Disputes about the need to increase the frequency of the development of monitors above 120 Hz will go on for a long time, but manufacturers do not stop this. Following the 165- and 180-Hz models, ASUS launches a novelty with a frequency of 240 Hz and support for G-Sync. Faster simply nowhere!
Having captured most of the market of gaming monitors and becoming the leader in their sales, ASUS probably realized that now it was she who should take all the new technologies into her own hands and take them out in the final product first, preventing her competitors from catching up and getting along. Recently, this is how it is: after only a few months, analogues of ASUS products appear in real sales, but often simplified by some parameters. In this case, of course, and for a little less money.
Thus, while remaining a leader, the company continues to please its fans with new and new inventions that cause jealousy in someone, and others – the desire to get them into their own hands. The only problem is the very high cost of such top-end solutions, which mainly make up the ROG Swift family. But this is not exactly the topic of today’s article, and we, perhaps, will end with the introductory and move on to the hero of today’s review – ASUS ROG Swift PG258Q model, setting a new speed bar.
ASUS ROG Swift PG258Q monitor is built on the new and unique 24.5-inch TN + Film matrix manufactured by AU Optronics. The Q250HTA00 model with a maximum vertical refresh rate of 240 Hz ( without additional overclocking in the monitor menu). This is an 8-bit solution using the FRC method, with a resolution of 1920 × 1080 pixels (Full HD standard), W- LED- backlit without using Flicker-Free and standard 16: 9 aspect ratio.
Most of the technical characteristics of the panel fully corresponds to its type. Perhaps the only thing you pay attention to is the maximum brightness of 400 nits. This is an extremely rare phenomenon for gaming monitors. In addition to ultra-high vertical scanning frequency, the model supports NVIDIA G-Sync adaptive synchronization technology, operating in a wide frequency range (30-240 Hz).
Since the novelty, despite the use of Full HD TN + Film-matrix, is one of the top products with the appropriate price, it should have a completely new appearance. Its appearance should not have echoed the exterior of the previous flagship, considered in our laboratory, PG248Q . This made the company’s designers turn to the appearance of the 34-inch PG348Q from the ROG series, which plays in a completely different class and price niche. Thus, the review’s hero got a completely new look for an ASUS monitor with such a small diagonal, supplemented with special plastic overlays on the internal frames of the “frameless” matrix, with which ASUS says: “We do not hide that the monitor is not completely frameless” . This is a sure step, thanks to which, in particular, the monitor will remain for a long time from all its direct and not very competitive.
For other parameters and capabilities, the monitor is similar to its predecessor. Ergonomic stand offers four degrees of freedom to adjust the position of the body. The list of installed ports is severely limited due to the high frequency of scanning and the support of G-Sync – this will not pull every interface. On its board, the monitor carries one Display Port 1.2 and HDMI 1.4, an audio output of 3.5 mm, two USB 3.0, a service port and a power connector for an external power supply. There is no built-in speaker system – instead of it, the user needs the Light Signature system to illuminate the ROG logo or a specially made symbol on the special plastic substrate supplied. To do this, it is enough to pick up a simple black marker and draw what your heart desires.
The monitor supports NVIDIA 3D Vision 2 technology for viewing 3D content in special glasses, ULMB (Ultra Low Motion Blur) mode, the main modes of the GameVisual image and additional Blue Light Filter presets to reduce the blue component of the spectrum. The GamePlus function is used to display the sight, the timer and the frame counter.
The only and only of the announced competitors ASUS ROG Swift PG258Q is the monitor from Acer – XB252Q, but so far the timing of its availability and price remain unknown. ASUS asks for very, very much for a small Full HD TN + Film-monitor, but there are still buyers and will be – they simply can not help being.
ASUS ROG Swift PG258Q comes in a large black box with high-quality printing, several photos of the monitor and a list of its main features. For the convenience of carrying on top there is a plastic handle.
