The Asus ROG Swift PG32UQX is a true, latest generation HDR monitor that we have waited a long time to finally test and test. The PG32UQX is one of the first 32-inch 144 Hz 4K monitors to bring decent gaming specs to a larger screen size – and is one of the few gaming monitors on the market with a locally dimmable mini LED backlight. Give it the correct HDR credentials.
This is one of those displays that is a true flagship, with Asus basically giving everything it can in every area. It is a G-Sync Ultimate display that uses the G-Sync processor from Nvidia and has functions such as variable overdrive, although as a module of the latest generation it also works perfectly with AMD GPUs even with activated adaptive synchronization. It uses a Quantum Dot-optimized LCD panel with 98% DCI-P3 color space coverage. It's DisplayHDR 1400 certified, which means a peak brightness of up to a whopping 1400 nits in HDR mode, and has 1152 backlight zones. And it uses an IPS panel with a nice flat screen.
No feature is left out on paper: large screen, high resolution, high refresh rate, top of the line HDR specs. Buyers should hope that such a display will last for generations of PC hardware. And as comprehensive and high-quality the feature list is, so is the price: It has an MSRP of $ 3,000, although it's not that bad in Australia at $ 3,600, which is about $ 2,500 after tax .
Usually when reviewing a monitor there is inevitably some balance in the performance and price discussion. We don't expect affordable displays to have the best performance, these categories are all about value for money. But when you're spending $ 3,000 on a high-end display, we expect the best of the best, so that's the benchmark we're setting here.
The design Asus is using here is basically a reworking of previous ROG Swift designs that has been slightly modified to accompany the 32-inch 4K panel and mini-LED backlight. It uses the old style ROG stand which is raised in the center and incorporates its light projection function along with copper highlights. The build quality of the legs is nice, made entirely of metal, while the rest of the display is mostly made of plastic for the exterior surfaces.
The back panel continues to use what I would call an aggressive "gamer" design from Asus, which I mentioned earlier that I'm not a huge fan of, although this is of course a matter of personal preference. There is a large ROG logo illuminated with RGB LED lighting along with some patterns and various textures. This is not a subtle design and the overall body of the monitor is quite large.
The upside to being a bit clunky is a very solid stand with little wobble and decent ergonomics, including height, tilt, and swivel support. I would have liked a larger range of height adjustability, as I have the feeling that the maximum height is a bit too short for such a large display and there is also no possibility of using the display in portrait format, although both are supported by a detachable VESA Bracket that is supported.
There are also a couple of unique inclusions. The LiveDash OLED screen in the center of the front bezel consists of a 2-inch display that can be adjusted to show PC information such as temperatures and clock rates or images including animated GIFs. It's one of those cute little gimmicks that companies like to add to high-end products.
Asus also installed a USB port on the top of the monitor, which at first seems a bit strange. The rationale, however, is that game streamers, in combination with the mounting hole, can attach a camera to the top of the display. In addition to the upper USB port, there are two further USB ports in addition to the inputs.
Speaking of display inputs, there is good news and bad news. The good thing is that the DisplayPort connection supports Display Stream Compression (or DSC), which means we get full 4K 144Hz RGB support with no chroma subsampling. This was a major issue with the first wave of 4K 144Hz monitors but has since been fixed. The PG32UQX can run 8-bit + FRC at 4K 144Hz or native 10-bit at up to 4K 120Hz.
The bad news comes in the form of the HDMI connections. We get three HDMI ports but only HDMI 2.0, which means they are limited to 60 Hz with a 4K RGB output. This is a huge disappointment with such a high-end display. If I pay $ 3,000, I really expect the ports to be HDMI 2.1, or at least one port to support HDMI 2.1 so that it has full resolution at 144. can use Hz. We're not even talking about a brand new connector, HDMI 2.1 has been used in televisions for several generations and is of course part of the new Xbox and PlayStation consoles as well as the latest GPUs.
So why blatant omission? This is because the G-Sync module does not support HDMI 2.1. Asus and Nvidia will tell you that it requires using a G-Sync module to get adaptive sync and high frame rates when paired with the FALD backlight, quite a difficult task and why HDR gaming monitors are not so widely used are how many would like to be. Apparently, however, that hard work stops taking into account the latest HDMI spec which, in my opinion, isn't good enough for such an expensive display.
