The brand new 42” OLED monitor from ASUS is called the ROG PG42UQ. And I’ve been using it for the last month as my main monitor. Well today I’m going to give you my updated thoughts on it, including what I like, dislike and whether this could be the ultimate monitor.
I’ll go over what it’s like for gaming on, as well as how it performs as a productivity monitor. I’ll even compare it to its biggest competitor, the LG C2 and which one I would choose.
So this screen is actually using the same panel seen in the 42” LG C2, and we know the C2 is already a great TV. Well what ASUS have done is taken that, stripped it down and added their own features on top.
It’s got all of the usual specs and features you’d expect including HDMI 2.1, VRR, HDR, 4K and up to 138Hz. But it’s also got a DisplayPort, a custom heatsink and an anti-glare coating.
And the fact it’s an OLED means there are no dimming zones on this as the pixels are all self-lit creating almost perfect contrast and black levels. So spec wise, it ticks most of the boxes for both work and play.
From a gaming point of view, this thing is a beast! Over the last few weeks I’ve played games like Warzone, Saints Row and completed the new Last of Us Remake, so plenty of time to test it out and see how it performs.
It supports everything you need, including 4K, VRR and 120Hz so it’s perfect for the PS5 and Xbox Series X. It also has G-Sync compatibility as well as one DisplayPort and four HDMI ports. Two of these are HDMI 2.1. Unfortunately no support for eARC which is surprising, so you can’t send your audio back to an AVR or soundar.
Checking the stats on both the PS5 and Xbox Series X, it ticks everything here. Apart from Dolby Vision. So you really are getting everything needed for both of these consoles.
VRR, or the Variable Refresh Rate, means the games run smoothly and there’s no screen tearing or stuttering while playing. Not all games support this natively, but the games that do look great.
And there’s something awesome about playing story driven games on a screen this big too, it’s incredibly immersive. Pair that with some decent headphones and you’re practically in the game. Now for FPS or fast paced games like Warzone or Apex you might struggle if you’re using a screen this big, sitting this close. You’ll either want to sit further back or reduce the screen size.
I’ve used it fine for the last month, but I can honestly say this is too big for my normal Warzone sessions, any other game is fine though, but I think a 32” is still my preferred size.
But some say that size matters, bigger is better and all that, but is a 42” monitor too big? Well I think that depends on how you’re using it. And if you didn’t want to use the full 42” you could either resize or reposition your windows, or you could use the inbuilt aspect ratio controller instead.
So at a click of a button you can toggle between 24”, 27” or 34”. And on top of that, you can even move the positioning of this boxed area. This will work on any connected device too as it keeps the ratio the same, it just changes the screen size.
And if you wondered what resolution you get while using this mode, it’s obviously not going to be 4K as the pixels aren’t there, but the connected device still recognises it as 4K. So it essentially downscales it and caps it at 60hz.
Now this is obviously marketed as a gaming focused monitor with the various gaming features and design, but it is still a monitor. Now what puts this monitor above the LG TV equivalents like the C2 OLED, is the fact it does come with a DisplayPort.
I’ve hooked up my MacBook Pro to test it out, and to make the most of the 120Hz capability I’m using one of these USB-C to DisplayPort cables. Using the HDMI port would limit me to just 60Hz.
So over the last few weeks, to really test it out, I’ve been running all of the usual tasks that I’d normally do on my UltraWide, to see if it’s viable to use day-to-day. That includes reading and writing documents, checking emails and editing videos.
Firstly, the size of this display is huge. You can fit so much on here both vertically and horizontally that you really don’t need any more space than this. You can snap multiple windows, whether that’s a document on one side and a website on another, or you could easily push it to 3. To snap these windows, I use an app called Magnet, it’s about £7 on the app store.
Last week I edited my entire YouTube video using this monitor and everything looked awesome. Being able to see my entire timeline in one view was a huge advantage, but not only that, the text clarity is incredibly good. I was really impressed by how sharp the text looked, even with that anti-glare coating.
On top of that, When I use the 120hz mode, everything looks smooth and completely stutter free. Whether that’s scrolling through a timeline or documents, or just moving windows around on the screen, it’s silky smooth. Also the response I get when moving my mouse is instant too, there’s no noticeable delay.
Now as this is a monitor, it does mean it’s got one of the most useful features, and that’s wake from sleep. So this means if you put the monitor into standby mode it’ll wake as soon as you turn on your PC or Laptop. It also has an auto switcher, so if you turn one device off and another on, it’ll automatically switch over to the new port, again like a normal monitor would perform.
So we’ve covered gaming and productivity, but what if you wanted to do both at the same time? Well fortunately it does have an inbuilt PBP or PIP mode. This will let you run two inputs at the same time. So I tested it with the PS5 and my MacBook and it worked well. Either by using the PiP and moving the image around the screen, or the PBP mode.
I couldn’t get HDR to work on the PS5 while using PBP, so I had to disable that, but otherwise it looked good. The PS5 still recognised this mode as 4K and 120Hz too, so you could have a game running at the same time as viewing or reading a walkthrough guide. Or if you wanted a Windows PC and a MacBook that would work too.
