Asus ROG Swift PG35VQ 35″ Gaming Monitor Evaluation

The gaming monitor we are reviewing today has been a long time coming. It was first shown at Computex 2017 and was repeatedly delayed, but it will finally be launched in mid-2019. In short, the Asus ROG Swift PG35VQ is a wallet-destroying 200 Hz HDR ultrawide monitor.

Based on a new super high-end Ultrawide HDR-capable panel from AU Optronics, the technical data offered are impressive: 35-inch VA panel with 3440 x 1440 curved VA that runs up to 200 Hz and the refresh rate of ours previous functions significantly increased seen from 1440p class ultrawides.

In addition, we get the right HDR functionality through local dimming backlighting with 512 zones and full array, 1,000 nits of peak brightness and 90% DCI-P3 coverage. The cherry on top is G-Sync Ultimate support.

All of this has an enormous price. Asus wouldn't exactly confirm how much it will cost since the monitor is still a few weeks away from the official launch, but it can be pre-ordered in the UK for £ 2,700, which would put it in the $ 2,500 to $ 3,000 range.

In short, the Asus ROG Swift PG35VQ is a wallet-destroying 200 Hz HDR ultrawide monitor.

The PG35VQ's design is similar to what we've seen on previous Asus ROG monitors, and frankly we're not big fans of it. We prefer a sleeker and more minimalist aesthetic, but Asus has historically opted for these heavier gamer designs … we understand why they do it, but the crazy patterns on the back and the copper highlights on the stand just don't understand us excited.

RGB is still present here. You will receive a large ROG logo on the back, a projected light coming out of the bottom of the stand, and an additional light on the top of the stand. Many of these elements are not displayed in standard operation, or you can simply deactivate them as we do. The build quality is standard at Asus, the stand is sturdy and uses metal for the legs, but the rest of the case is only made of plastic in some different textures. We're happy that the bezel is also thinner than previous 27-inch G-Sync Ultimate displays.

The stand supports the height, tilt and swivel adjustment as you would expect from a premium monitor. There is also VESA mounting compatibility if you need it. For connections, you get HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.4 – you should use DisplayPort – as well as a USB hub with two connections and a 3.5 mm audio output.

The screen display is controlled by a direction switch, in which there are many settings. To access the 200 Hz mode, you must activate it in the menu as the monitor is delivered with a maximum standard update rate of 180 Hz. Then you have color controls, backlight controls, HDR functions, etc., which we will mention throughout the test. Other game-specific functions are cheat crosshairs, FPS counters and more. Everything you are used to from an Asus ROG monitor.

Like the Asus PG27UQ and other similar G-Sync Ultimate monitors, the PG35VQ also requires active cooling. A small fan is installed in an area near the inputs, but it is significantly quieter than the fans supplied with the PG27UQ. You will hear the fan in a very quiet room, but under most conditions we would say that the PG35VQ is almost silent and drowned out by other noises.

Great features, great performance

One of the main attractions of the PG35VQ is the refresh rate of 200 Hz, a premiere for 3440 x 1440 ultrawides. Previously, the upper limit for these monitors was 144 Hz, which you can get from competing LG and MSI monitors for around $ 1,000, but for some 144 Hz it is not high enough or not future-proof enough.

The good news is that DisplayPort 1.4 has enough bandwidth for 3440 x 1440 at 200 Hz and 8-bit color. This is in stark contrast to the 27-inch 4K HDR panels at 144 Hz, which were limited to 120 Hz with 8-bit color and required chroma subsampling at 144 Hz. With the PG35VQ, no chroma subsampling is required at all, and you can easily use it in a SDR configuration at 200 Hz.

For HDR games, the bandwidth limit for uncompressed 10-bit HDR at 3440 x 1440 is 144 Hz. Assuming you want to play HDR games at 200 Hz, you have one of two options: you can use chroma subsampling or the monitor Reduce to 8-bit color with HDR, which is the default behavior.

