Asus MX299Q review - Widescreen space that's ideal for multiple applications
An ultra-wide AH-IPS monitor that also offers stylish good looks
While some ultra-wide monitors look like they should be part of a stockbrokers office, the MX299Q is described by Asus as ‘smexy’, which sounds like a fungal infection but is actually a contraction of smart and sexy. To back this up the external power supply is shaped like an Apple TV while the stand base is a solid metal halo, below, rather than hovering above the heavenly good looks of the actual panel. The support for the stand flexes back and forth.
The screen goes right up to the edge of the bevel, though the display area is actually around 1cm short of that. Along the bottom is a protruding metal strip that houses the menu buttons, affixed underneath. These are touch-sensitive and it’s easy to inadvertently activate them. The menu controls could be easier to use in practice as well. The offer access to a number of preset viewing modes including an sRGB specific one, along with1.8 and 2.2 gamma and a choice of three skin-tone orientated modes. Read more Display reviews.
Smart and sexy, the Asus MX299Q offers a wide screen area plus stylish good looks and great performance.
Around the slender back are interfaces for HDMI/MHL, DisplayPort and Dual Link DVI-D. There’s also a 3.5mm output audio jack if there’s incoming sound via HDMI or DP, and a 3.5mm input jack. The built-in audio is a brace of 3W stereo speaks, which is boosted by Bang & Olufsen ICEpower. In practice this is quite good and significantly better than your usual monitor speakers. There’s clear separation of treble tones, but obviously, there’s not a lot of bass power. At times it sounds too sharp and there’s no equaliser control. The HP Envy 27 which has Beats Audio by way of comparison, sounds better overall.
Being a 29” ultra-wide monitor with a 21:9 aspect ratio means you get a 2560x1080 resolution, which makes in quite narrow from top to bottom, but wide enough for two standard apps to run alongside each other. So, getting into the testing then and first up is the sRGB coverage which comes in at a perfect 100%. NTSC is 73% and AdobeRGB is 79%. The screen uniformity brightness test is also pretty good. At 100% Brightness most of the screen is under 2% difference, with the bottom left at 5.4% darker and the bottom right at 8% darker being the exceptions. In fact, looking at a white screen, the bottom right corner has a noticeable darkening. At 50% Brightness this drops down to 4.9% darker. It’s a good result overall though. The Brightness is rated at a decent 300cd/m2 but in practice the panel put out quite a bit more light, glaring away at a retina-burning 381.6cd/m2 which is bright enough for very well-lit offices. The contrast ratio was more modest at 630:1 at 100% Brightness. More good news on colour accuracy. There were some great results here, with only dark cyan roaming off at Delta-E 4.96 and everything else coming in at Delta-E 2.01 or lower, and in the case of most of the colours, a lot lower. That resulted in the very impressive average of a Delta-E of 1.54. The Asus might not be specifically aimed at photographers and those requiring good colour accuracy, but it certainly delivers here. The other test was to see whether the colours varied over different parts of the screen and here, at 100% Brightness, the results were good, with the top two thirds being 2.1 or lower, and only the bottom third panels offering Delta-E 3.6, 3.5 and 3.1. That’s probably too much for colour critical work but at all brightness levels below 100% the results improved and at 50% Brightness that lower third strip registered 1.9, 1.7 and 1.3.
Not only does the Asus MX299Q offer the kind of widescreen space that’s ideal for multiple applications, the quality of the display itself is also surprisingly good. When you match that with a good built-in sound system and stylish looks, you have an excellent monitor that fits a wide range of needs for Mac owners looking for a photo, video or general-work screen.