ASUS VG278H 27” 3D Gaming Monitor Review

Author: AkG
Date: February 25, 2012
Product Name: VG278H
Part Number: VG278H
Warranty: 3 Years
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3D LightBoost Technology

Note that this section was produced with excerpts from our 3D Vision 2 review.

With backlit, high output, high efficiency LED panels quickly replacing their CCFL brethren, it was only a matter of time until they made a jump into the stereoscopic 3D gaming world. HDTV manufacturers have already taken advantage of the LED’s natural ability to eliminate crosstalk (also called ghosting) by transitioning to this technology for most of their current and next generation 3D televisions. NVIDIA’s monitor partners have also begun moving towards LED panels in order to realize these same benefits but they have incorporated a number of new features which further play to the strength of LED backlights and improve 3D Vision performance.

In a 3D Vision 2 environment this new generation of monitors plays a leading role since the core technologies housed within the glasses hasn’t changed.

One of the main complaints many users had about NVIDIA’s 3D Vision was the loss of brightness when wearing their polarized shutter glasses. In order to counteract this, all 3D Vision 2 certified monitors will include something called 3D Lightboost technology. NVIDIA’s own explanation of this is far clearer than anything we could possibly achieve:

3D LightBoost works by adjusting the LED backlight in the monitor to pulse twice as brightly in unison with the LCD lenses in the 3D Vision glasses, making the resulting images 2 times brighter than previous 3D products. In contrast, older 3D monitors and laptops without 3D LightBoost have constant backlights where half the light is wasted.

On the old monitors with CCFL lamps that are on all the time, both lenses were forced into a dark phase while the image shifted from left to right. Now that the LED backlights switch off quickly in-between frames, refreshing at 120 times per second with a 2ms response time, the open timings of the glasses can be stretched. This lets in more ambient light so gamers can see the keyboard better. 3D LightBoost technology is a giant leap in the visual quality of 3D gaming on a PC.

In plain English, this will allow LightBoost-certified monitors to appear up to 200% brighter than older models like the Samsung 2233RZ and Acer GD235HZ when a 3D application is run. On the flip side of this coin, when running in 2D mode, the monitor will remain at its user-set backlight ratio so you won’t have to worry about a retina searing Windows desktop or word document.

Since Lightboost allows the glasses' LCD lenses to stay open longer, users are able to realize a secondary benefit as well: increased environmental light. Finally, wearing 3D Vision glasses won’t entail fumbling around in the dark for your keyboard and mouse.

3D LightBoost is actually one of three features which are built into the VG278H. Naturally, sports a 120Hz refresh rate for a more fluid 2D gaming experience but advanced reduction of 3D ghosting has also been built in. NVIDIA’s so called “ghost busting” takes advantage of the fast pulse width modulation of LED panels to increase the internal refresh rate of their glasses to virtually eliminate 3D ghosting.

The New 3D Vision 2 Glasses

Unlike many other 3D capable monitors, ASUS has included a pair of 3D Vision 2 glasses with their VG278H so you won't have to worry about buying them alone. Upon first glance, the new 3D Vision glasses may look the same as the old model but there are a number of changes built into their design. NVIDIA has retained the iconic profile and black and green colour scheme while the underlying technology itself hasn’t changed one iota; these are still active shutter glasses which receive their signal from an infrared emitter. Their range has remained the same at around 40 feet provided a clear line of sight between the emitter and glasses is retained.

Instead of plastic these are fabricated out of a durable composite nylon which makes them very, very durable while minimizing on weight. The matte finish also prevents any unwanted scratches and ensures that finger prints become almost invisible. Unfortunately, the material NVIDIA used causes a few small squeaks when the glasses are manipulated but our pair just needed to be broken in a bit more.

Note that in the picture above, it appears the lenses are different colours but that is just an effect of the polarization at certain angles.

Starting off at the front of the glasses, NVIDIA has included a small return at the top and bottom which acts as a baffle to prevent light from entering around the frames. The previous design used a completely flat frame and in daylight viewing conditions, light tended to seep in and diminish the contrast and brightness of on-screen images. Hopefully, this small but significant addition will all but eliminate that issue.

Above you can also see a glossy finish around the outer lens which looks good but as we will discuss in the Initial Impressions section, it does cause some significant issues as well.

Instead of a mini USB connector of yesteryear, the 3D Vision 2 glasses use a micro USB connector that can accept power from most cell phone chargers. This should allow for a complete recharge from any power outlet provided you have a micro USB charger. Battery life has remained constant at 60 hours of continual use and roughly three months of standby time.

The changes continue onto the sides which have been slimmed down and shaped in a way that will have minimal impact upon headphones. Also, instead of the frames resting only on your ears this new design lightly clasps the back of your head for additional security. Coupled with the glasses’ feather-like weight, this addition allows 3D Vision 2 to steamroll the older generation unit when it comes to long term comfort.

Much like the older glasses, interchangeable nose bridge “adaptors” are included to ensure perfect fitment.

When placed next to the outgoing glasses, 3D Vision 2’s differences really become apparent. The new version looks much larger due to the installation of light baffles but also because NVIDIA increased the lens size by a good 20% for wider viewing angles. In addition, the infrared receiver has been moved from the right hand side to a central location between the lenses.

Along with the increase in lens size, the polarization has been slightly changed as well. These new glasses are supposed to let a bit more light through the active shutters which should increase in-game contrast and brightness.

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