ASUS ROG Strix XG32VQ

★★★★★ £550 • From www.ama­zon.co.uk

Computer Shopper - - REVIEWS - Christo­pher Mi­nasians

VER­DICT

It’s not a true ul­tra­w­ide, but this is a splen­did mon­i­tor for com­pet­i­tive gam­ing

WE’VE LONG BEEN fond of AOC’s huge 31.5in AG322QCX gam­ing mon­i­tor, but a few flaws have al­ways nig­gled; no­tably, the some­what slug­gish re­sponse time and dis­tract­ing in­verse ghost­ing with Over­drive ac­cel­er­a­tion en­abled.

Now it has a com­peti­tor, in the shape of the Asus ROG Strix XG32VQ: a QHD dis­play that’s sim­i­larly priced, and just as big, but which prom­ises a faster re­sponse time and some flashy or­na­men­tal touches.

SIG­NAL FLAIR

The ROG Strix XG32VQ is a 31.5in widescreen gam­ing mon­i­tor with a na­tive res­o­lu­tion of 2,560x1,440. Its curved VA panel de­liv­ers vivid colours with fast re­sponse times, and sup­ports re­fresh rates up to 144Hz, with Adap­tive-Sync tech­nol­ogy to keep things per­fectly smooth.

The first thing you’ll no­tice about the XG32VQ is the dis­tinc­tive stand. Its chunky ro­tary base is redo­lent of a plane’s pro­pel­ler; it’s prac­ti­cal, though, al­low­ing the screen to tilt (-5° to 20°) and swivel (-50° to 50°), and has a 100mm height ad­just­ment range.

It’s also flashy, with a beam­ing red light that projects an ROG logo on to your desk. This can be re­placed with a logo of your own; in­cluded in the box is a blank cover, es­sen­tially a piece of clear acrylic on which you can draw what­ever you like. If you find it dis­tract­ing, it can be dis­abled through the OSD.

There’s also a cir­cu­lar RGB strip on the rear that works with Asus’s Aura Sync soft­ware, so it can be syn­chro­nised with other Asus pe­riph­er­als and com­po­nents, such as key­boards, mice, moth­er­boards and graph­ics cards. Since it faces the rear, how­ever, you won’t see it your­self while you’re gam­ing – it’s only good for show­ing off to oth­ers.

Also on the rear are a joy­stick and four buttons for con­trol­ling the mon­i­tor’s OSD: an ex­cel­lent de­sign choice, as it makes in­ter­act­ing with the mon­i­tor ef­fort­less. As for con­nec­tiv­ity, there’s HDMI, Dis­playPort and Mini Dis­playPort 1.2, plus a 3.5mm head­phone jack and two USB3 ports.

From the front, the XG32VQ looks great, with a three-sided bor­der­less de­sign and a 1,800R cur­va­ture. This cre­ates an im­mer­sive ex­pe­ri­ence, with no dis­tract­ingly large bezels. What’s more, since the mon­i­tor sup­ports Adap­tive-Sync tech­nol­ogy – an off­shoot of AMD’s FreeSync – you can en­joy tear-free gam­ing with any com­pat­i­ble AMD graph­ics card. If you’re us­ing an Nvidia GPU, you can still use the mon­i­tor in 1440p at 144Hz, but to elim­i­nate tear­ing you’ll have to rely on Nvidia’s Adap­tive V-Sync tech­nol­ogy in­stead, which in­creases the in­put lag.

The XG32VQ’s 31.5in VA panel has a na­tive res­o­lu­tion of 2,560x1,440 and runs at 144Hz. De­spite its size, this isn’t an ul­tra­w­ide mon­i­tor, but con­forms to the fa­mil­iar 16:9 as­pect ra­tio.

NOT SUCH A BRIGHT IDEA

While the dis­play looks vivid, you might im­me­di­ately no­tice that it’s not as bright as some of its ri­vals. Our i1 Dis­play Pro cal­i­bra­tor mea­sured a peak lu­mi­nance of 248cd/m2, while en­abling sRGB mode drops this to 185cd/m2. The AOC AG322QCX is around 50cd/m2 brighter in both modes, and the dif­fer­ence is def­i­nitely per­cep­ti­ble.

On the plus side, over­all bright­ness uni­for­mity is sur­pris­ingly good across the panel’s sur­face. With no more than -11% vari­ance from the cen­tre, the panel com­petes with pro­fes­sional-level mon­i­tors, which is not some­thing that can nor­mally be said for a gam­ing dis­play.

The Asus cov­ers an im­pres­sive 98.1% of the sRGB gamut. How­ever, colour ac­cu­racy isn’t great, with an av­er­age delta-E of 3.29 and max­i­mum of 7.94; the AG322QCX at­tained scores of 1.03 and 3.94 re­spec­tively, mak­ing it a better choice for me­dia edit­ing. The Asus’s con­trast ra­tio of 1,773:1 also doesn’t quite match the 2,002:1 con­trast ra­tio of the AOC mon­i­tor, but that’s less of an is­sue, as it’s still per­fectly strong enough to pro­duce bold, strik­ing scenes.

THINK FAST

One of our crit­i­cisms of the AOC AG322QCX was its slow re­sponse time. That isn’t a problem with the ROG Strix XG32VQ; in our tests, we found the mon­i­tor re­sponded very well, with min­i­mal per­cep­ti­ble in­put lag.

Be aware that this was achieved with Over­drive set to Level 4 in the OSD. Turn it up to the max­i­mum Level 5 and in­verse ghost­ing be­comes vis­i­ble, with­out any no­tice­able im­prove­ment in per­for­mance.

The other thing to con­sider is that you’ll need a high-end graph­ics card to get the full 144Hz re­fresh rate at the mon­i­tor’s na­tive 1440p res­o­lu­tion. If you have a lesser card games should still run smoothly, thanks to Adap­tive-Sync, but you won’t be ex­pe­ri­enc­ing ev­ery­thing the ROG Strix XG32VQ has to of­fer.

Asus’s ROG Strix XG32VQ is slightly dearer than its AOC ri­val, but it’s not as bright and doesn’t have the same level of colour ac­cu­racy. In games, the more re­spon­sive panel and low in­put lag will more than make up for those shortcomings. While the RGB light­ing doesn’t add much, the ROG Strix XG32VQ is our new favourite 31.5in gam­ing mon­i­tor.

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