Large, curved gaming monitors have been arriving in greater numbers, but most of them involve compromise, with comparatively low resolutions, missing features or underwhelming panels. That isn’t the case with the Asus ROG Swift PG348Q. This monitor costs a cool grand, but every feature is crammed into it. The PG348Q not only has a curved 3,440 x 1,440 ultra-wide IPS panel, but it also supports Nvidia G-Sync, while sporting flashing LEDs and game-specific screen modes.
The screen’s 110ppi pixel density is high enough to keep games looking pin-sharp, but not so high that you’ll need to deploy Windows’ own scaling settings, which can be a blessing – even today, some software doesn’t scale properly. It’s a good balance, being sharper than most 1080p and 2,560 x 1,440 panels, but not as crisp as a 34in 4K screen.
Viewing angles are good too, and the keen balance of resolution and size means PCs don’t need unreasonably expensive graphics hardware to get games running – the PG348Q’s 1440p panel has just under five million pixels, while a 4K screen has more than eight million.
Nvidia G-Sync helps too. The technology links the monitor’s refresh rate with a game’s frame rate to eliminate screen-tearing and it does a wonderful job – games are butter-smooth, which makes them look even better on the 34in widescreen panel. The PG348Q also has a maximum refresh rate of 100Hz, which lags behind some 144Hz screens, but it’s still plenty for most players.
A host of smaller features contribute to the PG348Q’s quality as well. The IPS panel is a true 10-bit screen, rather than a cheaper 8-bit panel, so it can display 1.07 billion colors rather than 16.7 million – Asus says the PG348Q produces 100 per cent of the sRGB color gamut. It’s also finished with a non-glare coating, and the GamePlus feature overlays the screen with a crosshair, fps counter or timer.
Even the pair of 2W speakers isn’t awful. They have a narrow range that struggles with high-pitched noises and bass, but quality in the mid-range is reasonable, with good punch and volume. They’re a little muffled, but they’re usable if there aren’t any alternatives.
All these goodies are wrapped inside an extravagant design. The vast screen sits on three wide legs and an angled stand, which is finished in gunmetal grey with burnt orange accents. The stand attaches to more burnt orange-coloured areas, and the rear of the screen is coated with angled, futuristic designs. The base is also full of LEDs that project a Republic of Gamers logo in a dramatic orange glow that stands out on a dark desk – a button alters its intensity, although thankfully, you can also turn it off.
The PG348Q has one of the loudest-looking stands we’ve seen, but there’s good versatility here too. There’s 115mm of height adjustment, forwards and backwards tilting and left-to-right swivelling, which is more movement than you usually find on large screens. The on-screen display (OSD) is good too. It’s controlled by a small joystick and a set of buttons on the back, and it’s both fast and sensibly organised, although it takes a while to get used to the twitchy nature of the joystick.
The base requires a tad more assembly than most monitor bases, though, with various panels and numerous screws involved. Port accessibility isn’t great either; the Asus has four USB 3 ports alongside HDMI 1.4 and DisplayPort 1.2, but all the connectors sit around the back, face downwards and can be hidden behind a shroud. That’s fine for permanent attachments, and it looks very tidy, but it’s a barrier to quick switching.
At factory settings, the Asus delivered a solid brightness level of 285cd/m2, and that’s bolstered by a decent black level of 0.27cd/m2. The two results combine for a contrast ratio of 1,055:1, which is excellent –enough to give good depth and variation to black areas while also giving brighter tones plenty of punch.
Colors are accurate too, thanks to an average delta E of 1.74 and a colour temperature of 6,366K. The former result is excellent, and the latter isn’t far removed from the 6,500K ideal – certainly not far enough away for most people to tell the difference. The average gamma level of 2.06 isn’t bad either. The PG348Q displayed 98.6 per cent of the sRGB gamut, which isn’t far removed from Asus’ boasts.
We turned down the brightness to a more palatable 50 per cent, which saw the backlight drop to 191cd/m2. At this setting, contrast remained at 1,066:1, color temperature dropped slightly to 6,225K and the average delta E improved to a stunning 0.58. The Asus also delivered good uniformity at this setting. Brightness dropped by a maximum of 12 per cent in the top-right corner, with most segments only losing single-figure percentages. Colour temperature increased by between 1 per cent and 4 per cent in most segments, but that’s no problem – it takes the screen’s measurement closer to 6,500K.
Those results are better than most ultra-wide panels, which usually suffer because of their sheer size. The only issue was a little backlight bleed in the top-right and bottomleft corners. It’s noticeable on a totally black screen, but it’s not going to disrupt gameplay. The Asus didn’t suffer from input lag either. We measured an average input lag of 13.2ms across the entire screen – better than the 20ms benchmark we expect from gaming panels.
Meanwhile, the RTS/RPG screen mode improves color saturation and contrast, while the FPS option ramps up contrast to provide better visibility in dark scenes. The Racing option improves response times, while the Scenery setting produces higher brightness levels and contrast gradients.
Despite those claims, the game-specific screen modes proved underwhelming. The RTS/RPG option made little difference to contrast but caused a poorer delta E result, and the racing mode didn’t deviate from our factory results. The FPS option had a poorer delta E, and the Scenery setting was even worse.
It’s the same story with other screen modes. The Warm color setting nails the temperature with a result of 6,592K, but at the expense of color accuracy and contrast – and the Cool color mode’s result of 9,006K is far too cool. Meanwhile, the dedicated sRGB option offers similar backlight levels to our 50 per cent brightness measurement, but with slightly warmer colors and a worse delta E.
We then calibrated the Asus with our colorimeter. Tweaking the screen involved turning the green color slider down two notches and ramping up brightness from its default setting of 80 to 85, and it delivered great results: the 287cd/m2 brightness level was paired with a 6,312K color temperature and an average delta E of 0.85.
The Asus PG348Q has a huge number of gaming features. Its widescreen design and 1440p resolution provide ample space and sharpness, with several advantages over taller but narrower 4K panels. There’s Nvidia G-Sync, a fast menu, extravagant design and impressive versatility. Colors are accurate, contrast is strong and it has better uniformity than many other ultra-wide panels, plus the curve makes your field of vision look great in front of you.
Problems are minor: a little backlight bleed, some iffy screen modes, a lower refresh rate than you find on some gaming monitors and a comparatively complicated setup procedure. When it comes to screen quality, specifications, features and design, though, the Asus PG348Q nails the brief with flair. It does cost $1,400, sure, but if you have the money, this monitor makes gaming a real pleasure.