Do you like the sound of getting a 24”, 144Hz, 1ms gaming monitor for under $300? I do. If you’re looking for the best bang-for-your-buck TN panel with a high refresh rate, then the ASUS VG248QE has to be on your shortlist.
The ASUS VG248QE is a 24” 1080p 144Hz LED monitor targeted at gamers for the $250-300 price range. What’s special about this monitor is the 144Hz refresh rate, meaning that the monitor is capable of cycling through 144 frames per second instead of the standard 60Hz which can only cycle through 60 FPS. The result is incredibly smoother animation and movement, which is especially beneficial for gamers. That’s assuming said games can actually be run at frame rates exceeding 60 FPS. So, before you even consider buying this monitor, be sure your computer is powerful enough to run your favorite games at frame rates well in excess of 60 FPS.
The monitor has 1 DVI port (cable included), 1 HDMI port, 1 displayport, a 3.5mm audio out port which pulls from the audio that goes through your graphics card, and a 3.5mm audio auxiliary port for the integrated speakers. The speakers are of very low quality. It is not recommended that they be used. Nvidia 3D Vision is also a feature, but that technology is considered to be a fad that lacks good support. It should not be a factor in a purchase decision. The primary selling point of this monitor is its 144Hz refresh rate.
We have had a lot of requests to review this ASUS gaming monitor, and we didn’t want to disappoint. We have done (way) too much research on PC enthusiasts experiences with the ASUS VG248QE from the likes of forums (overclockers/TomsHardware), as well as Reddit posts and YouTube videos.
The VG248QE is a 1ms refresh rate monitor, which means there’s absolutely no tracing or ghosting – the VG248QE is a extremely fast response rate monitor. For example, the majority of high end IPS panels run at 5ms response rate, so there’s a 5x improvement of this TN panel compared to IPS panels. It is so smooth on this gaming monitor thanks to the 144Hz refresh rate so if you are considering this gaming monitor you will need the horsepower from a decent GPU to push those high refresh rates, otherwise you won’t get the full benefit of the ASUS VG248QE
In the approximately four years (as of March, 2017) I’ve owned VG248QE, the structure of this monitor has withstood well. I’ve transported this monitor 4-5 times per year going on the road, using the box it came in. Some of the plastic it’s made of is glossy, such as the detachable base (uses a thumb screw) and the display frame, so cosmetic wear in the form of scratches is inevitable in those areas over time. The display glass is of a non-glossy matte finish type, and I’ve never seen any wear show up on it at all.Perhaps my favorite thing about this monitor’s build is the stand. The stand feels very sturdy and features the ability to tilt, swivel, pivot, and height adjust. It does so with with ease, affording for a very comfortable and highly configurable viewing experience. The stand swivels on a detachable base, and the arm is screwed into the VESA-compatible back of the monitor.The one trouble I have with the stand is that the base is rather obtrusive. I’m someone who likes to have their arms rest out over their whole desk. On most desks, the size of the base has pushed my keyboard closer to me than I would like. Other than that, the only other possible issue is the room available to pivot the monitor. If you’re looking to use this monitor vertically for whatever reason, you might find that the stand doesn’t extend quite as high as it probably should.The design of the VG248QE is nothing to boast about, you can’t deny it’s very simple and plain aesthetics of a gaming monitor – but it does the job. The profile of this monitor doesn’t offend me but it also doesn’t give me that special ‘fizz’ that some gaming monitors offer. There are obviously a range monitors at the same price point but with a thinner bezel that are arguably better looking, but these gaming monitors wont offer the same performance that the VG248QE can offer. If you’re looking for a monitor which is focused on looking good rather than offering great performance – then the ASUS VG248QE isn’t the monitor for you.
The VG248QE has a impressive 144Hz refresh rate and 1ms response time to even match some of the top-of-the-line gaming monitors, as well as a 80,000,000:1 contrast ratio to help produce a clear, crisp and defined picture through the 1080p TN panel. That being said, we would only expect a monitor of this budget and such low response rate to only come from a TN panel, it would be unheard of to see these type of specs in a IPS panel for the same budget. TN panels have come a long way since the early days, and now the best performing TN panels are approaching the same level of quality as many IPS panels In todays gaming monitors. This thing even has built-in speakers which is an added bonus.
The weakest point of this monitor is easily its picture quality. It is a twisted nematic (TN) panel, which are known primarily for being cheap to produce, having fast response times, but also delivering lesser picture quality. I’m not going to say the picture quality bad, as it satisfied me for what I wanted to get out of it. You might think differently depending on what your standards for picture quality are though.
First of all, the monitor’s out-of-the-box settings are absolute garbage. You’ll almost certainly end up reconfiguring it, playing with the different modes and sliders. I’ve found Theater mode to be the most visually appealing and far superior to the default Standard mode. I did not notice any effect on response time between the different modes. A slider for sharpness is available, which honestly doesn’t do a whole lot. Raising the sharpness level only seems to accentuate edges. Standard sliders for brightness, contrast, and color are also there. I’ve found that lowering the green and blue values make for the most pleasant viewing. There is also a skin tone setting, which noticeable improves the look of skin when set to the Natural setting. Various other settings a modes not mentioned exist, but I honestly find them not worth mentioning because they either do not improve image quality at all or make it worse.