The sticker on the box does not contain information that is particularly useful to the buyer. She informs only that the display is made in China. And of course, we had a test sample.
In his case, the package included the following:
The most preferred interface for the connection in this case is DisplayPort 1.2 (HDMI will have a 60Hz sweep limit), and there is everything necessary to use it in the bundle.
As we said, the source of inspiration for designers was the 34-inch ASUS ROG PG348Q, whose creators clearly looked at the latest ROG notebooks. However, it is not necessary to talk about 100% copying of appearance.
In the novelty, ASUS slightly reworked the central column, replaced the red bulb of the logo highlighting with plastic inserts and a red LED, and the “frameless” matrix was covered on the edges with a thin layer of plastic, as in the same PG248Q and many other models of the company.
Such a solution is still used only in ASUS and, frankly, it looks great – more effective than the models without such overlays.
The Light Signature illumination system illuminates the ROG logo with a red light on the plastic circle placed in the lower part of the central column. She does not cut eyes, but she is not particularly good at it either. Unless beauty for the sake of – and only.
A “twisted” stand with three thin metal legs of different lengths, a massive central column and a compounded rear surface divided into several areas that differ from each other – all this attracts the eye.
The cable management system consists of two elements: a special cutout in the lower part of the central column and a figured plastic cover covering the interface connectors.
As a result, the wires can be successfully hidden, but only until the body is installed at the top point on the stand.
From the quick-release connection, as in PG348Q, the manufacturer refused. Initially, the central column is attached to the casing, and to dismantle and use the VESA-compatible bracket, you need to use a flat screwdriver to pick up the plastic bronze frame and unscrew the four retaining screws that are found under it.
The features of the stand provide height adjustment within 120 mm, inclination in the range from -5 to +20 degrees and rotation of the case by 360 degrees.
In addition, the case can be turned into portrait mode (Pivot). However, since a TN + Film matrix with poor viewing angles is used here, we would not advise it.
The base of the stand and all internal fasteners are made of metal. For a better grip on the work surface, three rubber feet are used
Matrix in ASUS ROG Swift PG258Q with a matte working surface: it fights well with highlights, but, unfortunately, it has a noticeable crystal effect, spoiling the clarity and impression of the picture (not for everyone).
According to one sticker at the bottom of the case, we learned that the copy of ASUS ROG Swift PG258Q that came to us was manufactured in December 2016 by the contractor, represented by Qisda. Data on the version of the display was not found.
The connection ports are at the rear of the case, located at an angle of about 30 degrees from the work surface and pointing down. Connect cables conveniently, including thanks to the possibility of a flip into portrait mode.
The quality of ASUS ROG Swift PG258Q assembly can be called flawless: all elements are connected precisely and with minimal gaps, there are no backlashes, the rigidity of the structure is high. All materials used are practical and high-quality, do not find fault with painting. In general, this is the level that other companies should focus on.
The monitor is controlled by a five-way joystick and four different trapezoidal physical buttons, arranged in the rear part of the device. On the lower side there is a soft white power LED, which can not be turned off.
An additional indicator to work is the same ROG logo projected onto the work surface. About its activation, ASUS ROG Swift PG258Q asks if it is turned on for the first time or when all settings are forced to reset to the default values. You can choose one of the three degrees of luminescence.
Of the four control buttons, one is responsible for turning on the monitor, the other is the cancel or exit button, the other two are used to activate the game timer / customizable sight / FPS counter (GamePlus function) and quickly switch the preset GameVisual modes.
Navigation through the menu is made through a five-way joystick. This is one of the most successful ways to work with the OSD-menu – and ASUS has known about it for a long time. Time to get used to minimum, you can manage without problems day and night, everything is accessible and easy.
The design of the menu has not changed for a long time – it is simple, laconic and modern. In the case of the novelty, it contains five completely standard sections.
The first one selects the degree of influence of the Blue Light Filter function on the image on the screen. If you go into this topic, it becomes clear – the color temperature simply decreases.
