Late last year I started developing incredible headaches whenever I sat down in front of my PC.
Before long I discovered that the cause of my headaches was right in front of me, that is to say that my monitor was the culprit.
Anecdotal as it may seem, I set out on a quest to lessen the amount of light hitting my peepers, particularly blue-light.
The thing is that the process for doing so is complicated. I first needed to lower the brightness of my display then colour balance it and then make sure that the colour is accurate.
While that was how I was doing things I have since started using f.lux, a free app for Windows that changes your monitor’s colouring so that less (or more) blue light is emitted from the monitor. It’s a wonderful application and it really does help lessen the strain on my eyes.
There is another solution to my woes, however, and it comes in the form of the Asus MZ27AQ Designo monitor.
As the name implies, this monitor is for designers, photo editors, video editors and anybody who requires accurate reproduction of colours.
Given that f.lux colours your monitor’s picture, I was keen to see what a monitor with that claims to care for your eyes was like to use.
The MZ27AQ is a 27inch widescreen monitor with a 2560 x 1440 native resolution, 5ms response time (grey to grey) and uses an IPS panel. The display is also marketed as being flicker free.
There are eight preset modes to choose from namely sRGB Mode, Scenery Mode, Theater Mode, Standard Mode, Night View Mode, Game Mode, Reading Mode and Darkroom Mode.
In addition to these there are four different blue-light filters you can use.
For frame rates you can expect a maximum of 60 frames per second.
In terms of ports you will find two HDMI ports supporting HDMI 1.4 and one DisplayPort port support DisplayPort 1.2.
There is also 2.1 audio functionality. This is made possible through two speakers in the monitor’s housing and a sub-woofer that you need to plug into the 3.5mm jack. The sound is okay and would do in an emergency but it’s hardly something I’d use on a daily basis in place of desktop speakers or headphones.
What’s it like?
The MZ27AQ is rather weighty but most of that weight sits at the bottom of the display. The top of the display is incredibly slim however, so much so that our Galaxy S10+ looks like a wallet after payday next to it.
Assembly is super simple with just one screw being used that you can hand-tighten without much trouble.
To navigate the menus you’ll find a single five-way joystick which is fine for most things. It’s a simple solution and one that works but it’s not the best. We prefer having buttons that launch specific functions and while it’s not especially aesthetically pleasing it is functional.
So what is the blue light reduction like? Quite simply, fantastic.
As we mentioned there are four different colour temperature filters only it’s not just colour temperature that gets affected. The display also seems to dim the further down the filters you move but this is hardly a bad thing
What is interesting is that the MZ27AQ retains a lot of its stellar colour recreation even when you take the blue light out. Would we advise doing colour correction in this mode? Not entirely but if you simply want to watch videos or do some work that doesn’t require excellent colour reproduction.
There are also a number of eye checks loaded onto the monitor that you can use to check your own vision which is rather nice.
In fact, we’ve been using the MZ27AQ with its highest blue light filter for the majority of our time with it because it’s so easy on the eyes.
The fact that the IPS panel is a non-glare affair is also rather nice especially if you happen to have your monitor facing direct sunlight for a portion of the day.
So how does this monitor fair with games? The monitor has Adaptive Sync technology so we enabled FreeSync and set to playing games. The experience is good and 2560 x 1440 is a wonderful resolution for games.
Sadly you are limited to 60Hz with the MZ27AQ but this is not a monitor that is intended for gaming.
While it is a decent experience you’d have a better gaming experience by getting a monitor purpose built for that.
Is it worth it?
Overall the MZ27AQ is a fantastic monitor that really does give your eyes something of a vacation.
My headaches are much better, I have disabled f.lux and I’m toying with the idea of getting myself this exact monitor.
The only downside for me is the price. At R7 499 you are paying for the eyecare functionality and the colour accuracy of this monitor. If those features aren’t important to you then you’d likely be better served getting something else.
That having been said, the Eye Care functionality has been worth the additional price and my graphic designer friends have marvelled at the colour accuracy of the MZ27AQ.
For that reason the Asus MZ27AQ Designo gets a definite recommendation from us.