Hands-on review: ASUS ROG STRIX XG35V curved gaming monitor
ASUS’s ROG STRIX XG35V invites players to maximise their gaming experience with a huge 100Hz, 35” ultra-wide display featuring AMD’s FreeSync.
As glorious as 4K gaming is, alas, very few PCs are actually capable of delivering the horse-power required properly utilise a 4K screen. If you do want to max out your gaming visual pleasure you do have options other than hooking your PC up to a 4K telly and watching it struggle.
You could go for multiple monitors. The bezels will split your display with vertical bars, but you will get used to them. Configuring Windows and video card(s) to get the best out of multiple monitors can also be a bit of a chore.
A much better option is an ultra-wide monitor. And now that ASUS’s Republic of Gaming brand has entered the fray with their STRIX XG35V beast, this is your best bet.
With a huge 35” curved screen running at 3440x1440 resolution and a 100Hz refresh rate, the XG35V really gives your gaming a shot in the arm. You are, of course, going to need a suitably-powered gaming rig to push that many pixels around the massive screen.
The 35” screen also makes it a lot easier to work with documents and large spreadsheets. One UWQHD, wide-aspect screen is better for serious applications than two smaller screens butted up against one another. The same goes for using CAD and other design packages. You can pack all your favourite tool icons around your working window and still have plenty of screen real-estate to realise your design. I tested the monitor with the popular 3D program, Sketchup. The crisp display did a great job of accommodating almost double the amount of small, but easy to read, tools on the screen than a single screen. This enabled me to work quicker than usual, with all my favourite tools there, right in front of me.
The 1800mm radius of the display creates an elegant curve that’s great for playing games, especially first-person shooters and flight simulators. It also works fine with desktop applications and even the likes of Photoshop, the curve keeping whatever you are looking at a pretty similar distance from your eyes, something that you don’t get working with multiple monitors.
The XG35V’s VA panel gives the monitor a wider viewing angle- something to need with an ultra-wide display. The colour reproduction is perfect for the normal viewing position, it’s only when you look at it from a completely impractical location off to the sides do you notice any colour-changes. The clear picture provided by the VA panel comes at a moderate cost of a 4ms grey to grey response time. This is still a lot better than an IPS panel. In practical use, I could detect absolutely no motion blur whilst playing games.
The picture quality is fine when playing games and using desktop apps. Closer scrutiny using standard test patterns garners results that are still pretty good. The test monitor had very little backlight bled. There was some, but I really needed to look for it. There was some shadowing during the grey tests, but the white was pretty uniform all over the screen. Sharpness, again, was consistent across the display. All in all, the monitor test yielded good results. Not perfect, but without going OLED, you have to accept some compromise. The VA performs a lot better than your average TN panel and marginally better that my current IPS monitors.
The on-screen display is opened by pressing down on a little red joystick on the right side of the back of the unit. The joystick makes adjusting settings, via the very intuitive menus, super-easy. There are also four buttons below the joystick for switching off the OSD, easy access to the GamePlus and GameVisuals options and switching the monitor on/off.
The GameVisual setting provides users with pre-set colour options for a selection of different types of games, as well as sRGB. I’m not going to attempt to rationalise why a first-person shooter needs a different colour setting to a role-playing game. The option is, however, useful for finding a colour setting that suits your particular preferences without having to mess with all the individual settings, yourself. Personally, I don’t like warm whites, and I thought that the regular sRGB setting needed a to be a bit cooler. I eventually settled for the Cinema setting.
GamePlus as a set of throwaway “enhancements” for gamers, such as a crosshair overlay for first-person shooters. To be fair, the frames-per-second display is good for checking that games are running as they should be. There’s also a visual overlay for easy alignment of multiple displays.
The XG35V uses AMD’s FreeSync technology. Instead of having to put up with the screen tearing effect when switching off V-Sync to maximise framerates, FreeSync ensures smooth gaming by syncing the monitor’s refresh rate with that of a suitable AMD graphics card.
ASUS supplied a Radeon RX Vega64 to test out the monitor’s FreeSync capabilities. It’s been a long time since I’ve stuffed an AMD/ATi GPU in a gaming rig and, whilst I considered it, I couldn't bring myself to inflict the pain of having a smooth-running Nvidia-based machine screwed up.
I tested the monitor on using a two Nvidia GTX 1080Ti graphics cards running in SLI. The review machine is easily capable of running in 4K, so it had no trouble running the XG35E’s 3440x1440 display at 100Hz, making the monitor’s FreeSync capabilities a bit redundant.
The physical unit looks smart and is very sturdy. Too many of these ultra-wide monitors feel as if all it will take is one nudge and the display will snap away from the stand. This is not so for the XG35V. The base has plenty of heft with the monitor well mounted. The display turns on the mount with just the right about of resistance, and, of course, you can tilt the display, but it’s the effortless way you can raise and lower the display that really impressed me. This monitor is very well put together.
The Republic of Gaming branding is all over the unit, even underneath the stand, where you’ll never see it. The monitor is designed to impress.
The monitor supports ASUS’s AuraSync lighting system. Whilst the AURA desktop app has always worked a treat with the review rig’s ASUS STRIX Z270E GAMING motherboard, it kept on hanging with the monitor connected. To be honest, the monitor’s lighting is only a ring on the back, and you can’t see it anyway.
Cables are fed in through a hole in the stand mount to a bank of down-facing sockets hidden behind a removable plastic cowling. I found it a little awkward to insert cable without having to move the monitor across my desk. My preference, as I’m always unplugging devices from my displays, is for sockets that are easily accessible. Most users, however, will find the XG35V’s cable management very neat and tidy.
The monitor comes with plenty of places to plug in cables. For display inputs you have two HDMI sockets and one DisplayPort. That’s enough for your PC, PlayStation 4 and your Xbox One. There’s as a USB input and output turning the monitor into a two-port USB hub- just enough for your mouse and keyboard. There’s also an earphone jack.
The ASUS STRIX XG35V is a well-constructed standout monitor that performs well for both games and more serious applications. The picture is vivid and consistent. It’s also huge, giving gamers a massive vista and maximising your productivity using more serious applications. There’s plenty of options to play with in order to personalise the display to your taste and with two HMDI sockets and a DisplayPort socket, you can enjoy the monitor with multiple devices.
It’s not hard to recommend the XG35V- as it is both stylish and practical, just as you would expect from ASUS.