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Asus ROG Strix XG49VQ Review

Asus ROG Strix XG49VQ Review

Asus ROG Strix XG49VQ 06The Asus ROG Strix XG49VQ is vast. It’s got a 49-inch curved screen, and it uses an aspect ratio of 32:9 – so it’s an imposing, huge widescreen device. Elsewhere, this bumper monitor includes AMD FreeSync, HDR and beefy speakers – but it’ll set you back $899 in the USA and £989 in the UK. Is it worth shelling out that much for a wider view? Find out in our Asus ROG Strix XG49VQ review.

The Widescreen Question

The Asus ROG Strix XG49VQ boasts widescreen as its key feature. It’s eye-catching and, at first glance, you’d think it would be great for gaming. While that’s true in some situations, it’s not always the case.

Widescreen panels are fantastic for racing games – so much so that the Asus’ default screen option is its Racing mode. The extra horizontal space also makes some FPS and adventure games easier to play thanks to all of that extra peripheral vision. There’s also more room for maps in strategy games.

If you play those kinds of games, that’s great – but having a widescreen isn’t always good news.

Plenty of games feel cramped when played on the Asus. It doesn’t help that this screen has a native resolution of 3,840 x 1,080. That’s a middling figure for a widescreen monitor of this size, and only having 1,080 vertical pixels isn’t particularly generous.

It’s also worth remembering that some esports games just won’t run at this sort of widescreen resolution because it’ll give people an unfair advantage. And, away from esports, some games won’t run properly at this resolution – they’ll be artificially stretched, or HUD elements will be distorted. Away from games, films won’t take up all of the screen because their aspect ratio is different.

Most games will run perfectly well on widescreen panels, but it’s worth checking the situation with individual titles before you decide to buy a screen like this.

This isn’t the first widescreen gaming panel we’ve seen. The Acer Predator Z35P is a 35in panel with a resolution Asus ROG Strix XG49VQ 02of 3,440 x 1,440 – so a smaller screen with more pixels. It’s cheaper than the Asus, with prices now sitting at $750 in the US and £688 in the UK. It’s also possible to spend $1,000 or £861 on the Philips Brilliance 499P9H, which is a 49in panel with a mammoth 5,120 x 1,440 resolution.

The Asus’ 3,840 x 1,080 resolution is made from 4.1 million pixels. That’s a lot, but it’s miles behind screens with 5,120 x 1,440 resolutions – they use 7.3 million pixels. 4K screens use 8.2 million pixels.

On one hand, that lesser pixel count means that more graphics cards will be able to run games smoothly on this screen – and more cards will deliver the framerates needed for AMD FreeSync at 144Hz.

On the other hand, the lower resolution means that the Asus is not particularly crisp. This screen has a density level of 81ppi, and its pixels are visible – especially if you’re not sitting too far away. Games are still easily playable on this panel, of course, but it’s never going to be hugely sharp.

Other screens are better in this regard. A 49in panel at 5,120 x 1,440, like that Philips Brilliance 499P9H, serves up a 109ppi density, and the Acer Predator Z35P sits at 107ppi. Any 4K panel will be crisper until it gets beyond a 40in diagonal.

So, when it comes to the Asus ROG Strix XG49VQ, there are lots to consider when it comes to the form factor and resolution. Before you buy, you need to make sure that your favourite games and genres will work well on a 32:9 screen – and that the lesser resolution is not going to be a problem.

Head here for the latest information on the status of ray-tracing on the entire Nvidia range of GPUs!

Features

Asus ROG Strix XG49VQ 05Away from the form factor, the Asus ROG Strix XG49VQ has a good slate of features, but it’s not without problems and potential compromises.

The screen is built using VA technology. This should ensure good colour accuracy, but it’ll probably cause problems with viewing angles and response times. That latter issue is reflected in the Asus’ 4ms response time – a figure that’s fine for most games, but not quick enough for high-end esports.

And, true to form, the Asus uses 10-bit colour. This means you get access to 1.07 billion shades of colour. That’s more than the 16.7 million deployed on 8-bit screens like the Acer and Philips monitors.

The Asus has a 1800R curve, which is normal for gaming monitors with this feature – both rivals also use this. It’s good design, because it makes games more immersive and helps to combat some of the screen’s natural viewing angle issues. You don’t have to turn your head quite as far to see into the corners. Images in the corners won’t be quite as discoloured.

The XG49VQ has AMD FreeSync 2 with a peak refresh rate of 144Hz, and driver updates mean that it’ll now work on both AMD and Nvidia GPUs. As ever, make sure you’ve got a graphics card capable of running this feature at the screen’s native resolution before you decide to buy.

