The Asus ROG Swift PG259QN is the first monitor that achieves a refresh rate of 360 Hz. This gives us clarity of movement that we have never seen before with LCD panels. It also introduces the next evolution of high refresh rate monitors, well beyond the 240 Hz limit that we have become accustomed to in the past few years.
Perhaps what is more exciting about the Asus PG259QN is that it does this update using an IPS panel rather than a TN. This is the first time IPS has offered the fastest frame rates on the market. In the past, this was the area of TN panels and the only major selling point for these displays.
With this new 360Hz IPS and other ultra-fast monitors like Samsung's VA-based Odyssey G7, TN seems to be on its last legs as other technologies do what TN did but better.
Now, a 360 Hz monitor is not for everyone, especially since we only see a resolution of 1920 x 1080 and a size of 24.5 inches. However, this review offers an interesting glimpse into the direction of monitor technology and what we can expect from other high-end displays in the years to come.
As with other key specifications, the PG259QN is a G-Sync monitor that uses a full G-Sync module for its adaptive synchronization function. This ROG monitor was the key to Nvidia's “Frames Win Games” marketing campaign and was played up along with the new RTX 30 series GPUs. However, this is not an Nvidia-exclusive product. The new iteration of the G-Sync module provides support for industry-standard adaptive synchronization. Therefore, the PG259QN also works with variable update rates on AMD GPUs and other VRR-enabled devices.
We're now beyond the point where G-Sync is a locked down technology, and that's great to see. Oh, and it's a passively cooled G-Sync module so you don't have to worry about fan noise like some G-Sync Ultimate displays do.
Asus advertises the display as HDR capable, but there is no local dimming support, so realistic that this isn't an HDR monitor. There isn't even a huge gamut of color. However, this is not important for a super high refresh display. This is about the 360 Hz refresh rate, the fast IPS technology, the response time of 1 ms from gray to gray, etc.
Like most Asus ROG monitors, this one was designed with gamers in mind. Lots of gamer-style elements can be seen here, from the sharp patterns on the back to the RGB LEDs to the bold and aggressive stand. We have said a few times in the past that we don't like the Asus ROG design aesthetic , and it is no different here. This is not my favorite monitor design.
Even so, Asus has undeniably built this monitor well. The stand uses a high quality metal construction for its legs. While the rest of the display is mostly plastic, we get slim bezels, no visible seams, and a sturdy stand. Despite the full range of motion including height adjustment and swivel support, the PG259QN is absolutely stable and can easily handle a bump on your desk without moving.
The screen display is controlled by changing direction and we get the usual strong Asus functions. For gamers, these include timers, crosshairs, FPS counters, and display alignment tools, all of which are useful. There are also shadow enhancement and blue light filters for manipulating colors. And then a healthy set of color controls to improve color accuracy.
The choice of ports is okay, although for some it may be a bit lacking: there is a single DisplayPort and a single HDMI port that are in line with other G-Sync displays. You must use DisplayPort if you want to access the 360 Hz refresh rate. HDMI is limited to 240 Hz. There is also a two port USB hub and an audio out jack. No built-in speakers in this one.
One of the big questions we had in this test was: is 360 Hz actually better than 240 Hz? There has been a lot of discussion about how 240 Hz provides decreasing returns over 144 Hz. What is the situation here with a further increase in the refresh rate?
Response times / overdrive modes
To be honest, we believe that the experience will be different from person to person whether the difference is noticeable between 240 Hz and 360 Hz. I can notice a small but noticeable gain at 240Hz, and even without a side-by-side comparison, I was pleasantly surprised at how responsive this display feels.
It's extremely fast, the input feels lightning fast, and I'm not a professional esports gamer, although as a monitor reviewer I'm prepared to spot differences in visual quality. If you are less sensitive, you may have trouble telling the difference between 60 and 144 Hz (and yes, there are these people out there) then 360 Hz is wasted on you.
What is very obvious, however, is how much of an upgrade from 360 Hz to 144 Hz is. During this test, I used the PG259QN alongside my daily driver, the LG 34GK950F with its 144 Hz refresh rate. 144 Hz feels sluggish and slow compared to 360 Hz. There's a noticeable difference in smoothness, as you'd hope for with a 2.5x increase in the refresh rate.
