WePC is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more
After much anticipation, WePC finally gets its hands on the new ASUS ROG Swift PG42UQ gaming monitor – billed as the world’s first 42-inch OLED gaming monitor on the market. The new big-screen gaming display will come equipped with a 138Hz refresh rate (overclockable), 4K UHD screen resolution, near-instantaneous response time (0.1ms quoted), and HDMI 2.1 support – making it the perfect choice for both PC and next-gen console gamers.
Its large 41.5″ 4K OLED panel looks set to provide immersion in abundance, showcasing perfect blacks, an infinite contrast ratio, and 98% coverage of the DCI-P3 spectrum. It will also feature ASUS’ new internal heatsink that allows the OLED panel to perform in a more efficient manner – reducing its chances of image retention and permanent burn-in.
Despite being classed as a gaming monitor, the PG42UQ looks set to tick all the various boxes from both a gaming and productivity standpoint too. ASUS claim a pre-calibrated color preset of <2 right out of the box, alongside a plethora of additional gaming features in an attempt to seperate it from the market’s OLED gaming TVs.
Furthermore, ASUS has also installed a new brightness uniformity feature which provides better levels of consistency when it comes to brightness levels. This is ROG-exclusive feature that really helps the PG42UQ stand out from the competition.
All being said, we’ll be putting the PG42UQ through its paces in the following article to see how it stacks up against some of the market’s leading gaming monitors and TVs. We’ll be testing the display for gaming performance, color accuracy, build quality, and general functionality, concluding with our thoughts on its value for money.
So, will the ASUS PG42UQ manage to compete with the top LG OLED TVs or will it fall short of the mark? Let’s find out.
Peak brightness is a little lacking when compared to LED alternatives
What’s In The Box
The ASUS ROG SWIFT PG42UQ comes in a fairly large box with plenty of marketing material on the exterior. Inside, the panel is packaged like most modern TVs – stood upright in a layer of protective styrofoam.
The shell of the box lifts off and leaves the monitor exposed – with construction requiring two individuals for completion. The stand screws into the rear of the monitor with four simple screws. This is the only bit of construction required for this monitor.
Once the stand is attached, simply flip it upright and place it on your desk.
Alongside the panel and the stand, users will find the following items:
With specifications out the way, let’s take a closer look at the build quality, design, and mechanical features the ASUS ROG SWIFT PG42UQ comes equipped with.
The PG42UQ features an incredibly premium design that is characterized by thin bezels, a slender profile, and premium materials used throughout. For me, it’s one of the best looking big-screen gaming monitors we’ve had in the testing studio – featuring all the aesthetic traits you’d want from a premium display.
Looking at the face of this monitor, it’s tough to pick out any negatives when it comes to aesthetic design. The slim bezels help to create high levels of immersion, while the large V-shaped stand gives the PG42UQ a nice gamey feel. Unlike other gaming monitors, the PG42UQ also features a very slim bottom bezel – more reminiscent of a TV than a monitor. The ROG branding can also be found on the bottom bezel, displayed by a red LED ROG logo.
Speaking of the feet, the PG42UQ also features small circular pads on the pressure points of the stand to help increase the stability of the panel – great for individuals that don’t have a super premium desk.
Moving to the rear, there really aren’t many aesthetic features to discuss. A large ROG logo can be found at the back alongside a number of vents to help the monitor’s new heatsink system operate efficiently. A large grill has also been installed at the top of the monitor to help keep temperatures low.
A small hatch can be found at the rear of the monitor that houses all the relevant inputs. Users can cover the hatch with a small plastic door that clips into place via a toolless design.
Being OLED, it’ll come as no surprise to hear that the side profile of this monitor is incredibly slim. In fact, for a monitor of this size, it might be one of the thinnest panels we’ve tested – helping to produce an elegant and premium style.
Lastly, ASUS has decided to equip the PG42UQ with a handy little camera mount at the top of the monitor – meaning streamers can easily attach a camera without the need for an external bracket.
As far as build quality goes, we were incredibly impressed by just how robust the PG42UQ felt.
