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Asus TUF Gaming VG28UQL1A review: The monitor for all your gaming needs?

Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
700
inc VAT

If you really need a monitor that suits both PC and next-gen console gaming, the VG28UQL1A is for you

Pros 
HDMI 2.1/VRR for next-gen consoles
Good contrast & colour temperature
Local dimming boosts HDR performance
Cons 
Bafflingly bad OSD
Slightly iffy colour accuracy
A bit expensive
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The Asus TUF Gaming VG28UQL1A is posing as the ideal companion to your new PS5 or Xbox Series X. This 4K, 144Hz gaming monitor supports HDMI 2.1, which means a connected next-gen console will be able to output 4K at 120Hz where it’s supported. As more and more console games add support for 120Hz, HDMI 2.1 is becoming a necessity for gaming monitors and TVs alike, and the VG28UQL1A is clearly hoping to get ahead of the pack.

It’s not just lucky owners of next-gen consoles the VG28UQL1A is hoping to appeal to. You might also consider it for your PC gaming rig: after all, this is a future-proof monitor with good connectivity and no shortage of nifty tricks up its sleeve. Or perhaps you’re one of a small demographic who owns both a next-gen console and a gaming PC. In that case, I can confidently say that the VG28UQL1A is a good monitor for you.

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Asus TUF Gaming VG28UQL1A review: What do you get for the money?

At £700, the Asus TUF Gaming VG28UQL1A is far from cheap, but that’s not a horrendous price for the specification. The VG28 – as it shall henceforth be known – is a 28in IPS monitor with a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160, a maximum refresh rate of 144Hz, a quoted response time of 1ms G2G and a DisplayHDR 400 certification. PC gamers should note that the VG28 supports AMD FreeSync Premium and Nvidia G-Sync, although the latter is not yet official.

For next-gen console gamers, the VG28 also supports variable refresh rate (VRR), which is simply unbranded adaptive sync technology currently being used on modern TVs to reduce screen tearing when gaming on next-gen consoles. As your PS5/Xbox Series X doesn’t support G-Sync or FreeSync, VRR is a useful feature indeed. Unfortunately, the PS5 doesn’t yet support VRR, so I was unable to test this feature in its intended environment.

The VG28 has an impressive four HDMI ports on the rear – two HDMI 2.0 and two HDMI 2.1 for 4K/120Hz gaming on next-gen consoles. It also has a single DP 1.4 port and a two-port USB 3.1 hub as well as a 3.5mm headphone jack. I’ll be honest, I would trade one HDMI port for USB-C, but clearly this isn’t yet a priority for gaming monitor manufacturers.

All of this on a stand that tilts backwards 20 degrees, swivels 30 degrees left/right, pivots 90 degrees clockwise/anticlockwise and raises and lowers 120mm. I don’t usually comment on these adjustments but, in this case, it’s worth noting that raising and lowering the monitor is quite an effort – I often overshot the intended height. This is only a mild inconvenience but one to watch out for while the monitor is new.

In the box, you’ll find HDMI, DP and USB-A to USB-B cables, alongside the usual array of documentation. I’m afraid this monitor has a sizable power brick to hide beneath your desk, but the cable itself is at least more than long enough to make that a simple task.

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Asus TUF Gaming VG28UQL1A review: What do we like about it?

Even if you don’t own a PS5/Xbox Series X, the VG28UQL1A is a tempting product, purely from a specifications standpoint. The 28in 4K panel is quite something: 28in is about as small as a 4K gaming monitor should go, and the resultant pixel density of 153ppi makes text and imagery look pin-sharp.

Tested straight out of the box, the VG28 produced 115% of the sRGB colour gamut and 81% DCI-P3. It’s not totally clear whether the VG28 is calibrated to DCI-P3 or not; you would expect more comprehensive P3 reproduction for a gaming monitor with HDR aspirations. All this means for SDR content, however, is that colours appear fairly natural across the board, which is in some ways a relief given the tendency that modern gaming monitors exhibit towards drastic oversaturation (caused by high DCI-P3 volume).

There are several different colour presets available on the VG28, but none produced better results than those measured in the default configuration (that’s Racing mode, bizarrely). This mode produced a perfect 6,500K colour temperature and a peak SDR luminance of 332cd/m², which is bright enough for very well-lit environments. Contrast, meanwhile, topped out at around 1,086:1, just surpassing the 1,000:1 quoted by Asus.

That last figure bodes particularly well for this monitor’s HDR performance. Indeed, the VG28 ticks a few important boxes where HDR is concerned: aside from the high contrast ratio, I measured a peak luminance of 420cd/m² in HDR mode in a 10% white window, which fits the bill for DisplayHDR 400 certification nicely.

