I’ve been a fan of ultrawide monitors ever since I bought the LG34 UC98-W almost three years ago. Since then, there have been some incredible improvements in the technology. Asus and Acer have both produced a 200Hz HDR ultrawide, which is absolutely exciting.
Those aren’t really within reach for most people though, due to high prices and hardware limitations. Current mid to high budget pc’s (around 1500-2000€) are capable in handling 3440×1440 with a refresh rate of at least 100Hz. Thanks to that, ultrawide monitors become more and more attractive for gamers in general. They aren’t reserved for the most expensive systems anymore. While the market is filled with G-Sync ultrawide montiors in the price range of 900-1200€, there are also some ‘budget’ variants. I’ve looked into one of them, which is the Asus Strix SOMETHING. It’s a 35-inch monitor with a resolution of 3440×1440 px and a refresh rate of 100Hz. The price of ‘only’ 750€ is mostly due to it being FreeSync and having a VA panel instead of an IPS panel, which is typically used in ultrawide monitors.
Having a VA panel doesn’t have to be a downside…
VA panels are often regarded as generally worse than IPS panels. They usually have worse response times, aren’t as color accurate and their viewing angles aren’t as good. That being said, they are far from being bad. Depending on the use case, they are actually more suitable than an IPS panel could be. One of their main traits is a far superior contrast over the other two panel types used in monitors. With a higher contrast, the blacks look far more realistic and less washed out. In video games with rather dark sceneries, such as Killing Floor 2, that’s absolutely indispensable if the atmosphere wants to be kept the way it’s intended to be.
The viewing angles and response times aren’t anything I would worry about either. Nowadays almost all monitors, no matter the panel type, are insanely fast with very good, yet not perfect viewing angles. In general use, the viewing angles are more than good enough since you’ll sit right in front of the monitor anyway. In casual gaming sessions, the response time difference between 4ms or 5-7ms shouldn’t really be notable either. For esports gamers a TN panel might be a better fit anyway.
The only real downside is that VA panels are usually less color accurate than IPS panels. If you are using the monitor purely for gaming, that won’t be a big issue. For designers, trying to find a display for both their work and gaming, it is a different story.
Not being in danger of having IPS glow is another big advantage of VA panels.
Think about which graphics card you are going to use in the future…
One of the worst experience while gaming is screen tearing. That’s something that happens, when the graphics processor is out of sync with the display. To prevent this issue, it’s a good idea to buy a monitor with an adaptive sync feature. There are two different ones, G-Sync and FreeSync.
G-Sync only works with Nvidia graphics card and is usually way more expensive due to it being licensed and needing a proprietary module to be installed on the monitor. You’d usually have to pay an additional 100-300€ for a G-Sync monitor.
FreeSync on the other hand is license free and therefore its implementation is inexpensive and can be found in almost every cheaper but also some high end monitors. It’s made for AMD graphic cards. Some FreeSync monitors are G-Sync compatible as well; however, not all.
When buying a monitor, it’s important to know which graphics card you are going to use in the future. Which one do you have right now, AMD or Nvidia? And are you going to stick with that choice in the coming years? The Asus XG35VQ is a FreeSync monitor, which is not G-Sync compatible. That means, that the adaptive sync feature can’t be used with an Nvidia card.
Great image, excels in dark areas…
When I bought the monitor, I placed it side by side with the LG 34GK950G, which was the display I tried comparing it to. The two games I was playing at the time were Killing Floor 2 and GTA V. In my opinion they are great in showing the strengths of each panel type. GTA V is usually very bright with rich colors, which are especially apparent on some of the cars and obviously the scenery.
Killing Floor 2 on the other hand is rather gritty and dark. The scenery usually consists of barely lit areas with a small color palette. The visual appeal here is the immense amount of blood splattering on an otherwise pale imagery. That’s further supported by a slow motion feature called ‘zed time’, which might occur when killing a zed. Within zed time, everything is slowed down and the colors are even more toned down than usual. The contrast between the blood and the rest of the game becomes even more important than usual.
In the case of Killing Floor 2, the VA panel with the great contrast absolutely shines. It enhanced the experience a lot and made me wonder why I would even consider an IPS panel. That is until I played some GTA V. Here the IPS display definitely had the upper hand. The entire scenery just felt more alive. While the XG35VQ came a lot closer after some smaller tweaks in the settings, it still fell a bit short.
The morale of it is, that each panel type has its own unique advantages, which are dependant on the type of games you play. Ideally you’d be able to go into a store and test both.
IPS might be a better all-arounder…
I am using a VA panel for gaming and an IPS panel for everything else. If I could only choose one monitor for both cases though, then I’d prefer IPS.
Aura Sync is a weak gimmick…
The LG 34GK950G that I’ve reviewed featured a similar gimmick. In contrast to that one however, the RGB given with the Asus XG35VQ is quite pointless. You won’t be able to see the back of the monitor anyway because in most setups the monitor will sit right at the wall. Additionally, it’s not strong enough to actually illuminate the surface it’s facing. In LG’s case, it replaced the use of a light strip. Here it’s a feature that isn’t really doing anything most of the time. I found myself turning it off entirely. That being said, it’s not like there’s a cheaper version of the monitor without RGB, so it isn’t a negative either.
Mostly slim bezels…
As advertised on Asus’ website, the bezels of the XG35VQ are quite small. That doesn’t include the lower bezel however, which sticks out both in depth and in height. That’s not an issue for multiple monitor setups, which is unlikely to be created with ultrawide monitors though. It does cut down of the general attractiveness and sleekness of the display. It’s not even close to as elegant as the one by LG. Visually, it isn’t really suited for a work environment either. The entire design just screams gaming. Whether that’s a positive or a negative is up to preference.
Great looking but somewhat awkward stand…
The monitor stand looks great, especially if you are a fan of the color red. It also offers a great amount of adjustment, which makes it very versatile. A big issue however, is its depth. Thanks to it sticking out on the back so much, you won’t be able to put the monitor that close to the wall. What that does is essentially cutting your desk realestate by ~20cm. That makes the placement of the monitor rather awkward.
Simply exchanging the stand with a monitor arm isn’t an easy feat either. The monitor packs an immense heft. That weight is weirdly focused, which makes it hard to hold up by monitor arms. The one I was using actually supports monitors of that size and weight. It was able to hold it up, due to where the weight is focused, the screen shifted downwards though, which made it impossible to look straight into it. For a wall mount or a better suited arm it might not be that big of a problem, that wasn’t something I was able to try out though.
While you might think, that the weight is simply due to its size, that’s not entirely the case. LG’s monitor weighs a little over 7kg, so ~5kg less than the XG35VQ.
The Asus XG35VQ is a great ultrawide monitor for the money. It provides an excellent gaming experience, which truly excells with an AMD graphics card. For Nvidia card users it might be advisable to look at another G-Sync, or G-Sync enabled monitor. If adaptive sync isn’t as important for you though, then it’s still a great fit for AMD users.
If you have a highend system, which is able to handel games at the given resolution with 120Hz+, then it might be worth considering a more expensive ultrawide with a higher refresh rate. For now though, ~750€ can be considered an entry level ultrawide gaming experience.
As long as the issues mentioned above, such as the immense weight and the big stand, are no problem to you I can fully recommend this monitor. I’d advise to seriously think about it though, since they might make it impossible to implement the display properly into your setup. In the case of my setup, I’d rather pay the extra for the LG 34GK950G as it is more minimalistic in its approach (except the stand) and a little bit more future proof.