As we have grown to expect from products in the Republic of Gamers line from Asus, the ROG Strix XG32VQ ($ 699) gaming monitor is all about providing a top-notch experience for hardcore gamers. This 31.5-inch panel is nicely curved, has a 144Hz refresh rate, and uses a variant of AMD FreeSync to ensure that it matches your rig’s frame rate. The XG32VQ has modes and features galore, and even a miniature joystick to make the task of navigating the onscreen display’s menus a lot easier than on most monitors. It proved smooth in our gaming testing, showing both vivid colors and inky blacks. For its wealth of gaming, ergonomic, and aesthetic features, as well as its superb image quality, FreeSync capability, and blazing refresh rate at a reasonable price, the XG32VQ is our new Editors’ Choice for large-screen gaming monitors.
Built for Performance—and Fun
On its stand, the ROG Strix XG32VQ measures 19.3 by 28.1 by 11.8 inches (HWD). When the stand is fully raised, the height increases to 23.2 inches. The monitor does well with ergonomic adjustment, with the help of that very versatile stand; in addition to its nearly 4-inch range of height adjustment, you can tilt it through 25 degrees, and a swivel function runs a full 50 degrees in either direction. The base is built like a tripod, and I found it sturdier than most big-monitor bases I’ve used, which tend to be V-shaped.
The panel measures 31.5 inches and supports a WQHD native resolution (2,560 by 1,440 pixels), which works out to a 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio. Asus sees WQHD resolution as a sweet spot for today’s gaming monitors. Full HD (1,920 by 1,080 pixels, or 1080p) can support high refresh rates at the cost of low pixel density on large screens, while UHD or 4K (3,840 by 2,160 pixels) requires a powerful graphics card to keep refresh rates at playable levels. (See our guide to the best graphics cards for 4K gaming.)
That said, Asus has dabbled in other resolutions and aspect ratios for its gaming monitors. The Asus Designo Curved MX34VQ is an ultra-wide 3,440 by 1,440 pixels, for a 21:9 aspect ratio, while the Asus ROG Swift PG258Q’s resolution is a more basics-minded 1080p.
The ROG Strix XG32VQ’s panel uses vertical alignment (VA) technology, which is known for its deep blacks, relatively high contrast ratio, great viewing angles, and good color reproduction. A common drawback of VA panels, though, is that they tend to have slow-pixel response rates. The XG32VQ has a 4ms gray-to-gray pixel response, which is good for a VA panel but lags in comparison with, for example, the Dell 24 Gaming Monitor S2417DG; it and some similar TN panels boast a response rate of 1ms. The XG32VQ showed a reasonable 11-second input lag in testing with a Leo Bodnar Video Signal Lag Tester.
The ROG Strix XG32VQ is rated for 1800R curvature, meaning that if the panel’s curve were to continue around to form a full circle, or if you were to place monitors side by side, the circle they would form would have a radius of 1,800mm, or 1.8 meters. It’s among the tightest curvatures we’ve seen; one notable exception, the Samsung 34-Inch CF791 Curved Widescreen Monitor, boasts a 1500R curvature rating.
Although the port selection on the ROG Strix XG32VQ may not be comprehensive (I would have liked to see one or more USB Type-C ports, which are becoming commonplace on monitors), it does cover the essentials. It’s equipped with two USB 3.0 ports (these for your peripherals; the panel also has an upstream port to feed them) and three display inputs: HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort, and mini DisplayPort. You also get an audio jack, which may prove useful for connecting a non-USB headset or headphones, as the panel has no built-in speakers. That may not be a bad thing, considering the middling-at-best quality of speakers in lower-priced gaming monitors. If you truly care about the gaming experience (and if you’re looking at a panel like this, you do), you’ll want to take more care with the audio than most monitor makers do with their built-in sound.
Running the Formal Tests
I performed our luminance, color-accuracy, and contrast-ratio testing using a Klein K10-A colorimeter and SpectraCal CalMAN 5 software. The chromaticity chart below for the ROG Strix XG32VQ, recorded in sRGB mode, confirms the monitor’s very wide color gamut (125 percent of sRGB). As shown on the chart, when tested in sRGB mode, the red, yellow, and green color measurements (represented by the colored dots), though fairly evenly spaced, are all outside—well outside, in the case of red and blue—of the triangle depicting the normal bounds of the CIE RGB color space (represented by the boxes). The area bounded by the triangle represents all the colors that can be made by mixing the three primary colors, so any points outside of the triangle represent an expansion of the normal RGB color gamut.
