ASUS MG28UQ Review – TN 4k UHD Gaming Monitor (MG24UQ)
Asus is a major player in the world of gaming PC monitors and the 4K UHD resolution models from this brand that we’ve previously reviewed have plenty worth recommending in them. The MG28UQ is definitely no exception to this tendency and we’d go as far as saying that it’s one of the best 4K monitors we’ve seen from Asus to date, especially if gaming is your kind of thing.
Asus has built the MG28UQ as a fast, powerful and robustly customization-friendly display device with a number of excellent gaming-oriented features, reasonably solid visual performance and a smooth 60Hz refresh rate that’s about par for the course for 4K monitors. In any case, since 4K gaming GPU’s can’t take ultra HD graphics much beyond 60fps anyhow, serious 4K gamers should have a problem with this aspect of this latest ASUS UHD monitor.
There are definitely better 4K monitors than the MG28UQ on the current market but as far as the subset of 4K displays aimed more at UHD gaming is concerned, we’d argue that the MG28UQ comes with few peers thanks to its host of game-friendly features, superb connectivity specs and decent enough visual specs. The absence of technology from Nvidia is a bit of a weakness but other features in this model make up for these deficiencies.
From its overall design to its software down to its display and gaming performance, the Asus MG28UQ does very little to disappoint as a mid-range 4K gaming monitor. For starters, while this display doesn’t exactly look as flashy as many gamer 4K displays we’ve reviewed, it still manages a nice solid design which includes a high degree of support stand adjustability, great display adjustment options and easy display calibration menu controls. Furthermore, as we’d alluded to above, the MG28UQ offers up a very robust connectivity setup, with all important ports for HDMI 1.4, HDMI 2.0 DisplayPort and USB present and ready to deliver their particular data transfer specs. Thus, through connectivity alone, the performance of the MG28UQ is robust, since the monitor is designed to handle just about every type of gaming setup a user might have in mind.
Software design features in the MG28UQ are also something we have to like about this particular monitor. For starters, ASUS has given the MG28UQ a very useful little 5-way joystick control that’s attached to the back of the display. This can be used to navigate through this monitor’s numerous on-screen calibration menus and works much better at doing this than the more usual button-controlled menus we’ve seen in most 4K monitors, like Dell's UltraSharp UHD PC monitors or Acer’s Predator gaming displays. Overall the joystick control lets a user change gaming, display and other settings on the fly with minimal fuss even while they’re in the middle of a round against orcs, demons or enemy gangsters in their favorite gaming world.
With mention of the on-screen menu controls joystick, we should also briefly say that calibration performance in the MG28UQ is downright superb, with extensive settings being available for tweaking. These apply to the usual things like color settings, contrast, brightness and resolution adjustments but more importantly, they also include Asus GameVisual color temperature presets and assorted software adjustments for reduced eye strain and smoother gameplay performance.
Finally, we move down to the gaming performance of the MG28UQ and declare it to be very good. High frame rate gamers who want to hit Full HD and 1440p rendering at more than 100fps will be disappointed by the 4K performance of the MG28UQ since it’s capped at 60Hz by the bandwidth limitations of both the HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.2 cables in the MG28UQ but the monitor performs as well as the limitations of 4K graphics processing in modern GPUs allow it to, and the inclusion of Adaptive Sync technology (more or less the same as AMD FreeSync) smooths out the majority of tearing and stuttering issues in the right kinds of games and with the right type of PC GPU. Thus, as far as creating a seamless and smooth gaming environment at 4K graphics and lower goes, the MG28UQ is a solid performer most of the time, though it can fail at this here and there, especially for heavier gaming in ultra HD resolution.
That said, the color delivery of the MG28UQ is reasonably vibrant for a TN (Twisted Nematic) display monitor even though it has its flaws (more on those shortly) and during the vast majority of gaming uses, this monitor performs very smoothly. Furthermore, the 1ms response time of this Asus model creates a minimal degree of lag time between game controls and action on the display. The MG28UQ also dos a fine job of playing back 4K movies and videos, especially when set to its Cinema display setting.
3.9 - 86 Reviews
For starters, the MG28UQ from Asus is a 4K monitor with TN display technology and for this reason we expected a few deficiencies in terms of how well the display delivers visuals, especially for color and viewing angles. Needless to say, the monitor doesn’t disappoint in disappointing a bit on both counts. Even with the best possible efforts made at calibrating the internal color adjustment tools which come with the MG28UQ, such as setting the monitor to sRGB mode, coverage of this particular color space can’t be made to exceed about 95%. This isn’t terrible but it’s also not quite as precise as we’ve seen even in other Asus monitors on the market.
