG27AQ3A. Like its predecessor, it shares the same design for the support bar and stand, which in my honest opinion pales in comparison with some other ASUS TUF Variants, the OG ASUS TUF VG27AQ for example has better adjustment options so I guess that’s one downside. Will get to the adjustment options later.
Nevertheless, it is still pretty easy to assemble. As you can tell here at the back, it still features the familiar ASUS TUF Monitor design language with ASUS And TUF gaming logos at the center. And like most ASUS monitors, this also features a VESA mounting option and I appreciate that they added some rubber cover for the screws.
Right here up top, we have a sort of grill-type design and on both sides, we have that gamery kind of aesthetic. Here we have the 5-way joystick and 4 clicky and tactile buttons. On the other side, we have a Kensington lock slot and in terms of the input and output ports, we have a headphone jack, 1 DisplayPort 1.4, 2 HDMI port 2.0, 1 USB Type-A port, and the power port. Looking in front, we have an anti-glare matte finish, with very thin bezels all around. I’ll pop the dimensions on the screen so that you can check it out.
2. Adjustment Options
In terms of adjustment options, you can tilt it down up to 5 degrees and tilt it up, up to 20 degrees. You can also swivel it side to side up to 20 degrees on both sides. No portrait pivot and height adjustment option, the latter is more important in my opinion since as you can tell, the stand is quite short. Well, at least you can mount this in an arm via the VESA 100 mounting option.
By the way, the stand also features a nice cable management hole. Even when the display is turned on as you can see, the bezels are still pretty slim even at the bottom with a subtle ASUS chrome logo.
3. Display Quality
Now, let’s talk about the display quality generally in terms of media consumption and productivity. As per specifications, it covers up to 130% of the sRGB color space which is more than enough for most social media and web applications. Further checking using my Datacolor SyperX Pro color calibration tool reveals that indeed covers at least 100% sRGB, 84% NTSC, 86% Adobe RGB, and 95% Display P3 and for a below 20k gaming monitor, that is exceptionally decent.
The only downside for me here in terms of its display quality, is the relatively low brightness, which it shares with its predecessor at only around 250nits and as per testing, my calibration tool detects around 43 to 238nits from 0% to 100% brightness setting. Which honestly, makes one of its key features barely usable, more on that later.
Other than that, the image quality of this gaming monitor is pretty outstanding, especially in a dimmer environment. As you can tell, the colors are vibrant, with decent contrast and details and thanks to the anti-glare matte finish, reflections are quite minimal. The brightness level is substantial enough for a small room like what I have here with limited lighting turned on and unless you prefer watching high dynamic range movies, this is good enough for most media consumption, and with an IPS panel, of course, viewing angles are outstanding.
Black Levels is definitely not on par with more expensive and modern OLED gaming monitors but it’s not entirely bad I would say. It also doesn’t have any significant amount of backlight bleeding on all angles and if there’s any, it is very minimal. There are also no noticeable dark spots on a white background and no color shifting on scrolling texts, well most IPS panels are safe from it anyway. color shifting is just more apparent on some older TN panels.
Overall, aside from the lower peak brightness, the display quality of this monitor is very good, especially considering its price. If you need a version of this monitor with higher peak brightness, check the ASUS TUF VG27AQL3A, it shares the exact features but with a higher peak brightness of 400nits making it VESA Display HDR400 certified. I just don’t know if it’s going to be available here in the Philippines.
4. Gaming Capabilities
Alright, now let’s talk about its gaming capabilities. Unlike older ASUS TUF Gaming Monitors which use overclocking to achieve a higher framerate, the NEW ASUS TUF VG27AQ3A features 180hz natively, which means we can avoid any potential drawbacks of overclocking like overheating and frame skipping which, to be honest, never a problem with any ASUS TUF monitors from the past, but still, having a high refresh rate natively is always appreciated.
By default at its highest refresh rate, the color depth is only 8bit but if you want to take advantage of a higher color depth of 10bit, you’ll have to lower the refresh rate down to 120hz. It’s totally up to you, which is more important. It is also Gsync sync compatible if you use an NVIDIA graphics card and AMD FreeSync Premium if you use an AMD graphics card.
5. OSD Settings
Now, before we dive deeper into a more technical part of this review, let’s go ahead and take a look at the very intuitive OSD settings. Pressing the 5-way joystick reveals the OSD settings and inside it, we have gaming, image, color, input source select, favorites, and System setup.
Under Gaming we have variable overdrive from levels 1 to 5, adaptive sync, ELMB, and ELMB Sync, game plus for various gaming overlays like refresh rate counter although as per testing, it only shows the current monitor’s refresh rate and not the in-game frame rates. Aside from that we also have RGB crosshairs, a timer, a stopwatch, display adjustment, and most interestingly, a sniper magnifying glass if you’re into that.
Aside from that, we also have gaming visual which are essentially display presets, and shadow boost from levels 1 to 3. Under the image page, we have the basic settings like brightness and contrast. Inside the color page, we have the color and saturation adjustments.
Input select allows you to choose the input source, my favorite allows you to save some of your most used settings, and the system setup where you can adjust misc settings and reset the monitor to its factory default. Aside from that, pressing the buttons on the side reveals quick access to game visual and game-plus features.
