Most of us PC users tend to spend a great deal of time and money on various components and pieces of hardware. Whether it’s the right CPU, or liquid cooling, or the most comfortable keyboard and mouse, we tend to take our time and get the best of the best. But there seems to be one area that remains ignored, and that’s with the PC display. You can have an amazing souped-up rig that powers the latest applications and games, but if you’re still using a dinky 19” monitor then you’re in for a much-needed upgrade. This week I was lucky enough to check out the ASUS MX279H display to see if this sculpted beauty was really a worthwhile investment.
Probably the first thing you notice about the ASUS MX279H is just how beautiful it is. I mean seriously, this thing is massive in itself at 27”, but it exudes grace and charm – two words I never thought I’d use when talking about a PC display.
The MX279H measures a mere 17.5mm at its thinnest point, and has a 0.8mm bezel surrounding the screen. The display sits on a circular plastic stand, which attaches via a small thumbscrew at the back. Unfortunately, while the MX279H offers you a variety of angles at which to tilt the display, there’s no swivel or options to adjust the height, which is a bit of a let down.
Connectivity-wise, the MX279H has two HDMI ports and one VGA port at the back. At first I was surprised at the lack of availability of a DVI port, but ASUS have been kind enough to include a DVI-to-HDMI cable in the box. There are also 3.5mm ports for Line In and Headphones, should you wish to use the in-built speakers (more on that later). Towards the bottom right of the display are a row of small buttons which you can use to access and navigate the OSD.
The MX279H sports full HD, which means you’ll be able to enjoy videos and content at a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution. But given the massive 27”, it would have been nicer if ASUS had pushed the resolution a bit higher if possible. Given that this is an IPS panel, viewing angles are also very good, and the matte finish reduces glare from bright environments or from office lighting. The display also features ASUS Smart Contrast Ratio, which automatically adjusts backlighting luminance to produce deeper blacks and brighter whites. And as seen in pervious ASUS monitors, you have the ‘QuickFit’ feature which displays a guide onscreen so you can size content properly for photo or document printing.
One thing the MX279H did beautifully was color reproduction. Whether it was proofing layouts in InDesign, touching up images in Photoshop, or stitching together video, the MX279H excelled at everything. Clearly this is the display of choice if you’re in a design field and need a display that provides accurate color reproduction.
Where the MX279H did lag just a little bit was when it was connected to a gaming console. Firing up Tekken showed just a minor lag between inputting a command and a character executing it on screen. It really is negligible, but still worth mentioning if this display is also going to double as a gaming monitor. For most gaming enthusiasts this model will work fine, while hardcore gamers can go for specific gaming models offered by ASUS. A featured touted by the MX279H is its in-built speakers. Powered by Bang & Olufsen ICEpower technology, the small speakers are mounted to the side of the screen, and provide a decent amount of audio. But if you want something louder and with more bass, you’re going to have to rely on a standalone set of speakers.
What did slightly unnerve me at times were the buttons for the OSD. While you very rarely have to tweak color levels or brightness on the MX279H, when you do it’s a bit of a song and dance with the buttons being a bit too sensitive at times, so you might have to fiddle around a little bit if you select the wrong item.
The ASUS MX279H is certainly one sexy display, and it showcased some of the most brilliant reproduction seen at a very affordable price tag. It would have been nicer to have a bit more screen real estate squeezed into the 27” display, but this isn’t a total loss. If you’re in the design field and need a display that delivers accurate colors without breaking the bank, then look no further than the MX279H.