Two minute review
The Asus CG32UQ is a gaming monitor that’s designed for console users – and it delivers a 4K resolution, good HDR options and AMD FreeSync.
It sounds great on paper, but it’s not cheap – this panel will set you back $800 (£783, around AU$1,800).
It also has unexpected competition from the BenQ PD3200U, which is a rival 32-inch 4K panel at a similar price. The BenQ is designed for business, but it’s very good for gaming.
The Asus CG32UQ has a 4K resolution, which means is well-placed to handle the PS4 Pro and the Xbox One X alongside the PS5, Xbox Series X and high-end gaming PCs.
The VA technology will deliver top-notch contrast, and the Asus adheres to DisplayHDR 600. It’s a mid-range HDR specification that won’t match the best HDR TVs, but it will still provide a noticeable improvement in games.
The Asus also has AMD FreeSync, but it tops out at 60Hz. That refresh rate is high enough to provide smooth single-player experiences, and it’s a challenge for PCs to render some 4K games beyond 60fps.
However, a 60Hz refresh rate isn’t fast enough for competitive play in games like Fortnite and Rocket League. With Sony and Microsoft both touting 120Hz playback for their next consoles, that’s a disappointment.
Similarly, the response time of 5ms is fine for single-player gaming but not good enough for competition play.
The 31.5-inch diagonal size is an issue, too. While this is a large display by PC standards, it’s small when compared to TVs, and it’s too small for most living rooms. You need to consider how far away you’ll be sitting – and if you’ll be able to see game HUDs – before you buy this panel.
The rival BenQ is the same size as the Asus, with the same resolution, and it offers an IPS display with no AMD FreeSync or HDR. Its IPS technology should deliver better colours, but it won’t have the same smoothness or depth of contrast as the Asus.
The Asus CG32UQ has several neat features. For example, the stand has USB ports for charging phones and controllers, and there are customisable RGB LEDs on the rear.
It has height adjustment and forward and backwards tilting, but no left-to-right swivel.
The on-screen display uses a big, bright blue menu system that can be navigated with a neat remote control.
The Asus has two 12W speakers, and they’re punchy, with lashings of bass and volume. They’re far better than the speakers included in most monitors, and are easily good enough for gaming. Only TVs will be better.
Meanwhile, BenQ’s display has more USB ports, a card reader and better adjustment options, but no RGB LEDs and poorer speakers.
But how well does it perform? The Asus CG32UQ’s brightness level of 425cd/m2 is very impressive, and the black level of 0.14cd/m2 is deep. They create a contrast ratio of 3,035:1 – a vast figure that produces huge depth and intensity across the entire color range. It’s miles better than the BenQ.
Colors are also accurate: the Delta E of 2.2 is solid, the color temperature of 6,904K is reasonable, and the panel renders a stunning 99.8% of the sRGB gamut. For mainstream gaming, that’s top-notch, although the BenQ is a little better.
With HDR activated the Asus’ contrast level approached 4,000:1 and it covered a very good 95.6% of the DCI-P3 color gamut. Those high figures deliver a noticeable boost to games. DisplayHDR 1000 is better still, but the Asus CG32UQ is still decent in this regard.
Buy it if...
You need a high-end mainstream gaming screen for your bedroom
The Asus CG32UQ has huge contrast, so games look fantastic here – and the colors are good. HDR provides a solid boost, the speakers are easily good enough, and the 4K resolution means plenty of image-based versatility.
You want a 4K panel for the next generation of consoles
Sony and Microsoft have both said that their next consoles will output at 4K, and current-generation consoles and PCs can manage it too. If you want a screen that’s ready for the next gen consoles, it needs to be 4K.
You’re after a screen for general-purpose media use
The Asus CG32UQ can handle PC and console games, and the speakers mean that it’s easily good enough for movie, TV and music use too – so it’s an ideal option if you need an all-round entertainment display.
Don't buy it if...
You want a high-end HDR display
DisplayHDR 600 is a good option and delivers a reasonable boost to games, but it’s still a mid-range option for this futuristic tech. If you really want the best HDR around right now, you need a panel with DisplayHDR 1000.
You need a display for a larger living room
The Asus CG32UQ has a 31.5-inch diagonal. That’s great for smaller bedrooms and offices, but games won’t be legible if you’re viewing this screen across a larger living room. Just think about most TVs – 50-inches and larger is the norm.
You want smooth gaming for esports
FreeSync runs at 60Hz here. That’s fine for single-player gaming and it pushes the limits of what PCs and consoles can manage at 4K, but it’s not enough for esports. If you’re a competitive player, look for a 144Hz display instead.
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