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Here at TechSpot, we're focused on PC gaming and power user productivity. We want you to have the best possible experience within your budget, and part of that involves recommending high quality monitors.
Evidently, gaming-focused monitors are not alone in pushing the envelope though they've been the primary drivers of higher refresh rates and other advanced features for some time now. With that said, you can get a great experience for less cash by venturing outside of known gaming sub-brands like Asus ROG and Acer Predator.
That's why today we're looking at the Asus Designo MX34VQ. It may come as a bit of a surprise, but the MX34VQ is the cheapest 3440 x 1440 ultrawide display you can get with a refresh rate of 100 Hz. And it doesn't skimp on features to hit this price point: the monitor comes with a Qi wireless charging base, decent Harmon Kardon speakers and support for FreeSync.
Before we get to impressions and design, let's talk monitor specifications. The MX34VQ uses a 34-inch VA panel with a resolution of 3440 x 1440, rated for a max brightness of 300 nits, contrast ratio of 3,000:1, 178-degree viewing angles, and 4ms grey-to-grey response times. It has an 1800R curvature, which is the most aggressive curved option used in today's monitors, along with a FreeSync window of 48 to 100 Hz with support for low framerate compensation.
Asus has clearly gone with an office-suitable design for this monitor. The circular metal stand and silver highlights look pretty good; I certainly prefer this sort of elegant design to Asus' gamer-style of the ROG line. The rear uses a combination of textured and untextured plastic that again looks neat and tidy, just as you'd want for an office setup where the rear of the monitor is potentially visible. The monitor isn't slim by an stretch, though the curve hides a bit of the fat so it doesn't look outrageous.
Unfortunately, the attractiveness of the design has limited its flexibility, as the monitor only supports tilt adjustments. I think proper height adjustment is a big omission: the display sits fairly low down, much lower than I'd normally use a monitor, which may be an issue for some users.
A unique feature about the MX34VQ is Qi wireless charging support, which is included through a disc that sits in the middle of the glass base. The charger isn't hugely powerful only supporting 5W of delivery, though that's typical of most Qi wireless chargers, some modern devices support Qi fast wireless charging that pushes power delivery up to 10W.
Having wireless charging in your monitor's stand is surprisingly handy, as you can keep your phone charged without wires while your phone is on your desk. The stand's base lights up when the Qi charger is activated, which is a nice touch to let you know the charger is working. I tested it with my totally-not-broken Galaxy S7 Edge and it worked perfectly.
As for the monitor's Harman Kardon speakers, I was surprised at how decent they sound for integrated monitor speakers. The two downward-firing 8W speakers produce sound equivalent to an entry-level stereo speaker setup, and while that's nothing particularly amazing, there's more depth and bass here than I was expecting.
The MX34VQ comes with a decent array of connectivity: 3x HDMI 2.0 ports and a single DisplayPort 1.2 connector, plus a 3.5mm audio input for the speakers (although audio over both HDMI and DisplayPort is available). There's no USB hub on this monitor.
If you're a fan of slim bezels, this monitor will leave you reasonably pleased, with 9mm of bezel on the sides. If, for some reason, you're planning to pair up multiple MX34VQs, you should get a very nice experience.
The on-screen display is controlled through a directional toggle, which remains the best way to control any OSD. In here you'll find a range of typical controls, like settings for color adjustment, blue light filters, input selections, volume controls, and picture-in-picture modes.
As mentioned earlier, we're looking at a 48 to 100 Hz adaptive sync window, though the monitor does support LFC (low frame rate compensation) so the effective variable refresh range is from 0 to 100 Hz. This is important to note as many other 1440p FreeSync ultrawides do not support LFC as they have more limited refresh windows, like 40 to 75 Hz. I wouldn't buy a monitor with such a high minimum refresh rate that doesn't support LFC, but this isn't a concern with the MX34VQ.
So let's first look at how the MX34VQ looks directly out of the box with no tweaks.
First impressions aren't particularly great. White levels are set to 233 nits with a contrast ratio of just 2148:1, which is well below the 3,000:1 figure Asus gives for this monitor. Setting the monitor to maximum brightness produces just 277 nits of brightness, which again is below the monitor's rated 300 nits of brightness.
