This past year saw high-refresh rate panels dominate the display market. We’ve seen 240-300 Hz panels all over the desktop and notebook segments. However, what we witnessed in the latter part of 2019 and most of 2020 was the race to hit higher-refresh rates. And in doing so, a lot of manufacturers ended up compromising on aspects of picture quality across the board. Some of the initial panels had abysmal blur reduction and running video games wasn’t an all too pleasant experience. That changed this year and we saw most manufacturers sticking with 144-240 Hz for their portfolio while opting for better quality panels. We’ve even seen IPS panels creep into the high refresh-rate segment so monitors with excellent gaming characteristics such as low-input lag, blur reduction using black frame insertion could now offer great colour reproduction as well as wider viewing angles. And our Zero1 Winner for this year does both of them.
In a surprising turn of events, the ASUS VG279QM not only bagged the Digit Zero1 Award in its category but also ended up as our Best Buy pick since it also offered the most value for money in the segment. The VG279QM is part of the ASUS TUF lineup and uses an AU Optronics M270HAN03 panel which runs at 240 Hz and can be overclocked to 280 Hz. The great thing about the VG279QM was that it not only boasts of low-input lag but even the viewing angles are much wider than other monitors in the 240 Hz segment. We could see minimal washout even at 45 degrees horizontally. The panel’s black uniformity was top-notch and the unit we received did not experience any cloudy patches. Great performance at a competitive price is what the VG279QM stands for.
There was tight competition between the Zowie XL2746S and the Acer Predator XB3 for the first runner-up spot in terms of picture quality and motion blur reduction. We found the Zowie DyAC+ blur reduction technology on the XL2746S to be better than the XB3 since the faster TN panel on the Zowie monitor leads to lesser blur compared to the IPS panel that the Predator XB3 users. If we look at refresh rates, then the XL2746S with its 240 Hz panel is miles ahead of the Predator XB3 as well. Running 1080p on a 27-inch panel in this day and age might seem a bit odd but that’s the reason why the Zowie and the ASUS monitors are able to perform better. They focus on the things that matter and excel in those parameters.
Like we mentioned previously, the picture quality on the XB3 and the XL2746S were quite similar but we saw colours fade at a lower horizontal angle on the XB3 and the refresh rate of the panel is also low. However, the XB3 enjoys a unique place among gaming monitors. It is a 4K monitor which uses an IPS panel so you get crisper images thanks to the higher pixel density, and if all that wasn’t enough, the Acer Predator XB3 even has a 144 Hz high-refresh monitor. The Predator XB3 is essentially the jack of all trades in the world of gaming monitors. And before you complete that figure of speech, do note that it does come really close to the Zowie panel. So it’s just a few steps shy of being the master of all trades.
About Digit Zero 1 Awards:
With a legacy of 20 years, the Digit Zero 1 Awards is recognized as the Industry’s only performance-based awards. Digit rewards brands for putting in years of research in developing and introducing performance-driven products for their audience. All products are made to pass through a rigorous and scientific test process and compete with competitor brands in the same category. The Winner in each category is announced on the basis of their total score post complete performance analysis done across an average of 56 tests conducted for every category, across key performance parameters. The test process for the Zero1 Awards does not consider scores for features, price or design. The aim is to identify the very best products that money can buy, celebrate the innovations that push the industry forward, and reward the products that dare to disrupt the market.
While not dishing out lethal doses of sarcasm, this curious creature can often be found tinkering with tech, playing 'vidya' games or exploring the darkest corners of the Internets. #PCMasterRace https://www.linkedin.com/in/mithunmohandas/