The ASUS ROG Strix XG27AQ-W is a gaming monitor with a 16:9 aspect ratio. It boasts a resolution of 2560 x 1440p, a maximum refresh rate of 170Hz, and an IPS panel with RGB subpixel layout and 8-bit color depth. The manufacturer of the panel is unknown, but it is believed to be from AU-Optronics. The white version has a suggested retail price of 649 Euros while the black one is priced at 629 Euros. We will examine the current market price and compare the XG27AQ-W to its competitors in the conclusion.
The ASUS ROG Strix XG27AQ-W comes in a typical ASUS packaging, ensuring the contents are well protected during transportation. In this article, we will examine the included items and provide the manufacturer’s technical data. A linked PDF is available for more information and you can also visit the manufacturer’s page by clicking the provided link.
I requested the ASUS monitor from Germany for testing purposes. I was searching for a white gaming monitor as an alternative to the expensive PG279QM and to meet the needs of readers seeking a good white monitor. It is not easy to find a top-performing white gaming monitor, but this request may achieve both goals. Let’s dive into the review.
It’s time to take a closer look at the XG27AQ-W’s details. We’ll start with processing, connectivity, cables, and on-screen display (OSD). The XG27AQ-W is similar to the PG279QM in terms of technical specifications and appearance, with only a difference in color. The adjustment options are the same as the PG279QM. The design and craftsmanship are also consistent with each other. Out of all the white monitors I’ve seen, I prefer the ASUS one due to its visually pleasing appearance. What’s your opinion?
The appropriate cable for every connection is available. The third USB port is designated for maintenance, as stated in the manual. For those who value a clean rear view and have connected their cables, an additional cover can be installed. I’ll save that task for later.
The On-Screen Display (OSD) of the XG349C and PG279QM monitors are very similar in design and structure. So, if you’re familiar with one, you’ll find it easy to navigate the other as well. However, there are a few unique features that are worth mentioning. The frame rate can be overclocked with a simple on/off switch in the OSD, and you can also choose from four refresh rate options: 155, 160, 165, and 170 Hz. This is a convenient feature for gamers. In addition, the OSD also includes Shadow Boost, crosshairs, FPS display, night vision mode, and ELMB with and without Adaptive Sync. Stay tuned for more information about Blur Reduction.
If you prefer to avoid clicking on the screen, you can use the ASUS Display Widget app, which can be downloaded by connecting the monitor to your computer with a USB-B cable. This app allows you to control all the monitor’s features with your mouse. I have included a few noteworthy images, such as the Night Vision mode and the sniper effect with NV. Some might argue that these features border on cheating.
Now, let’s move on from theoretical explanations and visual observations and focus on what really matters for a gaming monitor: pixel response times. These, along with the refresh rate, determine the clarity of the image. So, let’s take a closer look…
General Measurement Setup
The response times are measured using NVIDIA LDAT, which is positioned in the center of the display. Color fidelity is evaluated using the SpyderX, for example.
Before beginning the measurement, the monitor is allowed to warm up for an hour at 200 nits. This is to ensure that the panel reaches a stable temperature before calibration, avoiding inconsistent results. The current testing setup is as follows:
I will update this information if there are any changes. It should be noted that the PC hardware has minimal impact on the results. The same results were obtained when the monitor was connected to three different computers. Although the monitor is NVIDIA G-Sync compatible, this is not a requirement for measuring GtG response times. All monitors are evaluated under equal conditions after calibration.
Measurement method (GtG)
The gray to gray (GtG) measurement involves evaluating different gray levels and from black (0) to white (255). This results in 36 response times for the rise-up (black to white) and 36 for the rise-down (white to black), making a total of 72 measurements. NVIDIA LDAT measures the time, in milliseconds, required for the color to change from the starting color to the target color.
The internationally recognized standard for response time measurement is the 80% transition. To account for signal noise and improve measurement accuracy, LDAT measures the response time only after 10% of the start transition curve and 10% before the end of the curve. The overshoot is evaluated separately.
Unfortunately, I do not have access to the necessary equipment to capture UFO images. I lack an adjustable high-speed camera capable of recording at 0 to 1000 FPS.
Despite this, I evaluate the motion clarity by using both UFO (click here) and the NVIDIA LDAT software (as seen in the picture above).
