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Let's cut right to the chase. The Asus ROG Strix XG27VQ is a $350 gaming monitor, 27 inches in size, with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 and a refresh rate of 144 Hz. We're looking at a VA LCD panel here with FreeSync support, sporting an 1800R curvature.
First shown at Computex and having officially hit the market last month, the Asus is not the cheapest option you will find with these specs - MSI's Optix G27C offers similar hardware for $50 less - so it seems Asus is banking on some additions to their offering for it to stand out.
One such addition is Extreme Low Motion Blur, which Asus proudly claims is "exclusive" to this monitor, though it does sound similar to other technologies such as Nvidia's Ultra Low Motion Blur. There's also Aura RGB lighting, for those who like RGB.
The XG27VQ's design isn't significantly different from Asus' other ROG monitors. The stand is a three-point design with a pillar that supports the display section, complete with red highlights, vented sections and aggressive angles. The whole monitor uses a lot of 'gamer style', which is hard to escape from either the front or back, though it's especially prominent on the rear thanks to some crazy patterns.
I tend to prefer more minimalist designs, so the entirety of Asus' ROG monitor line isn't for me. Even ignoring the weird patterns, the entire build is a bit chunky relative to more 'standard' designs, although bezel size at 10mm on the left and right is quite respectable. I'm sure some of you out there, though, enjoy this type of aesthetic otherwise Asus wouldn't continue to make monitors that look like this.
Moving on to other aspects of the design, the XG27VQ is the first monitor I've tested that comes with Aura RGB lighting. While RGB is all the rage right now, I have no idea why Asus bothered to include it on a monitor. I mean you can't even see the illuminated ring from the front, and most people place their monitor with the back facing a wall, which makes the lighting invisible to anyone in a common setup. Unless you have a setup where people can actually see the rear of your monitor, the RGB lighting is useless.
It's also a bit strange that Asus included several red highlights on a monitor with RGB lighting. If you wanted to sync the RGB lights to the rest of your setup using Asus' Aura software, it might clash with the red sections of the design. A bizarre choice, really.
Oh and let's not forget that the XG27VQ includes a red LED in the base that projects an ROG logo onto your desk. This is another feature that baffles me, but luckily you can disable it. It's also weird how this logo projecting light is not RGB; it'd make more sense to have this feature RGB-illuminated than the ring on the back that no-one can see.
The stand supports tilt and height adjustment, and features a pivoting base. There is no rotation to the display itself, so you are stuck with the monitor in a landscape orientation, though a curved monitor in portrait mode doesn't make much sense anyway.
For ports, we're seeing HDMI 1.4, DisplayPort 1.2 and DVI-D; one of each. The monitor has no built-in speakers, so there's a 3.5mm audio output jack to hook up speakers or headphones if you choose to use HDMI/DisplayPort audio. There's also no USB hub.
The monitor has a rather aggressive 1800R curve, which seems to be becoming the norm. The curve is slightly visible at normal viewing distances, but to be honest I'm not sure what advantages you actually get from a curved monitor of this size. I can understand a larger display or an ultrawide getting the curved treatment, but I don't think it adds much to a traditional 27-inch 16:9 panel.
On the other hand, 144 Hz is a key feature. If you haven't used a high refresh monitor before, you'll love the extra fluidity that 144 Hz provides over 60 Hz if your graphics hardware can handle it. The resolution of this monitor is a fairly uninspiring 1080p, though if you wanted 1440p at this size and refresh rate, you'd need to spend $250 more, which is obviously outside the budget of many prospective buyers. With that in mind, I think 1080p at 144 Hz provides a great gaming experience at this price point, especially when 1440p 60 Hz displays are the alternative.
Asus' Extreme Low Motion Blur (ELMB) technology worked basically exactly as I expected. It essentially does the same thing as Nvidia's Ultra Low Motion Blur: it strobes the backlight to greatly reduce motion blue and ghosting of fast moving objects.
It provides a much better experience than the best overdrive settings, but it comes at the cost of display brightness, it can't be used in conjunction with FreeSync, and it only works in the 85 to 120 Hz range. It may be worth exploring for those that play fast paced shooters like CS: GO, although like ULMB, Asus' ELMB probably isn't the best option for most gamers.
As for FreeSync, the monitor has a 48 to 144 Hz variable refresh window, so it supports low framerate compensation and gives the best variable refresh experience. No complaints here, making it very suitable for AMD GPU owners.