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Lifewire / Andy Zahn
Full 4K resolution
Great viewing angles
Lots of input options
Excellent built-in speakers
Limited mounting/adjustment options
Gets very hot after extended use
The ASUS Designo MX27UC is a competent, if flawed, 4K monitor. It provides great image quality with superb viewing angles and comes equipped with surprisingly good speakers.
The ASUS Designo MX27UC is a powerful 4K monitor aimed squarely at photo editors, video creators, and graphic designers who demand high resolution and excellent color accuracy. It may also appeal to gamers looking to unleash the power of their high-end PCs.
High-end monitors have big expectations to fulfill, and resolution alone is not enough. We tested the MX27UC to see if it meets the needs of the most demanding customers.
The ASUS Designo MX27UC certainly has a space-age flare—viewed from above (as depicted on its packaging), it resembles the iconic black hole from the movie “Interstellar.” There is plenty of shiny silver metal, and it’s not just for show. The base and stand are both solid and heavy enough to provide a sturdy counterweight to the 27-inch expanse they support.
The stand comes attached to the monitor on a hinge that allows for smooth and easy tilting. The base plate screws on easily and firmly. Unfortunately, this design limits mounting options and does not allow for a wide range of adjustment.
The screen is very slim, only 1.25cm at its thinnest point. Its bezel is only 0.1cm thick along the top and sides, with a thicker border on the bottom edge. Though this disrupts the illusion of an edgeless display, it is not unattractive—a wider lower border is an aesthetically pleasing framing method that’s been used in framing photos and paintings for centuries.
The base and stand are both solid and heavy enough to provide a sturdy counterweight to the 27-inch expanse they support.
The ports are located in a group on the back of the display. They are moderately easy to access, but unfortunately, no consideration has been given for cable management. The MX27UC is equipped with HDMI, Displayport, and DisplayPort over USB-C. The third input option is especially interesting, as it allows you to connect a device like a phone or a tablet and mirror its display on the monitor.
However, your experience will vary depending on your mobile device. If you have an ASUS tablet, then the experience should be seamless. However, if you have something like a Samsung Galaxy phone, then the phone may require Samsung DeX in order to interface with the screen.
The ASUS Designo MX27UC comes mostly pre-assembled. Since the stand is shipped attached, all we had to do was screw on the base plate. We plugged in the power, inserted our desired input method, and we were ready to go.
Unfortunately, we found it mildly frustrating to adjust the contrast and other settings via the on-screen menu. The problem is that the “power on” indicator light is not the power button. That button is located just to the left, and this resulted in confusion when powering the monitor on and off.
We also frequently mistook the power button for the menu navigation buttons and kept accidentally turning off the monitor while adjusting the OSD (on-screen display) menu.
When you’re looking at buying a 4K display, there is an expectation of excellence not just in resolution but in color reproduction, contrast, brightness, and viewing angles. These qualities are as important, if not more so, than simple resolution. For $600, the MX27UC needs to deliver—and it does so with aplomb.
The monitor’s advertised 178-degree range of viewing angles seemed spot-on in our testing—the screen does not vary in quality when viewed from any angle. We also experienced no issues with ghosting, nor did we notice any screen tearing (the monitor also includes adaptive sync, which helps to alleviate this issue should it occur).
Colors are extremely accurate, covering 100% of the sRGB color space.
There is a small amount of backlight bleed along the edges of the display, but it is not a major issue and is not noticeable unless you are looking for it.
Colors are extremely accurate, covering 100% of the sRGB color space, which makes this an excellent display for photo and video editing, as well as graphic design work. Even if you are just watching movies or playing video games, this high level of color accuracy will improve your experience.
The 100,000,000:1 contrast ratio provides a punchy, intense feel, and the monitor is able to render deep black tones that are notably darker than what we usually expect from LCD displays.
At 4K resolution, the monitor is extremely sharp. Even when operated at a reduced 1440p or 1080p, it remains sharp and clear. It’s important to note that it requires a very high-end computer to run applications at 4K. Even web browsing and other low-power tasks require more processing and graphics power at high resolutions.
We tested the MX27UC with a number of different PCs of different configurations and capabilities. Our best rig is packing an Nvidia RTX 2070, AMD Ryzen 7 2700X CPU, and 32GB of RAM, and with that high-end setup, we were able to run less demanding games in 4K with 60fps. However, when we tried to run more demanding games, the computer struggled at 4K. Battlefield V refused to run at all at max settings in 4K.
