ASUS PG32UQ Review: 4K 144Hz FreeSync IPS Gaming Monitor

The ASUS PG32UQ is a 32" 4K 144Hz IPS gaming monitor with a wide 100% Adobe RGB color gamut, FreeSync + MBR, and DisplayHDR 600.

Bottom Line

The ASUS PG32UQ is an excellent 32″ 4K 144Hz IPS gaming monitor if you want/need a wide Adobe RGB gamut coverage for vibrant and accurate colors.

It also offers decent response time speed and VRR performance with plenty of additional features, including ELMB-Sync, an ergonomic stand and rich connectivity options.

Design:
(4.7)
Display:
(4.8)
Performance:
(4.7)
Price/Value:
(4.4)
4.7

A lot of people have been waiting for 32″ 4K high refresh rate gaming monitors for quite a while! Now, we’re finally seeing various models with different combinations of specs. The ASUS ROG Swift PG32UQ boasts a wide 100% Adobe RGB color gamut and DisplayHDR 600 support – let’s see if it is the model for you!

Image Quality

Thanks to its QDEF (quantum dot enhanced film) layer, the ASUS PG32UQ has an exceptional color gamut, covering 98% DCI-P3 and 100% Adobe RGB color spaces; that’s equivalent to ~160% sRGB!

In comparison, a standard gamut monitor has 100% sRGB coverage, while the more common wide gamut models cover between 90 and 95% DCI-P3, which is roughly equivalent to ~125 – 135% sRGB and 80 – 90% Adobe RGB.

So, with a monitor that covers the whole Adobe RGB color space, you get much more vibrant and saturated colors, especially when it comes to blue, cyan and green shades.

DCI P3 vs Adobe RGB vs sRGB

This also means that regular content that’s made with the sRGB color space in mind (such as most games and web content) will be over-saturated. Some users prefer this over-saturated look, but you can also clamp the monitor’s native ~160% sRGB gamut down to 100% via the provided sRGB emulation mode.

In this mode, you’ll get accurate sRGB color output with adjustable brightness, but you won’t be able to tweak other settings, such as gamma and color channels.

The ASUS PG32UQ is factory-calibrated at Delta E < 2, which in addition to the 178° wide viewing angles and excellent color consistency provided by IPS technology allows you to use the monitor for professional color-critical work.

Moving on, the 4K UHD resolution looks incredibly sharp even on the 31.5″ viewable screen of the PG32UQ monitor, resulting in a high pixel density of 140 PPI (pixels per inch). You get crisp details and plenty of screen real estate with little (~125%) to no scaling required, depending on your preference.

HDR (High Dynamic Range) is supported with VESA’s DisplayHDR 600 certification.

The monitor’s 450-nit peak brightness gets a boost up to 600-nits for more vivid HDR highlights and there are 16 dimming zones that can individually dim parts of the screen where the image needs to be darker.

As there are only 16 dimming zones, the native 1,000:1 contrast ratio won’t be improved in most scenes. Thanks to the monitor’s wide color gamut and high peak brightness though, HDR scenes that are mostly bright or where the bright and dark objects are far apart will look great – significantly better than SDR.

However, in mostly dark or demanding scenes (dark with a lot of small bright objects), the local dimming is not very helpful and can often be more distracting than beneficial.

So, you’re not getting the true HDR viewing experience like that of the more expensive mini LED or OLED monitors, but at least some HDR scenes will look better than SDR or HDR on HDR-400 displays.

Some backlight bleeding and IPS glow is also noticeable as expected from IPS monitors, but it’s manageable and varies from unit to unit.

Performance

The ASUS PG32UQ has six pixel response time overdrive settings: from Level 0 to Level 5. Whlie ASUS calls it ‘Variable OD’, it’s not the same implementation as the variable overdrive of dedicated G-SYNC modules.

When using the monitor at its maximum refresh rate, you should stick with the Level 4 setting because Level 5 is too aggressive and introduces pixel overshoot.

However, at fixed 60Hz – or when using variable refresh rate (VRR) and your frame rate is below ~90FPS, you should dial back the overdrive to Level 2.

If your frame rate is above ~90FPS, you can use Level 4 again up to the maximum refresh/frame rate.

While the gray to gray pixel response time speed of the PG32UQ is not as quick as that of the fastest IPS monitors, it’s more than good enough for an enjoyable fast-paced gaming experience. You won’t notice any ghosting unless you’re deliberately looking for it in specific scenarios.

Some highly competitive FPS gamers might find the response time to be somewhat slow, but the PG32UQ is not really intended for them anyway due to the big 32″ screen size and demanding 4K UHD resolution.

The VRR range is 48-144Hz over both DisplayPort and HDMI. You can overclock the monitor to 155Hz over DisplayPort, in which case the VRR range is 48-155Hz.

However, not every unit of the monitor will be able to perform flawlessly at an overclocked refresh rate. Moreover, 144Hz is already demanding enough for the monitor’s pixel response time speed, so we recommend sticking with 144Hz.

You’re more likely to notice additional ghosting at 155Hz as opposed to 144Hz than any benefits of the extra 11Hz.

The ASUS ROG Swift PG32UQ has both AMD FreeSync Premium Pro (still pending) and NVIDIA G-SYNC Compatible certifications for smooth VRR performance with compatible GPUs. You can also use FreeSync with the Xbox consoles.

Further, the monitor supports ELMB-Sync, which allows you to use backlight strobing and VRR at the same time. While this technology introduces flickering (invisible to the human eye) and reduces brightness while active, you get better motion clarity in return.

