ASUS VG248QE Gaming Monitor Review
I’ve been gaming since I was only five years old, when my dad first picked up Sonic the Hedgehog on the Sega Genesis. Since then, I’ve played hundreds of games on dozens of systems. I’ve written for various gaming blogs and publications, built my own gaming rig, and have made the medium my passion.
Last year, I decided to update my monitor, and kept hearing about the popular Asus VG248QE. This is a beast of a monitor for a killer price. Not only is it a full HD monitor, but it also offers a 144hz refresh rate and a stunning contrast ratio. For someone that games as much as I do, those three selling points were enough for me to warrant a look. Eventually, I ended up purchasing the monitor for my gaming, and have not looked back.
Here’s my review for the VG248QE from ASUS.
Monitor and Inputs
The ASUS VG248QE is a 24-inch widescreen LED gaming monitor. The bezel comes in a glossy black finish, with built-in 2W stereo speakers (though you’ll want to use your PC speakers or headphones). Its stand lets you tilt, swivel, pivot, and raise the screen to match your optimal viewing angle.
On the back, you’ll find one input each for DisplayPort, Dual-link DVI-D, HDMI, and 3.5mm Mini-Jack (for headphones or speakers). There's even a handy little hook just behind the stand that lets you tie your cords for some extra organization.
On the performance side of things, the VG248QE promises fluid and vivid playback with a 144Hz refresh rate and 1 ms (GTG) response time (GTG is the Gray to Gray time, or the time it takes for a gray pixel to turn white, then back to gray). In short, it means this monitor can shorten the time it takes to render or produce the frames on the screen, and eliminate tracers and motion blur, giving the player a heightened response time. This is perfect for FPS, RTS, Racing or other games where each moment can tip the balance of power.
High Contrast and Resolution
Like most monitors these days, the ASUS VG248QE offers Full HD 1080p support for the most detailed pictures. But this ASUS monitor can also improve display’s contrast by manipulating the backlight brightness, achieving a ratio of 80,000,000:1. ASUS dubs this “ASUS Smart Contrast Ratio,” but most of this is really marketing rather than science. There’s not really an existing standard for measuring contrast, so companies have become pretty liberal with how they market their metrics.
In reality, there are two kinds of contrast: Native and Dynamic. Native contrast is how dark the darkest images are compared to the bright parts of the same image. Dynamic contrast, on the other hand, is when the TV adjusts the output of overall light of the backlight, making the image appear darker. This is when the TV gets brighter or darker depending on what is being shown, which can be useful for movies or games at night, but ends up being more of a distraction that I turn off. Keep this distinction in mind as you research your next monitor: native contrast ratios are more important than dynamic as they are a more accurate representation of contrast.
The VG248QE also has the Splendid™ Video Intelligence Technology, which enhances image and video quality by tweaking the color, brightness, sharpness, and contrast of the picture. There are 6 presets out of the box: Standard, Scenery, Theater, Game, Night View, and sRGB).
The Splendid Video Intelligence presets are something I’m more willing to try out. These are like the presets on any television or monitor, and adjusts the brightness, contrast, and color settings to match your specific scenario. The preset for games was a little bright, but helped shine light on certain models and assets I didn’t know were there before.
ASUS is focusing on gamers with its added functionality to help give hardcore players an edge. The VG248QE allows players to produce four different types of crosshairs in the center of the display, which can come as a relief for some first person shooters like Call of Duty, Counterstrike, Titanfall or Overwatch.
The GamePlus features are a cool addon, allowing you to create a reticule for FPS games, and a timer you can set on the corner of the display. I’m not sure why they added the latter or how it can aid in gaming, and most FPSs already have an aimpoint unless you play in a veteran setting. So even though these are nice inclusions, they’re not something I would use frequently.
Design and Build Quality
ASUS touts a monitor ergonomically designed for gamers, and in my tests it held true. The stand is designed to let you tilt the monitor up, swivel it to become a vertical second monitor, and even pivot it around so you can adjust the cables more easily. This flexibility can be more surprisingly useful than you think.
