Let’s cut right to the chase. The Asus ROG Strix XG27VQ is a $350 gaming monitor, 27 inches in size, with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 and a refresh rate of 144 Hz. We’re looking at a VA LCD panel here with FreeSync support, sporting an 1800R curvature.
First shown at Computex and having officially hit the market last month, the Asus is not the cheapest option you will find with these specs – MSI’s Optix G27C offers similar hardware for $50 less – so it seems Asus is banking on some additions to their offering for it to stand out.
One such addition is Extreme Low Motion Blur, which Asus proudly claims is “exclusive” to this monitor, though it does sound similar to other technologies such as Nvidia’s Ultra Low Motion Blur. There’s also Aura RGB lighting, for those who like RGB.
The XG27VQ’s design isn’t significantly different from Asus’ other ROG monitors. The stand is a three-point design with a pillar that supports the display section, complete with red highlights, vented sections and aggressive angles. The whole monitor uses a lot of ‘gamer style’, which is hard to escape from either the front or back, though it’s especially prominent on the rear thanks to some crazy patterns.
I tend to prefer more minimalist designs, so the entirety of Asus’ ROG monitor line isn’t for me. Even ignoring the weird patterns, the entire build is a bit chunky relative to more ‘standard’ designs, although bezel size at 10mm on the left and right is quite respectable. I’m sure some of you out there, though, enjoy this type of aesthetic otherwise Asus wouldn’t continue to make monitors that look like this.
Moving on to other aspects of the design, the XG27VQ is the first monitor I’ve tested that comes with Aura RGB lighting. While RGB is all the rage right now, I have no idea why Asus bothered to include it on a monitor. I mean you can’t even see the illuminated ring from the front, and most people place their monitor with the back facing a wall, which makes the lighting invisible to anyone in a common setup. Unless you have a setup where people can actually see the rear of your monitor, the RGB lighting is useless.
It’s also a bit strange that Asus included several red highlights on a monitor with RGB lighting. If you wanted to sync the RGB lights to the rest of your setup using Asus’ Aura software, it might clash with the red sections of the design. A bizarre choice, really.
Oh and let’s not forget that the XG27VQ includes a red LED in the base that projects an ROG logo onto your desk. This is another feature that baffles me, but luckily you can disable it. It’s also weird how this logo projecting light is not RGB; it’d make more sense to have this feature RGB-illuminated than the ring on the back that no-one can see.
The stand supports tilt and height adjustment, and features a pivoting base. There is no rotation to the display itself, so you are stuck with the monitor in a landscape orientation, though a curved monitor in portrait mode doesn’t make much sense anyway.
For ports, we’re seeing HDMI 1.4, DisplayPort 1.2 and DVI-D; one of each. The monitor has no built-in speakers, so there’s a 3.5mm audio output jack to hook up speakers or headphones if you choose to use HDMI/DisplayPort audio. There’s also no USB hub.
The monitor has a rather aggressive 1800R curve, which seems to be becoming the norm. The curve is slightly visible at normal viewing distances, but to be honest I’m not sure what advantages you actually get from a curved monitor of this size. I can understand a larger display or an ultrawide getting the curved treatment, but I don’t think it adds much to a traditional 27-inch 16:9 panel.
On the other hand, 144 Hz is a key feature. If you haven’t used a high refresh monitor before, you’ll love the extra fluidity that 144 Hz provides over 60 Hz if your graphics hardware can handle it. The resolution of this monitor is a fairly uninspiring 1080p, though if you wanted 1440p at this size and refresh rate, you’d need to spend $250 more, which is obviously outside the budget of many prospective buyers. With that in mind, I think 1080p at 144 Hz provides a great gaming experience at this price point, especially when 1440p 60 Hz displays are the alternative.
Asus’ Extreme Low Motion Blur (ELMB) technology worked basically exactly as I expected. It essentially does the same thing as Nvidia’s Ultra Low Motion Blur: it strobes the backlight to greatly reduce motion blue and ghosting of fast moving objects.
It provides a much better experience than the best overdrive settings, but it comes at the cost of display brightness, it can’t be used in conjunction with FreeSync, and it only works in the 85 to 120 Hz range. It may be worth exploring for those that play fast paced shooters like CS: GO, although like ULMB, Asus’ ELMB probably isn’t the best option for most gamers.
As for FreeSync, the monitor has a 48 to 144 Hz variable refresh window, so it supports low framerate compensation and gives the best variable refresh experience. No complaints here, making it very suitable for AMD GPU owners.
Performance and Calibration
Moving on to performance, the ROG Strix XG27VQ uses a VA panel, which will please most display enthusiasts as VA panels tend to provide a great combination of an excellent contrast ratio, fantastic viewing angles, great colors, and fast response times. This particular monitor is rated for 300 nits of peak brightness, a 3000:1 contrast ratio, 178-degree viewing angles in both directions, and 4ms gray-to-gray response times.
