Killer Gaming Monitor, But...
There’s no doubt, the ROG Swift PG27UQ is a very impressive piece of hardware, with excellent performance in both HDR and SDR modes. It’s great to see Asus providing factory calibration for the monitor, which you’d pretty much expect at this price point, but it’s the HDR support and specifically good HDR support that elevates it to the next level.
Features like 1000 nits of peak brightness, the high zone count local dimming backlight, and wide color gamut support hit the three key pillars of HDR and provide an excellent viewing experience.
The PG27UQ looks much better than any SDR monitor in games that properly support HDR, and it’s not just a minor improvement: the difference in visual quality is significant from a number of perspectives. It’s truly the best and highest quality experience you’ll get from a gaming monitor in 2018.
However, there are many things to consider before going out and buying a PG27UQ. For starters, it’s $2,000, which is ludicrous money to spend on a gaming monitor. You can get really good 27-inch 1440p 144Hz G-Sync monitors for $500 these days, which may not be as high resolution or support HDR, but you’re going to get a great game experience at that price. Is the bump to 4K with HDR support really worth an extra $1,500? The PG27UQ is very good, but it’s very hard to justify that price difference.
The PG27UQ also suffers from being a first generation product. Nvidia’s G-Sync HDR module is, by all reports, expensive to produce in its current form, and the panel is also the first of its kind. Combine those two things and suddenly the price of the monitor has skyrocketed. Issues like the active cooling fan, larger bezels and chroma subsampling are also all symptoms of first-gen tech that does work well and achieves its advertised goals, but with compromises and teething issues that will no doubt be ironed out in the next iteration.
It’s not unusual for early adopters to have to put up with high prices and a few oddities. But it’s compounded by the lack of games that properly support HDR on PC. You’re not only spending a lot of money to get HDR today, but you’re also limited to a small handful of titles that make the most of this monitor’s top-end features.
As good as the PG27UQ is, I honestly think the best move is to wait. I’d be mighty disappointed spending $2,000 on this monitor right now, only to find out that in a year the tech will be available for half that price with way more games that support it and a few of those issues ironed out. After all, for the money I’d want to be sure I was getting not just the best monitor available today, but a near perfect, long-lasting product that won’t be superseded quickly.
That’s not to say all PG27UQ buyers will be disappointed, it’s an outstanding monitor today and perfectly complements high-end PCs. But there are a lot of things to consider before forking over that sort of cash for a first-gen product, and if I had that sort of money to spend on a monitor, I’d be holding off for now until the HDR monitor ecosystem is a bit more mature.
Pros: Outstanding performance from all angles, including excellent HDR capabilities, great factory SDR calibration, decent response times, and a high refresh rate at a very high resolution.
Cons: Very expensive. Early adopter issues like active fan, chunky design, and chroma subsampling