The current 3D craze has been chugging along since Avatar showed its potential in 2009 but we’re still not totally convinced by the technology. The problem is that the stereoscopic method used in homes is worlds apart from the polarised method used in cinemas and brings several problems along for the ride. ASUS hopes to cure those ailments with the VG278H monitor thanks to the implementation of Nvidia’s new 3D Vision 2 technology.
The biggest problem we have with stereoscopic 3D is the issue of crosstalk or ghosting and it’s a killer. Occurring most in scenes where dark objects are displayed on a light background or vice versa it causes the object to have a strange aura or shadow cast around certain edges. Not only does it look strange it also adds to eyestrain as your poor retina tries to figure out which is the real object. Nvidia claims that 3D Vision 2 improves the problem but we couldn’t find a shred of information to explain how. With claims of “ghost-free gaming” being made by both Nvidia and ASUS we had high expectations but these were quickly dispelled when we saw the problem rear its ugly head in all of our test games. However dropping the contrast slightly saw a huge decrease in ghosting; it was still there but drastically improved on the last generation of displays.
The other major issue with this type of display is the impact on brightness. Thanks to the shutters that are opening and closing over each eye dozens of times per second the amount of light that’s let in is severely reduced leading to a much darker image. 3D Vision 2 includes Nvidia’s 3D LightBoost tech which sees the monitor’s backlight pulsing twice as bright as usual as well as leaving each shutter open longer. In practice this delivered a much brighter image only slightly darker than in 2D mode.
The 3D glasses have also been given a revamp with each lens now 20% larger. This makes the frame less visible to the viewer delivering a more panoramic view. The IR transmitter for the glasses is also built into the top bezel of the monitor freeing up the desk space that would have otherwise been occupied by the bulky USB transmitter previously.
Overall we were quite impressed by the 3D quality but there’s still some way to go before crosstalk is solved entirely. More concerning is the monitor’s performance as a 2D monitor. The native resolution of 1920 x 1080 is quite low for a 27in display leading to noticeable pixel structure. Colour reproduction and contrast was also rather average due to the TN panel used within.
Despite the flaws this is definitely one of the better 3D displays on the market. It’s worth noting that you’ll need double the horsepower in your PC to display your games in 3D as each frame needs to be rendered twice. However if you’ve got the extra grunt not to mention a healthy budget the ASUS VG278 will deliver an incredibly immersive gaming experience.
Available from ASUS retailing for $799.
APC rating: 8/10 (Highly Recommended)