Rated luminance and contrast ratio for the XG32VQ are 300cd/m2 (nits) and 3,000:1, respectively. I measured the panel at 283.8 nits and 3,260:1 in its default Racing mode, which is designed to boost colors in high-speed games. (Unsurprisingly, it wasn’t as bright in sRGB, with a mere 194.2-nit peak brightness.) Power consumption is 44 watts, typical of a gaming monitor of its screen size.
The monitor’s viewing angles, both from the sides and above, were wide, typical of a VA panel. I noted no discernible dimming or color shift, even at extreme off-center angles.
I also took the ROG Strix XG32VQ through its paces in several AAA PC games—Hitman, Far Cry Primal, Rise of the Tomb Raider—and observed the playback in their associated benchmark routines. The scenes looked vivid, with brilliant colors, and good detail in dark areas. I saw no trace of artifacts.
Gaming-Centric Modes and Features
The power button and controls for the onscreen display (OSD) are on the back of the monitor, just behind its lower right-hand edge. I normally find such hidden placement (though very common) an annoyance, but the ROG Strix XG32VQ has a secret weapon: The top control isn’t a button but a tiny joystick, which you can use to navigate the OSD’s menu system more easily. Kudos to Asus for that.
Most of today’s hardcore gaming monitors offer a way to synchronize a monitor’s refresh rate with the frame-rate output of the gaming system, either through AMD’s FreeSync or Nvidia’s G-Sync. For the XG32VQ, Asus went with Adaptive Sync, derived from AMD FreeSync, over the span of 48Hz to 144Hz—ensuring a wide operating window for smooth gameplay.
Racing and sRGB are just two of the preset display modes that the ROG Strix XG32VQ offers as GameVisual profiles. Racing optimizes color for fast-moving games, while sRGB mode optimizes colors for image editing and web use. Other gaming modes include FPS, which delivers high contrast to (in theory) let you spot enemies more easily; RTS/RPG, which perks up sharpness and color clarity; and MOBA, which enhances the colors of in-game health bars and other notifications. You also get a Cinema mode, which ups contrast and color saturation for video playback that looks more vivid, and a Scenery mode, which brings out detail in landscapes. A last choice, User mode, enables you to customize your own profile.
Also accessible through the OSD are four GamePlus modes. The first three are Crosshair (which offers four styles of crosshair as an overlay in your games), Timer (which adds a countdown-timer overlay), and FPS Counter (the same idea, but showing current and historical frame rates when Adaptive Sync is enabled). The last, Display Alignment, is useful only if you have two or more of these panels; it lets you line up your multi-monitor setup with precision, by displaying alignment lines along the edges of the XG32VQ. Indeed, you could use it to set up that wraparound circle of curved panels you’ve dreamed of (or more likely, three of them for enveloping your peripheral vision in racing games).
Blue Light and Bling
The panel functionality goes beyond these more or less typical enhancement modes to factor in blue-light filtration. The XG32VQ comes with Asus Ultra-low Blue Light filters (TÜV Rheinland-certified) to protect your eyes from sleep-cycle disruptive blue light. You can select from four different filter settings via the onscreen menu.
Beyond the actual display functionality, the ROG Strix XG32VQ delivers a host on on-body bling. Asus incorporates its Aura Sync lighting effects—which let you synchronize the lighting on the actual monitor’s body with that of other Asus peripherals (as well as gear from other makers that support Aura Sync). This lighting activity is all executed using an included Asus utility. So, you could go so far as to sync the lighting incorporated into an Asus motherboard, an Aura Sync-compatible keyboard/mouse set, and other gear to get your whole desktop under the command by one RGB-lighting maestro.
You can choose among a dozen different lighting schemes, among them static, breathing, strobing, comet, “Glowing Yo-Yo,” and a sync-to-music effect. The monitor can even project an ROG logo on the surface beneath the stand…
Asus includes a “lens” that masks the light source to project the ROG logo, as well as a blank one that you can customize with your own logo or personal bat-signal.
Setting the Standard for Gaming Panels
The Asus ROG Strix XG32VQ’s wickedly curved 31.5-inch panel, zippy refresh rate, and FreeSync support, taken together, make this mega-display worth consideration as a serious gaming monitor. Throwing in a raft of gaming-centric features plus bright color performance, good contrast, and smooth gaming in our testing, all at a reasonable price, may be enough to seal the deal. At least, it worked for us—it’s our new Editors’ Choice large-screen gaming monitor.
That said, more new gaming panels are coming, such as the Acer Predator X27 and the Samsung CHG90—the latter with a whopping 49-inch ultrawide screen—so the ROG Strix may not hold its crown long. But that’s an indication of the speed at which this relatively new class of displays is evolving. For now, though, this is the big, killer FreeSync screen we’d choose, given the desk space and the bucks.