“…By all that is holy, this is one big-ass screen.”
That’s the thought that I had when an army of burly deliverymen dropped off the Asus ROG Swift PG65UQ, a monstrous 65-inch monitor that arrived in a box which Cape Town flat owners would be jealous of. To call it big would be an understatement, but there it rested, resplendent in all of its technological hugeness. Inside was a behemoth of 4K resolution and overclockable refresh rates, juxtaposed by the tiniest of remote controls.
An hour later, after toiling away at opening the box and almost flattening myself with a screen that weighed around 40kg, I had it all set up on my TV unit. Barely. Did I mention yet how absolutely bloody enormous the Asus PG65UQ is? First impressions were pretty good on this obsidian slab of technology, once the shock factor of its size had worn away.
It’s typical Asus design: Somehow flashy yet not ostentatious, with the rear of the screen boasting futuristic lines in the molded plastic shell. There was even a little light at the base of the TV, that would project the Asus logo onto a surface when it was powered up because why the hell not? On the sides, you had a decent selection of inputs to choose from as well: A quadruple helping of HDMI 2.0 ports, a DisplayPort 1.4, an SPDIF audio port and two USB 3.0 ports.
On the audio side, a pair of 15Wx2 Stereo RMS speakers would belch out some sick beats and gameplay noises, or some classy tunes if you were in the mood. What about the picture though? Even though it was released in 2018, the Asus ROG Swift PG65UQ is no slouch. The 163.9cm screen boasts 130% colour saturation, it’s proper 4K with the now-standard resolution of 3840×2160 and it has a superb pixel pitch of 372mm.
It’s also bright enough to convince you that a new day has dawned, as it reaches an absurd threshold of 1000 nits. The first time I accidentally cranked up the brightness, I was convinced that I’d gone blind from the sheer overload of whiteness that assaulted my ocular organs. A 4ms response time, 384 zones of dynamic local dimming and HDR 10 rounds up the sales pitch, but what’s the Asus PG65UQ like in action? Bloody fantastic, if you’ve got the right hardware for it.
On the PC side, I did not have that required technology to get the best out of the massive monitor, but I did have the next best thing! An Xbox One X. The most powerful console on the market for at least a few more months, I was able to take numerous games for a test drive on the screen: Forza Horizon 4, Gears 5, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, and The Division 2 for starters.
Running at 4K resolution and in some cases at a mind-boggling frame-rate, the image transmitted was nothing short of revelatory. A good picture and gaming experience is the result of both parties coming to the dance, and seeing the best of Microsoft and Ubisoft run on the PG65UQ was jaw-dropping to say the least.
HDR features may be more commonplace and taken for granted in this day and age, but seeing those effects handled with the brightest of luminance or a darkness so black that it would attract legions of heavy metal mosh pit regulars to my door was astounding to witness. It’s genuinely hard to describe what I saw in words, without having someone there to actually view it.
It gets even better, because if you’re planning to grab one of these for PC purposes and you’ve sworn a blood oath vendetta against screen-tearing, then the PG65UQ nips that nemesis in the bud. Provided that you’re rocking Nvidia hardware that is, so that you can take advantage of the built-in GSync features. There’s also some future-proofing at play here, as the screen can be overclocked to 144hz.
I’m not exactly too clued up on how many PC games have a frame-rate that high even, but I do know that on console Rainbow Six Siege can go that high and it still baffles me how people want more than 60 frames per second in their gaming experience. To each their own, I guess. It’s also worth noting how I had the PG65UQ set up. Due to space limitations and the fact that I normally game on 42” LG TV, I’d estimate that I sit around two meters away from my screen when I play.
With 4K games from that viewing distance, the effect was still fantastic and I couldn’t even spot a pixel cluster with my eyes. Which still function at 20/20, thank you adolescent laser eye surgery. Running a base PlayStation 4 however, that effect was diminished slightly, but that’s due to viewing distance and hardware. The PS4 can only manage a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080p after all, and to truly appreciate the image you do need to sit further back.
On that note, I will say that an artistically driven game like Ghost of Tsushima still looked impossibly vibrant on the screen. So all well and good, right? Whip out the credit card, and wait for the mailman to break his spine in half when he delivers your new purchase. Not exactly. As good as the PG65UQ is, there are still some factors to consider before you rush out and grab one.
For starters, it’s a dedicated monitor. Aside from what you connect to it, there are no options for expanded viewing that you currently get from a Smart TV. No Netflix, no YouTube and none of those other weird channels associated with the UHD era. The PG65UQ is a channel for which you can access those services through your PC or console, that’s it. There’s also a slight case of chromatic aberration on text, a small halo effect on bright objects and the display port used to achieve the 144hz overclocking feature doesn’t have an audio return channel. actually wait, that last point is a good thing.
There’s also the issue of sound on the Asus PG65UQ. It’s good, it sounds crystal clear and it can be loud, but not loud enough to cover up the hum of its two cooling fans. I get that for its target market that a headset is the way to go, but having that option to use built-in speakers instead of a headset and then listen to stellar sound interrupted by internal cooling is annoying.
The other thing to bear in mind, is its price: R80,000.
That’s an eye-boggling price, especially when compared to what has arrived on the market in the two years since Asus released the PG65UQ. LG in particular, is earning all the love for a recent software update that introduced all manner of future-heavy thinking to its 2019 line of B and C-series TVs: Even lower input lag, HDMI 2.1 support and a 4K 120hz display. For almost a third of the price for the new CX model. That’s a bit of a bitter pill to swallow.
That’s not to say that the PG65UQ isn’t superb in its focused field. I’ve packed the monolith up and I’ve gone back to my regular LG 42”, and it has been brutal to downsize like this. You know that guy who tells you its better to have loved and lost someone than never loved at all? I’ll kick him square in the junk if I ever meet him, because he knows nothing of the pain I’m currently feeling. Heck, I’ve experienced a home cinema lifestyle and I didn’t even need to stain my floor with mysteriously sticky substances to pull it off.
Last Updated: August 21, 2020