Welcome to a most unformal review of the Samsung 27" LED C27JG50 versus the famous Asus 27" LED G-Sync Rog Swift PG279Q. A couple of weeks ago, Black Friday tempted me to swap out my old Eizo monitor for a new gaming focused monitor. I first found a relatively cheap 144Hz monitor, namely the Samsung C27JG50, which sports the usual 1440p resolution with a grey-to-grey response time of 4 ms on a VA panel. I have never owned a VA panel before, but I’ve been through a few TN and IPS monitors during my years around the sun, so I was eager to check it out. After just a day of using the Samsung C27JG50 monitor, another good price showed up, this time for the Asus PG279Q. Fancy that! I bought it too, with the plan of testing them out side by side, and returning the one that lost the battle. Very recently, I stumbled upon a most informative post on Reddit regarding monitors and different panel types. I recommend you read it!
Just to TL;DR at once: the Asus PG279Q is the better monitor, and for several reasons. But the Samsung C27JG50 is tempting because it is half the price, and arguably just as fast as the Asus PG279Q. Let me list up the things that I as a user and in no means an expert on this matter, consider during this comparison. The following bullet points don’t match up exactly with the sections in the rest of the article, but all points are contained.
How smooth and fast it feels to use the monitor. I won’t be talking much about millisecond comparisons in regards of respons time and input lag, just how it feels for me to use the monitor.
Adjustments; the possibilities and how the mechanisms and settings feel.
Build quality of the monitors.
Here are some photos of the two monitors.
UNPACKING AND FIRST IMPRESSIONS
Let me start by saying that the boxes are very different in size. The Samsung C27JG50 has a slim, small, and anonymously looking box, where the Asus PG279Q has a big box with lots of colour, text, and other fancy specs. The size comes from the fact that the monitor and monitor stand come in two separate pieces with the Samsung, and the Asus is pre-mounted. The size has also to do with the fact that the Samsung monitor stand is tiny, and Asus’ is big. Both monitors have all pieces wrapped in plastic (which I find highly unnecessary, at least for cables), so no difference there. They both come with a separate power supply, aka. not built in, which has both advantages and disadvantages, though I would prefer to just stick a standard C13 power cable in there. Both come with a DisplayPort cable. Not that it means anything, but Asus won the unpacking battle.
Right out of the box, the Samsung C27JG50 has two screws to get the monitor stand mounted. The stand has absolutely no possibilities of adjustment, and is made of what feels like cheap plastic. When turning it on, the image quality was very dull/faded, but a couple of the built-in image presets made it quite better. The Asus PG279Q is pre-mounted, so you just pop it out of the box and put it on your desk.
ADJUSTMENTS AND SETTINGS
The Samsung C27JG50 has a small monitor stand which have absolutely no possibilities of adjustment. My monitor is currently placed on top of a thick book to be at a comfortable viewing height, and the stand itself feels like its made of cheap plastic.
The settings are accessed with a single joy stick at the mid bottom of the screen. To turn the monitor on, you simply press the stick, and to turn it off, you press the stick to access the menu, pull the stick towards you once, and press the stick again. It works well, and navigating the system settings is a smooth experience. The settings contains normal image presets, which Samsung has named FPS, RTS, RPG, and AOS, though I don’t see the direct connection between the settings and these genres. Maybe high contrast makes it easier to spot a target, what do I know. I’m looking for the settings that makes the best image quality.
There are possibilities for changing RGB colour, colour tone, and gamma, along with brightness, contrast, and sharpness. The monitor includes something called Samsung MAGIC Upscale, which is complete garbage, and Eye Saver Mode, which can be somewhat useful. The MAGIC Upscale makes the image look like a rookie photographer just discovered the sharpness and clarity sliders in Lightroom and went bananas. The Eye Saver Mode sets the brightness way down, and removes a lot of blue light. This is similar to what you get from f.lux. I personally don’t like settings that disturbs the colours, but if you like this functionality, the Eye Saver Mode is just fine, though I would prefer using f.lux because it is software controlled and can be set to activate automatically.
The settings allows for refresh rate adjustment of the monitor, though I don’t see the point in buying a 144Hz monitor and not use it in 144Hz mode. There are also settings for low input lag and response time, which I’ve activated, but I haven’t noticed any downsides to this. I feel like there must be some sort of compromise, why else choose away low input lag and response time?
The Asus PG279Q stand is in another league. It is sturdy built, and support adjustment in all directions. It even supports having the monitor in portrait mode instead of landscape. I think that this stand has it all, and is in a sense perfect.
The settings are accessed by a joy stick on the back, right side, and the navigation is equally smooth as the Samsung’s. The Asus PG279Q has a dedicated on/off button at the very bottom, which is fine. There is a dedicated button for displaying the current refresh rate of the screen, which I believe is implemented because it is possible to overclock the monitor from 144Hz to 165Hz. Not really a necessity since the refresh rate is displayed if you press the joy stick to access the menu. Another button brings forth a “GamePlus” menu which allows for a pretty useless FPS counter which shows the current refresh rate of the monitor (again). This does not change with the framerate of the game you’re playing, and is stationed at 144 if the screen is in 144Hz mode, and 165 if it is overclocked. I don’t see the reason why you would need to see this all the time as an overlay in the top right corner. The GamePlus menu also offers a timer which can be set to 30, 40, 50, 60, or 90 minutes and overlays in the top left corner. Lastly, it also offers a crosshair function which places a crosshair in the center of the screen. The last button is a “go back“ button which exits whatever setting you are in. It also removes any overlay enabled in the GamePlus menu if pressed twice.