Asus ROG Strix XG49VQ 03The Acer monitor has Nvidia G-Sync, which means it’s not compatible with AMD cards. It also only peaks at 120Hz. The Philips is not a true gaming screen, so its AMD FreeSync only peaks at 70Hz.

The Asus also has good picture-by-picture options. You can display two or even three inputs from different sources on this screen. That’s handy for playing games, monitoring social media and even streaming simultaneously. You can’t run at beyond 60Hz with these modes activated, but that’s a minor quibble on an otherwise-useful features.

The Asus also includes HDR, although the XG49VQ only adheres to the VESA DisplayHDR 400 protocol. It’s one of the weakest HDR standards around. It only requires screens to hit a long-term brightness level of 320cd/m2. That’s not particularly good – most panels will hit that level anyway, and Asus claims that this panel peaks at 450cd/m2 regardless of HDR utilisation.

The Acer Predator has no HDR features. The Philips also uses VESA DisplayHDR 400.

The Asus looks like a typical Republic of Gamers product, with an eye-catching, industrial-design stand, two slim base feet and a chrome logo on the front. Build quality is good throughout, the screen has impressively slim bezels, but you don’t get any RGB LEDs.

And, finally, the Asus includes two 5W speakers. They’re surprisingly good: loud and punchy, with enough depth and nuance to handle playing games. External speakers will always be better, but the audio kit here is perfectly serviceable.

Want to know more about AMD Ryzen processors? Check out our in-depth guide right here.

Setup & Design

Asus ROG Strix XG49VQ 10The screen we received for our Asus ROG Strix XG49VQ review is physically huge and it weighs 13.3kg, so you may want to ask for some help when it comes to heaving it from its box and getting it into play on your desk. At least it’s relatively easy to put together: all of the screws involved have handles, so you don’t need to use any tools.

There are solid adjustment options to help ease the Asus into position. There’s 120mm of height adjustment along with tilt and swivel options, and the Asus is also compatible with 100mm VESA mounts. Understandably, it doesn’t swing around to portrait mode.

The port selection is middling. Display inputs are handled by two HDMI 2.0 ports and one DisplayPort 1.2 connection – all absolutely fine. The screen also has two USB 3.0 ports and a headphone jack.

However, there’s no faster USB 3.1 connectivity and no USB Type-C connectors. Port positioning is also awkward: all of the connections are right around the chunky stand, and it makes cables sometimes difficult to reach, especially if they’re thick wires themselves.

A joystick and a couple of buttons beneath the bottom bezel are used to navigate the Asus’ various settings menus.

The joystick is a little wobbly, but that’s our only quibble – elsewhere, the OSD is excellent.

The initial quick-access menus have options for switching between screen modes, turning on gaming options like crosshairs and frame-rate counters and adjusting the speaker volume. All of those options are available in the main OSD, of course, and the hotkeys can also be customised. The main OSD also has in-depth screen adjustment settings. The entire setup is easy to navigate and fast to respond. Get used to that wobbly joystick and you won’t have any problems.

Click here for our huge guide on 4K monitors – from finding the best features to picking the right panel!

Asus ROG Strix XG49VQ – Performance

At its default settings the screen in our Asus ROG Strix XG49VQ review uses its Racing Mode, which gives a good indication of which genre Asus reckons will best benefit from the widescreen form factor.

With these settings left in place the Asus delivered impressive initial benchmark results. Out of the box it delivered a stonking brightness level of 499cd/m2, which is huge – higher than Asus’ 450cd/m2 initial claim.

That massive brightness figure was joined by a black point of 0.11cd/m2 – another stellar result.

Those two results combine for a measured contrast ratio of 4,536:1. That’s huge: better than Asus’ quoted 3,000:1 result. It bodes well for all scenarios – colours on this screen will have loads of vibrancy and depth, darker areas will be incredibly inky, and the variations between shades of colour are smooth and subtle.

It’s a superb start. We’ve not tested the Philips screen, but the Acer Predator Z35P can’t compete – its brightness level isn’t quite as high. Its black level is great, but the Predator’s contrast ratio of 2,100:1 can’t match the Asus.

The Asus returned a Delta E of 2.16, which is a great score – it means that colours will be extremely accurate. The colour temperature of 6,825K is fine, too; a little cool, but not deviant enough to make a noticeable difference.

The Asus displayed 99.3% of the sRGB colour gamut, so every shade you’ll need for gaming will be displayed well on this screen. That’s just as good as the Acer. The Acer panel had marginally better Delta E figures but was a little poorer in colour temperature, so there’s little to choose here.

Asus ROG Strix XG49VQ 09They’re great initial results, but delving further into the Asus’ screen modes saw this panel become a little disappointing.