Change the brightness, contrast, color temperature, gamma and saturation in the Color section. From the settings of the skin tone and other unnecessary functions, ASUS engineers got rid of.
In the Image section, there are ULMB settings and changing the mode for overclocking the OD matrix. Changing OverDrive with an active ULMB system is not available. Among the additional subsections: Dark Boost, which allows you to adjust the distinguishability of extreme dark shades (useful for players), and Adaptive Contrast Control, representing a more advanced version of dynamic contrast with an extended range of parameters.
Select the signal source in the Input Select section.
The System Setup section contains parameters that are not related to the image quality on the screen. Among the available options – change the volume of the connected headphones / speakers, adjust the appearance and position of the OSD menu, turn on the red light LIGHT IN MOTION, select the language of the localization menu, lock the control keys.
There is also a subsection with the main working information on the monitor and the function of resetting all menu settings to the default values. It is possible to deactivate deep sleep when the monitor is working with HDMI and DP ports. In this case, after leaving ASUS ROG Swift PG258Q, when you press a key on the keyboard or move the mouse, it goes into working mode in literally half a second. Access to the service menu was not found.
The ASUS ROG Swift PG258Q monitor was tested using an updated X-Rite i1 Display Pro colorimeter in combination with the X-Rite i1 Pro reference spectrophotometer, the Argyll CMS software package with the dispcalGUI graphical interface and the HCFR Colormeter program. All operations were performed in Windows 8.1, during testing the refresh rate was 240 Hz or 144 Hz for ULMB mode.
In accordance with the methodology, we will measure the following monitor parameters:
All the measurements described above were carried out before and after calibration. During the tests, we measure the main monitor profiles: default, sRGB (if available) and Adobe RGB (if available). Calibration is carried out in the default profile, except for special cases, which will be discussed additionally. For monitors with extended color coverage, we select the sRGB hardware emulation mode, if available. Before the beginning of all tests the monitor warms up within 3-4 hours, and all its settings are reset to the factory settings.
Also we will continue our old practice of publishing calibration profiles for the monitors we tested at the end of the article. At the same time, test lab warns that such a profile will not be 100% correct for the disadvantages of your monitor. The matter is that all monitors (even within the limits of one model) will necessarily differ from each other by small errors of a color rendition. Making two identical matrices is impossible physically, so for any serious calibration of the monitor you need a colorimeter or a spectrophotometer. But the “universal” profile, created for a specific instance, in general can correct the situation for other devices of the same model, especially in the case of cheap displays with pronounced color defects.
In the ASUS ROG Swift PG258Q monitor, the manufacturer has provided six preset GameVisual modes. When testing the monitor, we used the Display Port 1.2 interface as the most problem-free and fully revealing the display capabilities among the available ones.
By default, the settings for the main parameters are as follows:
During manual changes under the brightness at the center point of 100 nits and the point of white 6500 K they took the following form:
The main changes occurred during the revision of the luminance and RGB gain values. The change in contrast did not lead to an improvement in the gamma curves, so we left this parameter in its original position. All other settings are also left at the factory values - they can be considered optimal.
The check was carried out in Racing mode with the default settings:
The maximum brightness was higher than the stated brightness – as much as 520 cd / m 2 , while the lower value was 122 cd / m 2 – this is too much to work in a darkened room or in the absence of external lighting. Actually, this is the first serious drawback of the model.
The contrast ratio is close to 900: 1, which is somewhat lower than stated in the technical specifications, but is the norm for many TN + Film solutions. It remains stable in the entire operating range of the brightness of the backlight system.
Activating the operating mode of the ULMB backlight dramatically changes the picture of what is happening. Brightness range 25-327 nits with a contrast ratio of 800: 1 on average – much better suited for most working conditions, but the load on the eyes in this mode is higher due to the SHI modulation at a frequency equal to the vertical scan rate. 144 Hz is the maximum at which the ULMB can be activated.