Now, the most notable gaming feature of ASUS TUF Monitors ever since the OG VG27AQ is the ELMB Sync feature which allows you to use both the Adaptive Sync and ELMB features at the same time which is otherwise not allowed on most gaming monitors even on new models from other brands.
6. Refresh Rate, Response Time, ELMB Sync
Is it worth it though or at least really usable? we’ll find out soon enough but first, let me share with you the importance of high refresh rate, response time, and adaptive sync features. A high refresh rate and fast response times go hand in hand in reducing motion blur and ghosting, the faster the refresh rate and response time are, the less ghosting you’ll see in the game.
So with a 180hz refresh rate and 1ms response time gaming monitor, you’ll definitely have some competitive advantage compared to those who are just using 60hz monitors. But how about those who are using at least 144hz? well, in my honest opinion, yes a higher refresh rate definitely helps but moving past around 144 or 165hz, the difference in smoothness becomes almost barely noticeable, at least based on my experience. Also, you need a beefier machine to push higher framerates and take full advantage of your monitor’s capabilities. These are just valuable things to keep in mind should you choose to upgrade.
Nevertheless, if budget is not an issue and the itch is really there, it’s never going to hurt to upgrade to a higher refresh rate monitor. But probably the more important upgrade here is the response time which is now 1ms GTG or grey to grey compared to its predecessor which is 1ms MPRT or motion picture response time, while MPRT is arguably better compared to GTG, at least for ASUS monitors, it will require you to enable ELMB feature to achieve that 1ms response time compared to 1ms GTG which is native.
The problem here is that the ELMB Sync feature significantly reduces the screen’s brightness due to the backlight strobing effect and with a mere 250nits brightness on this monitor, enabling this feature noticeably affects the overall experience.
7. Unboxing Experience
Now, I am in no way an expert when it comes to technically reviewing monitors and I don’t have a proper tool yet to measure response times and all that. But to try my best to explain this, here are some sample comparisons. For this particular test, I set my camera to the highest frame rate possible which is 120p so that I can slow it down on post-processing.
As you can tell, with ELMB Sync turned off, there is a noticeable amount of ghosting compared to when using the ELMB Sync feature. But to be perfectly honest with you, this difference is barely noticeable in the human eye, at least for me especially when I am not specifically observing it and just focusing on the in-game mechanics.
What is noticeable though is the reduced brightness which is significant and definitely affects the in-game visuals. The only thing you can do to compensate for that is to use the shadow boost option since brightness adjustment is turned off and while it can definitely increase the shadows, you will lose some contrast.
Now, in this next test, I lowered the Monitor’s refresh rate down to 120hz to match my camera’s framerate which is 120p, and tried my best to track the UFO and see the difference in terms of ghosting. Both of these results are with the same camera settings and lighting conditions and as you can tell, the image quality when ELMB Sync is turned on is noticeably better, albeit again, darker.
Now, aside from the ELMB Sync feature, you can also use just ELMB with either standard and turbo and based on these comparisons, ELMB standard is a good middle-ground. So yeah, ELMB Sync definitely does its job, it’s just that the maximum brightness of this particular model holds it back.
Nevertheless, in my honest opinion, even without using the ELMB Sync feature, in my real-world experience, ghosting in this monitor is pretty minimal especially when set at its highest framerate. And honestly, I’ve been using ASUS TUF monitors for years now from the OG ASUS TUF VG27AQ to the ASUS TUF VG27AQL1A both I used as my main gaming monitors and I never used the ELMB feature and I am still able to game competitively without feeling that I’m not getting the most out of the monitor.
Now, should you leave ELMB Sync off, you still have another option to reduce ghosting, and that is the overdrive setting, by the way, this is automatically disabled when you turn ELMB Sync on. Based on these comparisons, the best setting is the default level 3 which offers minimal ghosting while not adding any unwanted corona effect like what you’ll get if you set it to level 5. So yeah, this is definitely a full-fledged gaming monitor on a budget with tons of gaming-centric features not just onscreen overlays, but also tons of settings that you can tweak to get that competitive advantage.
Now, before I share with you my final thoughts, in terms of the unboxing experience, we have a typical ASUS TUF black box with some of its key features on the side, inside it we have the monitor itself sandwiched by two massive styrofoam and in terms of the package contents, we have a quick start guide, a warranty guide, the support bar, the V-shaped base, some screws for the VESA mounting option, an external power adaptor, a power cable, an HDMI cable, and a DisplayPort cable.
So to conclude, if you’re going to get this monitor with the ELMB Sync feature in mind as your priority, forget about it, consider the VG27AQL3A instead or other higher brightness ASUS TUF Monitors. But if you simply want to get a bang for the buck gaming monitor with a 180hz refresh rate and 1ms GTG response time with tons of gaming-centric features and an amazing color-accurate panel, the ASUS TUF VG27AQ3A is unbeatable for its 17,840 Php SRP and I believe it's going to shake up the price of its older siblings as well as its competitors which is always a good sign for us consumers. Ultimately, it’s super easy to recommend this even with its shortcomings.
And there you have it guys, thank you for reading, and see you next time, have a great day guys, you’re awesome.