ASUS PG32UQX Review: 4K 144Hz G-SYNC Ultimate Gaming Monitor

The ASUS PG32UQX is a 32" 4K 144Hz IPS gaming monitor with a mini LED backlight, 1152-zone FALD, DisplayHDR 1400, and G-SYNC Ultimate.

Bottom Line

The ASUS PG32UQX offers an unprecedented HDR gaming experience for a monitor thanks to its 1152-zone full-array local dimming solution and mini LED backlight with quantum dots.

It boasts VESA’s DisplayHDR 1400 and NVIDIA’s G-SYNC Ultimate certifications, ensuring both top-tier HDR image quality and impeccable performance. The price, however, is not as appealing but that’s understandable given that it’s the absolute high-end premium product.

Design:
(4.7)
Display:
(4.8)
Performance:
(4.6)
Price/Value:
(3.5)
4.4

The ASUS PG32UQX is a 32″ 4K 144Hz gaming monitor based on an IPS panel.

What differentiates it from most monitors currently available is the use of a mini LED backlight and an 1152-zone full-array local dimming solution.

This allows for a stellar peak brightness of over 1,400-nits and a high contrast ratio for the ‘true’ HDR viewing experience, while NVIDIA’s G-SYNC Ultimate certification ensures smooth HDR performance even while gaming.

Of course, all of this quickly adds up to the price, making it one of the most expensive gaming monitors available. Is it worth the money? Let’s find out!

Image Quality

The ASUS ROG Swift PG32UQX features a 4K UHD IPS panel with a QDEF (quantum dot enhanced film) layer for true 10-bit color depth support, a wide 98% DCI-P3 and 99% Adobe RGB color gamut (equivalent to ~160% sRGB), Delta E < 2 factory-calibration, and 178° wide viewing angles.

Right out of the box, the monitor is actually in its sRGB emulation mode which clamps its native ~160% sRGB gamut to ~100% for the accurate representation of SDR content.

For more saturated colors, you just need to change the ‘Display SDR Input’ to ‘Wide Gamut’ under ‘Image’ settings in the OSD (On-Screen Display) menu.

Sadly, there are no separate modes for DCI-P3 and Adobe RGB, so if you want to use the screen for professional color-critical work, the monitor does have the capabilities – but you’ll need a colorimeter to profile it for color-managed applications.

The mini LED backlight allows the monitor to achieve exceptionally high brightness of over 1600-nits for HDR content, thus earning VESA’s top-tier DisplayHDR 1400 certification. With SDR content, peak brightness amounts to 500-nits.

The ASUS PG32UQX has an 1152-zone full-array local dimming (FALD) implementation.

Related:What Is LED Local Dimming?

Basically, there are 1152 zones in the screen, which can individually dim parts of the image that needs to be dark without greatly affecting parts of the image that should remain bright – effectively increasing the contrast ratio and improving the viewing experience.

As a result, you get a truly incredible HDR picture quality where you can simultaneously have both bright highlights and deep blacks – in addition to the vibrant colors and crisp details provided by the monitor’s high resolution and wide color gamut.

However, as there are over 8 million pixels and ‘only’ 1152 dimming zones, not every pixel can be individually controlled like on OLEDs. So, in some scenarios, light from illuminated objects can bleed into the surrounding dimmed zones thus creating the halo or bloom effect.

This is most noticeable in scenarios where local dimming shouldn’t be used (and it can be disabled). For instance, when moving a tiny white cursor across a dark background.

Some scenes are particularly demanding though, and you will be able to notice blooming – a night sky or space full of stars is the worst-case scenario for the ASUS PG32UQX as some parts of the sky will look brighter than the rest due to the halos of stars.

In addition, as this is an IPS panel display, some IPS glow and backlight bleeding (intensity will vary across different units) will be visible too, which might take away from the viewing experience in a dark room. It’s a lot less noticeable than on an average IPS monitor thanks to the FALD system though.

Overall, you get an amazing HDR image quality, but some scenes might break your immersion due to the blooming. Keep in mind that an OLED display at half the price offers infinite contrast ratio with no glowing, bleeding, or blooming of any kind.

Of course, OLEDs have other disadvantages.

Firstly, the peak brightness is not nearly as high, and secondly, there’s a risk of permanent image burn-in. They’re also only available in 48″ form factor, though 43″ and 32″ OLED gaming screens are on the horizon.

Performance

Moving on, the ASUS PG32UQX has imperceptible input lag of just ~3ms.

The pixel response time speed, however, is not as perfect. There are three overdrive options: Off, Normal, and Extreme. The ‘Normal’ option is the best one across the entire refresh rate range as it offers the best balance between ghosting and inverse ghosting.

While there’s no eye-catching dark level smearing usually associated with slow VA panel gaming monitors, some trailing is noticeable with fast-paced content, though it will not bother most users – it’s just that the PG32UQX is not as fast as the modern IPS displays we’re used to.

Competitive gamers might find it a bit bothersome, but this monitor really isn’t aimed at competitive gaming anyway.

The dedicated G-SYNC module provides a variable refresh rate (VRR) for compatible GPUs, which ensures that there’s no screen tearing or stuttering up to 144FPS.

Related:What Is G-SYNC And What Does It Do?

This is the first G-SYNC module with DSC 1.2 (Display Stream Compression) support over DisplayPort 1.4, so you can enjoy 4K UHD resolution up to 144Hz with 10-bit color depth without any noticeable compression artifacts.

It also allows VRR to be used with AMD cards over DisplayPort. Over HDMI, FreeSync is not supported, but VRR works with the Xbox Series X up to 120Hz.