Lag in Display, Input Latency in Monitors, and End-to-End Latency
The display lag is a combination of processing lag and half scan out time (the time it takes for the image to build up to the center of the screen or refresh lag). It can be measured using the LDAT tool. It’s important to note that for accurate measurement of display lag only, G-Sync compatibility is a must. This translates to FreeSync via DisplayPort and requires enabling G-Sync in the NVIDIA driver.
To calculate actual input lag, simply add the average pixel response time, which is playable with overdrive, to the display lag. For example, a display lag of 3.6 ms and a response time of 2.6 ms results in an input lag of 6.2 ms.
In conclusion, I assess the End-to-End (E2E) latency, which refers to the time taken for a mouse click to result in a half-pixel response. Note that only half the transition is being considered.
All latency measurements are conducted at the highest frame rate and with matching frames per second (FPS). For example, at 240 Hz, the FPS is set to 240.
Measuring color performance
Here again to read:
For all measurements and calibrations, I utilized Calman color calibration software from Portrait Displays. It is important to note that with my hardware, I can only confirm whether the tested monitors meet the manufacturer’s specifications or not.
When reviewing test results for monitors from other testers, disparities may exist, particularly in response times. To ensure consistency, it’s crucial to use the same measurement system and methodology when testing all monitors. Doing so enables comparison between values. It’s important to note that differences in testing methodologies may result in varied measurements and not necessarily indicate errors in the testing process.
To ensure accuracy, all measurements, including latencies, response times, and color performance, should be repeated three times and meet my defined standards of precision.
Pixel response times vs. overshoot @ max. refresh rate
The XG27AQ-W, being a gaming monitor, showcases its strengths in this aspect. ASUS provides customers with 6 overdrive options to choose from. To make your search easier, I’ll provide assistance so you can avoid the risk of failure in finding what you want. Let’s begin…
Overdrive settings OD 0
Overdrive settings OD 1
Overdrive settings OD 2
Overdrive settings OD 3
Overdrive settings OD 4
Overdrive settings OD 5
In my view, OD 0 to OD 2 are too slow for gaming at 170 Hz and result in slow pixel response and ghosting. The optimal settings for gaming are OD 3 and OD 4, which have minimal overshoot and no noticeable ghosting. In the future, we will examine these two settings from 144 to 60 Hz. OD 5 should be avoided as it results in excessive overshoot.
The next question is whether we will see a Single Overdrive Experience or a Variable Overdrive. This would mean either consistent response times without overshoot or slightly increased response times to avoid overshoot as the FPS decreases. The outcome is still uncertain.
Variable Overdrive @ OD 3 (144 – 60 Hz)
Variable Overdrive @ OD 4 (144 – 60 Hz)
I was pleasantly surprised by the existence of a variable overdrive. Other manufacturers could learn from this example. It’s what a Variable Overdrive should look like on a FreeSync/G-Sync compatible monitor. To all manufacturers: If you want to sell a gaming monitor, you must have at least one overdrive setting, and a variable overdrive would be even better. Kudos to ASUS ROG. At this point, I can confidently recommend both OD 3 and OD 4 settings. The XG27AQ-W is delivered by ASUS in the OD 3 setting, so it is already a good fit.
Extreme Low Motion Blur (ELMB)
ASUS has included the Variable Overdrive and ELMB (Backlight Strobing) on the XG27AQ-W. The XG349C also had this feature. ELMB can be used with Adaptive-Sync or fixed to different refresh rates. This can be easily adjusted in the OSD with just a few clicks. When Adaptive-Sync is active, only ELMB-Sync can be used, but when Adaptive-Sync is turned off, ELMB can be set to a fixed frame rate. Furthermore, the customer can also select the portion of the screen (top, middle, bottom) where image clarity should be improved.
In my brief evaluation, I set the XG27AQ-W to 200 nits. With ELMB Sync enabled, the brightness remained at 180 nits, which is still acceptable. You can see the results with ELMB Sync enabled in the accompanying images.
Personally, I see the improvement in image clarity as a valuable addition, especially for users who are serious about eSports. Speaking of eSports, let’s move on to discuss latencies.
In short, the ASUS ROG Strix XG27AQ-W delivers. It is on par with the more expensive ROG Swift PG279QM. Currently, the only difference between the two is the maximum refresh rate, with the XG27AQ-W offering 70 Hz. However, this lower refresh rate has a noticeable impact on motion clarity (without backlight strobing), but we’ll get into that later. For now, let’s focus on color performance.