Now you might think, wait a moment, don't you need 10-bit color for HDR? And the answer is yes and no. While 10-bit color is one of the improvements HDR has developed over SDR and is part of the HDR10 standard, nothing prevents you from falling to 8-bit, while getting HDR support with a wide range of colors and increased contrast remains . 10-bit colors only increase the number of colors to 1.07 billion and help to balance color gradients to reduce banding. However, this is not necessary for other aspects of HDR video. For the most part, a 10-bit source can be reduced to 8-bit with minimal loss of quality.

We tried many games in HDR mode with 8-bit and 10-bit colors and were unable to find any differences. In games with colored stripes with gradients, this streak was still present in 10-bit mode. Since the panel itself is still a native 8-bit panel with FRC for 10-bit support, we don't believe that running this display with 8-bit HDR at 200 Hz has a significant disadvantage. However, your mileage may vary, especially with HDR films that are slightly different from games. If you notice a certain gradient band, it may be worthwhile to drop to 144 Hz for 10-bit color support.

During our review of this monitor, the simplest solution was to run the monitor at 200 Hz and 8-bit color at all times, regardless of whether we were in SDR or HDR mode. The visual quality is excellent and far better than what you get when chroma subsampling is required, and we are just thrilled that you can use the full functionality of this panel without having to mess around with subsampling.

The refresh rate of 200 Hz for my eyes is a big increase of 100 Hz in terms of smoothness and a smaller but still somewhat noticeable increase of 144 Hz. The main question is whether you have the GPU power to play with operating this resolution and update rate. With an RTX 2080 Ti, you can achieve 150 to 200 FPS in games like Fortnite and other less intense esport titles. For triple-A games with ultra settings, 100 FPS is a more realistic goal. You can adjust some settings at any time to get better performance. With a 2080 Ti, however, everyone else with a slower GPU faces a tough battle for more than 144 FPS.

Still, monitor upgrade cycles are long and something that is now 200 Hz will be at the top of the market in the coming years, giving you many new GPU upgrades without maximizing your monitor's capabilities. It's a luxury to be able to afford this type of monitor now, and with G-Sync Ultimate support, you'll get a smooth experience even when your frame rates are well below 200 FPS.

Since chroma subsampling is not a problem with this monitor, our next question was whether this VA panel supports a refresh rate of 200 Hz. Given that response times tend to be a problem for VAs, we were excited to see if AU Optronics could deliver the response times below 5.0 ms for a true 200 Hz experience.

Since this monitor has a FALD backlight, the reaction times are determined by two aspects: the reaction of the liquid crystals, which is the usual determining factor for the total reaction times, and the reaction of the backlight. This is of crucial importance since the PG35VQ has a different response behavior depending on whether the dynamic backlight is activated or deactivated.

With FALD backlighting enabled, Extreme is the best overdrive mode. When this mode is activated, there are some good advantages: overshoot is well managed and often absent, and there is not much smearing of the dark level due to very slow dark transition times. In some cases, however, the fall time of the FALD backlight at the back end is somewhat slow, which shifts some transition times. Overall, the average transition from gray to gray is 6.09 ms, slightly less than the target of 5 ms, but considering that more than half of the total transitions measured were within this window – some even as fast as 2 ms – we would say that this is 200 Hz and good for 144 Hz.

When FALD backlight is disabled, Normal is the best overdrive mode because Extreme mode introduces far too much overshoot when dynamic backlight is off. It seems that the Extreme mode has been specially adapted to work well with the FALD backlight. In our opinion, this makes sense since most users leave it enabled for gaming. Without the FALD backlight affecting the back end of transitions, this combination of settings has a faster gray-gray average of 4.55 ms, which is perfect for 200 Hz. In this mode, however, the smearing of darkness is worse than if you leave the FALD backlight on with extreme overdrive. It also generally has more overshoot, if not severe.