As for AdobeRGB color space coverage, the MG28UQ performs even worse (as expected since the Adobe color space is broader than sRGB), with only a maximum of 74.6% coverage. However, we don’t consider either of these color coverage weakness to be deal-breakers in the MG28UQ. This is after all not a professional visual design monitor like Dell’s UP3216D, for example.
Next, the sound performance of the MG28UQ’s built-in speakers is simply dismal. While we know that many 4K monitors don’t even come with their own sound system, Asus could have upped the power at least a bit from just 2 watts if they were going to install these speakers at all.
Also worth mentioning here is how the TN panel of the MG28UQ does present a couple of its own minor problems. First of all, there is the classic problem of virtually all TN monitor displays, in that the viewing angles offered by the MG28UQ are quite weak, with 50% contrast and color accuracy loss at angles of just 35 degrees off dead center (0 degrees). Furthermore, at least in the MG28UQ as we reviewed its display, backlight bleed along the bottom edge of the display and particularly along the right bottom edge is definitely notable, especially in darkened viewing conditions. This is one annoying little detail that may present itself in other units but it isn’t severe enough to be a deal breaker.
Finally, while we definitely love AMD’s GPUs, our general preference in terms of raw performance for 4K UHD graphics during gaming definitely tends toward Nvidia models, especially since the introduction of their superbly powerful GTX GeForce 1080 GPU. In general however, AMD’s cards have performed just a bit weaker and hotter than their Nvidia counterparts and the MG28UQ’s AdaptiveSync technology for GPU-monitor stabilization only works with AMD card models. The monitor itself will of course work just fine with Nvidia cards as well but without the synchronization.
We should also note that we’re not entirely happy with the price of the MG28UQ. At nearly $550, it could be cheaper for the specs it offers and we’ve seen some comparable 4K UHD monitors such as Samsung’s UE590D, which sell for less but while offering comparable performance.
Overall, we think the Asus MG28UQ is one superb performer as a 4K gaming monitor. Its color specs are too imprecise for professional design work and it has a few minor issues with its TN display panel but there are enough cool specs, connectivity options and calibrations packed into this display to make it a worthwhile UHD gamer’s tool.
• Screen Size: 28 inches - MG28UQ, 24 inches - MG24UQ
• Response Time: 1 ms
• Aspect Ratio: 16:9
• Backlight Technology: LED
• Panel Technology: Twisted Nematic (TN) Technology
• Maximum Resolution: 3840 x 2160
• Standard Refresh Rate: 60 Hz
• Color Support: 10.73 million Colors
• Contrast Ratio: 1000:1
• Brightness: 350 cd/m²
• Tearing Prevention Technology: Adaptive-sync (AMD FreeSync)
• Ports: 2 x HDMI 1.4, 1 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x DisplayPort 1.2, USB Hub, 2x USB 3.0
• Speakers: Yes (2 watt dual speakers)
• Height: 18.4″
• Width: 30.6″
• Depth: 8.9″
• Weight with Stand (Approximate): 23.91 lb
In terms of design, the Asus MG28UQ doesn’t look too much like some of the flashier gaming monitors we’ve seen before. Aside from its matte black body, the only gaming-suggestive aspect of the monitor’s design is a red strip of paint which outlines the base of the monitor and two accents long its back. This also means that the MG28UQ actually lends itself rather well to a possibly more conservative aesthetic in an office setting for those who want a relatively low-priced piece of 4K PC display technology. This aside, the MG28UQ also comes with a rather tall, narrow and fairly robust support stand and a rather thick display edge-bezeling which we don’t particularly like due to the somewhat clunky appearance it gives the MG28UQ.
On the other hand, the MG28UQ is designed with plenty of flexibility in mind and its base can be swiveled in either direction by as many as 60 degrees and the display can also be pivoted 180 degrees between landscape and portrait modes. There are also of course adjustments for height (roughly 5 inches) and tilt by which the bottom of the screen can be angled 20 degrees outward or 5 degrees inwards. Along the underside of the MG28UQ’s sizeable base there are also several rubber pads and these definitely do a useful job of keeping the whole apparatus stable by drastically limiting how much the base can slide around along even smooth surfaces. All connectivity ports are located along the left side of the display, making them easy to reach and use on the fly.