So we already know it’s got the LG C2 OLED panel underneath, so you’d assume it’s identical in terms of picture quality and performance. Well during my testing so far I’d say it’s 90% the same, but there are a few obvious differences.
Now the colour and vibrancy of the picture is incredible, it’s obvious it’s an OLED panel. It’s got the usual 98% colour space, 10-bit colour and HDR10. Out of the box the colours look accurate and are as punchy as you’d expect for an OLED. So movies and games really do look great on here. It’s calibrated out of the box, so there aren’t really any settings to tweak as such, other than brightness and contrast.
But one of the biggest selling points of an OLED is the infinite blacks and that awesome contrast ratio. But with the anti-glare coating on this screen you will notice the blacks are more of a hazy dark grey instead of jet black. Comparing this to a normal IPS panel, this is still very impressive, but compared to a normal glossy OLED you will notice the difference. It was only when I went back to my 77” C1 did I notice how flat the image looks on the ROG.
And one of the comments I often get when using an OLED is concerns of burn-in. But the ROG OLED has been designed to combat that with their own large custom heatsink. ASUS have taken their experience with cooling motherboards and graphics cards, and applied that to the monitor. Obviously I’ve only been using this for a month, so it’s impossible to see if the heatsink is doing it’s job, but the fact the heatsink even exists is a positive sign. It’s also fanless too, so there’s no noise at all.
Now it’s not often you get speakers built into monitors, that’s usually reserved for TVs, but the fact we get these is great. So poking out just under the monitor are two 10w Harman Kardon speakers, and above those is a 15w woofer. Most of the time while gaming I’ll use headphones, it’s pretty rare I’ve used these speakers, but for productivity when you have a video playing or some music in the background, these are a lot more useful than I expected. It means you don’t need or have to have external speakers or headphones on. Sure they aren’t going to sound as good or be as immersive as headphones or a dedicated soundbar, but they are pretty good.
I’d put them on par with other OLED TVs I’ve used over the last year with a slight bump in bass and clarity.
I mentioned this in my unboxing, but the overall look and design of the monitor without doubt has a gaming vibe to it. The rear design, the metal feet, even the red ROG logo on the front, there’s no denying this is aimed more towards gaming than a normal desktop monitor.
But it still looks nice, and with the ultra thin bezels and frame it looks sleek enough to not be an eye-sore on your desk. Also the tiltable stand is a great addition to have.
Settings and Menus
When you tap the 5-way joystick underneath it’ll bring up this on screen display. It doesn’t look anything special but it’s functional. We’ve got a few gaming focused features like turning overclocking on, to get that 138hz, and enabling G-Sync. Then in the GamePlus area you can turn on an FPS counter, a crosshair or even add a sniper box. This creates a magnified area in the centre of your screen. There’s a visual mode where you can toggle between picture presets.
Under image you can change the brightness, enable the uniform brightness setting and adjust the contrast levels. And this is also where the aspect ratio controller is.
The colour space and colour temp can be adjusted, along with the gamma option.
The different input selections, the PiP modes which we’ve covered already. Favourites lets you change the default button layout for the joystick. And finally the system setup. There’s the language settings, sound options, whether you want the ROG logo to be on, different power settings and the OSD Setup. But as this is an OLED, there’s also the usual screen saver and pixel cleaning settings to maintain the panel’s life span.
It’s pretty limited in terms of what you can do here, I mean there’s no picture settings control or adjustments like you’d see on an OLED TV, as this is essentially already calibrated.
vs LG C2
Now I know a lot of you wanted me to cover this, and that’s comparing this monitor to the LG C2. I would say, on a like-for-like comparison, the LG C2 OLED is the only real competitor to this. They are similar in size and offer similar features. But there are a few areas that set them apart that could sway you one way or another.
So the ASUS monitor comes with an anti-glare screen, which depending on your setup could be an advantage. It has a DisplayPort for connecting it to your PC and a custom heatsink to help with keeping it brighter. It also has that awesome aspect ratio controller to change the screen size. Then there’s the fact it acts like a monitor too and will auto switch on or go into standby when not in use.
And these are the different features the LG C2 comes with: It has a glossy screen, which naturally means better contrast and black levels. It has four x HDMI 2.1 ports instead of just two, it also has all of the usual TV features and apps. So if you wanted a TV and a monitor, this would cover you for both.
But finally the price. The PG42UQ is £1,400 while the 42” C2 is currently around £1,000 – £1,200. So that’s a difference of £200-£400, which ultimately comes down to if you see value in the different features.
Personally, which might surprise you, I’d go with the LG C2. The money saving alone is a big one, then there’s the added TV features, more HDMI 2.1 ports and if you prefer glossy OLED screen, it’s an easy choice anyway. It also has that game optimiser mode.
BUT, if you want an anti-glare screen to prevent reflections, a DisplayPort, brighter panel with a heatsink and an impressive aspect ratio controller, the ASUS Swift OLED is hard to beat.
My dream spec though, if you were interested, would be a 32” OLED with a glossy screen, speakers, heatsink and integrated RGB lighting. A bit like Philips Hue monitors where it reacts to what’s on the screen.