Bolstered by a rudimentary local dimming feature called Dynamic Dimming, which works in SDR or HDR mode, the VG28 performed really quite well for a monitor with an HDR 400 certification. The relatively low DCI-P3 reproduction left colours wanting a little more vibrancy but my test game, Borderlands 3 on PS5, certainly didn’t lack for punchy neon highlights and crisp blue skies.

And even eight local dimming zones are better than none. While it was occasionally a bit too obvious when the backlight was adjusting, I felt that it definitely added a depth to the dark corners of Promethea that most HDR 400 gaming monitors simply can’t match. To be clear, HDR 400 is still the most basic implementation of the technology, but the VG28 does what many rivals do not: it delivers on its claim.

Elsewhere, the VG28 is fairly typical of a high-end gaming monitor, which means it’s robust and sturdy. The stand is thicker than most I’ve come across recently and is pretty versatile, issues with height adjustment notwithstanding. It’s a big monitor and not a particularly slim one, but I had no issue lugging it around my flat; it looks the part, too, with a jet black finish broken up by the usual smattering of sharp edges and aggressive lines on the rear.

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Asus TUF Gaming VG28UQL1A review: What could be better?

Hidden on that sharp, aggressive rear are the OSD controls. This is where the VG28 stumbles: first, the combination of buttons and joystick simply doesn’t work for me. I always prefer a joystick, but at the very least settle for one or the other. Furthermore, the buttons are indistinguishable from one another, and the bottom-most one switches the monitor off, meaning when I first received the VG28 I spent a lot of time turning it off by accident. It doesn’t help that this monitor takes quite a while to start up.

Obviously, everyone takes time to adjust to the quirks of a new product, but the problem is exacerbated by how unintuitive the menus are. Colour presets are hidden behind the ambiguous title “GameVisual”, while switching source is inexplicably hidden in the main OSD, rather than readily available on the quick menu.

For some reason, there’s an entire button dedicated to closing the OSD, when a leftwards press on the joystick does the exact same thing. And to add an extra layer of stress to proceedings, the quick menu closes after around two seconds of inactivity, so you have a limited window to make sense of it and press the right thing. Just watch out for that power button. And the button that closes the OSD.

I was also a bit disappointed by the colour accuracy of the VG28. In default Racing mode, the panel produced an average delta E colour variance score of 2.2, with reds in particular inaccurately reproduced when compared to sRGB. While this isn’t a bad score, I’ve reviewed substantially cheaper monitors that perform better – anything above 3 is perceptible to the human eye.

Speaking of cheaper monitors, the Asus VG28 isn’t exactly kind on the wallet. Admittedly, £700 is par for the course where cutting-edge 4K HDMI 2.1 gaming monitors are concerned – Samsung’s new 27in Odyssey G7 is similarly equipped and the same price, although it lacks local dimming. The simple fact is that I was expecting just a tiny bit more from the VG28’s panel at this price and with these specifications.

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Asus TUF Gaming VG28UQL1A review: Should you buy it?

Truthfully, I wasn’t expecting to have so much to say about the VG28UQL1A. Let me be clear: this is far from a bad gaming monitor. The VG28 is fast, fluid and great to look at, and ticking so many crucial boxes for PS5/Xbox Series X owners is an accomplishment in itself. What the VG28 offers is an alternative to a £1,000-plus TV, and one that also caters to PC gaming enthusiasts.

The issues I have with the monitor don’t have a detrimental impact on the gaming experience per se, which is why I’m awarding it four stars. If you want a monitor that successfully hits two birds with one proverbial stone and you don’t mind doing battle with the world’s least intuitive OSD, the Asus VG28 is a solid choice.

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Asus TUF Gaming VG28UQL1A – Specifications
Panel size28in
Panel resolution3,840 x 2,160
Panel refresh rate144Hz
Panel response time1ms (G2G)
Panel typeIPS (edge-lit, 8 local dimming zones)
Adaptive sync supportAMD FreeSync Premium, Nvidia G-Sync compatible
HDR supportHDR10, DisplayHDR 400
Ports2 x HDMI 2.1, 2 x HDMI 2, 1 x DP 1.4, 2 x USB-A 3.1, 1 x USB-B 3.0, 1 x 3.5mm
Other featuresALLM, VRR, built-in speakers
Stand ergonomics30° swivel, 90° pivot, 20° tilt, 120mm height adjustment
Dimensions (with stand)540 x 640 x 214mm (HWD)
Weight (with stand)6.9kg

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