The Asus MZ27AQ aims to provide pleasing imaging and sound quality via a QHD IPS panel paired with a compact 2.1 channel audio package. The Designo moniker exists to emphasize on the product’s premium pedigree which embodies elegance, simplicity, and effective performance. Like the rest of its Designo brethren, the Asus MZ27AQ aims to break the age old stigma of superb displays with weak speakers without forgetting about the essentials of an excellent monitor.
Asus MZ27AQ Specifications
- Screen Size: 27 Inches
- Resolution: 2560 x 1440 QHD
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Panel Technology: In Plane Switching (IPS)
- Refresh Rate: 60Hz
- Response Time:5ms
- Contrast Ratio: 1000:1
- Brightness: 300 cd/m²
- Built-in Speakers: Yes 2 x 6Watts Plus Mini Subwoofer
- Stand: Height – No
- Stand: Tilt – Yes (-2°/+22°)
- Stand: Swivel – No
- Stand: Pivot – No
- VESA Compatibility: No
- Connectivity: DisplayPort 1.2 x 1, HDMI 1.4 x 2, 3.5mm Audio Jack
- Dimensions With Stand(WxHxD): 24.17″ x 12.68″ x 8.86″
- Weight: 9.48 lbs
Design and Features
The Asus MZ27AQ adopts a sleek and luxurious design which boasts of an ultra-slim cabinet profile and a bezel-free face which only has nearly invisible panel borders. From the side, the screen’s matte black frame is only a third of an inch thick, which is then countered by a curving bulge which sits closer to two inches at its apex. Asus used the Designo signature brush aluminum aesthetic on the rest of the monitor, creating a posh look that can match sophisticated devices like Macs.
Everything about the Asus MZ27AQ screams elegance, extending the splendor of the design to the ring-shaped metal stand which is precision machined. If you are intent on buying this model, you are stuck with this part because the thin profile isn’t thick and durable enough for a full-featured stand or VESA mounting.These two limitations are due to the slim profile Asus chose to keep to preserve the opulence of their Designo products.
The I/O panel for the Asus MZ27AQ only carries a DisplayPort 1.2 and two HDMI 1.4 slots, plus a 3.5mm audio port. To compare, the older MX27UQ did have a single USB 3.0 port, and the other HDMI had 2.0 standards. Since this model is a prospective monitor for professionals or executives, we think it could use a few more options for convenience.
Our absolute favorite feature on this model is the addition of Harman Kardon-tuned 2.1 channel speakers. The two satellite channels have 6 watts of power each, complemented by a 5-watt stand alone subwoofer sized like a small cup. The separation of the highs and mids from the lows should create a decent response which could be sufficient for dedicated usage, eliminating the need to add a clunky set.
From our experience, audio hardware on monitors tweaked by Harman Kardon are already on a different level than what we’re used to, but this design could be the next step. The clarity and depth of the sound for nearfield listening should enhance twofold, although we are sure it’s not comparable to a good 2.1 set from a decent brand.
Display and Performance
The Asus MZ27AQ sports a 27-inch IPS panel from LG with a 2560 x 1440 resolution, 60Hz refresh rate, and a 5ms response time. Contrast is specified at 1000:1 plus a max brightness of 350cd/m2, which tells us that there is nothing special like gaming capabilities included in the screen. The Asus MZ27AQ is, after all, a glorified home or office monitor, which promises to provide crisp images and lifelike color via its true 8-bit interface and 100% sRGB coverage.
But don’t let these statements deter you if you are into casual gaming since the Asus MZ27AQ has a few tricks up its sleeve. A 5ms response time and a limitation of 60Hz could be detrimental to gaming, but fortunately, this gorgeous display carries a functional overdrive feature in its OSD, amongst other options. This means that one can easily tweak this product to their liking, with minimal image flaws like interlacing and ghosting.
Owners will also get to enjoy FreeSync with the Asus MZ27AQ, although the probable range would only cover 40Hz to 60Hz. That, however, isn’t entirely bad since it would be difficult for most PCs to push past 60Hz, but decent specs should keep frames well away from dropping beyond 40 FPS. Combining these features creates a sleek but utilitarian monitor, packed with enough entertainment chops to enhance your after-hours enjoyment.
On the other hand, it’s fantastic that the Asus MZ27AQ presents its future owners with an extensive OSD that offers versatility. Aside from tweaking imaging or adding Splendid mode filters, you can also fine tune your audio output via the Asus AudioWizard which includes presets for music, gaming, and movie mode. You can also customize output via a visual equalizer, accessible through the easy to navigate OSD which comes with a multi-directional joystick.
The Asus MZ27AQ offers a new twist to the premium home and office segment in its combination of a high-quality IPS screen mated with a 2.1 audio package from Harman Kardon. This is the first time we have encountered this approach, although its performance in practice is yet to be seen. We do hope that Asus did not skimp on the build quality of the audio hardware, which we think, won’t happen while the Harman Kardon name is attached.
The extra features to make the Asus MZ27AQ ideal for casual gaming, and we hope it doesn’t get ruined by bland imaging or high latency. We wish this new design will someday apply to their ROG and Strix monitors, but that will depend on the MZ27AQ’s success. This model is nearing its release phase, so pricing and availability are still up in the air, so keep checking back here if you are interested.