When it comes to brightness and contrast ratio, the XG27VQ doesn’t hit its rated specifications out of the box. Brightness is set to 250 nits, and while this can be increased to a maximum of 267 nits, this falls short of what Asus claims. It’s the same story with contrast ratio, which hits 2612:1 out of the box: a good result for a VA panel, but not the 3000:1 ratio claimed.
Testing with the default sRGB mode, results were average though not particularly bad. The monitor is slightly too warm by default, which is surprising when most monitors opt for a cold look, though gamma is decent at near 2.2. A greyscale dE2000 value of 3.15 could be better, though the figures for saturation sweeps and ColorChecker at 2.26 and 2.63 respectively are not bad. It’s not color accurate, but not super inaccurate either.
The XG27VQ hits 95.3 percent of the sRGB gamut, which ideally I’d like to be closer to 100% as this figure isn’t impressive. The monitor actually exceeds the spectrum on reds but is limited by its blue performance. In terms of accuracy, no one color is particularly inaccurate, though reds and yellows are slightly better than blues, cyans and greens.
Calibration via On-Screen Display Controls
|Color Temp.||Warm||User: R = 87, G = 96, B = 99|
|Blue Light Filter||0||0|
Calibration through the on-screen controls, which are as easy to navigate as ever through Asus’ directional toggle design, leads to better greyscale performance, although saturation and greyscale results aren’t massively improved. The results here aren’t suitable for color accurate work as we’re still seeing dE2000 values greater than 2.0, so for that you’ll need a proper calibration tool.
Full Calibration via SpectraCAL CALMAN 5
Using my i1Display Pro and SpectraCAL’s CALMAN 5 software, I was able to achieve excellent results with the XG27VQ. dE2000 values for every metric ended up below 1.0, which indicates the monitor is effectively dead accurate. The monitor’s color temperature and gamma are very good, and while contrast is reduced, it’s only a small reduction. The main downside is still the lack of full sRGB coverage, though the colors the monitor can display are very accurate after a bit of work.
Display uniformity is average, which is no surprise from a curved display. When displaying bright tones, the bottom left and right sides are the least similar to the center, although the center band itself is decent enough from top to bottom. Interestingly, when displaying darker tones, it’s the top left and right corners that are the least accurate, which tended to match my observations of slight backlight blotchiness along the top edge when displaying an all-black image. Aside from this issue, backlight bleed is minimal, and it could be just this review unit that exhibits this problem.
There are a lot of great monitors on the market and the Asus ROG Strix XG27VQ is one such example. Gamers looking for a well-featured yet not-too-expensive monitor should keep this one on their radar, as it ticks a lot of boxes for an entry-level high-refresh experience.
What boxes in particular? Well, the XG27VQ uses a VA LCD panel, so we’re seeing a fantastic contrast ratio and excellent viewing angles. It supports a maximum refresh rate of 144Hz, and includes support for AMD’s FreeSync variable refresh technology (with LFC).
It may only be a 1080p display, but I feel that 1080p 144Hz is better than 1440p 60Hz at this price point for most gamers. It even includes a backlight strobing technology, Asus’ ELMB, to remove blur in high-motion games.
The design of the monitor isn’t for everyone, and as someone that generally appreciates minimalist aesthetics, it didn’t really satisfy my needs. Like everything in Asus’ ROG line-up, the XG27VQ comes with a heavy dose of ‘gamer style’, and while bezels are slim enough, the rest of the build is rather chunky. At least you get a height adjustable stand and an easy-to-use on-screen display.
This is one of Asus’ first monitors with Aura RGB lighting on the rear, and I just don’t get why Asus included this feature. It’s not visible during normal usage, so it strikes me as rather pointless. It doesn’t surprise me that monitors are starting to get RGB lighting, though, as RGB is all the rage these days.
As for color performance, the XG27VQ is unremarkable out of the box, though not terrible and surprisingly close to the ideal color temperature. On-screen display calibration can’t do much to fix the problem, but with a calibration tool I was able to achieve fantastic results. The only main downside here is 95% sRGB coverage, rather than an ideal 100%, but I think the monitor still looks fantastic when calibrated regardless.
27-inch 1080p 144Hz monitors tend to start around the $300 mark, so the XG27VQ’s $350 price point is reasonable. My main concern is you can get the MSI Optix G27C, with near-identical specs on paper, for $50 less, though we haven’t tested the MSI offering. In any case, the XG27VQ is a great option for those that want an entry-level high-refresh monitor and enjoy the aesthetics of Asus' ROG line.
Pros: 144Hz refresh rate, FreeSync support, ELMB, VA panel. Respectable color performance that’s easily calibratable. Accessible on-screen controls.
Cons: RGB lighting makes no sense. ‘Gamer’ design isn’t for everyone.