ASUS's MX279H is a very attractive monitor. This stylish 27in AH-IPS display is just 18mm thick, and it has a touch-sensitive menu bar running along the bottom of the screen. Sadly, its stand is fixed, but there's plenty oc screen tilt to help you find the best working angle.
Unlike some more expensive monitors, suach as Asus's PB278Q and ViewSonic's VP2770-LED, the MX279H has a 1,920x1,080 resolution rather than 2,560x1,440. This helps to keep the price down, although text looks a little jagged on a screen this large.
The MX279H's matt finish diffuses reflections brilliantly, and we had no trouble looking at it in direct sunlight or with bright overhead lights. The only disadvantage is that it makes colors look slightly less vibrant. Reds, greens and blues were all very bright, but they didn't leap out of the screen. Whites also appeared a little gray, and blacks showed a bit of backlight bleeding in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen. Even so, you'll be hard pushed to notice this on a daily basis, unless you're looking at a very dark image.
The contrast levels were better, with lots of visible detail in both the light and dark areas. The MX279H's good contrast is possibly a result of its AH-IPS (advanced high-performance ISP) panel, which is supposed to provide better brightness and contrast than a standard IPS panel.
The MX279H provides different screen modes, including Scenery, Theater, Game and Night View. Scenery mode enhances contrast, making images appear sharper, and Theater mode makes colors look much richer. Game mode increases the brightness levels to eliminate shadows, while Night View mode eases brightness slightly, putting less strain on your eyes in lower light conditions. All the modes are customisable, so you can tweak each setting to your liking.
At the back of the MX279H, there are two HDMI inputs that are HDCP compatible and one VGA port for older PC's. At first, we lamented the exclusion of a DVI-D input, but the MX279H comes with a HDMI-DVI-D adapter cable. It also has a 3.5mm audio line input, a 3.5mm headphone jack and two built-in stereo speakers. The speakers are Bang & Olufusen branded. These are better than typical monitor speakers, but they don't produce a lot of bass, so you'll need a set of dedicated speakers if you plan on listening to a lot of music. Still they're adequate if you're not too concerned with sound quality.
This isn't the best 27in IPS screen we've seen, but you won't find one with a better design for under $400. It's a pity the resolution isn't larger - a screen this pretty certainly should be. Still, Asus's MX279H shows that a marriage of a great design and decent image quality needn't break bank.
- Screen Size: 27in widescreen
- Resolution: 1,920x1,080
- Contrast Ratio: 80000000:1
- Brightness: 250cd/m²
- Ports: VGA, HDMI
- Power Consumption: 1W standby, 37W on
- Warranty: One-year RTB
- Part Code: MX279H
- Details: www.asus.com