The lack of HDMI 2.1 not only restricts future security, but already restricts the display, as HDMI 2.1-capable devices are on the market. Console owners will need to reduce the experience to 4K 120Hz with chroma subsampling via the HDMI 2.0 port, or stay at 60Hz, although variable frame rates are supported on the Xbox Series X.
The on-screen display can be controlled via an interesting dial arrangement on the lower edge of the display, instead of the traditional direction switch that we are used to from Asus displays. I don't mind the watch face to be honest, I found it pretty easy to navigate through the menus and it's great for adjusting the sliders like brightness and color balance. Here you will find most of the usual Asus functions: frame rate displays, crosshairs, low blue light modes and lots of individual color controls. However, no backlight strobing.
Well, for some response time testing, and it's a straightforward proposition here as the PG32UQX supports three overdrive modes. The off mode is inconspicuous and shows poor native panel performance. An average of 23ms gray-to-gray response time isn't good for 144Hz gaming, and while the overshoot is small, the picture is blurry. I don't expect many players to use this mode.
The normal mode is more acceptable. A response average of 8.77ms is okay, if not as good as I've seen from an IPS panel, and on this particular display, it's really split into two areas. Most of the transitions happen in around 5ms, which is pretty decent. However, there are two sections of poorer performance: any transition that ends in completely white is slower than average; and many transitions that start in a light value and end in a dark value are also very slow here in this section.
We also see some overshoots at closely spaced transitions, but this is not as noticeable in practice. The most noticeable artifact here are the slow fall times, which in the UFO test show up as bright smears. Unfortunately, we don't get a nice, clean picture in this mode, which is reflected in mediocre cumulative deviation numbers.
Extreme mode at 144 Hz isn't better, it's worse. Rather than solving the problem of slow fall times in some areas, Extreme mode simply makes most transitions even faster, resulting in overshoot and noticeable inverse ghosting. I would not recommend using this mode at the maximum refresh rate.
The only usable mode is the normal mode, which thanks to variable overdrive offers a similar performance over the entire update range. Instead of letting the overshoot get out of hand at lower frame rates, the PG32UQX reduces the response time to below 85 Hz to keep the inverse ghosting rate below 30% so that overshoot artifacts are less noticeable when gaming. At lower frame rates, you can also see the problem of slow fall times, which reduce to a point where they are negligible at 60Hz. The by-product of this, however, is poor overall performance at 60Hz, you can see an average response time of 11ms here.
As a result, the PG32UQX has a single overdrive mode experience, we get 70% update rate compliance at 144Hz in normal mode, along with a managed overshoot at 60Hz so you basically keep the overdrive setting in standard normal mode and forget about it. Unfortunately, overall, though, this mode isn't all that amazing, with some of the issues we've talked about.
Compared to other displays, the response time results of the PG32UQX are inconspicuous. With its maximum refresh rate in the best overdrive mode, this display offers an experience of the last generation, behind today's best IPS monitors. You can see that the PG32UQX is more in line with a 4K 144Hz display like the Nixeus NX-EDG274K than the current leader in the LG 27GN950: the LG model is 34% faster and also has less overshoot.
Across all tested refresh rates, the PG32UQX does not do as well on average and again delivers a similar performance as IPS panels of the previous generation, which are now used in more budget-friendly models like the Nixeus or Pixio PX277 Prime as a 1440p option. The performance is no better than that of the Acer Predator X27, the previous flagship G-Sync Ultimate 4K 144Hz monitor that launched in 2018 and is way behind the LG 27GN950.
What really illustrates this problem are the cumulative deviation results, which measure how close the monitor's response time is to the ideal instantaneous response, and well quantify the balance between overshoot and response times. The PG32UQX clearly lags behind the current generation of IPS panels, which deliver a cumulative deviation in the range of 500 to 600, around 50% better than the PG32UQX. It actually does worse in our tests than the Predator X27, a monitor we tested again just a few weeks ago, which is a remarkably poor result for a high-end product.