With standard settings, the monitor does not show the most impressive results of the CPU. The triangle of color coverage is larger in area than the sRGB space, but loses to it on blue, green and turquoise hues and surpasses it (which is bad from the point of view of obtaining accurate color rendering) on red and yellow stimuli.
According to Argyll CMS, the monitor is 93.8% corresponding to the sRGB space and 68.8% AdobeRGB. For TN + Film is a good performance.
The white point is set medium, but without a parasitic hue. But the stability of the CG of shades of gray is excellent: you do not expect such a result from the game monitor.
As for the gamma curves, our sample has the following situation: there is an imbalance between the color channels and a general rise in the scale relative to the reference. The latter leads to the fact that the picture on the screen is not enough contrast.
This fact, as well as the shifted color coverage of the model, spoiled the results of the color accuracy in the corresponding Argyll test. The average deviation was 3.22 DeltaE94 units, while the maximum deviation was 6 units. Without manual adjustment and calibration here is indispensable.
The made manual edits and calibration allowed improving the results of the monitor – though not completely, due to the fact that the color rendition of the device floats somewhat over time.
After such manipulations the color coverage decreased to 91.3% sRGB, but it would be problematic to see such changes without instruments.
The point of white got its place under the sun. The stability of the gray wedge on the level of DH has somewhat decreased.
The measured gamma curves approached the reference line, but we failed to achieve the ideal. Of course, this could be done if, after a quick calibration, immediately take all the necessary measurements, but this would be fundamentally wrong. In our case, it was possible to find out exactly what we noted above: the color rendition of the monitor is unstable in time – and this is actually a bell, signaling the senselessness of conducting a full calibration of ASUS ROG Swift PG258Q, at least our specimen.
However, all this did not prevent to achieve high results of color accuracy. The monitor showed a level of 0.46 units of DeltaE94 on average and 1.37 at maximum – no worse than other game models.
Separately, consider the special mode sRGB, which should change the monitor settings in order to achieve the maximum possible compliance with this color standard. When activated, all settings in ASUS ROG Swift PG258Q menu, responsible for the accuracy and brightness of the picture, are blocked. The brightness is fixed at 232 cd / m 2 , which is far from the nominal values for the sRGB standard.
The triangle in the CIE diagram does not differ from that in the factory settings. The difference is insignificant, as well as the final results of color coverage.
The point of white and the color temperature of the shades of gray also resemble those seen in Racing Mode. Significant changes for the better are not observed. But also for the worst – too.
A completely analogous situation with gamma curves. Nothing new.
Our words also confirm the results of the Argyll test, almost 100% identical to those obtained with standard monitor settings. Was it worth it to add sRGB mode to the monitor menu? The question is rhetorical.
Now let’s see what happens to the monitor when the ULMB mode is turned on to improve the visual perception of moving objects. The brightness in this case is immediately set at ~ 320 cd / m 2 , but it can easily be reduced by adjusting the brightness of the backlight (Brightness point) and changing the pulse length in a special subsection of ULMB.
The reference points on the CIE diagram slightly change their coordinates in space, so that the color matching to the sRGB standard slightly increases – to the level of 94% sRGB and 69% AdobeRGB.
The white point becomes approximately 100 kelvin lower than the default setting. The stability of the color temperature is maintained at an initially high level.
Gamma curves slightly sag, which is good, and begin to break at some points in the measured range, which is not so good.
The changes that have taken place have slightly improved the overall accuracy of color reproduction. The average value approached 3 units of DeltaE94, and the maximum dropped to 5.48. I would like even lower, but from one desire nothing will change …
The uniformity of the display backlighting was checked after the brightness in the center point of the monitor decreased to a level of 100 cd / m 2 and the color temperature of ~ 6500 kelvin.
