Asus ROG Swift PG32UQX

RRP $ 2,999.00

"The Asus ROG Swift PG32UQX is a brilliant PC gaming device, but its shortcomings are hard to swallow."

advantages

  • Mind-blowing HDR performance

  • Extremely high peak brightness

  • Excellent colors

  • Built-in thread for camera mounting

  • Fast, fluid play

disadvantage

  • No HDMI 2.1

  • Has audible fan

  • Still not a perfect HDR experience

  • Expensive

The ROG Swift PG32UQX was first teased about two years ago and has hyped the PC gaming community unlike any gaming monitor in recent history. You will find forum threads full of excitement. And for a good reason.

According to Asus, the ROG Swift PG32UQX offers overwhelming HDR performance unlike any other monitor currently on the market. In addition, it was the first 32-inch 4K gaming monitor based on mini-LED technology with full-array local dimming (FALD) for HDR lighting with 1,152 individual zones and a peak brightness of up to 1,400 nits.

The catch, of course, was the price. $ 2,999 is more than most complete PC gaming setups, including the PC, monitor, and peripherals. Therefore, it is only realistic to expect absolute and absolute perfection. The ROG Swift PG32UQX does a lot of things amazingly well, but it's not perfect.

design

Niels Broekhuijsen / Digital Trends

The ROG Swift PG32UQX is quite a large monitor. That's what is expected from a 32-inch display, but the PG32UQX is slightly larger than most 32-inch panels because of its FALD lighting panel, which gives the display a noticeable thickness.

The design style is also quite aggressive, whereby Asus does not shy away from any chance that the PG32UQX is recognized as a Republic of Gamers product. The stand of the monitor has the new but classic tripod design with a downward-facing lighting stamp, the back of the display has strong shapes and a huge, RGB-illuminated Asus ROG logo, and the display's large chin has a small OLED panel in it to display entertaining pictures or system information such as B. CPU temperature.

Niels Broekhuijsen / Digital Trends

Indeed, there is a lot to discover here. However, if styling isn't your thing, it's easy to slide the back of the monitor toward a wall, replace the stand with a VESA mount, and then that's all that's left of the display's chin, which may look a bit aggressive .

The tiny OLED display is pretty nifty though – I doubt anyone will mind, especially because it's customizable.

The display's power brick is external, which I think is a good thing because otherwise the PG32UQX would have been even bigger, and there is a thread on top of the monitor for inserting a camera mount – I've tried and this monitor will happily hold mine mirrorless camera with a large lens. Streamer, do you get this?

At the top right there is even a USB port to which you can connect your webcam or camera without having to fumble around behind the monitor.

Connections and controls

Niels Broekhuijsen / Digital Trends

The ROG Swift PG32UQX offers a variety of connectivity options, but it is not complete. There are three HDMI 2.0 ports, a single DisplayPort 1.4a port, a three-port USB hub, and a headphone jack.

But HDMI 2.1 is actually missing, and that's a big one. HDMI 2.1 is now the standard for multimedia connectivity, with all 2020 and 2021 GPUs and consoles having the interface. Without them, your Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5 can't run at 4K 120Hz with full color support, and that's unacceptable for a high-end 4K monitor in 2021 – especially one that costs $ 3,000. Most new gaming laptops even ship with support for HDMI 2.1.

HDMI 2.1 is missing, and that's unacceptable for a high-end 4K monitor in 2021.

There is an opposite side to this argument, namely that there are hardly any PC monitors with HDMI 2.1 at all. That, and the official Nvidia G-Sync module has not yet been developed to support HDMI 2.1. Still, I find it inexcusable on a monitor of this price and caliber. If you want to use the PG32UQX with a modern console, keep in mind that you are limited to 60Hz or have to sacrifice color: you will never have the best experience.

The display's OSD has somewhat weird controls with a spinning wheel in the center and a button on each side, but it's easy to navigate and most of the settings you need are there.

Niels Broekhuijsen / Digital Trends

However, there is no brightness control in HDR mode, which is a problem. One can argue whether this matters as the brightness in HDR is supposed to be controlled by the PC and not the monitor, but I still prefer to see some kind of brightness control at all so that the basic brightness for the room is set to a comfortable level can be level.

