ASUS MT276HE LCD Monitor Review

by Reads (22,961)
Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Software & Support
    • 9
    • Upgrade Capabilities
    • 8
    • Usability
    • 9
    • Design
    • 7
    • Performance
    • 10
    • Features
    • 10
    • Total Score:
    • 8.83
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Overview

  • Pros

    • 27 inches
    • Affordable
    • LED-backlit
  • Cons

    • Bulky
    • Speakers are muddy
    • No handle for easy moving

Quick Take

With its simple but useful remote control, multiple inputs, LED backlighting and affordable price tag it's hard not to recommend the ASUS MT276.


ASUS has become synonymous lately with the diminutive Eee line of netbooks and nettops. They’ve been known for a long time as a major OEM for motherboards and graphics cards, but people often forget that they produce a line of TN-based LCD monitors aimed primarily at the gaming market. Read on for our full review of the ASUS MT276HE.

Specifications:

  • Screen size: 27 inches
  • Resolution 1920×1080
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9
  • Horizontal viewing angle: 170 degrees
  • Vertical viewing angle: 160 degrees
  • Pixel pitch: 0.311mm
  • Brightness: 400 cd/m2 (max)
  • Dynamic contrast ratio: 50000:1 (max)
  • Response time: 2ms (grey-to-grey)
  • Ports: 2xHDMI, VGA, S/PDIF, Line out audio
  • Dimensions: 26.2 x 20.3 x 9.1 inches (WxHxD, including stand)
  • Weight: 18.74 pounds
  • Stand: Tilt: +15 degrees, -5 degrees
  • Built-in 3W stereo speakers, remote control, Kensington lock, VESA mount
  • Warranty: 3 years limited parts and labor with free pick-up service

The ASUS MT276/MT276HE LCD monitor carries a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $359, but consumers can currently find the display on sale for as low as $319.99 after a $30 mail-in rebate from various online retailers.

Build and Design
First and foremost, ASUS’ MT276HE is a large computer monitor. With a 27-inch panel it was never going to be small, but the surrounding bezel is accordingly large. Like most consumer electronics these days, the monitor is wrapped in a glossy piano black finish. As a result, the MT276HE is a large fingerprint magnet. The screen is a big (no pun intended) exception to this fact, since it comes with a matte finish that excels at deflecting glare from both direct and indirect light sources.

On top of the display is a row of seven buttons that control the various aspects of the monitor. It’s interesting that ASUS chose to put these buttons on top – that’s very much like a television, and the MT276HE is just a monitor; it doesn’t offer any kind of built-in TV tuner. Users can turn the video processing on and off, change the brightness, change the volume, activate the menu and switch inputs. The sleep button is found in the lower-right hand corner, above the speakers, and a hard power switch can be found in the rear.

At the bottom of the display is a bit of chrome trim as well as snazzy, pseudo-geometric speaker grilles that are reminiscent of the design treatments given to select high-end notebooks like the Dell Adamo or HP Envy. The speakers themselves are less exciting than the coverings sitting on top; while perfectly serviceable for selected use here and there, anyone serious about computer audio will likely be hooking up their discrete speakers right after the monitor is plugged in. The 3W stereo speakers are more than loud enough but have muddy bass and a distressing hiss at high volumes. On the left side of the monitor is a pocket for the included remote control; on the right is the 3.5mm audio out jack for a pair of headphones. The remote control storage is a bit clunky, but it’s definitely better than not having one at all.

In profile, one can see just how wide the ASUS MT276HE is; to give some perspective on the display’s width, ASUS rates the base at just over nine inches wide. It’s easy to understand why some might complain about the thickness of the display, but miniaturization is expensive and there’s a fair amount of technology packed inside. In addition to being a 27-inch monitor, which provides sizing issues all on its own, the MT276HE also offers an LED backlight setup, which has typically been reserved for more expensive displays.

The rear of the display offers up the standard power connector and Kensington lock slot as well as an array of audio and video ports. For video, there are two HDMI-in ports as well as one VGA; there’s no native DVI but ASUS includes an HDMI-DVI cable in the box (but no straight HDMI, interestingly enough). There’s also a VGA and 3.5mm-3.5mm audio cable included. Speaking of audio, the MT276HE includes both S/PDIF coaxial and 3.5mm audio out for users who have audio piping in over HDMI but want to listen with external speakers. As mentioned previously, there’s also a hard power switch in the back of the monitor for when even sleep mode uses too much power. The one downside to the back of this monitor is the lack of a carrying handle – it would make moving it around much easier while adding little, if any, cost or bulk.

Heat and Power
Two of the biggest problems large displays have historically suffered are high temperatures and high power draws. The reason for these is the outdated CCFL backlighting that the monitors have used – CCFLs can use a fair amount of power while radiating significant heat, and these problems are compounded by using multiple lamps in order to heat up large-format displays. Pleasantly, the 27-inch ASUS MT276HE suffers from neither.

At “zero” brightness, the MT276HE used just 19 watts of electricity, less than half of the 25.5-inch HP w2558hc (which Relative temperatures of the ASUS MT276 LCD Monitoruses CCFLs). At fifty percent, power draw rose to 31 watts of electricity, while pushing the backlight to maximum forced the monitor to pull down 47 watts of power. Just by looking at the lower electricity draws, one can expect the temperatures to be lower, and that conclusion is borne out. With the monitor operating at maximum brightness for 20 minutes, the highest temperature recorded was 104 degrees Fahrenheit – that was in the upper-right hand corner; the middle of the display remained a much more reasonable 84 degrees.

Another oft-forgotten aspect of using an array of white LEDs for backlighting instead of a number of CCFLs is the instantaneous power up LEDs offer.  When turning on a CCFL display, it can take several minutes for the bulbs to fully heat up before they reach peak color fidelity and brightness.  With LEDs, it’s binary: on or off, nothing in between.


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