This is all due to those slow fall-off times, the artifacts caused by the problem are visible and prevent the PG32UQX from keeping up with the best IPS monitors today. And this metric is a great way to quantify that: the PG32UQX has motion artifacts that the other monitors don't.
Performance in the dark isn't that big of an issue so you won't see much smudging in the dark despite some slow fall times, certainly not nearly the level of the worst VA panels.
With a fixed 120 Hz, the PG32UQX is again one step behind the best monitors on the market today. It doesn't have nearly as much overshoot as the Acer Predator X27, which is an improvement, but response times are still noticeably slower than the 27GN950 and are more in line with mid-range or entry-level displays.
At 60 Hz, the overshoot is small thanks to the variable overdrive, but the reduction in response performance damages this display and makes it one of the weakest monitors we have tested and which is way behind the 27GN950.
The input latency is acceptable given the response time results, with almost no processing lag. The only elements holding this display back are the 144Hz refresh rate – 240Hz monitors have better input lag, of course – as well as the slower response times. In terms of power consumption, as a G-Sync product with FALD backlighting, the power consumption is higher than most other monitors that use simpler backlight designs that tend to be more efficient.
Color space: Asus ROG Swift PG32UQX – D65-P3
Motion performance may be disappointing, but color performance in general is not. The PG32UQX has a very large color space, which in our tests is 96% of the DCI-P3 color space, along with 100% Adobe RGB coverage. This makes the monitor ideal for productive work in both the printing and video sectors that require one or the other of these wide color gamuts. Total recommendation In 2020, coverage is 82%, which is as good as other current high-end IPS panels from AU Optronics like the one we saw on the PG329Q.
Despite such a large color space, Asus calibrated this display correctly in the factory and delivered it with the sRGB terminal (or sRGB emulation mode) activated by default. This means that when viewing standard content such as web pages, movies or YouTube videos in SDR mode, you won't notice any oversaturation right out of the box. This is exactly how monitor manufacturers should use wide-gamut panels, since most content today is still created for normal sRGB or Rec.709 displays: it should be sRGB by default, with the option to enable a wide-gamut mode, and that's exactly what Asus did, kudos to them.
Regarding the accuracy numbers, in our saturation sweeps we see a deltaE 2000 average result below 2.0 and deITP around 4 which is very good and this carries over to the ColorChecker results and shows only a small difference between what the monitor outputs and what is exactly. Grayscale results are not that good, there was a slight tint on my device, but reasonable compliance with the sRGB gamma curve.
This means that the PG32UQX has a significantly better accuracy of the ColorChecker ex works compared to other monitors. Most of the displays here have a wide color space, and almost none of them limit that color space to sRGB at the factory. The PG32UQX does this and is thus miles better than its competitors. The grayscale accuracy is more in the midfield, by no means a bad result, but it could be a bit tighter ex works.
OSD optimized performance
Fortunately, although sRGB mode is enabled by default, there are no limits to this mode. This allows you to easily adjust the brightness and color balance for a more accurate result. And that's what I did, I was able to get a deltaE average of less than 2.0 in all of our three tests without using an ICC profile, an excellent result and exactly what I like to see from premium monitors.
Calibrated color performance
When fully calibrating the display with DisplayCAL, I was able to improve the performance slightly again. The main reason you would want to do this on the PG32UQX is not necessarily for sRGB content, but rather for content with a wide color gamut. The color space is so large that neither P3 nor Adobe RGB are immediately accurate, but using an ICC profile improves this a lot in properly color-managed apps. You can see my P3 calibration results right here and it's very good. I would expect it to be even better for Adobe RGB. So if you are thinking of buying this display for gaming and content creation, it would be a great choice.
The brightness in SDR mode is just over 500 nits in my tests, which is much higher than most people think is necessary, but high enough to cover all use cases. The minimum brightness is also great at just 40 cd / m². So when viewing web pages in the dark, you can turn the display all the way down to reduce eye strain.
Here is a look at the native contrast ratio of the IPS panel with disabled local dimming. Here we achieve a really good result with 1300: 1, very decent for an IPS, but still well behind VA panels. We'll talk about contrast with local dimming turned on shortly, but that number is still important as, for creative or productive work, I'd probably recommend turning off the variable backlight just to avoid small amounts of bloom or haloing. With a good result, this is where you can turn off the variable backlight without having to go back to a terrible contrast ratio, although I should note that the variable backlight is on by default even in standard SDR mode. There is no significant change in accuracy between turning the backlight on or off.