All fittings and fixtures felt incredibly well-made, finished with a premium feel that is certainly noticeable when compared to cheaper alternatives.
The large V-shaped stand is made from solid metal and gives the user confidence that it will stand the test of time. The rear of the panel does utilize plastic, however, ASUS has made use of premium quality materials that feature limited levels of flexibility when tested.
As you’d expect, being OLED this monitor also features a glass panel. While not as forgiving as a plastic anti-glare alternative, it does feel much more premium.
Additionally, all the buttons and inputs feel incredibly well-made – offering up a pleasant purposes feel when using them.
Overall, it’s another homerun for ASUS on this one.
Like many of today’s modern monitors, the ASUS PG42UQ also makes use of a matte anti-glare coating. However, as this uses an OLED panel, ASUS has opted for a glass front instead of the more generic plastic alternative.
While this adds a premium feel to the panel, it does tend to pick up fingerprints much easier. Luckily, cleaning the PG42UQ is incredibly easy, requiring a simple cleaning solution and microfibre cloth.
The ASUS PG42UQ comes equipped with a bunch of inputs, all of which are located on the rear of the panel.
Alongside all the usual suspects, the ASUS PG42UQ also comes equipped with two HDMI 2.1 ports – allowing next-gen console gamers to reap the full rewards of 4K @120Hz gameplay.
Other inputs for this monitor include 2 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x DisplayPort 1.4 (DSC), 3.5 mm audio jack, USB hub (4 x USB 3.2), 1 x USB 3.0, and SPDIF out.
The OSD controls for the PG42UQ can be found on the underside of the bottom bezel – underneath the ROG LED.
ASUS has utilized a joystick for the OSD on this monitor, allowing users to easily navigate the various menus on offer.
Within the OSD, users have a plethora of options to choose from – with full customization up for grabs. It features a decicated gaming menu which allows you to overclock the refresh rate, toggle adaptive-sync, and add various other gaming features (including GamePlus and a crosshair).
Users also have full control over the picture quality, colors, inputs, and system settings.
Color Accuracy & Picture Quality
We like to test every monitor we review for color reproduction to see how it would perform in color-sensitive situations. Despite this monitor being tailored towards gamers, it features a wide color gamut (98% DCI-P3 according to specs) which means both accuracy and HDR performance should be relatively decent.
Like always, we started off the color accuracy testing section of this review by loading up our colorimeter and running a test right out of the box.
Below are the results.
Racing Mode (out of the box)
As you can see from the results above, the PG42UQ performed to a fairly OK standard right out of the box. We recorded a 6238K white point, perfect black depth, and infinite contrast ratio in the panel’s factory settings. As far as average deltaE was concerned, the PG42UQ offered a 3.52 deviation across the testing spectrum. Gamma was recorded at 2.28 and luminance out of the box was 327 nits – more than the recommended for daily consumption over extended periods of usage.
We quickly moved onto the pre-calibrated sRGB emulation preset to see whether or not this OLED monitor would live up to the calibrated report it came with. According to the report, the PG42UQ should be calibrated to an Average DeltaE of 1.08. We ran the test and, unfortunately, average DeltaE wasn’t up to the report’s standards. We recorded at 2.09 average DeltaE in the sRGB profile – a little disappointing all things considered. White point was fairly stable, while black depth and contrast ratio recorded perfect scores. Luminance in the sRGB profile was set to 104 cd/m2.
The last preset we tested was the User setting. This was the least accurate setting from the presets we tested, showcasing a 3.53 average deltaE. Gamma read 2.25 and luminance was quite high – measuring 326 nits. White point didn’t really change in this profile, measuring in at 6257K. Of course, the main draw of the User mode is the additional customization it offers.
At this stage, we decided to throw the panel through a deep calibration to see what levels of accuracy we could produce. For best results, we left the sRGB values at 100/100/100.
Looking at the results, large improvements were seen across the board. Black depth and contrast ratio retained a perfect score, while average deltaE was reduced to an impressive 0.31. The max deltaE in this test saw an equally impressive 0.73 score – with gamma set to an ideal 2.2.