It's not as big an improvement as 144 Hz at 60 Hz (a 2.4x increase in refresh rate). However, after you've been using 360 Hz for a while, go back to something that's only 144 Hz and you can feel the difference. At 240 Hz you get some of this effect, but not to the same extent as at 360 Hz.
The next question is whether an IPS panel can meet the requirements for a refresh rate of 360 Hz. The window for each update is only 2.78 ms here. In other words, the monitor can display a new image every 2.78 ms. For a true 360 Hz experience, the panel needs to be able to finish its transition before this window expires. Otherwise, just a smeared mess will result.
There are only three overdrive modes available, the first of which is the off mode. While an average transition time of under 6 ms is impressive for an IPS panel, it's not fast enough for 360 Hz gaming. However, I don't think many users will choose this mode as it is not the default.
The standard normal mode offers impressive performance. With a gray to gray average of 2.21 ms, we are within the scope of a real 360 Hz experience. In fact, two-thirds of all transitions complete within the 2.78 ms update window and over 90% within a reasonable tolerance of the window. This contributes to great clarity of movement without smudging, which is very impressive for an IPS display.
There is a little overshoot, but in practice it is not noticeable. The average error rates of 4% are within normal tolerances, so there are no problems at all with the performance of this display at 360 Hz. To answer the first question, this new "Fast IPS" technology from AU Optronics seems to be absolutely capable of achieving refresh rates of 360 Hz. We get a TN-equivalent performance. So don't worry that IPS won't be able to keep up with such a high update.
The one step higher extreme mode isn't that useful. There is a very large overshoot here and the gray-to-gray performance does not improve much on average. Given that transition times of 1 ms or less are displayed in both this mode and normal, I believe Asus' claims about a 1 ms transition from gray to gray are largely true. We're still not at a point where we average 1ms, but 2ms is pretty close so we're definitely getting closer.
When you use normal mode, you don't have to worry about switching to other overdrive modes with different frame rates. Thanks to the implementation of the variable overdrive through the G-Sync module, we get solid performance over the entire update range.
With an average of almost 2 ms between gray and gray, the Asus PG259QN is the fastest monitor we have ever tested.
At 240 Hz we see a gray to gray average of 2.59 ms with a small increase to the point of overshooting. At 144 Hz we now have an average of 3.3 ms with a higher but manageable overshoot. At 60 Hz, we then maintain a manageable overshoot that increases to an average of 4.39 ms transition time. The performance in this area is really good and that's what I would expect from a high-end monitor.
With an average of almost 2 ms between gray and gray, the Asus PG259QN is the fastest monitor we have ever tested.
It's the fastest in terms of update rate, but also in terms of response times. The two go hand in hand here to top the charts. This monitor is around 17% faster than the next best in terms of response times, the LG 27GK750F, with less overshoot. We also see 40% faster responses than other TN monitors we tested, like the HP Omen X 27, when we display maximum performance.
The only other monitor that comes close is the Samsung Odyssey G7, another sub-3ms competitor, albeit with a lower refresh rate of 240Hz. While Samsung undoubtedly gets great performance out of a VA panel, overall, IPS is always even the faster technology and is better suited for ultra-high refresh rates like 360 Hz. The fact that it outperforms TN is even more impressive thanks to a 50% performance gain over the previous generation IPS display, which was surpassed with a refresh rate of 280Hz.
This table was recently added to our monitor reviews and shows the average performance over the entire refresh range when using the best overdrive mode for variable refresh rate games. Previous graphs showed the best performance at the highest refresh rate. This graph is the average performance over all update rates tested. Because the PG259QN drops slightly at lower refresh rates compared to other monitors, the PG259QN doesn't hold the kind of lead it had in the table of maximum performance. However, it's still by far the fastest display overall, albeit with slightly higher inverse ghosting rates.
In general, however, all three monitors at the top of these charts provide a remarkable gaming experience. The PG259QN does it with IPS, the HP Omen X 27 does it with TN and the Samsung Odyssey G7 does it with VA. Overall, the ROG PG259QN is the faster monitor due to its higher refresh rate, but it's great to see such strong competition between different technologies that we've never seen before.
The dark level performance is not a problem with the PG259QN. There is no smearing of the dark level and the response times are the same across the board. For refresh rate compliance, 90% is good enough for a mid-table result, and that's certainly excellent for an IPS display. All of this is achieved with an average error rate of less than 5%, which indicates that the panel is not being taken to extremes in order to get fast response times.