Asus has also packed a fairly rich load of features into the MG28UQ. For starters, the proprietary “GameVisual” setting in the monitor’s menu controls offers up several presets for display settings. These include Scenery Mode, Racing Mode, Cinema Mode (for movies), RTS/RPG Mode, FPS mode and the sRGB mode, which is supposed to offer the broadest level of color gamut coverage. Additionally, there are also Blue light Filter and Flicker Free technologies installed on the MG28UQ for a more comfortable prolonged viewing experience. Aside from these, this Asus 4K monitor, like all others, provides the usual controls for contrast, brightness, saturation, color temperature and skin tone. All of these adjustments can be found under the “Colour” section of the menu controls, all of which are accessible through the buttons and tiny 5-way joystick along the back of the MG28UQ 4K display.
Finally, ASUS has also added in a number of gamer-friendly settings in the MG28UQ which some gamers might find useful and other users slightly less so. Chief among these are Asus’s own Trace Free technology for greater visual sharpness and the already-mentioned Adaptive Sync technology for display and GPU synchronization of frame rates as long as you’re using an AMD GPU in the PC attached to this monitor. On top of these gaming bonuses, the MG28UQ comes with GamePlus technology, which allows users to overlay things like timers, crosshairs and an FPS counter across the screen during PC gaming runs. For multi-monitor gaming configurations, there is also a Display Alignment setting for easily and quickly configuring more than one MG28UQ to work together as a single display unit.
3.9 - 86 Reviews
As we’d already mentioned earlier, the MG28UQ from Asus isn’t exactly the best 4K monitor when it comes to the display of complex highly varied color values. With a maximum color range of 10.7 million values in 8-bit color, it doesn’t even quite manage to hit 100% of the sRGB spectrum, delivering a max color space coverage of 96% here. In AdobeRGB measurements, the result is even worse, with only 74.6%. On the whole, across all major color values, the uncalibrated Delta-E of the MG28UQ ranges between 1.34 at its best and 4.81 at its worst, with an average Delta-E of about 2.28, which isn’t too bad but definitely could be better. Even after calibration of colors for maximum accuracy, Delta-E still averages over 1.5 and for some color values can be as bad as 4, particularly for blue. It’s also worth noting that color uniformity across the monitor’s screen can be quite bad at times, especially along the bottom corners where LED backlight bleed starts to filter through.
Finally, in terms of peak luminance and overall contrast, the MG28UQ isn’t the best performer we’ve ever seen, though it does deliver decent enough specs in these two regards as far as most normal PC gaming and regular office uses are concerned. While maximum contrast under conditions of minimal display brightness can exceed the monitor’s nominal 1000:1 contrast ratio as claimed by Asus itself, setting the display’s brightness to different settings up to a maximum of just over 300 nits results in an overall contrast ratio of between 680:1 and 760:1, neither of which are settings that we consider optimal for rich, strong contrast. The monitor’s maximum peak brightness sits at just over 300 nits, which isn’t too bad but which is slightly weakened by the low contrast ratio of the MG28UQ.
Connectivity-wise, Asus has stocked the MG28UQ well enough for all essential needs and while we think this monitor could have come with more USB ports and one additional DP1.2 port, or at least a mini version, it delivers everything you’d need for multi-monitor arrays, full 4K gaming and gaming in lower resolutions without problems. What we particularly like is the range of choices for HDMI, with dual HDMI 1.4 ports plus an HDMI 2.0 port to spice things up and expand [email protected] connectivity options. The single DisplayPort 1.2 slot is enough for most gaming and data transfer needs and the dual USB 3.0 ports are decent enough for connecting external media devices and hardware directly to the MG28UQ.
We also like the fact that Asus built all of these connectivity ports into the side of the monitor, where they’re much more easily accessible and covered by a plastic lid which clearly labels each port by location.
Asus priced their MG28UQ 4K UHD Adaptive Sync monitor slightly on the high side, with a retail price on Amazon.com of $539.63 plus shipping and handling fees. We’ve seen cheaper 4K gaming monitors but the MG28UQ isn’t priced too badly either.
3.9 - 86 Reviews
• Great connectivity port layout
• Includes AMD adaptive-Sync
• Flexible, sturdy stand
• Solid physical build
• Great gaming performance
• Poor color performance
• Contrast is weak
• Some backlight glow
• Could use more USB ports