Each scenario has advantages and disadvantages. We believe that most players leave dynamic backlighting enabled for non-HDR games. In this case, Extreme is the better choice and 200 Hz can be reached borderline. This is fine for most users, and with this combination, ghosting, smearing, or inverse ghosting is not a big problem, even though it's a VA panel.

The results of the entry delay were excellent. I measured these numbers with dynamic backlight enabled and G-Sync. With a latency of less than 3.0 ms, this monitor corresponds to other gaming panels I have tested.

Now let's talk about the backlight. There are 512 individual zones on this 35-inch panel, which is enough for a solid HDR experience. Compared to the 27-inch HDR monitors with 384 zones, each zone on the Ultrawide is slightly larger. However, this is mitigated by using VA technology instead of IPS. Haloing is still present, but is less noticeable when the monitor is viewed from the front. In off angles it may look a little worse due to the medium viewing angles of VA panels, but in most applications the FALD backlight works better than in the PG27UQ due to the higher native contrast.

In games and video playback, it is impossible to notice the FALD backlight in action in almost all scenarios, especially when the fastest mode is set at lightning speed. However, it is a mixed bag for productivity. If you display large areas with spot colors, you can often see halos when the white mouse pointer moves. I recommend leaving the backlight on for SDR gaming and general use unless the haloing is bothering you. In this case, you should deactivate it for productivity work.

The HDR experience of this monitor is excellent. All we can say is that Asus' PG35VQ offers the best HDR experience of any monitor on the market, including the latest 27-inch 4K panels. It's not as good as modern televisions that have the advantage of more sophisticated technology, but for monitors it is as good as it is today.

Asus ROG Swift PG35VQ HDR performance

According to our checklist, every box is checked, so this is a real HDR panel. The color space is wider than SDR with 90% DCI-P3 coverage. In our tests, it was slightly below, but close enough. The brightness reaches a peak of over 1,000 nits, and of course we have the FALD backlight with a high number of zones, which offers a much better contrast than SDR monitors.

If you take a closer look at the brightness, 840 nits in a full white window are higher than the PG27UQ, and you get 1,000 nits at 50%, which then increases to about 1,060 nits at 25% or less. This panel has better and more powerful backlight that can use up to 1,000 nits under more conditions. Aside from having a peak of 840 nits, it can produce a 1,100 nits white flash across the entire display, which scorches the eyes.

Brightness vs.% screen white (HDR)

Black levels have pushed the measuring tools available to us to their limits. The best we can say is that the contrast ratio in HDR mode is at least 100,000: 1, which is higher than that of the G-Sync Ultimate monitors that use IPS panels. Combined with excellent brightness, you get excellent contrast, which is exactly what HDR displays do.

There are also far more HDR-enabled games available today than when we first tested the PG27UQ. Both Windows 10 and games are slowly improving HDR handling and many titles look absolutely spectacular on a suitable HDR monitor like this one. Experience is much better in these games than with standard SDR and is difficult to capture with the camera. You have to see this yourself, especially next to an SDR display. With better depth, better contrast and better colors, games look really fantastic on the PG35VQ.

For SDR output, the brightness is limited to approx. 500 nits, regardless of whether the FALD backlight is activated or deactivated. When dynamic backlighting is disabled, the native contrast is 2280: 1, which is weak for a VA, but typical of AU Optronics technology. Since the FALD backlight increases the contrast ratio at 200 nits to over 25,000: 1, this is usually not a problem.

Brightness vs.% screen white (FALD backlight off)

The ROG Swift PG35VQ has a certain factory calibration. There is an SDR mode gamut switch in the monitor's OSD, which is set to sRGB by default. However, it can be switched to a wide gamut if you need it for DCI-P3 work. We won't go into DCI-P3 performance in detail, but it's about as accurate as sRGB mode.

The sRGB performance is immediately ready for use. Grayscale performance is the only weak point, and even then it's still good for a gaming display with a DeltaE average of 2.37 and maintainable CCT and gamma performance. The white point of approximately 6300K is almost accurate.