60 Hz isn't the best example of what this monitor can do, but performance is still solid with a gray to gray average of 4.39 ms. Not quite on top of the best TN panels, but realistically the experience will be similar given the high level of blurring you get at 60Hz anyway.
The entry delay is excellent with this ad. The processing delay is about 0.2ms which is an elite. In combination with a very high refresh rate and fast response times, we get an input of less than 4 ms for the image delay. The PG259QN feels lightning fast and this is why we see top notch input latency which makes for a very smooth and responsive experience.
The power consumption of a 24.5-inch display is high, although the integration of a G-Sync module and a high refresh rate affect this somewhat. Still, 30W is nothing crazy and nothing to worry about.
The PG259QN also supports ULMB, also known as Ultra Low Motion Blur, Nvidia's brand name for backlight strobing technology to reduce blurring. It's interesting that it's called ULMB here instead of Asus' common brand name ELMB, probably due to the G-Sync arrangement. There is also no ELMB synchronization here, so this display only supports stroboscopy of the background lighting with fixed frame rates and with deactivated G synchronization.
However, there are other restrictions on using ULMB. The big problem is that it can't be activated at 360 Hz. The maximum refresh rate for ULMB is 240 Hz. 360 Hz has excellent motion clarity, so it probably would have seen little improvement at this refresh rate, but it's still disappointing not to see a possible combination of maximum refresh and ULMB.
At 240 Hz, ULMB is good, but there is weak to moderate double vision from strobe crosstalk. In my opinion, it's actually a little clearer at 144Hz, although the flash is more evident here and you lose the smoothness of extra frames. None of these refresh rates offer a perfect backlit strobe experience. Since ULMB is limited to fixed frame rates, this is also not an ideal situation. I would prefer to use the monitor with G-Sync in maximum 360Hz mode, but ULMB may be an option in some scenarios.
Standard color performance
Getting started with color performance should be a relatively short section. This is because Asus supplied an almost perfect factory calibration with this monitor. Not only are the response times the fastest we've tested, but the level of calibration, delivered instantly, is the best we've seen from a gaming monitor.
The best aspect of the calibration here is the perfect compliance with the sRGB gamma curve. And I mean perfect, seriously, that's flawless performance. The CCT curve is also excellent, with no significant hue from the factory. By default, this leads to outstanding DeltaE average values below 1.0, which cannot be usefully improved by further calibration.
The saturation performance is also very good. The top end is hit a bit, but the rest of the range performs well. A DeltaE 2000 average below 1.0 is Elite, and the deITP performance is great too. Then again in ColorChecker excellent results, which correspond to the previously best calibrated monitor we tested, the Acer Predator X27. On average, monitors in their factory condition achieve a DeltaE 2000 average of 3.34 in this test, so that it is better than ever to sit well below this with just 0.55.
OSD optimized color performance
The only way to further improve performance is to make a few minor changes to the OSD. Even then, we don't think it makes sense to display our settings as we are confident that the best choice will be different for different units. In our opinion, the factory calibration is so good that you can use it immediately without any changes. This is excellent for this type of monitor, well beyond our expectations.
Color space: Asus ROG Swift PG259QN – D65-P3
There is only one drawback here and that is the total sRGB color space which is only 95%. That's not terrible, but a little less than the 100% we expect from modern sRGB displays.
The main culprit is that red wines are a small amount below where they need to be. In all fairness, this isn't a huge problem for most people. 95% is absolutely fine, but it's just something to be aware of.
Brightness, contrast, evenness
The PG259QN offers very high brightness in SDR mode with over 500 nits. While it is impractical to use the monitor at 500 nits in most environments, the backlight strobe mode can also provide high brightness, so this is not a wasted feature.
What is really encouraging is the PG259QN which offers a strong contrast ratio for an IPS display. Earlier fast IPS panels like LG's sacrificed contrast in order to achieve fast response times. Given that IPS panels typically have better contrast and color quality than TNs, this tradeoff was a bit of a disappointment for buyers, and while there were other areas where LG's IPS had much better picture quality than a TN produced, the black levels were weak.
AU Optronics has not made such a compromise with this panel. You get a contrast ratio of 1200: 1, which is slightly above an average IPS. This gives AUO first place for IPS technology and we are very excited to see similar implementations in other sizes and resolutions.