For those wondering about wall installation, the VG248QE includes a 100 mm VESA mount. This is handy if you plan on having it flush with the wall. The bezel around the screen is 17mm wide on the top and sides, and 20 mm on the bottom. This can seem slightly thick around the picture sometimes, but it never gets too distracting.
Beneath the monitor is where the display settings and controls can be found. From left to right, the buttons are: an Exit Menu button/Splendid Mode cycle button (allows you to switch between various display modes), scroll down/GamePlus options, Menu button, scroll up/brightness button, input select button, and the power button. This ASUS monitor has the button tucked underneath the monitor but displays the icons at the edge of the bezel. It just looks far more flush than other monitors, like the ASUS VW246H I have, for example.
The screen has anti glare technology, which is something I find extremely useful since light comes from a window directly behind my setup.
The flexibility of the VG248QE’s stand makes it easy to adjust the viewing angle of the monitor, which can be useful if you’re both gaming or producing music. As a test, I checked to see the quality of the image both side-to-side and up and down to determine the viewing angle. From the left to the right, the ASUS monitor holds strong and maintains its level of detail, only slightly losing some of its white tone. When looked at 45 degrees above or below, it starts to lose a lot of its white tones. Again, this can be easily offset by adjusting the monitor’s stand.
One of the most noticeable aspects of the ASUS VG248QE is the level of brightness that the display can achieve. This monitor is one of the brightest I’ve used. In fact, I ran a test to compare it side-by-side with my ASUS VW246H, and the latter monitor, even at 100, barely came close to the VG248QE’s lowest brightness setting. When you crank the brightness to around 50 or higher, you’ll start to notice the white tones really stand out in ways your previous monitor might not have let you. In fact, I had to turn it down from the default setting just because the lighting in my office is incandescent.
It’s also worth noting that the VG248QE comes with a blue light filter. According to Scientific American, blue light, prevalent in many digital displays, affects the sleep hormone melatonin more than any other wavelength. In other words, if you like gaming or working late at night, switching the blue light filter can help prevent eye strain and sleep issues.
Color and Contrast
The VG248QE doesn’t disappoint on the contrast side either. From the default 80 setting, the advertised “Smart Contrast Ratio” is able to display the brightest and darkest tones. I tried out Company of Heroes and Hitman, and I was noticing a far more vivid image than I was previously used to. This setting is especially worth it on certain realistic games such as ARMA III or Battlefield to truly heighten the level of grit and detail.
I also ran a Lagom Contrast Test to measure how good the display was at presenting scales of RGB values. Overall, the ASUS VG248QE did a fantastic job at displaying the spectrum of color, only coming across some difficulty with the brighter red tones. In short, this display will help reveal a lot of color detail in gaming and imagery.
Keep in mind, before purchasing this you should have the necessary graphics card to run some of the advertised features. Check to see if your graphics card is capable of running 144hz refresh rate, otherwise you won't be able to get the full effects. You also need to use a DVI-D connection cable.
If you’re looking for a fast monitor, look no further. This is the main selling point for the VG248QE: it has a fast screen draw time, which equates to silky smooth motion. Games become ultra-realistic due to the high frame rate. Tom’s Hardware measured a response time of 7 milliseconds, and an input lag of just 23 milliseconds, the best in the year it was reviewed. The 144hz refresh rate works as promised, and the results are stunning.
As mentioned, the ASUS comes with a few extra features such as the GamePlus, Splendid Video Intelligence Presets, and even 3D. Unfortunately, 3D requires an emitter and 3D glasses, neither of which came with the display, so I’ll talk about the features I can test without additional peripherals.
Finally there’s an ECO mode which is becoming a standard throughout most monitors and displays. This automatically adjusts the screen brightness depending on what you are looking at. If it’s something with a lot of white tones, the screen gets brighter. If it’s already a dark scene, the brightness lowers. Personally I turn this off as it’s usually distracting and set the brightness lower.
I purchased the VG248QE only a month ago, and I haven’t regretted my decision. It’s incredible to look at how the competition and my previous monitors have paled to the ASUS, in both value and feature set. If you love gaming as much as I do, and you want something high-performing without breaking the bank, you can’t do much better than the ASUS VG248QE.