On a cheaper but still fairly powerful PC with an Nvidia 1060 Ti, AMD Ryzen 7 2600 CPU, and 16GB of RAM, most games either ran poorly or refused to run at all in 4K, and our experience navigating non-gaming software was unpleasant as well. To make full use of the MX27UC you will need a computer at least as powerful as the best system we tested, and to play the latest games at maximum resolution and settings, you will want to be using truly “bleeding edge” hardware.
Built-in monitor speakers get a bad rap, but the MX27UC delivers an impressively loud and clear listening experience. There’s not a lot of bass, but the high notes are crisp and clear. For built-in speakers, these really are, as ASUS claims, capable of eliminating the need for dedicated desktop speakers for many users. This is likely due to the much-hyped partnership between ASUS, ICEpower, and Bang and Olufsen.
Of note is the customizability of these speakers to suit different situations. Included are gaming, movie, and music modes, as well as a user mode that lets you tweak sound settings yourself. As good as it is though, more discerning audiophiles will probably hang on to their external speakers.
ASUS has several potentially useful programs to improve your experience with the MX27UC, both as features built into the display and as separate, downloadable software for your PC. Whether this software is useful to you will, of course, depend on how you’re planning to use this screen.
ASUS Multiframe is a downloadable screen management tool designed to help you organize multiple windows on your display. This would be especially useful to anyone with a multi-monitor setup, and though it only offers fairly basic functionality, it is indeed an effective way of organizing information.
The OSD (On Screen Display) gives you access to a ton of customization and adjustment options. This includes screen organization tools similar to what ASUS Multiframe can do, though much simplified. Essentially it can put a selection of preset grids onto the display, which you can use to manually arrange desktop windows in symmetrical, precise patterns.
ASUS has made sure that customers get their money’s worth.
There is also a blue light filter and a number of presets with which to customize the display for different purposes. There are Scenery, Standard, Theater, Game, Night View, sRGB, Reading, and Darkroom modes. We found that each was excellent for its intended purpose, and if you need to manually adjust brightness, contrast, saturation, color temp, and skin tone, those options are available. You can also toggle the Trace Free, Vivid Pixel, and Adaptive Sync features.
Trace Free reduces ghosting, though this is not a major issue with the MX27UC. Vivid Pixel is supposed to improve the resolution of low-resolution images, but we didn’t see much of an improvement and it actually caused unwanted artifacts.
Adaptive sync is really exciting as it can eliminate or drastically reduce screen tearing and choppiness, especially in games. Whether this feature works or not will depend on your system and will work best with AMD graphics cards. We had a hard time telling the difference between it being enabled and disabled, as this monitor handles tearing well in any case.
Quality 4K doesn’t come cheap—the MX27UC has an MSRP of $599 and doesn’t usually retail for much less. If you can get past the initial sticker shock, ASUS has made sure that customers get their money’s worth.
If you’re having a hard time justifying the cost to yourself, keep in mind that to run a current-generation video game at 4K resolution and maxed-out graphics settings, you will need a graphics card that will cost you hundreds more on top of this display. If you’re on a budget, there are other options that will save you a lot of money. However, if you want the best of the best in terms of image quality, then the ASUS Designo MX27UC is worth every penny.
While the ASUS Designo MX27UC is undoubtedly great, there are certainly cheaper 27-inch monitors for those looking to save a few bucks. The central question is clear: How important is it to have that 4K resolution?
The Dell Ultrasharp U2719DX is a 1440p display that retails for about $200 less than the ASUS and is in many ways superior, especially in terms of design. Where the ASUS has little flexibility when it comes to mounting and adjustment, the Dell is an impressively flexible monitor. You can tilt and rotate it in any direction, or even swivel it so that it becomes an entirely vertical display.
On top of this, the Dell is almost as sharp and color accurate as the ASUS, though the MX27UC still has the edge in this regard. The Dell also does not include any speakers at all.
If your PC has the power and you have the funds, then this is an excellent and visually stunning 4K monitor.
The ASUS Designo MX27UC is a monitor made for those who demand excellent visual quality. Plus, the built-in speakers are genuinely impressive. The only major flaw is the disappointing lack of adjustability and mounting options.