The menu contains usual image presets which all looks more or less OK, but I think the Racing Mode looks most natural of them all. Cinema Mode is very blue, Scenery Mode lacks contrast, sRGB Mode is very dark (and the possibility of adjusting brightness in this mode is locked), to mention some. There is a Blue Light Filter with five different modes that (surprise!) filters away blue light. Similar to Samsungs Eye Saver Mode, but with several levels.
There are possibilities of adjusting RGB colour, brightness, contrast, colour temp (three different modes), but no gamma. The monitor supports Overdrive (OD), which is something that helps sharpen things in motion. I am usually very sceptical to any fancy function that is said to enhance the image quality or performance in any manner, but using ghosting test tools on testufo.com showed better performance with the OD set to Normal instead of OFF.
Lastly, the menu allows overclocking of the display to 150, 155, 160, and 165Hz. Very easy to apply, and after the monitor auto restarts go into display settings -> advanced display settings -> properties for display x, and change to 165Hz, since this switch isn’t automatic in Windows.
IMAGE QUALITY, RESPONSIVENESS, AND USE
Time to talk about the most important part, namely what is displayed and in which manner. Samsung C27JG50 supports up to 144Hz, while Asus PG279Q goes all the way to 165Hz if overclocked. I’ve been using the two monitors side by side with the image duplicated while gaming Overwatch and PUBG. I feel no difference between the responsiveness of the monitors, and I see no difference between 144Hz and 165Hz. Both monitors are silk smooth, and super responsive. The monitors perform equally in this manner. The leap from 60Hz to 144Hz is huge, but from 144Hz to 165Hz is not noticeable for me. Overwatch runs dead stable at 144/165 FPS, but PUBG rarely pushes over 110 FPS, so Overwatch is really the best test.
I’ve calibrated the monitors by eye, to make them as equal as possible. The white was pretty easy to match up with the two, but Asus PG279Q is simply better in all aspects. Samsung C27JG50 has a duller and more faded image than Asus, and this is probably where VA falls short in comparison to IPS. Asus PG279Q has more detail in the darkest and brightest areas, as well as more life-like colours. This is next to impossible to show by taking pictures of it, so you must take my word for it. It seems that the Samsung C27JG50 monitor is a bit better at viewing angles, but this only shows at the extremes, and not noticeable when I’m sitting in my chair in front of the monitors.
Using the testing tools for ghosting at testufo.com/ghosting, the Asus PG279Q performs much better. There is significant ghosting artifacts on the Samsung C27JG50, and it is almost not present on the Asus. This is while setting Asus OD to Normal. When OFF, there are visible ghosing artifacts, and when in Extreme, there are visible overdrive artifacts. The Samsung monitor has no settings for this.
The pictures below shows the ghosting of the two monitors. Look for the black trail behind the UFOs. Don’t care about the unfocused/duplicated UFOs, as this comes from the shutter speed of the camera, not the monitors. When viewed IRL, the image on both is smooth.
Both monitors have one DisplayPort input, a headphone output. The Samsung C27JG50 has two HDMI inputs, while Asus PG279Q has one. The Asus also has a USB 3 hub, with a type B connector and two type A inputs.
One other factor that is important to me, is how these monitors behave in a multi-monitor setup. My battlestation normally has 5 monitors hooked up to it, and anyone using multiple monitors with Windows knows how much Windows likes to fuck up everything. Especially in combination with using full screen apps, and if some of the monitors are in a different orientation like portrait mode, or even better; flipped portrait mode. When disconnecting a monitor, all open apps are moved to another monitor, folders and shortcuts on the desktop are shifted around and to another monitor, portrait mode is switched to landscape, and so on. My point here is that when the Samsung monitor is turned off with the normal power button, it behaves like it is disconnected from the computer, and all hell breaks loose. The Asus monitor on the other hand does not do this, and Windows stays happy. This may have a name that I am not aware of, but I am well aware of the effect.
Asus PG279Q is a bit quicker to display the image when turning it on. This may be because of the “disconnect effect“ I described in the section above.
Until now, I have not mentioned that the Samsung C27JG50 has a curved display. At 27”, I think that it is unnecessary and mostly a gimmick.
So what is the best about the two monitors, and why is Asus PG279Q the winner? If you read the article, it should be clear as to why, but here is a summary.
Key points (good and bad) to the Asus 27" LED G-Sync Rog Swift PG279Q:
Great adjustment of the monitor stand in all directions.
The monitor stand is also sturdy built and feels solid.
The image quality is good. Very good actually, when comparing it to my Eizo SX2762W.
The monitor is very quick and responsive, with little ghosting.
It is expensive compared to other 27” 144Hz displays on the market.
The monitor behaves as still connected to the computer when turned off. Good for multi-monitor setups.
Key points (good and bad) to the Samsung 27" LED C27JG50:
The monitor is very quick and responsive. I would say equal to the Asus PG279Q.
The monitor is relatively cheap, so you get good bang for the bucks.
The image quality is OK, but not particularily good.
The monitor stand has absolutely no adjustments. I have to place it on top of a book to have it at correct height.
The monitor has some noticeable ghosting, at least compared to the Asus PG279Q.
The monitor behaves as disconnected when turned off. Fucks with multi-monitor setups.
TL;DR: Asus 27" LED G-Sync Rog Swift PG279Q wins the battle, but the Samsung 27" LED C27JG50 is a cheaper and equally responsive and fast monitor, so I very much recommend it if it is in your price range.