Standard color performance

The saturation performance is strong, a DeltaE average of 1.62 is close to the results that Asus delivers on the included calibration sheet. The ColorChecker results are also good: With a DeltaE average of 1.76, you get similar delta averages below 2.0 in broadband mode when you measure against DCI-P3.

Interestingly, the accuracy decreases when you turn off the FALD backlight. It seems Asus has optimized this monitor for FALD use, which makes sense since you should probably use it in most cases. DeltaE averages are shifted to over 2.0 with default settings disabled and FALD backlight disabled. This is a small change, but it is worth noting.

OSD optimized color performance

It's possible to fix things further with a software ICC profile and a few small OSD optimizations, but we won't go into more detail that DeltaE's performance is already below 2.0. It's not quite at the level of a professional display, but for gamers this kind of performance is excellent and not worth the effort of software profiles.

The uniformity with activated FALD backlighting is also excellent, especially for a curved VA Ultrawide panel, which tends to be weaker in this area. The performance of the center is great with DeltaEs below 2.0 in almost the entire central zone. Only on the outer edges do things fall off, which is typical. For a backlight with 512 individual zones, this is a fabulous result and gives a generally uniform picture.

Early users dream

We are pleased to announce that a number of issues with the first generation of G-Sync Ultimate displays, such as the Asus PG27UQ, have been resolved or alleviated with the 35 "ROG PG35VQ. You do not have to Chroma subsampling at The highest refresh rate is a big bonus, and even though you're limited to an 8-bit color depth above 144 Hz, this wasn't a problem even for HDR games in our tests. Make a big compromise when you first check out the technology received by tomorrow.

Using VA technology with FALD backlighting has reduced haloing. It's still there, but it's better than first-generation IPS panels and also brings with it a better overall contrast. And the fan is still necessary, but less uncomfortable than the original high-end monitors.

We were also pleased to see 200 Hz working on this form factor and resolution. Response times vary depending on the configuration, but with FALD backlight enabled – which we believe most users will use at any time – it is 200 Hz borderline without much smudging in the dark. When the FALD backlight is off, you can easily reach the 200 Hz barrier, but smear and overshoot in poor darkness. So it just depends on what you're looking for. Overall, given the known limitations of VA technology, this is a better result than expected.

Other performance areas are also first class. Even in HDR mode, there is excellent input latency, excellent HDR brightness levels, ready-to-use calibration with support for sRGB and wide gamut modes, a large selection of OSD functions, very good uniformity and an adjustable stand.

If you look at all areas of this monitor, it's the best we've tested and the best on the market today.

If you look at all areas of this monitor, it's the best we've tested and the best on the market today. It combines high resolution, which is good for gaming, with a top-end refresh rate and brings real HDR performance to the mix with few problems and performance to keep everything safe. We think it's better than the 27-inch 4K 144 Hz G-Sync Ultimate monitors, although it's obviously a different format so it doesn't appeal to everyone.

As expected, the entry barrier will be high. This is a premium monitor that shows with a premium price tag that we expect it to be close to the $ 3,000 mark, certainly over $ 2,500. Taking UK pre-order prices into account, it will likely be $ 1,000 more expensive than the 27-inch 4K G-Sync Ultimate monitors, making this a buyer's place with deep pockets and matching high-end systems remains .

If you look at the entire display ecosystem today, you could get a very nice 55-inch LG C9 OLED TV and a highly refreshing Ultrawide gaming monitor for the same money as the ROG Swift PG35VQ, but you wouldn't Best get on screen market.

A more reasonable price would be between $ 1,500 and $ 2,000, considering that a monitor like the LG 34GK950F can currently be bought for around $ 1,100, which offers a resolution of 3440 x 1440 at 144 Hz without HDR functions . It is quite possible that the price will be reached sometime when the technology is mature and there is more competition, but at the moment we can confirm how good this new panel is and we are very excited about the upcoming release.

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