Grayscale, color fidelity, saturation and gamut to factory settings
We will soon find out if the XG27AQ-W can perform as well as the PG279QM. Examining the technical specifications alone is not enough to determine this. So let’s take some measurements.
The XG27AQ-W offers both sRGB and DCI-P3, which is sufficient for gaming needs. It doesn’t match the PG279QM in this aspect, but this is not necessarily a negative since it would likely result in a higher price that most consumers might not be willing or able to pay.
Gray Scale, Saturation, ColorChecker @ Default Setting
The default mode (racing mode) is supposed to have a DeltaE < 1 in the ColorChecker test for sRGB, but this is not the case because the panel is not clamped to the sRGB color space and the white point and gamma curve do not match. This discrepancy has been brought to the attention of ASUS ROG Germany and they are currently investigating the issue. The colors in racing mode are noticeably oversaturated, particularly in the sRGB color space, and the color accuracy is not ideal. However, for gaming purposes, the vibrant colors might be more important to some than color accuracy. Nonetheless, the measurement protocol is confusing and the end customer may not be getting what they paid for.
Gray Scale, Saturation, ColorChecker @ User Mode
Is sRGB mode the answer? Let’s find out
Gamut, Gray Scale, Saturation, ColorChecker @ sRGB Mode
The ASUS ROG Strix XG27AQ-W has good saturation and ColorChecker, however, the deviations come from the incorrect white point and gamma curve. This falls short of expectations from a brand like ASUS. Although the display is suitable for general Internet consumption, it may not be ideal for professional work. Additionally, ASUS has limited user customization in sRGB mode, as there are no options to adjust the white point or gamma, and even the brightness cannot be changed. This level of restriction is seen as excessive and a firmware update allowing for brightness adjustments is desirable.
The XG27AQ-W is certified with HDR-400, which gives it entry-level HDR capability. However, it features the same edge-lit dimming as the PG279QM, resulting in Halo and Bluming effects that cannot be adjusted. In my opinion, manufacturers should now be using a Full Array Local Dimming (FALD) system in 2023 to keep up with LCD and OLED panels, as demonstrated by Cooler Master with the Tempest GP27Q at a cost of around 700 euros. To truly experience HDR, it is necessary to have a more advanced dimming system.
The three essential factors:
- Contrast (FALD or OLED)
- Brightness (>600 nits rather 1000 nits peak)
- Color volume (>95 percent P3; 10 bit color depth/ 8 bit + FRC)
The XG27AQ-W is a strong SDR gaming monitor, but shouldn’t be marketed as HDR. Today, many manufacturers are using HDR as a selling point, but the XG27AQ-W falls short in that regard. The monitor lacks the necessary technology, such as full array local dimming (FALD), to truly support HDR. Instead, ASUS should focus on highlighting the strengths of the XG27AQ-W as a SDR monitor to stand out in the competition. The notion that “if it’s on the packaging, it must be in the product” is unfortunate, but true in the current market.
Comparing Color Performance and Brightness
When newly unboxed, the ASUS ROG Strix XG27AQ-W performs moderately well in terms of brightness and color accuracy, which is suitable for a dedicated gaming monitor.
The ASUS ROG Strix XG27AQ-W boasts maximum brightness of 368 nits in SDR mode and a minimum brightness of 48 nits, making it a suitable option for both day and nighttime gaming. It should be noted that the brightness in sRGB mode is fixed at 163 nits and cannot be adjusted. Stay tuned for a calibration to see if any further improvements can be made.
Color performance with D65 and Full Calibration
I chose to calibrate the Racing mode instead of the sRGB mode, as it would have been too easy to over-calibrate. The 94% DCI-P3 coverage in this mode should be enough for working in the P3 color space, with the exception of a few minor areas. This assumes that the applications used also support ICC profiles. Time to get to work…
Gray Scale, Saturation and ColorChecker (Default Mode) after a full calibration to DCI-P3 (D65 and Gamma 2.2) with Calman Ultimate
Despite the limited coverage of 94% in the DCI-P3 color space, the monitor is still suitable for work purposes with only a few deviations. Nonetheless, the sRGB mode has also been calibrated for a better user experience.
This is the desired outcome I would have expected from the sRGB mode. I hope ASUS will consider my feedback and enable the control of white point and brightness while also calibrating the sRGB mode at the factory, as they did with the XG349C.
