Design & Build
The PB278Q is made entirely from matte black plastic, but it doesn't look like an entry-level monitor. In fact, this gives it a pretty serious kind of look which is ideal for a home or office workstation. We had no issues with the general finish either. There are no dodgy cracking noises or wobbly bits when you pick up or adjust the PB278Q.
Video connections comprise a VGA entry, a DVI in, an HDMI entry and a DisplayPort input.
Beware though—not all of the video connections are geared up to handle this monitor's native screen def of 2560 x 1440 pixels. It's no problem for the DVI and DisplayPort connectors, but with HDMI and VGA you'll be limited to Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) and to 2048 x 1142 pixels. Thanks to its high native screen def, the PB278Q offers 77% more onscreen detail (in the form of pixels) than a Full HD monitor.
For audio, there's a jack input that links straight to the 2 x 3-watt built-in speakers. There's also a headphones socket that can be used with headphones, a headset or a compatible speaker kit.
All in all, the hardware is excellent in the Asus PB278Q. However, the ViewSonic VP2770-LED is still one step ahead in our books thanks to its 4-port USB hub.
Colours & Contrast
Out of the box, onscreen colour fidelity will be fine for the vast majority of uses. With an average Delta E of 3.6, only photo editors, graphic designers and other users needing 100% accurate colours may not be entirely satisfied. However, the Delta E can be pushed down under 3 (under 3, onscreen colours can be considered accurate). To do this, go to the "Colours" menu and change the setting to "User" mode. Then—still in the "Colours" menu—head to "Advanced Settings", then in "Gain" section set red to 39, green to 40 and blue to 50.
Once you've done that, colour fidelity improves and the average Delta E drops to 2.9. However, this also makes for a drop in contrast. The 820:1 out-of-the-box contrast was already a little low compared with the average from other monitors we've reviewed, but with the adjusted settings the brightness of the white drops from 262 cd/m² to 221 cd/m² while the black level remains at 0.32 cd/m². The contrast therefore ends up at 690:1.
With its factory settings, the PB278Q has a low and slightly visible level of reverse ghosting. To get rid of this, you need to switch the TraceFree function down from 60 to 20. With that done, we measured the average ghosting time at 16.5 ms.
This graph shows the ghosting time, measured in ms, which measures the time it takes this monitor takes to entirely remove the previous frame. The shorter the time, the more fluid moving images will appear.
And that's a shame, since the input lag is a low 16 ms. Latency therefore won't penalise multiplayer or LAN gamers.
- Wide viewing angles
- Relatively restrained power use (35 watts at 200 cd/m²)
- Accurate colours after adjusting the settings (Delta E = 2.9)
- Good hardware and design
- Not responsive enough for gaming (average ghosting time = 16.5 ms)
- Below-average contrast (820:1 out of the box, 690:1 with adjusted settings)
Although the Asus PB278Q has some good and interesting features, its disappointing contrast and response time hold it back from a five-star review. They'll also be turn-off for gamers.