The first picture shows a photo of a white field at a certain exposure during shooting (in the dark) and further program processing for a more graphic representation of the uniformity of the backlight. It can immediately be understood that with the uniformity of the backlighting on a light field, our PG258Q has some problems.
The average deviation from the central point was 7.5%, the maximum did not exceed 17.8%. The result is average, but we have no special complaints.
In addition, ASUS ROG Swift PG258Q, to our great surprise, demonstrated just a smart uniformity of the illumination in terms of color temperature. The average deviation from the central point was only 0,7%, and the maximum – 1,6%. The working range after tuning is only 6386-6575 kelvin. Such results are not often found on professional models for working with color, what can we say about the monitor for cybersportsmen. Bravo, ASUS and AUO!
Similarly, we were struck by the results of deviations, expressed in units of DeltaE. The maximum deviation is only 2.6 units, and the average deviation is 1.3. It will not be easy for other monitors to compete with ASUS ROG Swift PG258Q.
Speaking about the uniformity of the backlight on black, we can note the following: despite the use of high-speed TN + Film-matrix, we did not find a classic end-of-beam light for this type of monitors (in particular, in the lower part). The overall uniformity turned out to be average, with the predominance of large zones with a medium parasitic hue. In reality, all this looks intrepid, but, of course, compete on equal terms with * VA-displays monitor from ASUS can not. Reduce the visibility of problems with uniformity on black can be – reduce the brightness of the screen, but do not forget that get rid of the Glow-effect, which also affects the overall impression of uniform illumination, you still can not.
Despite the pseudo-8-bit TN + Film matrix and not the most accurate factory setting, the ASUS ROG Swift PG258Q monitor was able to demonstrate high gradient transitions, but we could not easily reflect them in the photo – the viewing angles do not allow. The gradient is actually horizontal, and in the photo it looks like a diagonal-circular one.
In the first case, some parasitic shades are still visible, and in the second there is a large number of abrupt transitions, and the appearance of parasitic shades increases. The result is average, like the predecessor with a slightly smaller diagonal and a maximum frequency of 180 Hz.
ASUS ROG Swift PG258Q is positioned by the manufacturer as the fastest among the available on the market. Given the stated frequency of vertical scanning at 240 Hz, the modern TN + Film matrix and previous achievements of ASUS in this field, you can readily believe it without even having worked for ASUS ROG Swift PG258Q.
And then, of course, the very case when reality was no worse than expectations. The monitor is really fast. It is not at all necessary to set the maximum “dampening” to make sure of this. Normal work, watching movies, playing games, and anything else – all this happens as smoothly as possible, pleasing to the eyes and without distinguishable artifacts.
Due to the high response rate, the activation of ULMB mode, available for frequencies from 144 Hz and below, does not lead to a significant difference, which in our experience occurs for the first time among game displays. Overclocking the panel, as shown by our tests, is set optimally right from the factory (Normal mode). You can check the other two, but still will probably return to the standard one. In it and the response time is lower (it should correspond to a level of 1000/240 = 4.16 ms), and there are no artifacts with loops.
We will not go into the discussion about the necessity and practicality of such a high frequency of vertical development. We can only note the fact that if you switch from a 60-Hz monitor to a 120-144-Hz model, the difference strikes any user when performing any task, then when replacing a 120-144 Hz monitor with a modern model with a maximum sweep frequency in 165, 180 or 240 Hz to feel the difference will be difficult, but for some it is completely impossible.
Separately, we note that the use of G-Sync technology, which operates in the range of 30-240 Hz and allows to achieve the absence of micro-ports and picture bursts at a very floating FPS level, implies the necessity of ULMB shutdown. You can use only one thing.
The absence of frame skipping in the most complicated mode – 240 Hz – confirms a special test from the UFOTest package. With this problem the monitor does not.
