The PG32UQ is a luxurious gaming monitor with impressive credentials and a price tag to match
- Extremely wide gamut panel
- Good HDR 600 performance
- HDMI 2.1 and VRR support
- Infuriating OSD controls
- Poor ergonomics
The Asus ROG Swift PG32UQ is one of a growing number of gaming monitors hoping to catch the eye of PS5 or Xbox Series X owners. It comes laden with the requisite features – HDMI 2.1, VRR, even ALLM – and an ostentatious 32in 4K panel that’s clearly designed to melt your eyeballs with jaw-dropping HDR, high frame rate gameplay.
Of course, there’s still plenty here for PC gamers with high-end rigs to enjoy and, if you’re lucky enough to have a foot in both camps, you’ll be very pleased indeed with what the PG32UQ has to offer. Yes, it’s expensive, but it might also be the only monitor you need.
Asus ROG Swift PG32UQ review: What do you get for the money?
The Asus ROG Swift PG32UQ – not to be confused with the £3,300 PG32UQX – is far from cheap but, for the lofty sum of £850, you’re getting an awful lot of monitor. It has a 32in IPS panel with a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160, a maximum refresh rate of 144Hz, a response time of 1ms G2G, HDR10 support, AMD FreeSync Premium Pro adaptive-sync support plus a G-Sync Compatible certification and a DisplayHDR 600 certification complete with local dimming.
For console gamers, the PG32UQ offers both ALLM (automatic low-latency mode) and VRR (variable refresh rate, or unbranded adaptive sync) as well as HDMI 2.1 compliance for 4K/120fps gaming. The latter comes in the form of two HDMI 2.1 ports on the rear; these are joined by a single DisplayPort 1.4 port, plus a headphone jack, two USB 3.0 ports and a USB-B 3.0 port to power them.
All of this is packed into a monitor that sits atop a large, spindly legged stand that can tilt 20 degrees back and forth, swivel 25 degrees left and right and rise/sink by 100mm. The box contains DP and HDMI cables plus the power supply (complete with large power brick to be hidden beneath your desk), a USB-A to USB-B cable for the USB hub and a clip-on port cover to keep it all out of sight.
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Asus ROG Swift PG32UQ review: What do we like about it?
By gaming monitor standards, the PG32UQ has a remarkable panel. It produces 174% of the sRGB colour gamut, 123% of the DCI-P3 gamut and 120% of the Adobe RGB gamut in default mode (inexplicably called “Racing” mode), meaning colours are outrageously vibrant across the board.
In this default mode, the PG32UQ produced its best colour accuracy report when measured for Adobe RGB. The average Delta E was dragged upwards a tad by some overenthusiastic red tones but a score of 1.75 still tells us that any variation in colour reproduction (compared to Adobe RGB) is mostly imperceptible.
To save my eyes, I picked out the PG32UQ’s dedicated sRGB setting, which locked a few settings (such as colour temperature, contrast and saturation) but produced 94% of the sRGB colour gamut with an average Delta E colour variance score of just 0.87. This is the mode to choose if you want to get rid of those ridiculous colours – if you’re editing photos or videos for work, for example.
The remaining test results are a little more mundane. I measured a contrast ratio in SDR of 1,022:1, which is par for the course where IPS panels are concerned and matches the 1,000:1 claimed by Asus. Peak luminance in SDR is a bit more exciting at around 434cd/m², which is bright enough for any conceivable scenario.
The panel is edge-lit and, thanks to a total of 16 local dimming zones, the PG32UQ was able to top out in HDR at around 614cd/m² in a 10% white window. This earns the monitor its DisplayHDR 600 certification and bodes well for HDR performance generally, particularly when you pair it with the wide gamut panel.
Thanks to said local dimming, the PG32UQ looks the part. Borderlands 3 on PS5 is my current test game of choice: it’s a game that uses a comprehensive colour palette, and choosing a dark environment allows me to look out for evidence of the backlight at work. I was very pleased with the vibrancy of Promethea’s neon-flecked skylines; this is clearly a higher standard of HDR than you’ll find on most gaming monitors.
The backlight is more complex than others we’ve tested (compare those 16 zones to the 8 found on the Samsung Odyssey G7), but it does still exhibit a bit of blooming, although you won’t notice it once you’re engrossed in a game. What you will notice is the realistic shifts in brightness where dark corners give way to light; the overall effect is certainly better than any panel I’ve tested with no local dimming. Unless you’re an HDR aficionado – in which case I’d urge you to stop looking for HDR gaming monitors and buy a TV instead – the Asus PG32UQ’s HDR capabilities will impress you.
Asus ROG Swift PG32UQ review: What could be better?
The Asus PG32UQ is saddled with the same appalling OSD controls that I struggled with when I reviewed the Asus TUF Gaming VG28UQL1A. I’m not going to bore you with another rant about pointless buttons and inexplicably hidden input switchers; what I will say, however, is that these controls are needlessly tricky for newcomers to get to grips with. There is no reason the £300 Gigabyte Q27QC should have a more intuitive OSD than this £850 behemoth.
I’m also a bit miffed about the stand. Yes, it looks the part, but you’d expect a full array of adjustment options at this price, particularly since the cheaper Asus VG28UQL1A manages to include height, tilt, swivel and pivot adjustments with zero fuss. What you’re left with is a large, unwieldy monitor that doesn’t seem to care much about your posture. And it is large: at 87mm thick (over 200mm with the stand attached) and weighing almost 10kg, this is a seriously bulky peripheral.
Anecdotally, I found the PG32UQ difficult to work on for extended periods of time. Thanks to the combination of minimal adjustment options and a big, bright panel, you may well experience the same fatigue over the course of a working day that I did. I’m not saying that everyone will struggle, but if you intend to work and play at the same monitor, I’d urge you to lower the brightness and sit as far away as you comfortably can.
Then there’s the price. I can see how the PG32UQ earns it, but by demanding this much, Asus edges dangerously close to competition from fully blown 4K TVs such as the 48in LG C1 (£1,099) or 50in Samsung Q80A (£1,000). Both offer the same set of next-gen gaming features as well as superior HDR performance and a screen size that doesn’t sit on the fence. This is ultimately an unflattering and unfair comparison, but it will inevitably be one that crops up whenever a purchase is to be made.
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Asus ROG Swift PG32UQ review: Should you buy it?
In my opinion, however, you would do well to ignore these comparisons. Yes, the PG32UQ is almost as expensive as a 4K TV and it isn’t quite as desk-friendly as its sibling, the Asus TUF Gaming VG28UQL1A. But the panel alone justifies the price and, like the VG28UQL1A, it caters to both PC gamers and PS5/Xbox Series X owners in a way that a 4K TV never can.
Due to the large panel and poor ergonomics, I’d still recommend the VG28UQL1A over the PG28UQ for day-to-day office duties. For gaming fanatics who want a luxurious monitor for their PC and console, however, the PG32UQ is a fine choice.
|Asus ROG Swift PG32UQ – Specifications
|3,840 x 2,160
|Panel refresh rate
|Panel response time
|IPS (edge-lit, 16 local dimming zones)
|Adaptive sync support
|AMD FreeSync Premium Pro, Nvidia G-Sync compatible
|HDR10, DisplayHDR 600
|2 x HDMI 2.1, 1 x DP 1.4, 2 x USB-A 3.0, 1 x USB-B 3.0, 1 x 3.5mm
|ALLM, VRR, port cover, built-in speakers
|25° swivel, 20° tilt, 100mm height adjustment
|Dimensions (with stand)
|452 x 728 x 293mm (HWD)
|Weight (with stand)