The backlight of the monitor is flicker-free as it doesn’t use PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation) to regulate brightness, so you don’t have to worry about headaches caused by prolonged use of the screen if you’re sensitive to flickering.

Features

ASUS PG32UQX OSD Menu Layout

Beneath the bottom bezel of the screen, you’ll find three hotkeys in addition to a dial for navigation through the menu. It takes some time getting used to, but it’s intuitive and the menu is well-organized.

There’s also a small 2-inch ‘LiveDash’ OLED panel on the bottom bezel that can display system parameters (GPU/CPU temperature, etc.), monitor features (such as which picture preset is active or the refresh tracker), and custom gifs. It can also be disabled.

Additionally, Aura Sync RGB is supported, so you can synchronize your RGB LEDs with the logo projector at the base or the ROG logo at the rear of the monitor.

Other gaming features include Dark Boost (improves visibility in darker gamers by altering the gamma curvature), GameVisual (various picture presets, such as FPS, RTS/RPG, Cinema, Racing, and Scenery), and GamePlus (custom crosshair overlays, timers, and a refresh rate tracker).

Standard image adjustment tools are available as well as the more advanced settings, including 6-axis hue/saturation, eight color temperature presets, and five gamma presets (from 1.8 to 2.6, plus selectable sRGB or BT.1886 gamma curve).

There’s also a low-blue light filter and a light sensor that can adjust the screen’s brightness according to ambient lighting.

You can also change the speed of the variable backlight (Fast, Medium, and Gradual – or Off), which we recommend leaving at ‘Fast’ for gaming.

Design & Connectivity

ASUS ROG Swift PG32UQX Monitor Design

The ASUS PG32UQX features the recognizable ROG design with a sturdy and versatile stand. You get up to 70mm of height adjustment, +/- 20° swivel, -5°/20° tilt, and 100x100mm VESA mount compatibility, but no pivot.

Further, the screen has a light anti-glare matte coating which prevents reflections without adding any graininess. Note that the monitor also has a cooling fan, but it’s fairly silent.

Connectivity options include DisplayPort 1.4 with DSC, three HDMI 2.0 ports, a dual-USB 3.0 hub, and a headphone jack. At the top of the screen, you’ll also find an extra USB 2.0 port and a tripod socket for easy webcam mounting.

While the monitor doesn’t have HDMI 2.1, it does support 4K 120Hz for the Xbox Series X when using 4:2:0 chroma subsampling. It also supports VRR up to 120Hz at 1080p, 1440p, and 2160p on the XSX. On the PS5, only 1080p 120Hz is supported.

Using chroma subsampling will make text look a bit smudgy when it’s displayed on colored backgrounds, but it should be perfectly fine for gaming, especially if you’re sitting a bit further from the screen.

Price & Similar Monitors

The ASUS ROG Swift PG32UQX price amounts to $3,000, which is steep. However, it is not only the first 32″ 4K 144Hz gaming monitor available, it’s also the first monitor with a mini LED backlight and such complex FALD implementation.

If you want the best HDR gaming experience available on a monitor, the PG32UQX is the one to get.

As we’ve already mentioned, it’s also worth considering LG’s CX or C1 48″ OLED TV that goes for half the price yet offers smoother performance due to instantaneous pixel response time and better viewing experience in dark rooms thanks to its infinite contrast ratio. However, it doesn’t get nearly as bright, you have to be careful with burn-in, and the 48″ size is simply too much for most users.

Alternatively, you might want to wait for LG’s upcoming 43″ OLED TVs. AU Optronics is also developing a 32″ 4K 144HZ OLED panel, though we don’t have any information about when a monitor using that panel might get released or how much it’ll cost.

Related:New Monitors In 2021: What To Expect

ASUS will also release a 27″ version of this monitor at some point, the ASUS ROG Swift PG27UQX.

The Acer Predator X32 and the ViewSonic XG321UG are also expected this year; they’ll use the same panel as the PG32UQX, so there might be some changes in pricing and features, but the exact release date of these two models is still unknown.

Visit our best gaming monitor buyer’s guide for more great monitors and information.

Conclusion

All in all, the ASUS PG32UQX is an amazing gaming monitor – expensive, but amazing!

Some minor haloing/blooming is noticeable in certain scenes, but nothing extreme. If you’ve got the money and want the best HDR gaming experience on a monitor, the PG32UQX is your best choice by far, at least at the moment.

Specifications

Screen Size31.5-inch
Resolution3840×2160 (UHD)
Panel TypeIPS
Aspect Ratio16:9 (Widescreen)
Refresh Rate144Hz
Response Time4ms (GtG)
Adaptive-SyncG-SYNC Ultimate, FreeSync (30-144Hz)
PortsDisplayPort 1.4, 3x HDMI 2.0
Other PortsHeadphone Jack, 2x USB 3.0, USB 2.0
Brightness500 cd/m²
Brightness (HDR)1400 cd/m²
Contrast Ratio1000:1 (static)
Colors1.07 billion (true 10-bit)
98% DCI-P3, 99% Adobe RGB
HDRDisplayHDR 1400
BacklightMini LED, 1152-zone FALD
VESAYes (100x100mm)

The Pros:

  • Stellar peak brightness, wide color gamut, and high contrast ratio make for an amazing HDR image quality
  • G-SYNC Ultimate ensures flawless VRR performance for tear-free gameplay
  • Good pixel response time speed and low input lag
  • Plenty of additional features, including an ergonomic stand and rich connectivity options

The Cons:

  • Design lacks pivot function
  • No HDMI 2.1
  • Minor blooming/haloing noticeable in certain scenes
  • Expensive

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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.