Once calibrated, the ASUS PG42UQ showcased good accuracy that would be acceptable for color accurate editing.
Panel uniformity is a test we run to check how uniform the luminance and colors are across the entirety of the screen. During this test, the center square is used as the reference space. Every other square is then tested to see how far it differentiates from the reference.
In an ideal world, we want every square to be green, meaning it hasn’t broken the differential threshold – something we can set at the start of the test.
Note: results will differ from panel to panel.
The right-hand side of the monitor was better in terms of uniformity, but still showcased some deviation. That said, this wasn’t noticeable by the naked eye.
Of course, we always take panel uniformity results with a pinch of salt – especially when we’re reviewing a demo copy. Panel damage could have incurred during transit – so results will vary.
Backlight bleed results:
As for backlight bleed, the PG42UQ performed incredibly well – as you’d imagine. Being an OLED panel, the LED’s physically shut off completely when displaying a black image.
This means OLED’s don’t suffer from backlight bleed.
Again, being an OLED panel, the viewing angles on the PG42UQ were exceptional. We viewed the panel from extremely wide angles and didn’t really notice any color shift whatsoever. This is normally the case with OLED panels, with viewing angles being one of the pros.
Below is a full view of the viewing angles of this monitor.
As part of the calibration process, the DisplayCal will give an accurate measurement of the color gamut the monitor can provide. Below are the results of the color gamut test:
As you can see from the graph above, the PG42UQ returned an impressive 99.5% sRGB gamut coverage – more than the marketed specs on the brand’s product page.
Unfortunately, however, the same could not be said for the DCI-P3 and Adobe RGB spectrums – returning sub 80% gamut coverage.
Above we’ve included the physical graphs for each color space, showcasing the exact coverage we recorded in the DCI-P3, Adobe RGB, and sRGB color spectrums.
On each graph, you’ll be able to clearly see where the PG42UQ extends past the parameters of the respective graph.
Maximum And Minimum Brightness
We ended the color accuracy and picture quality testing by checking the maximum brightness, minimum brightness, and 120 candelas level on this panel. The results are below:
Below we have included some comparison charts so you can see where the ASUS PG42UQ sits when compared to the top 20 monitors we’ve tested.
Remember, OLED monitors aren’t the best when it comes to peak brightness – one of the main reasons why QD-OLED technology is so sortafter.
ASUS PG42UQ: Gaming Performance
With color accuracy and panel uniformity out of the way, it’s time to put the ASUS ROG SWIFT PG42UQ through a number of different gaming and response tests to see how it stacks up in gaming scenarios. Like always, we’ll be testing the monitor across a variety of games to get a greater understanding of how this monitor performs overall.
For this portion of the testing, we enabled VRR and set the refresh rate to its max 138Hz.
Being a 42-inch TV-esque gaming monitor, it’ll come as no surprise to learn that this monitor is not tailored towards competitive gaming.
That being said, it does showcases plenty of traits that do actually make it a viable option for competitive gaming – especially when compared to other 42-inch OLED alternatives (LG C1, C2, Gigabyte FO48U).
Firstly, while the monitor’s refresh rate might not be up to the latest esports monitors, 138Hz is enough to provide smooth, fluid gameplay. Better yet, with most competitive games being moderate on resources, you should be able to reach the framerates required to take full advantage of the panel’s refresh rate.
Additionally, the PG42UQ features a near-instantaneous response time – marketed at 0.1ms – meaning it won’t fall victim to annoying screen artifacts such as ghosting and smearing.
ASUS have equipped with the large-screen PG42UQ with an aspect ratio feature that allows you re-size the picture. Users will be able to utilize the PG42UQ in 24″, 27″, and 34″ orientations. You can quiet literally turn your PG42UQ display into a esports-tailored 24″ panel if you relaly wanted to.
Of course, no screen tear was detected during the competitive gaming section of this review – mainly thanks to the VRR (Variable refresh rate) support this monitor comes equipped with. The PG42UQ does offer both NVIDIA G-Sync and AMD FreeSync support, meaning you’ll be able to enabled adaptive sync whether you’re running team green or team red.