The PG32UQX we tested had good display uniformity, but nothing special. One of the main problems with a full array backlight is that so many LEDs individually illuminate part of the display compared to only a few in most traditional edge-lit LCD designs. This means that for high uniformity you need all of these 1000+ LEDs to output exactly the same color, which is a non-trivial problem as not every LED is exactly the same and there is always a certain manufacturing tolerance.
So in the end, my monitor was fairly uniform for the most part, but with a few areas that were noticeably different hues. In the upper middle left area I measured a slight bluish tint relative to the center, and in the lower right there was a light red hue. This is not noticeable when viewing content or games, but if you just look at a perfectly consistent image – like the background of a web page or a blank document – you can tell. Ultimately, this is just the reality of current FALD monitors, which are designed more for content consumption than for perfect studio-quality uniformity.
HDR test HD
The last part of this test deals of course with the HDR functionality. A quick look at the HDR checklist shows that the monitor is actually true HDR. It has a high peak brightness of over 1000 nits, a large number of local dimming zones to achieve a high level of contrast, and a wide color space with 10-bit support. Everything is there on paper here to display HDR content as intended.
When using this display, it was immediately noticeable that the locally dimmable background lighting with 1152 zone full array is significantly better than that of earlier 384-zone panels such as the Acer X27. The triple number of backlight zones significantly reduces blooming and haloing in the most demanding HDR situations, such as B. tiny bright objects surrounded by darkness. On the X27, the halos were noticeable and clear and, depending on the content, could affect the experience. On the PG32UQX, the halo is much smaller and less noticeable, to the point where I couldn't really notice it on most of the real-world content.
That doesn't mean the backlight is perfect. Punishing HDR scenes like star fields or intricately detailed lights sometimes still results in low blooming. This is not an OLED, which is really the only type of consumer panel that can handle this type of content. I've also found that the backlight struggles a bit with defined edges, especially in desktop applications: if an edge is halfway between two backlight zones, you don't get a defined light and defined dark area, and the mouse could do a small amount also cause haloing in some situations. But again, these issues don't really occur in games or while watching HDR videos, this is significantly better than previous FALD monitors and in my opinion delivers a great HDR gaming experience.
The PG32UQX in my test is extremely bright, the brightest monitor I have tested so far. It can last over 1200 nits with a completely white window showing up, which penalizes your eyes at close range. That rose to almost 1,800 nits in a full-screen flash, well above other monitors, and surpassed the display's own 1,400 nits rating. Bright flashes of explosions are mighty impressive at this brightness.
The PG32UQX is also able to maintain a much higher level of brightness than other monitors for small areas, reaching up to 1742 cd / m² when viewing a window of 10%, which is higher than any other display. At no point have I measured sustained brightness below 1200 nits, for most content I would say that peaks of 1500 nits or more are achievable, which is fantastic for HDR.
As for contrast, the PG32UQX reached the limits of my tools in full screen mode with sustained contrast, as the backlight can dim down to a very low level. It doesn't shut down completely, but it gets so low my tools can't measure it, resulting in a dynamic contrast ratio of at least 100,000: 1 and likely north of 400,000: 1.
However, when looking at HDR, we are more concerned about the contrast seen within a single frame so that we can see both light and dark areas on the screen at the same time. In the best case, where a light and dark area are separated, the PG32UQX delivers excellent figures again. The FALD backlight is extremely effective in these situations, much more effective than the Predator X27, which couldn't dim its screen as much. It also easily outperforms most DisplayHDR 600 monitors, like the Alienware AW2721D, which have inadequate local dimming with edge lighting. The PG32UQX is probably at least 10 times better in this test than an edge-lit display with a contrast of 20,000: 1 or less.
