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REVIEW: Asus PB278Q Part 6


Interpolation

Due to its 2560 x 1440 pixel WQHD resolution, the Asus PB278Q offers plenty of space for displaying numerous details on screen. In total, this 27 inch monitor displays 3.6 million pixels. The screen's pixel pitch is rather small at 0.233 mm, which results in font sizes and images being displayed smaller too. Some users might therefore prefer it to increase the font size at the application or operating system level. It can be useful though to let the monitor interpolate other resolutions, e.g. for older software or documents, which should work fine given the amount of details that can be displayed on the screen of the PB278Q.

We tested how well the screen displays the most common aspect ratios. As expected, the Asus monitor had no problems with the 16:9 format, nor did it have any trouble with the interpolation of other resolutions at the same aspect ratio. Both the Full HD format and the regular HD format are neatly and flawlessly interpolated to the screen's size. And with the wide spread 16:10 and 4:3 aspect ratios it performed equally well.

Resolutions such as 1024 x 768 and 800 x 600 that used to be common are interpolated to full screen without any problems. However, when using 16:9 screen resolutions such as 1600 x 900 and 1366 x 768, which are often found in notebooks, the PB278Q does not make use of the full screen size. The interpolated image is framed by a thick border. Less common resolutions such as 1920 x 1200 or 1600 x 1200 are not interpolated at all and instead presented in a pixel accurate manner with a wide border around it.

Unfortunately, there is no possibility to adjust the aspect ratio, resulting in 4:3 formats being displayed stretched in width. Though there is a setting for sharpness within a 0 to 100 range that can be found in the OSD menu. But for the most part the monitor is already well set at its predefined value of 50.

Test image, left: native resolution; right: 1,280 x 720 full screen.

Text reproduction, left: native resolution; right: 1,280 x 720 full screen.

The sharpness at native resolution is very good, as is to be expected. The regular HD resolution of 1,280 x 720 does not make problems either since the Asus monitor with its four times higher resolution merely needs to put together four pixels in this case. For other resolutions, the required pixel enlargement is mainly achieved though additionally inserted gray dots. This produces slightly thicker outlines and an appearance that somewhat lacks in definition. There are no color fringes though.

At all interpolated resolutions, text readability and reproduction quality of the test image can be regarded as good to very good in relation to the degree of scaling involved. The amount of generally unavoidable interpolation artifacts turns out to be low. Even texts with bold letters remain very legible.

Responsiveness

We measured the PB278Q at its native resolution at 60 Hz and connected via DisplayPort. Before measuring, we reverted the monitor back to its factory presets.

Response time and acceleration behavior

We determined response times for black-white transitions as well as the fastest gray to gray transition. Additionally we also note the average value for our 15 different measurement points.

The data sheet specifies a 5 ms response time (GtG). The known Asus function TraceFree lets users select one of six acceleration levels within a scale of 0 to 100. After resetting the PB278Q, TraceFree works with a default value of 60 .

In this setting we measure the black white transition at 13.2 ms and the fastest gray to gray transition at 9.1 ms. The calculated average of our 15 measurement points comes out at 11.2 ms.

Fast response times with significant overshoot.

The chart on the right showing the brightness curve for gray to gray transitions between 50 and 80 percent brightness shows that there is strong overdrive at play here. Considering the IPS panel technology, these response times are relatively fast and come at the expense of substantial overshoot. In darker gray to gray transitions the overshoot effects are even stronger, so this overdrive setting can be expected to already produce visible artifacts for fast moving content.

Just very slightly faster response times, but at the expense of even stronger overshoot.

After switching to the highest possible TraceFree setting 100 we are still unable to reproduce the manufacturer's specs, in fact, the response times shorten only marginally. Overshoot on the other hand increases even more. Therefore, this setting can at best only be recommended to very ambitioned gamers who are willing to trade in visible artifacts for a minute speed gain.

For common types of moving content such as videos, but also for office and internet applications, we rather recommend using the slower yet more neutral TraceFree setting of 20.

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