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ASUS PG27UQ 144Hz ‘4K’ monitor with G-SYNC HDR

The ‘4K’ UHD resolution offers a potentially rich and rewarding gaming experience, but due to bandwidth restrictions on current port controllers has been restricted to 60Hz. The ASUS PG27UQ makes use of DisplayPort 1.4, which has been available on the current generation of GPUs for a little while now, to combine the UHD resolution with a 144Hz refresh rate. In terms of design, the screen identifies itself as a member of the ROG (Republic of Gamers) SWIFT series with its interesting stand design and inclusion of its little ROG motif (red logo) which is projected downwards onto the desk. This can be disabled if preferred. The OSD includes pressable buttons and a joystick (JOG button) for intuitive navigation. One notable exception here is that the bezels are rather chunky – this is likely due to the specialist backlighting solution used here, which we’ll come onto shortly.

Thicker bezels, but familiar design

The monitor uses a 27” 144Hz ‘4K’ UHD (3840 x 2160) panel, an IPS-type (AU Optronics AHVA) part with 178°/178° viewing angles and high levels of colour consistency expected. A light matte anti-glare screen surface is likely employed. The monitor also supports G-SYNC HDR. This has two elements to it. Firstly there is the variable refresh rate element of ‘traditional G-SYNC’, which allows the monitor to dynamically adjust its refresh rate to match, where possible, the frame rate of the game. This operates with a 30 – 144Hz adjustment range – something that will come in very useful given the GPU horsepower required to run the UHD resolution. In this sense, there is a certain amount of ‘future-proofing’ with this screen in that it will likely be a while before a user has the GPU power available to take full advantage of it. Secondly there is High Dynamic Range capability, which is a key addition to G-SYNC HDR. The monitor is the first model currently announced to feature a full array backlight. Rather than a traditional monitor backlight, which works as an individual unit (BLU – Backlight Unit), this model has 384 local dimming zones or 384 clusters of individually controllable LEDs. Some could be brightly lit whilst others are lit very dimly, depending on the brightness or darkness of various parts of the image. This provides a static contrast ratio, currently unspecified, that far exceeds the 1000:1 typical for an IPS-type panel and would reduce traditional issues such as ‘IPS glow’ (or ‘AHVA glow’) in the dimly lit regions. The peak luminance is also exceptionally high for a monitor, at 1000 cd/m². We assume that the HDR functionality of this monitor is entirely controlled and depends upon a ‘G-SYNC HDR’ compatible Nvidia GPU being used.

Another aspect of the HDR10 standard which this screen aims to meet includes a wide colour gamut and support for 10-bit colour. The monitor will support 10-bit colour (may include an FRC dithering element, 8-bit + FRC) and also supports the DCI-P3 colour gamut. These features are inherent to the panel and backlight used and are not specific to Nvidia GPUs (i.e. can be used on any system). A flicker-free Quantum Dot backlight solution is used, specifically Nanosys QDEF (Quantum Dot Enhancement Film). Although not currently specified, we expect to see a 4ms grey to grey response time specified at some point. Features such as ‘GamePlus’ on-screen crosshair and timer feature and the ‘Turbo Key’ refresh rate selector are likely to be present as well.

An artistic rear

The rear of the monitor (above) again features ROG SWIFT design elements, including some rather artistic patterns and orange elements. The included stand offers full flexibility (tilt, height adjustment, swivel and pivot) but can most likely be removed if preferred to reveal 100 x 100mm VESA holes. Although not specified, a 4ms grey to grey response time is likely. The ports include DisplayPort 1.4 and HDMI, with the former fully supporting 3840 x 2160 @ 144Hz plus G-SYNC HDR (on compatible GPUs) and the latter being for compatibility with other devices such as games consoles. The HDMI revision wasn’t mentioned in the initial press release, but we expect this will be HDMI 2.0. The monitor is currently scheduled for a Q3 2017 release in North America according to this post on the ASUS Edge Up blog, with RRP still TBC. This release date could of course change further down the line. We will update this article with new information as it comes to us and will be requesting a review sample as well.