Take HDR. The screen only displays 81.8% of the DCI P3 gamut, which is what HDR content uses. That’s short of Asus’ 90% claim. It means that you’re going to be missing out on nearly one-fifth of the colours possible HDR.

Brightness is another HDR-related issue. With HDR activated and in this screen’s Cinema and Gaming HDR modes the brightness hovered at around 300cd/m2. In the FreeSync HDR mode the brightness dropped to around 230cd/m2.

All of those figures are short of the 320cd/m2 required by VESA DisplayHDR 400. They’re also a long way short of the peak brightness level that this screen can actually manage. The lesser brightness figures mean that contrast declines, too. In the Cinema and Gaming options it hovers at about 2,350:1, and in FreeSync HDR it’s at about 1,845:1.

These disappointing results don’t meat the VESA DisplayHDR 400 standard. They mean that HDR content will only receive a modest boost on this screen. It’s going to be a small improvement to vibrancy, but nothing else. And that’s when compared to the screen running at more modest, everyday brightness levels – not at the panel’s peak 499cd/m2 measurement.

You don’t get much of an HDR boost, but there are silver linings here. Those three HDR modes still have great contrast levels by normal standards, and they all aAsus ROG Strix XG49VQ 08ctually deliver sub-2 Delta E levels alongside colour temperatures that beat the screen’s factory settings. So, while you get little boost to HDR content, those HDR modes are actually very good for general-purpose use – as long as having HDR activated doesn’t hinder your games.

Those HDR modes are the panel’s best alternative screen options. The FPS mode increases the backlight strength to brighten up dark areas, but that ruins the contrast – so you get less depth and nuance throughout the image. The RTS/RPG mode does the same thing. The MOBA mode looks monochromatic, and the Cinema mode is too cool.

There’s another issue with the Asus: screen uniformity. It’s tricky for such large widescreens to maintain their backlight levels and colour accuracy, and the XG49VQ has fallen foul of this familiar problem.

Along each edge the screen lost around 17% of its backlight strength, with that figure increasing to 25% in the corners. The Delta E deviated by around 5 points on the edges and by nearly 7 points in the corners.

If you’re running the screen at high brightness and with brighter, more static games, the lack of brightness and colour accuracy is easy to see in the corners of the screen – white images look grey and blue. The impact is less pronounced in fast-paced games or at lower brightness levels, but it’s still there.

Need more news on the latest kit? Click here to check out the latest headlines.

Asus ROG Strix XG49VQ – Conclusion

Asus ROG Strix XG49VQ 01The monitor in our Asus ROG Strix XG49VQ review has a lot of positives, but the nature of its design and its huge price means that it’s destined to remain as a niche product.

First, the good: the panel’s colours and contrast are both excellent, and a widescreen format undoubtedly helps in several key gaming genres. The lower resolution allows more GPUs to run the screen properly. You get good build quality, solid versatility, punchy speakers and the inclusion of AMD FreeSync.

There are downsides. The lesser resolution means that this screen isn’t very crisp. Some games just won’t work well on a 32:9 aspect ratio. HDR has little impact, uniformity is poor in the corners, and the Asus is very expensive.

If you’ve got loads of money to burn and you want the biggest gaming monitor around, then the screen in our Asus ROG Strix XG49VQ review is certainly worth investigating. It’s bright and punchy, and will make applicable games look superb. Just be aware that smaller widescreens, higher resolutions and more conventional form factors could be better options – and cheaper too.

The monitor in our Asus ROG Strix XG49VQ review costs $899 in the USA and £989 in the UKDiscuss our Asus ROG Strix XG49VQ review on our Facebook and Twitter pages. And, if you need some more inspiration after reading our Asus ROG Strix XG49VQ review, check out our guide to our favourite laptops or go deep with our ultimate guide to 4K monitors – covering the technology, the terms and our top recommendations!

The Good

  • Superb colour and contrast levels
  • Huge, curved widescreen
  • Decent physical design
  • Smart, fast OSD
  • Surprisingly good speakers

The Bad

  • Poor uniformity
  • HDR mode doesn’t do much
  • Very expensive
  • Doesn’t work particularly well in some games

The Specs

Panel Technology: VA
Native Resolution: 3,840 x 1,080
Diagonal: 49in
Syncing: 144Hz AMD FreeSync 2
Display Inputs: 2 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x DisplayPort 1.2
Speakers: 2 x 5W
Ports: 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x audio
HDR: VESA DisplayHDR 400
Dimensions: 1193 x 345 x 529 (WxDxH)
Weight: 13.3kg
Warranty: 3yr RTB

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Asus ROG Strix XG49VQ

About Author

Mark Reed

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