The Asus MZ27AQ presents tremendous value to consumers who want a high-quality screen with neat and practical features which are perfect for entertainment. This model is part of the Designo family which focuses on a premium and stylish package laced with effective performance. The Asus MZ27AQ and its unique speaker layout break design barriers for people who want all the essentials in a single, and streamlined package.
Update June 1, 2018: Article upgraded to a full review.
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. It’s too bad that you can’t push the screen against the wall due to these limitations, but Asus had to do it this way to preserve the Designo aesthetic concept.
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. One annoying thing about this part is the outward orientation of the ports which can sabotage your plans for tidy cable management.
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.
Display and Performance
The Asus MZ27AQ sports a 27-inch IPS panel with a 2560 x 1440 resolution, a 60Hz refresh rate, and 5ms response time. A maximum backlight output of 350cd/m2 is also specified, along with 1000:1 contrast ratio. These aren’t gaming-grade specs, but there is some value in the package for casual gamers thanks to the size, resolution, and discrete audio solution.
Our colorimeter reveals exciting results from the Asus MZ27AQ when it comes to imaging quality. The screen is capable of producing 99% volume of the sRGB gamut or around 77% of the Adobe RGB spectrum. Once calibrated, the Asus MZ27AQ reaches reasonable accuracy with Delta E and Gamma landing at the ideal 2.2 which is excellent for a mix-use monitor.
Pixel response is a bit slower than what we’re used to so some blurring or ghosting can be expected, especially since this is a 60Hz monitor. Thankfully, the Asus MZ27AQ includes an Overdrive feature which will help if these issues are prevalent during your use. As always, we recommend that you don’t use too much acceleration since advanced ghosting or overshoot might occur.
We enjoyed gaming on the Asus MZ27AQ so long as you don’t compare it to a 144Hz variant. Games like the Witcher 3 appear crisp and correctly saturated on the IPS panel since the 27-inch size holds 1440p images perfectly. AMD users also get to utilize FreeSync with a functional range of 40Hz to 60Hz which will still help in smoothening out tears despite the short limits.
We also like the extras included in the Asus MZ27AQ, despite its middle-class package and rated capabilities. The joystick-controlled OSD comprises nifty add-ons such as an Eye Test which presents you with optical charts and a QuickFit scaling feature for anticipating print sizes. Asus’ standard SPLENDID features are also in tow to provide users with color filters and an LBL mode for eye-safety.
We’re guessing you are more curious as to how the Asus MZ27AQ’s Harman Kardon-tuned audio package compares to a separate set. We have to say that the 6-Watt pair of drivers on the chassis is what sounded great, providing enough frequency coverage which helps to avoid clipping or gurgling. It’s surprising for us to admit that an in-built pair is good enough but better than the usual performance can always be expected from the tuner and provider of this audio suite.
On the other hand, the cup-sized mini woofer’s performance is questionable since there are few conditions to make the most out of it. Users have to find a surface that has a perfect balance between hardness and sound absorption. Plastics and metal tabletops vibrate too much due to the bass, but a wood table kind of muffles the sound.
Overall, the sound can be compared to an entry-level set of speakers from Logitech or Creative. Of course, a midrange set would be entirely better, but we have to admit that the Harman Kardon 2.1 speaker set in the Asus MZ27AQ is plenty for essential entertainment purposes such as casual gaming or movie watching.
The Asus MZ27AQ provides excellent image quality, features, and a unique yet decent sounding speaker package that you can’t find anywhere else. The monitor is a great option for those who need a space-saving solution that performs admirably in both visual and aural aspects. Placement can be a bit tricky, but it’s nothing a bit of experimentation and testing cannot solve.
The most significant factor to consider before purchasing the Asus MZ27AQ is its price tag which currently hovers below the $400 mark. We think this is reasonable, but monitors that perform similarly in image quality like the BenQ GW2765HT can be had for considerably less. You pay a premium for this model, but the monitor is a great deal if the speaker’s compactness and convenience appeal to you.