Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ - Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ – HDR, Gaming and Verdict

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Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ – HDR

Just as there are pros and cons with 4K, the presence of HDR here, too, comes with some big advantages but isn’t quite the home-run you’d expect.

First, the good stuff. Plain and simply, it looks fantastic. The ability to have dazzlingly bright colours alongside the deepest dark colours – especially when combined with that 4K resolution – makes video look so much more real-life that, bizarrely, it almost feels more fake.

Settle into it, however, and you’ll realise it’s just the next step in video fidelity. When you switch back to SDR mode you realise just what you’d previously been missing out on.

Related: Best gaming monitors

Standard dynamic range

High dynamic range

Unlike the Philips 436M6, which seemed to boost colours naturally, the extra vividness seen here feels entirely natural and true to life.

It’s a similar story when it comes to gaming. Everything is brighter, bolder and more dynamic. For instance, when handled properly things like explosions are blinding, giving them so much more impact.

The problem is that support for the technology is fairly weak right now. Just a handful of games support HDR, while mainstream video availability is still very low as well. This will change over time, but there’s a strong argument to be had for waiting a year or so to see how much greater HDR support becomes before investing this sort of money.

This isn’t a deal-breaker but, again, it harks back to the issue with 4K. You’re spending all this money on a high-end monitor, but only really appreciating its benefits in certain scenarios.

Then there’s the issue of haloing. This is where, in order to illuminate the brighter pixels in one part of an image, the backlight zone associated with those pixels has to glow brighter. Since there are only 384 zones compared to 8,294,400 pixels, this means you often get a noticeable block of brightness around those bright pixels.

You can clearly see haloing around the edges of bright objects. Note, this image has been enhanced to slightly exaggerate the phenomena.

In most scenarios this is hardly noticeable, but every now and again it becomes obvious. Even then, it feels like a reasonable compromise to still get the overall effect of the nice contrast between bright and dark parts of the image.

Also, it should be noted that this display can’t deliver true 10-bit colour HDR at above 98Hz, but instead drops to an 8-bit with dithering version of HDR for higher frame rates. However, considering HDR isn’t the sort of feature we’d turn on for competitive gaming, 98Hz is ample to get a smooth gaming experience.

Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ – Gaming

Gaming on this display is largely a delight. Whether you’re taking advantage of its 4K resolution and HDR, or just gaming at 1080p in SDR, it provides a quality image and responsive feel.

That said, there are a couple of things to note. The first is that this isn’t going to compete with a 1ms response time, 144Hz, TN gaming monitor. Those displays still hold the upper hand for competitive gaming.

Also, if you’re not running at 4K resolution – which, for many games won’t be possible without a multi-graphics card setup – then you don’t get as good an image as you would running the game at the native resolution of a lower-resolution display. The stretching and scaling results in a soft-looking image that can be distracting, particularly in competitive games.

But, for the vast majority of situations, this display does provide a fantastic gaming experience. The sheer detail and sharpness of gaming at 4K is impressive on its own, but add in HDRand it’s stunning.

The level of impact and quality of support does vary from game to game but, by and large, if the option is there then you’ll want to take advantage of the HDR support – at least for non-competitive gaming.

All this and you of course get the latest G-Sync support, ensuring the display looks incredibly smooth as it dynamically alters its refresh rate in accordance with the frame rate of your graphics card. There’s no image tearing or stutter, all of which adds to the sense of this providing perhaps the best-looking gaming experience out there.

Why buy the Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ?

If you’re after the ultimate all-round 27-inch gaming monitor then the PG27UQ surely has to be it. It can provide masses of detail when required; it can provide stunning HDR when required; it can tear along at 144Hz for high-speed gaming when required; and it can scale it all back to provide a normal, high-quality image for general desktop work too.

In the right conditions it can look utterly stunning, and even when it can’t deliver it’s absolute full potential – because a game or video doesn’t support HDR, or because your graphics card can’t cope with gaming at 4K –  it still provides a world-class level of image quality.

The astronomical price and fact that HDR is still a fledgling technology means it doesn’t exactly feel like the bargain of the century. However, equally, considering the level of technology involved, the price is neither unreasonable.

If you’re someone who’s previously invested in an ultra-wide 34-inch display, or has long considered one of those displays to be your next natural upgrade, then the sheer fact this is still only a 27-inch display means you’re missing out on that larger desktop experience. Had this been a 32-inch display (like the 60Hz, 4K, Acer XB321HK) it would have made all the difference.

Meanwhile, if you’re after the ultimate in pure performance gaming monitors, then this display won’t be for you. You’ll still want a TN-based screen with a resolution at which you can run your games.

Verdict

A 4K resolution, 144Hz refresh rate and true HDR combines to create the ultimate all-round 27-inch monitor. But a high price and small screen size for its price means the Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ won’t be the high-end monitor upgrade for everyone.