My test unit of ASUS ROG Strix XG27AQ-W displays signs of IPS glow and bleeding, particularly in the frame region and to some extent all around. This can be seen in the uniformity results that I will present shortly.
It’s important to keep in mind that every panel can have varying levels of bleeding and glowing. My particular test sample had some noticeable IPS glowing and bleeding, especially around the frame area. It’s still manageable for me, but this may not be the case for everyone.
The ASUS ROG Strix XG27AQ-W performed well in terms of image quality during my testing. I did not encounter any image errors such as dead pixels or flicker, and the monitor was compatible with both AMD and NVIDIA graphics cards. The only exception was some IPS glowing and bleeding, which may vary from unit to unit.
The sound that comes from the monitor can be considered as noise, but it’s usable. However, it’s not what you would call actual sound. For that, I’d recommend the BenQ Mobiuz EX3415R, which I consider as the benchmark for monitor speakers so far.
The ASUS ROG Strix XG27AQ-W boasts an impressive design with top-notch workmanship that is similar to the PG279QM. The stand provides ample adjustability, though a dedicated VESA arm offers even more options. However, the monitor falls short when it comes to HDR capabilities, lacking the necessary hardware to deliver an HDR experience. Without experiencing real HDR, one might be satisfied with the monitor’s performance, but comparing it to a real HDR panel would highlight its limitations. The color and design of the monitor are subjective, appealing to personal taste.
The ASUS ROG Strix XG27AQ-W and the PG279QM are very similar in appearance, both featuring a near-identical IPS panel and delivering impressive variable overdrive capabilities and low latency and response times for seamless gaming experiences. The XG27AQ-W even goes a step further with the inclusion of ELMB and Adaptive Sync for improved picture clarity and the added bonus of a scope mode and night vision capabilities.
The ASUS ROG Strix XG27AQ-W and the PG279QM both feature a sleek design, with the only noticeable difference being the color. Both monitors rely on an IPS panel, offering variable overdrive and similar levels of latencies and response times for seamless gaming. The XG27AQ-W offers ELMB with Adaptive Sync and the scope mode, but does not have the G-Sync module of the PG279QM.
The PG279QM, on the other hand, boasts a 240Hz refresh rate and excellent motion performance, but no ELMB/ULMB. It also offers a wider color gamut with 83 percent coverage of the Rec. 2020, and comes pre-calibrated in the sRGB mode without any OSD restrictions.
Although both monitors share some similarities, they are quite distinct in terms of price and specific features.
The ASUS ROG Strix XG27AQ-W is designed specifically for gamers, with its excellent response times, low latencies, and exceptional variable overdrive capabilities. Although the advertised calibration may not be as accurate as expected, this is still under investigation and may be due to differences in measurement methodology. Overall, ASUS ROG has done an impressive job in delivering a monitor that meets the demands of gamers.
The ASUS ROG Strix XG27AQ-W is a gaming-oriented monitor that offers a boost in performance with features such as ELMB and other OSD adjustments. Although it has similar gaming capabilities as the PG279QM, it’s priced similarly to the Gigabyte M27Q X at 549 euros, making it a more expensive option compared to the LG 27GP850 and MSI MAG274QRF-QD. While not the best in terms of value, it is still a cheaper alternative to the PG279QM and XG27AQM.
The XG27AQ-W is a top-performing monitor in the 400-500 Euro range, but it would be a stronger recommendation if it was priced below 499 Euros. It has a unique white appearance and offers top-notch gaming performance, which makes it a great choice for those seeking a white gaming monitor. While there are other options from MSI, LG, or Gigabyte that also have their strengths, the choice ultimately depends on personal preferences and budget. The XG27AQ-W stands out for its excellent gaming performance and uncommon white design, making it a worthwhile consideration at its current street price.
The monitor was loaned to me by ASUS ROG for testing purposes without any pressure to influence the results or compensation for expenses and publication obligation.
Please note that I have had both Cooler Master Tempest monitors (GP27Q and GP27U) for testing since early November 2022. I have conducted thorough comparisons between their performance, particularly with regards to HDR. Cooler Master has set an example with these monitors, offering real HDR gaming at an affordable price. Although I have not yet published an article on these monitors, I can anticipate that it will be a positive review. However, there have been some issues with the firmware, and I have been working closely with Cooler Master to resolve them. Currently, these monitors are out of stock, but for more information you can check out the Hardware (Monitors) Unboxed website.