Of course, as with all IPS monitors, the overall contrast is not amazing, since a VA panel offers about twice the performance or better. Given our work and the response times offered, we take 1200: 1 every day.
The viewing angles are great, similar to other IPS monitors and obviously far better than what a TN can offer. This means that you don't necessarily have to display the PG259QN for the clearest picture. If you look at it at a slightly different angle, everything is still very clear.
This may not be a big deal for everyone, but I really think it's important for tournament level games as there is a lot more wiggle room to view the screen from different angles without sacrificing image quality. Every little advantage counts.
Uniformity shows average results with a small difference between the left and right halves in terms of hue. This isn't a big deal, but after a number of excellent performance results, this is likely one of the weaker areas of the display. However, we don't think this is a bad result, and our device didn't suffer from the IPS glow. So that's positive.
What we learned
After all the test results, we are very impressed with the Asus ROG Swift PG259QN. From a performance standpoint, this is an absolutely fantastic display that will capture whatever it is trying to achieve.
The heading function offers great response times and enables a true 360 Hz experience with an IPS panel. This type of performance was not known a few years ago, but it is perfectly possible and Asus is delivering a great performance.
Asus claims this is the fastest esports gaming monitor in the world and we would absolutely agree with that statement based on our testing. This is the highest refresh rate ad we've used and it has the fastest overall response times. This is a killer combo for competitive gaming. If you have a variable overdrive that keeps performance high across the update range, it is difficult to find fault with any aspect of the gaming experience.
Another surprising feat is how Asus secured the elite's response times with the best factory calibration we've seen from a gaming monitor. No need to mess around with the display settings, you can just plug in the monitor and play games with great colors. So it's a double punch: the fastest response times and the most accurate color experience. That will be extremely hard to beat.
It's a double punch: the fastest response times and the most accurate color experience
Unlike LG's fast IPS monitors, the contrast is great so there is no compromise to get great performance. The brightness is excellent, as are the viewing angles. In combination with precise colors, the image quality is fantastic here. If I didn't have to choose, the backlight strobing mode could be better and we're not getting quite 100% sRGB coverage. That's about all we can think of.
As great as the ROG Swift PG259QN is and what performance it can offer, we don't think this monitor is for everyone, but rather a smaller niche of gamers. For most people, let alone the casual gamer, 360 Hz offers only a slight improvement over 240 Hz. It's better, but for the average gamer, it probably isn't much better.
There is also the question mark as to whether you will be playing at the required frame rate at all, since you need a very powerful system and want to play less graphically intensive esports titles like CS: GO or Rainbow Six Siege.
In terms of pricing, $ 700 is a lot of money for a 24.5-inch 1080p display and almost double the price of the MSI MAG251RX, a high-quality 1080p 240Hz IPS monitor that we saw a few months ago have tested. Spending $ 700 on a monitor, which for most people is just a minor upgrade over a $ 360 monitor, is not a good choice, although the $ 700 option offers great performance.
If speed isn't everything for you, $ 700 can be a great viewing experience with benefits in other areas. You can buy the Samsung Odyssey G7 with its 1440p 240Hz VA panel. Or a nice 4K 144Hz display. Or a LG 27GL850 and save some money. For most people, and especially those who aren't just playing esports titles, I would probably choose one of these options.
On the other hand, average buyers are not the target market for this monitor. This is intended for professional players who enter tournaments and play seriously competitive. That performance advantage over a 240Hz display, no matter how small, can mean the difference between winning or losing.
For this audience, the Asus ROG Swift PG259QN is an outstanding display. Higher refresh rate than before. Best reaction times for the clearest movement. G-Sync variable overdrive. IPS display with excellent viewing angles. Elite factory calibration. If you're spending $ 700 to gain a competitive advantage over your fellow gamers in an online environment, this is a sucker move. The only thing that matters is whether the hardware is actually good and actually offers an advantage. And this monitor is more than just “good”.
The PG259QN also gives us a glimpse into the future of monitor technology. While 1080p 360 Hz displays may be out of reach for most buyers these days, the continued innovation in the high-end space is permeating the rest of the market. 240 Hz displays are getting cheaper and better. IPS monitors are getting faster. In a few years, specifications like this will be cheaper as new products are introduced upstairs. This is what we love to see and the performance that comes with the PG259QN has got me excited for the next generations of monitors across the ecosystem.