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

Update: Updated with more recent information – we aim to review this model in July. News piece below initially published 5th January 2017.

 

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. A projector which beams this motif onto the wall behind you is also included, at the top of the stand neck. Either feature can be disabled if preferred. The OSD includes pressable buttons and a joystick (JOG button) for intuitive navigation. Note that the image below is from the initial prototype, the final design is slightly different and incldues slimmer bezels and various other refinements.

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 employed to keep the image looking relatively ‘clean’ and free from obvious graininess. 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 includes an FALD (Full Array Local Dimming) solution. 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 can be brightly lit whilst others are lit very dimly, depending on the brightness or darkness of various parts of the image. This delivers a specified HDR contrast ratio of 50,000:1. This far exceeds the 1000:1 typical under SDR operation and reduces 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.

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 supports 10-bit colour (8-bit + FRC) and offers 97% DCI-P3 colour gamut coverage. A flicker-free Quantum Dot backlight solution is used, believed to be a Nanosys QDEF (Quantum Dot Enhancement Film). A 4ms grey to grey response time is specified.

The final design

The rear of the monitor (above) again features ROG SWIFT design elements, including some rather artistic patterns and an ‘Aura Sync’ ROG motif lighting feature towards the top right. This can be controlled the the OSD or using software. The included stand offers full flexibility (tilt, height adjustment, swivel and pivot) but can be removed if preferred to reveal 100 x 100mm VESA holes. The ports include; DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2.0, 2 USB 3.0 ports and a 3.5mm headphone jack. DP 1.4 support 3840 x 2160 @ 144Hz plus G-SYNC (on compatible GPUs), whilst HDMI 2.0 supports 3840 x 2160 @ 60Hz. Both inputs support HDR for both PC and console users. The monitor is expected to be quite widely available in July, with a price of around $2000 USD (£2000). We aim to review this model in July.