Of course, being OLED, the PG42UQ doesn’t require any reponse time boosting features.
At this stage, we decided to throw the PG42UQ through a few less-competitive titles to see how it performed in a more immersion-based scenario.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider was the game of choice and, as expected, it looked absolutely exceptional. The large 42-inch screen size pairs nicely with the 4K UHD screen resolution to provide a truly immersive experience. The colors on the PG42UQ were also fantastic – despite the panels’ below average color test results. ASUS has clearly tailored the color settings to benefit certain situations – one of which is gaming.
Playing Shadow Of the Tomb Raider really was a joy – especially when searching dark cave scenes or fighting through the jungles. Colors looked fantastic and the contrast between a burning touch and the darkness of the cave was exciting and immersive.
We fired up the monitor’s 4K HDR functionality and gaming looked sensational. It added a tonne of additional detail in both extreme dark and light areas, bringing a life-like quality to all scenes.
As you can imagine, console gaming produced the same levels of immersion regardless of title.
Blur Buster UFO test
Concluding the gaming performance tests, we ran the monitor through the BlurBuster UFO test. This test is a fantastic way of quickly seeing the motion clarity of moving objects and general perceived blur. We tested all the monitor’s main response time features on the max refresh rate available – which for this panel is 138Hz.
Below are the results:
As you can see from the images above, the PG42UQ offered up pretty good image tracking on the BlurBusters UFO pursuit test. While there was a little blurring across the three aliens, it wasn’t nearly as much as you’d come to expect from a generic LED alternative.
For what is essentially “out of the box” settings, the PG42UQ offered very good motion tracking.
So, there you have it, our comprehensive review of the ROG SWIFT PG42UQ – ASUS’ first OLED gaming monitor. Overall, we were incredibly impressed by this monitor, especially when it came to general image quality and motion clarity. But how does the panel stack up from a value for money standpoint?
The 42-inch large-screen PG42UQ certainly impresses when it comes to general content consumption and light gaming. Thanks to the OLED panel at its core, the monitor can display perfect blacks, and infinite contrast ratio, and stunning picture quality when viewing fast-moving images – all ideal when it comes to general gaming immersion.
That being said, the PG42UQ is far more expensive than similar performing OLED TVs, with the LG OLED 42-inch C2 being the first panel that springs to mind.
While that is the case, the ASUS PG42UQ does boast a plethora of additional features that do give it the edge when gaming is concerned. Do these features warrant the $500+ price increase? Well, I’m struggling to see the true value – however, fans of the ASUS ROG brand might have something else to say.
Overall, what we have here is a stunning OLED gaming monitor that really does tick most of the right boxes when it comes to gaming, content consumption, and general usage. The only real downside to this panel is it’s high price tag.
So, if you can afford the £1,399 retail price and are looking for a stunning visual experience, the PG42UQ could be exactly what you’re looking for.
The PG42UQ is ASUS’s first OLED gaming monitor, featuring a stunning 42-inch panel that really does excel in almost every area.
At the core of this large-screen gaming monitor lies a blistering 0.1ms response time, quick 138Hz (overclockable) refresh rate, and adaptive sync for both G-Sync and FreeSync systems. Alongside this, ASUS have also equipped a new heatsink system that allows the 4K OLED panel to perform at new levels of efficiency – especially when compared to other OLED alternatives.
Of course, being one of the few OLED gaming monitors in today’s market, the PG42UQ is also one of the most expensive options available right now. It currently retails for around £1,399, making it more expensive than similarly spec’d OLED TVs.
All said, it’s still one of the most impressive gaming monitors we’ve tested, excelling in both gaming and general content consumption scenarios.
For as long as he can remember, Charlie has always been interested in computers and gaming. It all started with the Sega Mega Drive and then evolved into PC gaming in his early teens. CS 1.6 was his first go at competitive gaming which soon evolved into CS:Source and now CS:GO - a game that he still plays (almost exclusively) today. Throughout that period he has also been a keen PC builder and enthusiast - dedicating a large portion of his time to the craft. My current rig is an ASUS 5700XT with AMD's Ryzen 3600X.