Greyscale performance is average, and that's due to Asus using the wrong color temperature by default. A temperature average of 7592 is too cold for proper sRGB standards, which leads to a dE2000 average of 4.49 in our greyscale sweeps. Gamma of 2.2 is good as an average value, though looking at a gamma graph reveals performance isn't ideal across the entire range.
Following on from mediocre greyscale performance, saturation performance isn't great with a dE2000 value of 3.21, and sRGB coverage of 99.9%. Greens and reds extend beyond the sRGB spectrum, but blues don't quite reach the same levels. Custom ColorChecker dE2000 average of 3.377 isn't ideal either.
|Color Temp.||User: R,G,B = 100||User: R = 100, G = 90, B = 85|
Using the OSD to modify some settings as per the table above can lead to better results. Calibrating for sRGB and 200 nits of brightness using these settings pulled back the color temperature to a better 6419K value, though it came at the expense of contrast, which reduced to 1871:1. It's also important to note that while some greyscale values are improved, 50 to 80% white values are noticeably tinted red, which leads to an average dE2000 value of 2.10. You can correct the red tint, though this comes at the expense of accuracy at full white and in other areas.
Saturation results show the red tint affecting saturation accuracy, though other colors have improved to deliver an average dE2000 value of 2.07. ColorChecker results improve to 2.293 as well. While these values are improved, they're not good enough for me to recommend this monitor for color accurate work. To achieve better results, you'll need a calibration tool.
Using the i1Display Pro calibration tool, I was able to create a display profile that delivers significantly better results. Greyscale improves to a dE2000 average of 0.64 with a CCT average of 6431, which is a great result that removes the red tint. This helps deliver a saturation average of 0.86 and a ColorChecker average of 1.22.
These results are very solid, particularly greyscale and saturation, so provided you have a calibration tool, the MX34VQ isn't the worst choice for those that require sRGB accuracy. However, you will need a calibration tool to achieve these results.
It's also worth looking at display uniformity. Curved displays tend to have a few more issues with uniformity than flat displays, and that seems to be the case with this monitor. The upper left of the monitor deviates from the center the most, with a relative dE2000 in the 4.0 range. Not the best performance in this regard, though not entirely surprising.
What's to Like
The Asus MX34VQ is a decent 3440 x 1440 ultrawide option with a strong feature list. At $720 it's the most affordable ultrawide of this kind with a 100Hz refresh rate; an important specification for those looking to use it as a gaming monitor.
Opposed to aggressive gaming monitor designs, the more office-oriented look used by Asus here is a welcome change. The stand and silver highlights are attractive, and although the monitor is missing crucial height adjustability, it looks nice from both the front and back. Qi wireless charging is a great feature to have if you can take advantage of it (we hope most smartphones will support it soon), and I was reasonably impressed with the Harmon Kardon speakers.
Out of the box the default calibration is not suitable for color accurate work, but seeing the kind of positive user feedback the monitor is getting from Amazon buyers that is clearly not a problem for most users. At the same time, those wanting a truly accurate panel, calibration using proper tools can resolve most color performance issues.
Aside from color performance, there are some inherent positives to the VA panel used in this monitor, primarily its viewing angles and contrast ratio. Uniformity is just average, which isn't surprising due to its 1800R curve, though the curve does assist with viewing the edges of this wide display.
Support for FreeSync with low framerate compensation is appreciated, though you may need to wait for AMD Vega to arrive as no current Radeon GPU is capable of getting the most out of a 3440 x 1440 display at 100 Hz. Still, it's always nice when a more productivity oriented display includes gaming features like a high refresh rate and adaptive sync support, as these features add to its flexibility and suitability for a wide range of users.
Unless you need G-Sync, the MX34VQ is a decent choice for those after a 1440p ultrawide, particularly thanks to its competitive price tag.
Pros: Affordable 1440p ultrawide with 100Hz refresh rate. Attractive design with Qi wireless charging and decent speakers. FreeSync support with LFC.
Cons: Stand only supports tilt adjustments. Requires extensive calibration for color accurate work.