There is a fan

Before packing up, there is one more drawback worth mentioning: the display has a fan. It turns on the moment the display does, and even though it's not loud, it's audible. This isn't a problem if you're using headphones or playing soft music, but it can be annoying if you enjoy a quiet room and have an otherwise quiet computer.

Mini LED and HDR

If there's a reason to buy the PG32UQX, it's mini LED and its HDR performance. I'll start with the good things: when using the right HDR content, the visual results the PG32UQX can produce are simply amazing. As if the monitor wasn't worth the price all the time, suddenly it was, almost.

LCD panels cannot block all of the light even when they are black, so the ability to dim selected areas (HDR on PC monitors, explained) is necessary to achieve full black levels. By dimming selected areas, the display can also increase the peak brightness in a small area without overly illuminating the entire display. Most PC monitors are edge-lit, with a lamp illuminating the entire display. On "better" HDR monitors, this edge lighting is divided into at least eight zones that illuminate selected columns of the display as required.

As you can imagine, this illuminated pillar effect is undesirable, which is why manufacturers are experimenting with mini-LEDs: a lighting technology that does not illuminate the edge of the display, but rather an array with a large number of individually controllable LEDs placed directly behind the board. This lighting technology is called Full-Array Local Dimming (FALD), and in the case of the PG32UQX these are 1152 zones that offer complex local dimming control.

In a certain way, FALD actually eliminates the major disadvantages of IPS panels: Backlight bleeding and IPS glow are no longer a problem, since the affected area is simply not illuminated when the display is black. The static contrast ratio is also no longer so relevant, since the area would simply not be illuminated if a black image was displayed.

Niels Broekhuijsen / Digital Trends

Individual zones can reach a brightness of up to 1,400 nits when displaying highlights, and although I couldn't test that number due to the limitations of my tester, I'll use Asus & # 39; Word on it: Bright lights, sun, fire and others The lights really shot from the screen in almost breathtaking brightness, which was really a sight when an area to the left of this object was completely dark and showed an inky black night sky.

This kind of realistic brightness control is exactly what HDR is all about, and the PG32UQX does more than just deliver. The PG32UQX is a pleasure especially in games with higher frame rates and activated G-Sync. It's not the fastest panel, but it's a lot fast for non-competitive gameplay.

Launch a game that does HDR right and you will be in for a spectacle.

But the technology is not perfect. The IPS panel is only capable of blocking that much light, and although 1,152 zones are orders of magnitude superior to an 8-zone edge-lit display (which barely feels like HDR after the PG32UQX), they're still visible zones, in particular on darker scenes. Simple desktop use is the worst culprit for this – take a black or dark background and hover your mouse over it: you'll see a circular halo of blue light nervously walking around the mouse as it jumps between zones. Or take a white dialog box on a dark background, the edges of which have a strange yellow sheen. This effect can get used to, but it is difficult to ignore and is always reminded of how imperfect the technique is.

However, desktop use is not a really fair test, as individual elements are often much too small for the zones. It doesn't address the higher peak brightness levels, and Microsoft's HDR implementation has yet to be refined. However, the halo effect is far less pronounced in dynamic content such as games, movies, or TV shows. This is because individual bright elements are often larger, but also because there is simply a lot more movement going on on the screen.

Launch a game that does HDR right, go into the settings and properly calibrate the maximum darkness and maximum brightness so that the game engine properly addresses the monitor's HDR brightness sensitivity and you will be in for a spectacle. Trust me, you will forget about the halo effect in games and videos.

picture quality

Thanks to its IPS panel, the PG32UQX has great color performance, which, coupled with the 4K resolution at the 32-inch size, make it a dream as an editing display, especially if you are producing HDR content.

We tested the monitor in SDR mode because our tester does not support HDR and the color performance of the panel is impressive. At the beginning of the test, I came across sRGB color clamping, which set color coverage at a perfect 100% of sRGB, which is a much appreciated feature: unclamped sRGB colors can often look oversaturated on monitors with wide color gamut, so it's nice to be around to see the inclusion of this limiter.

When the terminal is switched off, the panel covered a decent 100% of the AdobeRGB and 97% of the DCI-P3 color space, with a Delta-E (difference to the real value) of 1.77 for color accuracy. Any Delta E below 2 is considered good enough for professional work. The calibration of the display did not bring any notable improvements, but the performance out of the box is quite good.

