ASUS announced its new 'Designo' monitors several months back, and we recently managed to get our hands on one of them. We tested the 27-inch MX279H, a monitor with a striking design. It has an elegant base and aluminium frame, and has several similarities with the recently tested and excellent LG IPS277L. It will be interesting to find out how the two compare. See also: Group test: What's the best flat-panel display?
It's been a trend the last few months. After LG, ASUS, AOC, Acer and Philips also announced IPS monitors with thin bezels and MHL connector. They all likely make use of the same panels, manufactured by LG Display.
We tested this panel in our review of the LG IPS277L, and it appears that ASUS used the same one. However, the same panel does not automatically mean the same monitor. Design, configuration and other hardware all influence the end result. That is why it will be interesting to compare the £289 ASUS MX279H with the £225 LG IPS277L-BN. The LG display is significantly more affordable, so what does ASUS offer to justify the higher pricetag?
There is one aspect with which the ASUS MX279H distinguishes itself, and that's with the design. The base of the ASUS monitor is more stylish than the LG one. The material ASUS used also looks better and more solid. In the bottom of the aluminium bezel there are touch-sensitive buttons for operating the screen. That bezel has been reduced to just a narrow strip on both the ASUS and LG monitors, ASUS calls it ' virtually frameless'. It's less than a centimetre wide, but still visible. Apparently it wasn't possible to include a VESA mount on these displays.
When you look at the specifications, you'll notice lots of similarities. The MX279H can only be tilted, you can't adjust the height, swivel or rotate the screen. Both monitors have an AH-IPS panel with 16:9 aspect ratio and 1920x1080 resolution. Both claim a maximum brightness of 250 cd/m², 1000:1 contrast and a 178-degree viewing angle. Both displays have VGA and two HDMI 1.4 ports, but neither have DVI or DisplayPort. The ASUS screen does not have the MHL interface the LG IPS277L-BN does have.
Then the differences. ASUS has integrated two speakers in the MX279H, along with a 3.5 mm jack. ASUS has applied 'SonicMaster' technology developed with 'Bang & Olufsen Icepower' (which is present in several ASUS notebooks), and claims the speakers will provide "premium audio performance". At least it means ASUS tried to create decent built-in speakers for its flatscreen. The external power supply has been stylishly design for the ASUS monitor.
ASUS has included the QuickFit Virtual Scale feature, which makes it possible to view a number of document formats in their true size on the screen. LG factory calibrates its IPS7 screens, which is very positive for the performance. It will be interesting to see how the ASUS screen compares.
The full review can be found on Hardware.Info.