The PG32UQ input lag amounts to around 3ms, which makes for imperceptible delay between your actions and the result you see on the screen.

Features

ASUS ROG Swift PG32UQ Monitor OSD Menu

At the rear of the monitor, you’ll find a directional joystick for easy OSD (On-Screen Display) menu navigation, as well as three hotkeys for shortcuts, a power button, and the ROG logo with customizable and AuraSync-compatible RGB lighting.

Useful gaming features including Shadow Boost (improves visibility in darker scenes by manipulating the gamma curvature), crosshair overlays, various picture presets, on-screen timers and a refresh rate tracker.

You’ll also find some advanced image adjustment tools, such as sharpness (VividPixel), saturation and gamma, as well as the basic brightness, contrast, color temperature and aspect ratio settings.

The Picture in Picture and Picture by Picture modes are available as well.

Finally, the backlight of the monitor is flicker-free (unless ELMB/ELMB-Sync is enabled) and there’s an integrated low-blue light filter.

Design & Connectivity

ASUS ROG Swift PG32UQ Monitor Design

The stand of the monitor is robust and versatile with up to 100mm height adjustment, -5°/20° tilt, +/- 25° swivel and 100x100mm VESA mount compatibility, but you cannot pivot/rotate the screen into a portrait position.

The screen has a light matte anti-glare coating that prevents reflections without added graininess.

Connectivity options include DisplayPort 1.4 with DSC (Display Stream Compression), two HDMI 2.1 ports, a dual-USB 3.0 hub, a headphone jack and two 5W built-in speakers.

On the PS5, the monitor supports 1080p 120Hz and 4K 120Hz 4:2:2 (due to the PS5’s limited 40 Gbps bandwidth over HDMI 2.1). It should also support HDMI 2.1 VRR once Sony releases the PS5 firmware for it.

On the Xbox Series X/S, 1080p 120Hz, 1440p 120Hz and 4K 120Hz modes are supported without any compression. FreeSync works as well.

On PC, 4K is supported up to 155Hz over DisplayPort with visually lossless compression (DSC) while HDMI 2.1 offers 120Hz natively and 144Hz when overclocked.

For DSC, you’ll need NVIDIA Ampere/Turing and AMD Navi or a newer graphics card.

Price & Similar Monitors

The ASUS PG32UQ price amounts to $1,000.

You might want to consider the Gigabyte M32U as well. It doesn’t have a wide color gamut (90% DCI-P3) or as good HDR image quality (DisplayHDR 400), but it’s $200 cheaper.

Related:Gigabyte M32U Review: 4K 144Hz 1ms FreeSync IPS Gaming Monitor

The M32U is also slightly faster, but its overdrive is locked to an unusable setting when the sRGB mode is enabled.

Generally, it’s up to you whether the higher brightness and wider color gamut of the PG32UQ are worth the extra cost.

To learn more about monitors and ensure you’re getting the model most suited for your personal preference, visit our comprehensive and always up-to-date best gaming monitor buyer’s guide.

Conclusion

Overall, the ASUS ROG Swift PG32UQ is a great gaming monitor. Its exceptional Adobe RGB gamut results in vibrant colors, while the big 32″ screen makes for an immersive viewing experience with crisp details thanks to the 4K UHD resolution.

The pixel response time speed is not on par with the fastest IPS models, but it’s quick enough for an enjoyable gaming experience. The certified G-SYNC compatibility along with optional ELMB-Sync takes care of screen tearing and other visual artifacts, though you will need to change the overdrive mode depending on your frame rate.

Finally, HDR is nothing to write home about due to the limited number of dimming zones, but at least it offers some improvement over SDR or the DisplayHDR 400 models.

Some HDR scenes will look great, but we don’t recommend buying the PG32UQ if the HDR viewing experience is one of your main goals; in that case, you’d need to invest in an OLED or one of the high-end mini LED gaming monitors, such as the Samsung Odyssey Neo G9 or the ASUS PG32UQX.

Specifications

Screen Size31.5-inch
Resolution3840×2160 (Ultra HD)
Panel TypeIPS
Aspect Ratio16:9 (Widescreen)
Refresh Rate144Hz (155Hz OC)
Response Time (GtG)Not specified
Response Time (ELMB-Sync)1ms (MPRT)
Adaptive-SyncFreeSync (48-155Hz)
G-SYNC Compatible (48-155Hz)
Speakers2x5W
PortsDisplayPort 1.4, 2x HDMI 2.1
Other PortsHeadphone Jack, 2x USB 3.0
Brightness450 cd/m²
Brightness (HDR)600 cd/m²
Contrast Ratio1000:1 (static)
Colors1.07 billion (8-bit + FRC)
98% DCI-P3, 100% Adobe RGB
HDRDisplayHDR 600
Local Dimming16-zone
VESAYes (100x100mm)

The Pros:

  • High pixel density, consistent colors
  • Wide Adobe RGB color gamut
  • DisplayHDR 600
  • Good response time speed
  • Plenty of features, including VRR + MBR up to 155Hz
  • Ergonomic design and rich connectivity options

The Cons:

  • Design lacks pivot option
  • IPS glow and mediocre contrast ratio (as expected from this panel technology)
  • Some overshoot at low refresh/frame rates when using VRR with the Level 4 overdrive mode

Related Reads

Gigabyte M32U Review
Gigabyte M32U Review: 4K 144Hz 1ms FreeSync IPS Gaming Monitor
Rob Shafer
Rob Shafer

Rob is a software engineer with a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Denver. He now works full-time managing DisplayNinja while coding his own projects on the side.