Gamma performance was perfect too, although I wasn't impressed with the panel's native static contrast ratio. While IPS panels, especially flat samples, generally achieve a result of around 1000: 1, the best recorded contrast ratio I got when testing this sample was 810: 1, which is what I would expect from a curved IPS panel, that due to a bit more bleeding to the print. But that's a flat screen.

Niels Broekhuijsen / Digital Trends

However, this was tested without HDR and switched off the variable backlighting of the panel. We test in this way to properly assess the panel's native contrast ratio without automatic backlight changes affecting the result. With the variable backlight on, the contrast ratio was much better, producing really deep blacks even in SDR mode – and I think most users of this monitor will want to keep the variable backlight on. The only exception would be for color-critical work, as dimmed backlighting causes color shifts in the adjacent areas.

This begs the question of how important it really is that the panel's contrast performance isn't great, which is a difficult question to answer. On the one hand, it shouldn't matter with this type of backlighting, but a panel with better static contrast performance would block the light better and thus fight the haloing of the PG32UQX better.

Keep in mind that contrast performance varies widely from sample to sample, and since I have a feeling that this sample performs at the lower end of the spectrum while other reports indicate much higher contrast ratios, you are likely to be luckier.

How about OLED as an alternative?

If you're looking for that perfect HDR experience that doesn't halo under any circumstances, you're probably thinking of something like, "How about an OLED panel instead?" you for it. In fact, that's a good idea, but OLED panels have their own dangers.

The attraction would be that each pixel is its own light source. One pixel could be illuminated with peak brightness and the ones directly next to it pitch black. No halo, just pure and perfect brightness control over the entire panel. HDR would look great on the Windows desktop and in all movies and games without sacrificing visual quality.

But there are a few catches. First and foremost, there are no OLED PC gaming monitors, and the smallest OLED TVs are around 48 inches diagonal right now. This is a little too big to be used on a desk as a PC monitor, especially without a bulge. They're all shiny too, burn-in is a potential risk, especially with the amount of static content that affects PC desktop usage, and to reduce burn-in, peak brightness is also limited so you never quite get the "I have to" get look the other way because it's so bright "dive in."

Ultimately, the choice between mini-LED and OLED is a concession: which one you will tolerate and which one you will not. However, if you're wondering whether to get the PG32UQX or a content-consuming OLED TV, then the PG32UQX is probably not for you – an OLED TV might not last as long, but it costs less than half – and so do I. I'll bet the PG32UQX depreciates in value faster than an OLED reaches $ 0 in value.

Our opinion

The Asus ROG Swift PG32UQX is an amazing device. With an array of 1,152 mini-LED lighting zones, it creates an HDR experience that cannot be compared with any other PC monitor currently available on the market. There aren't many 32-inch 4K gaming monitors on the market anyway, so sitting in front of one that is not only this size but also has FALD lighting is like sitting in front of a unicorn. At least at this point, the PG32UQX offers the most breathtaking HDR performance available on a PC without relying on an OLED TV.

The PG32UQX is at the forefront of what PC monitor technology can do these days, and if you're looking for an HDR spectacle for your desk, it's the tool for the job. But like any cutting edge technology, it's far from perfect and in that regard the PG32UQX feels a bit like a prototype: there's no HDMI 2.1 so it's not exactly future proof and I feel the mini LED tech as it looks well now, will soon be out of date due to new developments Add to that the usual panel performance lottery, no basic HDR brightness controls and an annoying fan, and it quickly becomes a very difficult proposition to spend $ 2,999 on a monitor.

Are there alternatives?

No. There are currently no other PC monitors that offer fast 4K gaming performance paired with FALD and this color performance. Your other best choice is an OLED TV like LG's 48-inch C1 model, but it comes with its own tradeoffs, assuming you have enough desk space at all.

How long it will take?

From a functional point of view, I don't see any reason why the ROG Swift PG32UQX couldn't last for at least five years. But between the lack of HDMI 2.1 and the rapidly evolving alternative display technologies, you'll likely itch to replace it long before it breaks, especially if you're someone who loves to be at the forefront of technology.

Should I buy it?

For most players, no. It has a few shortcomings that are guaranteed to be a deal breaker for large groups of buyers, especially at this price point.

If you have deep pockets and just want the best HDR gaming monitor you can buy right now, the ROG Swift PG32UQX is as good as it gets just to experience it, but I don't want to own it .

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