Asus ROG Swift PG35V Curved Gaming Monitor Review – Specs aren’t everything

I’ve had my eye on the Asus ROG Swift PG35V for years. It’s one of the most lust worthy gaming monitors on the planet with every possible spec recommended in the gamers handbook for boss level flossing. For starters, it’s a 35-inch, 21:9 ultrawide with a curved VA panel and a 3440 x 1440 resolution. It refreshes at an astonishing 200Hz with a 2ms grey-to-grey response time.

It was also one of the first monitors to achieve the eye-melting HDR1000 certification and has 512 dimming zones to keep it all in check. There’s no denying it’s a damn fine looking monitor that elevates any desk setup and has a backside that would make a Kardashian jealous; complete with customizable RGB lighting that shoots a ThunderCats style logo onto your desk while you game. Seriously, what’s not to love?

Asus ROG Swift PG35V Review

The Asus ROG Swift PG35V is an imposing machine

Well the first thing you definitely won’t like is the price. The best online price I could find for the PG35V was an astonishing $3,699(with most retailers selling closer to $4,000). You have to have seriously deep-pockets to afford a monitor that’s more expensive than a properly kitted RTX 3080 desktop rig with all the necessary peripherals. 

And you’ll need such a rig to get the most out of the PG35V’s expansive UWQHD panel and its 200Hz refresh rate. I had an RTX 3080 power Asus Zephyrus s17 laptop to test with and even that struggled to drive this monstrous display beyond 120fps in most games at ultra settings. Compared to the spectacular Acer Predator X38 I reviewed a while back, it’s obvious to me that a VA panel may not necessarily have been the best choice for the PG35V.

Sure, it’s wicked fast, outpacing the Predators IPS panel by almost double and it has excellent contrast of 500000:1. But all that comes at a noticeable tradeoff in color accuracy and viewing pleasure. To me, the PG35V looks somewhat washed out and I kept fiddling with color presets to get it to a reasonably pleasing point. Asus says it’s rated at 99% sRGB and 90% DCI-P3 color coverage and is factory calibrated but it just didn’t look that way to me. Even the IPS panel on the Zephyrus s17 looked so much better sitting side by side.

Also noticeable was the blooming or halo effect which happens when the monitor is displaying a singular bright object(like your mouse cursor or a game HUD) that’s juxtaposed against a dark background resulting in an area of effect glow. It’s common problem with LCD monitors and the PG35V has some of the worst I’ve ever seen. You won’t really notice it that often in games but sweet Jesus is it obvious navigating around Windows 10 or using dark apps. 

Basically, I can’t confidently recommend professional desktop work on the PG35V which is a shame given the glorious real estate that the UWQHD resolution of 3440 x 1440 provides. You can easily stack three full size windows or many alternative layouts for maximum productivity –  a big reason I love ultrawides. This carries over to PC games which look amazing in ultrawide and totally immerse you in grandeur. 

Gaming over the speed limit

Playing Destiny 2 in ultrawide on the Asus ROG Swift PG35V

Thankfully, the color issues I complained about earlier are much less obvious in games and I suppose that’s where it matters the most as this is a gaming monitor. The VA panel is smooth and responsive and that high contrast makes colors pop and sizzle especially when that insane HDR1000 kicks in. The highlights are never blown out and the contrast helps the dark areas separate well from the mids and highs. Yet still, side by side comparison with the Zephyrus showed that PG35V was somewhat lackluster. 

What makes games feel really good on the PG35V is its base refresh of 180Hz which it can overclock to 200Hz, which is crazy given the type of hardware needed to achieve such frames. Every game I played from Destiny 2 to Doom Eternal ran smooth as butter thanks to Nvidia G-Sync keeping things in order as advertised. A word of warning though, out of the PG35V’s three response Overdrive modes, only the Normal mode worked well without ghosting and you’re likely better off ignoring the others. 

Looking past the panel, there’s not much to complain about with the physical design and accoutrements of the PG35V. It stands pretty wide as you’d expect though not nearly as much as the Predator X38 so you’ll need to account for that in your desk space. The stand is a favorite of mine. It doesn’t take much depth on your desk and does a good job at minimising wobble of the massive panel. It also gives you a good range of height, tilt and swivel which you’ll appreciate when trying to access the ports at the back.

The ports include a single HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.4 for video input which honestly isn’t good enough for something this big and expensive. There should have been an extra HDMI and a USB Type-C with the ability to show Picture-by-picture for two devices simultaneously. There’s two USB ports for peripherals and a 3.5mm headphone jack which is powered by an in-built ESS DAC. Asus says this allows the PG35V to output Hi-Res audio as well as adding AI noise cancelling though I didn’t find it noticeable at all when I plugged my cans into it. 

The entire back of the PG35V is a gorgeous canvas of etches that I find really beautiful and it’s a shame that you’ll really never see them. However, if you are always at LAN parties or tournaments, this monitor will really show off to your competition that you’ve got the dosh and maybe the skills too. The massive glowing ROG logo on the back panel and the smaller one on top of the stand are customisable with Aura Sync. There’s also the aforementioned light projector in the base of the stand that you can change up with different stencils to show off your personal brand. 

On the left rear side of the PG35V are you OSD controls which are nice, chunky buttons and textured joystick that are easy to use. I’d prefer they were situated in the middle of the bottom bezel so I don’t have to stretch around the back. The menu itself is easy to understand and navigate with a ton of options to set up the monitor the way you like. I made constant use of the different color presets bouncing between the sRGB for work and Cinema or Scenery modes which I thought had the richest colors and contrast that pleased me. 

Verdict

So after almost a month of using the Asus ROG Swift PG35V for every part of my workflow and of course, a lot of gaming, I have to say I’m really let down by the experience. It’s not that it’s a bad monitor, it’s just not as good as I’d expect a $4000 monitor. Between the VA panel, blooming and underwhelming color, it’s hard to justify spending this kind of money which in truth can get you an excellent rig and a stunning IPS ultrawide. 

The 512 dimming zones do an admirable job containing the bright panel and the HDR experience has been pleasant but not as amazing as something like Asus’s own exceptional ROG Swift PG32UQX with its Mini-LED, Quantum Dot panel that supports HDR1400. That panel is simply stunning and I’d love to see Asus put that panel tech into this ultrawide body. Now that would be the dream monitor.  

Comparing it to the top end ultrawides from Acer and Alienware, even with the higher specs the PG35V is clearly the inferior panel and a great reminder that specs aren’t everything.  

Asus ROG Swift PG35V Curved Gaming Monitor
LIKE
UWQHD resolution and 200Hz
Insanely bright HDR1000
Robust, Beautiful design
Great for multitasking work
DISLIKE
Ridiculously expensive
Colors calibration underwhelms
Too few video & USB ports
7.8
Powerful but underwhelming

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Kizito Katawongahttp://www.medium.com/@katawonga
Kizzy is our Tech Editor. He's a total nerd with design sensibilities who's always on the hunt for the latest, greatest and sexiest tech that enhances our work and play. When he's not testing the latest gadgets or trying to listen to his three whirlwind daughters, Kizzy likes to sink deep into a good story-driven single player game.

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