As per TN panels, color and brightness is not uniform and consistent. In very dark scenes, even if it’s just a uniform solid dark color, there is a slight but noticeable grainy texture due to the inconsistencies in the pixels. Dark colors also seem to be slightly inaccurate as well, as lines can often be seen within dark gradients. Viewing angles are also very narrow. Getting an optimum view means you pretty much have to be facing the display directly, which makes the highly adjustable stand extra valuable in this case. Even then, color brightness overall changes as you move up and down the display.
Fortunately, these issues are not readily noticeable. The monitor’s blacks are sufficiently deep enough to contrast well with any brighter elements that might be on the display. I don’t think most gamers will notice the flaws or, if they do, they will not be significant enough to pick on. I would only expect mostly graphic designers to take notice, so graphic designers should stay away from this monitor.
One thing that I’ve noticed improves image quality is if you lower the refresh rate, which is a setting you configure in the control panel for you graphics drivers. I had the option of setting to 60, 72, 100, 120, and 144Hz. If you would like to temporarily get some better image quality out of this monitor, setting the refresh rate to 100Hz or below makes colors pop a bit more and improves contrast. I do recommend running it at at least 100Hz most of the time though. Once again, the primary selling point of this monitor is the refresh rate.
If you’re not considering a ultrawide to expand your desk setup but instead looking for a multi-monitor setup, then the the VG248QE is a great option for running two or three of these monitors side by side. If you do plan on having a monitor setup like this with the VG248QE, make sure you have an equally impressive GPU to power this rig, as it will demand a lot of horsepower – I recommend only doing this is you have a GTX 1060 or above.
From a gaming perspective, the picture quality is actually quite good. Aside from, again, grain in very dark scenes, any flaws in picture quality disappear while playing games or at least go unnoticed. The 144Hz refresh rate is specially helpful in that regard. Upon playing a game for the first time with this monitor, I was instantly hooked. In this case, it was Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and I was able to run it in excess of 100 FPS most of the time. The movement was far smoother and more lifelike on this monitor than on any other 60Hz monitor I’ve played on. The difference is night and day, such that once I got used to it, the notion of gaming on a 60Hz monitor now seems dreadful.The benefit from having a high refresh rate is even more pronounced in games that are easier to run like Minecraft and Team Fortress 2. I would say the benefit is less pronounced in games with a top-down perspective like dungeon crawlers and strategy games. It’s probably because the scenes in those games aren’t as dynamic as in first and third-person games. If you are someone who tends to only play games in the former category, the 144Hz factor might not be worth it for you.The response time is claimed to be 1ms. Who knows how they actually determine that figure, but from my subjective perspective this monitor has absolutely no issues with responsiveness. The same goes for input lag. I’ve never noticed any input lag with this monitor whatsoever.One unique but minor feature is the crosshair function. This feature is found in the monitor’s configuration menus, and imposes one of your choice out of four different crosshairs on the screen (no software needed). I’ve found them to be useful on occasion, and it’s a feature I wish all gamer-targeted monitors had.
Image sharpness is where it should be for a 1920×1080 resolution on a 24” display, with a pixel density at around 96 DPI based on my own measurements. If the display were any larger, I’d probably be irritated by pixelation, but the ASUS VG248QE is sized ideally for its resolution. Text appears ideal, and is overall a pleasant experience for work tasks not related to graphic design.The 144Hz factor also provides a nice experience for general desktop use as well. Though not quite as meaningful as in gaming, it is nice to see the cursor and desktop animations move much more smoothly as a result of the high refresh rate. This nicety is much more pronounced if you use a desktop environment with a lot of animated effects.
If you’re looking to use this monitor at 144Hz, you need to make sure you have a powerful enough GPU to handle this high refresh rate at 1080p resolution. It really can take a lot of juice to get the frame rate up in some of these newer titles such as Overwatch or the Witcher. If you want to push above 120fps I would recommend going for a GPU like the GTX 970 or ABOVE.The VG248QE is the perfect gaming monitor if you want to make a huge upgrade to your rig with a single upgrade – to take your gaming experience beyond 60 FPS. I wouldn’t recommend going for this gaming monitor if your graphics card will struggle running FPS games above 60 FPS – you won’t get much from this monitor at all. In addition, if you plan on gaming in 1440P or 4k resolution any time soon, then go for another monitor as this monitor is great for 1080p gaming at a high refresh rate but won’t support any higher resolutions such as 1440p or 4k. If you want to run at the full 144Hz, do not use the HDMI connection as this limits you to only 60Hz. If you want to take full advantage of the 144Hz refresh rate this monitor is capable of, then make sure you don’t use HDMI but instead DisplayPort connectivity between the monitor and your PC.
The $250-300 USD price range puts it on the slightly more expensive side of monitors of its kind, but the ASUS VG248QE is ultimately worth it for what it offers. As long as you’re not extremely picky about detailed picture quality, it is one of the most solid choices on the market for gamers. However, graphic designers and people in other related fields should stay away from this one due to some inconsistencies in color and brightness. This is very much a monitor targeted at gamers, and only gamers should really consider buying it.