Our near worst-case test for HDR has a light and dark area close together, which measures a display's ability to effectively darken dark areas. Edge-lit, dimmed displays are deplorable in this test and quickly fall to or below their native contrast ratio, which emphasizes that in some situations edge-lit panels have no functional dimming at all. The PG32UQX is now the best monitor we tested in this metric and, thanks to local dimming, delivers around four times its native contrast ratio. A contrast ratio of 5000: 1 isn't mind-boggling, but it gives great results in most true HDR scenes.
Finally, I have an HDR checkerboard test for contrast, which is basically as bad as it gets. Some monitors do terribly in this test, especially for the low-brightness checkerboard pattern, as the backlight simply cannot get dark enough to provide effective contrast. Again, displays without full array local dimming perform so poorly that they're basically not HDR monitors at all, and depending on how they handle HDR, they can sometimes look worse than SDR.
However, the PG32UQX flexes its muscles here, with the contrast only decreasing slightly compared to the previous graphic. The 1152 zone backlighting is also significantly more effective than previous 384 zone designs, and I think this table illustrates the haloing differences well. The contrast of the Acer X27 is no better than the native, even with activated FALD backlighting, while the narrower possibility of darkening the screen with the backlighting of the PG32UQX provides over 4x better contrast.
What we learned
The Asus ROG Swift PG32UQX is one of those monitors that is pretty hard to come to a conclusion because the results are mixed so depending on your preferences, you can think this display is from great to terrible. Personally, I'm sitting somewhere in the middle, which is ultimately disappointing for such an expensive product.
There are many positive things. The HDR experience is the best I've seen from a consumer gaming monitor so far. It's a noticeable improvement over the previous generation of displays that didn't use mini-LED backlights. The PG32UQX gets very bright and has great local dimming, resulting in a true HDR experience that can display dazzling lights and dark shadows on the screen at the same time. The only way to get better HDR at this size is to grab a professional OLED, but then not only do you have to pay more money, but you also have to sacrifice the 144Hz refresh rate for 60Hz. In this class, the PG32UQX really delivers the best HDR for gamers.
Asus also got to the heart of most aspects of the color quality. The panel creates a large color space with large coverage of both DCI-P3 and Adobe RGB. It has an excellent sRGB mode that is ready to use right out of the box to perfectly display normal SDR content without worrying about oversaturation. The factory calibration is also generally above average, the panel's native contrast ratio is decent, and the brightness range is fantastic. It's really hard to complain about how this panel looks when viewing SDR or HDR images, it's top notch.
But all of this has been let down by poor movement clarity and response time. This panel is simply a generation behind the latest IPS displays in overall speed, creating some motion artifacts that today's fastest panels don't have. The performance we're getting is similar to 2018 when the first wave of G-Sync Ultimate displays hit the market, but now it's 2021 and we've moved on to better and faster panels, including the LG 27GN950 at 4K , and even Asus’s own PG279QM with 1440p. The PG32UQX feels a bit stuck in the past in this area.
I suspect some of this is due to the display's long development cycle. Asus announced this display back in early 2020 and has probably been working on it for years in collaboration with Nvidia and AU Optronics. Unfortunately, the long time until the market was launched meant that this range of services was displaced.
I also consider the lack of HDMI 2.1 to be a massive flaw. When you buy a monitor like this, you want it to last a very long time and support the hardware not only of today but also for years to come. HDMI 2.1 is no longer a future-proof specification, but a prerequisite for some devices today in order to get the most out of the capabilities of this display. I expect the best hardware, features, and support in this price range and Asus doesn't offer that if HDMI 2.1 can't be integrated.
This puts the PG32UQX in a difficult position. It's the best monitor we have for HDR gaming today, but it still feels compromised in a way that is unacceptable when the price is around $ 3,000. So I'm having a hard time making a recommendation based on that, but what else do you recommend for players with large bags who want that cute HDR goodness? I think this is an indication of the poor state of the modern HDR monitor landscape, I was really hoping for more progress.
The only real alternative right now is to grab a full HDR enabled TV, which is impractical for many due to its size. Aber so etwas wie das LG C1 OLED, das wir in Kürze testen werden, scheint mir zum halben Preis eine weitaus überzeugendere Option zu sein – wenn Sie die 48-Zoll-Größe bewältigen! Wir werden das demnächst im Detail untersuchen, um zu sehen, ob es eine Überlegung wert ist.