Viewing angles spoil the overall impression of the ASUS ROG Swift PG258Q, which by this parameter does not actually differ from its predecessor PG248Q. But if you have faced TN + Film matrices for the last 5-7 years, then there will be no discoveries and revelations for you. Just initially, before buying, you need to be aware of what this monitor is for and what obvious disadvantages (because of the technology of the matrix itself) it possesses.
The stability of the picture when the user’s position is changed is low, the color shift is noticeable (appearance and / or change of a certain shade in a certain part of the screen). In some cases, for example, when working with tables and documents, the differences between the bottom and top parts of the screen are clearly visible, and this is affected not by the uniformity of the illumination, but by the small viewing angles.
Horizontal viewing angles are better than vertical, but significantly worse than modern * VA- and IPS-based solutions. The color shift manifests itself when the angle of view is changed by 10-15 degrees or more, the contrast and saturation of the image quickly fall. When you change the viewing angle in the vertical plane (that is, when viewing from the top or bottom), the picture changes even more rapidly and faster, until the colors are inverted.
All this is not so much a problem if for the buyer only the speed of the matrix is important or if so far it has not worked for monitors with other types of matrices. But, once acquainted with IPS-matrices, this begins to pay attention.
Glow-effect is pronounced both on color images and on a black field. Many for some reason think that it is inherent exclusively to IPS-matrices, but it is not. In addition, on complex color transitions at non-standard viewing angles, the TN + Film matrix demonstrates posterization of the image, as seen in one of the photos above.
Depending on the position of the user in front of the screen with black filling, the parasitic hue and the degree of its manifestation vary greatly, as does the zone of its appearance. In addition, the heterogeneity of the field becomes noticeable (sometimes stripes are visible on dark graphic interfaces).
The ASUS ROG Swift PG258Q monitor uses a matte film over the protective plastic layer.
Thanks to her monitor has good anti-glare properties, preventing the appearance of reflections from bright objects and light sources, but the crystalline effect makes itself felt in the first seconds of acquaintance with the hero of the review. Its visibility is further enhanced by changing the viewing angle, and in general the picture is not as pleasing to the eye as it is on modern models with a semi-matte surface.
In turn, from the effect of the Cross Hatching monitor ASUS ROG Swift PG258Q is spared.
According to the manufacturer, the display has Flicker-Free-backlight, which was confirmed during our tests. At any level of brightness, SHI modulation is not used or its frequency is several kilohertz or even tens of kilohertz. For their eyes, potential buyers can be calm, but only under other simple rules: you need to monitor the brightness of the screen, to properly select the distance to the monitor and so on.
Activating the ULMB switches the backlight to a different mode of operation. The frequency of the SHI modulation in this case is 100-144 Hz (depending on the set frequency of vertical scanning), which significantly affects the fatigue of the eyes. On the one hand, this mode significantly improves the operating range of the brightness of the screen, on the other hand, there are no visible advantages in the speed of the picture and its smoothness in comparison with the 200-240 Hz mode and backlighting without PWM in the case of ASUS ROG Swift PG258Q. What is better to use – everyone decides for himself.
The monitor considered today fully corresponds to its status in the market. It is not only extremely fast, but also differs by a dozen other advantages, some of which are so far unique. New ASUS ROG Swift PG258Q is a monitor for those who are accustomed to the best and knows with what disadvantages will have to face because of the established TN + Film-matrix. Perhaps this will not be the only monitor on the table, and its main task will be exclusively modern games. Yes, the model is not ideal and for such a lot of money I would like to get a much better factory setting, greater viewing angles and the absence of other less significant shortcomings.
In fact, the really selling ASUS ROG Swift PG258Q is better than our test sample. We lift the veil of secrecy, noting that in retail copies of the review hero there are no problems with the factory setting as such, the stability of the color rendition is much higher, the viewing angles are better (in all probability another version of the panel is used). All this – not our assumptions, but the real experience of the author of this text. Consider this when choosing and, of course, do not forget to look at the working device until payment. Perhaps you can do less with spending your blood for a model with a lower frequency of development.