ASUS MZ27AQ WQHD model with FreeSync and superior audio
The ASUS ‘Designo’ range has long been favourites for fans in terms of the design. Simple, elegant and minimalistic. The MZ27AQ is an updated version of the MX27AQ, featuring similar styling but bringing with it some new features. The most notable addition is the small standalone subwoofer that is included as part of the 2.1 channel audio package for the monitor. The screen itself maintains the brushed metal effect silver bottom band, silver-coloured stand complete with signature ring and the very slim bezels. These are dual-stage, 7mm in total at the top and sides, with a very thin hard outer plastic component and a slim panel border that blends in seamlessly when the monitor is switched off. The OSD (On Screen Display) is controlled by a joystick (JOG button) towards the rear right of the monitor, as viewed from the front. There are also hotkeys for the Low Blue Light (LBL) feature and volume adjustment.
A 27” LG AH-IPS panel is used, with 2560 x 1440 (WQHD) resolution and 60Hz refresh rate. AMD FreeSync is supported, although the variable refresh rate range is currently unknown (possibly 40 – 60Hz). The usual 178°/178° viewing angles and 1000:1 static contrast is specified, with strong colour consistency typical of the panel type to help deliver rich and accurate colours across all sections of the screen. A light matte anti-glare screen surface is employed, with a smooth surface texture giving an image that is free from obvious graininess. True 8-bit colour is supported, without dithering, whilst the flicker-free WLED backlight delivers 100% sRGB (and likely a bit of extension beyond this) and has a specified 350 cd/m² typical maximum brightness. A 5ms grey to grey response time is specified, with adjustable ‘Trace Free’ pixel overdrive. A 5-stage Low Blue Light setting is included to aid restful viewing, whilst a new feature called ‘EyeCheck’ is also included. We’re not sure exactly what this is, but it’s probably just a fancy name for a break reminder.
The rear of the monitor breaks up the monotonous matte black with some semi-matte silver plastic at the bottom. The stand offers tilt as the only ergonomic flexibility and as is quite usual for a ‘Designo’ monitor there is no provision for VESA mounting. That, after all, would increase the bulk of the monitor. The ports face backwards and include; 3.5mm audio jack, 2 HDMI 1.4 ports, DP 1.2a (supports FreeSync) and DC power input (external power brick). There are also 2 x 6W Harman Kardon (ASUS SonicMaster) speakers to compliment the 5W subwoofer, with various audio options including the OSD (including a user-configurable graphic equalizer).
Further information on the MZ27AQ can be found on the manufacturer’s website. The monitor is available for around £400 ($400 USD). We’ll also look to review this model if there is sufficient demand.