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ASUS 43″ 4K 144Hz HDR Monitor That Can Do Everything?

Updated: Jan 13

Not so long ago we had a 40inch TV and it felt really big, I guess the times have changed! Today we will be reviewing this TV-sized monitor PG43UQ from ASUS. It is a 43 inch, 4k, 144Hz monitor with DisplayHDR 1000 certification, making it pretty much an all-inclusive monitor. We will cover what features you get for your money, how it performs and our opinion after using it for a few weeks.

Jumping straight into it – in the box we find a monitor itself which already has its stand pre attached. When placed on a standard desk it does feel a bit too big and really could do with wall mounting slightly further away. So if you do plan to mount it on a wall – it supports vesa 100×100 mount. Bear in mind that it weighs over 15kg so you will need a very sturdy mount. 

In addition to the standard power, HDMI and display port cable, you also get USB uplink cable and a power brick. It is a chunky one and I wish it was built into the screen as now I need to find a place to hide it. This is a gaming display so of course there is an RGB. In this case it is in a shape of ROG logo projector and it actually feels rather tasteful. 


On the back there is a power button, two custom programmable buttons and a joystick control knob which makes it pretty easy to navigate the menu. You also receive a handy remote to do the same functions, this comes especially useful when swapping between different devices while sitting back. 

Inputs themselves are behind the cable management flap. There we have two HDMI 2.0 and two display 1.4 ports. It is a shame there is no HDMI 2.1, but this monitor supports DSC to help with shortcomings of display port 1.4. More on that later on. There is also PC audio input and headphone output with two USB 3.0 ports so you could keep your wireless dongles connected directly to it.

This is a 10bit VA panel with 125% sRGB and 90% DCI-P3 coverage. It actually comes factory calibrated with Delta E below 2 in sRGB mode and it has a matte finish which is a very nice addition to anyone looking for a colour accurate display. Do note – to achieve colour accuracy, sRGB mode limits the brightness.


Talking about brightness, this monitor has 1000nits peak brightness and is Display HDR 1000 certified. So if you have it on full brightness and a white page comes up, it feels like  being blinded by the sun. On the other hand it does not have a full array local dimming which means it cannot get completely dark. This can be an issue for absolute HDR fans, but in my opinion it is already good enough to have HDR on all the time, also games look much better that way.


Check out this example from Shadow of the Tomb Raider in 4k, we have it in standard mode, then three different HDR modes, Cinema, Gaming and Console. All three of these modes tweak the picture preferences. Gaming mode seems to make things a bit more contrasty and cinema mode brightens up the shadows. Ultimately it is a matter of preference, there is something for everyone though.

The stand-out feature is 4k at 144Hz refresh rate which is also G-SYNC compatible. It is certainly nice, but also at this price point very much expected. It achieves this by utilising DSC or Display Stream Compression which allows you to play games or just use it when in desktop mode with both HDR and high refresh rate over display port 1.4 without losing colour information. It does require a compatible graphics card (most new cards should be – but make sure to check it just in case).


PG43UQ is primarily a gaming monitor, it literally says this in the name. The high refresh rate HDR 4k display is awesome for that and the specification boasts 1 ms moving picture response time, but if you look closely, that is achieved with ELMB enabled which is the Extreme Low Motion Blur option. By default it is turned off and in most scenarios this monitor delivers great results, but when it comes to very contrasty areas in fast paced games – you can see ghosting. This is very much expected from VA panels and to be fair to ASUS it is not the worst I have seen. However at this price range I would expect it to be darn near perfect and it is not.


Let’s have a look at some tests. First the non-scientific test – we run the display with four different overdrive options in CS:GO benchmark which is the worst case scenario as far as fast moving footage goes. It is clear that with overdrive set to 0, the result is incredibly blurry and with overdrive set to 5 it is much sharper but also overshoots while creating a massive amount of coronas which in turn skew the colours and become very distracting. 


Let’s have a look at some tests. First the non-scientific test – we run the display with four different overdrive options in CS:GO benchmark which is the worst case scenario as far as fast moving footage goes. It is clear that with overdrive set to 0, the result is incredibly blurry and with overdrive set to 5 it is much sharper but also overshoots while creating a massive amount of coronas which in turn skew the colours and become very distracting. 

To improve on this and get down to 1ms response time, we need to enable ELMB. Unfortunately this requires you to turn off adaptive sync which in many ways negates the point of getting this monitor in the first place.


To really test the motion blur we have set-up a pursuit camera to simulate eye tracking. For this test we ran display at 120Hz for easier synchronisation with the camera.

First we have the default overdrive setting and here we see the alien is definitely blurry and if you look in the bright or dark area it also has some smearing. When enabling ELMB mode we see a much sharper image but unfortunately there is a lot of strobe crosstalk and it is very distracting when in games. 

With all of this in mind, if you buy this monitor then for general use and gaming turn on adaptive sync, set overdrive mode to 4, then choose the preferred HDR mode. In slower paced titles it does rather well.


This brings me to the things I really like about this gentle giant:

 

When you enable sRGB mode on this 43inch 4k panel, it becomes incredibly colour accurate and is amazing for photo and video editing. Bear in mind – when sitting right next to it, you constantly need to look up, this is not an issue when editing as the top section only has setting bars and not constantly in use. When I am not gaming, I tend to make my windows two thirds of the size and leave the top portion of the screen for some sort of other monitoring. 

I also really like the software it comes with. You can do most of the settings straight from the desktop, and the ability to set up picture-in-picture or picture-by-picture mode is great for those planning to use this display for both work and play.

For those who are planning to use it to watch movies, the HDR mode truly makes it great. Also the built-in dual 10W speakers are not bad. Check out the video above to hear the sound comparison between our Yamaha speakers and the built-in speakers. Let us know what you think.


So the bottom line – should you go out and buy this monitor right now? It depends… I really hope ASUS will change the panel type on future models of this monitor to get rid of that ghosting issue. If you are a competitive gamer, then probably skip this one. To be fair 4k and 43inches is not something competitive gamers need anyway. Also given the price, it is fair to admit it may not be for everyone but if you are a professional who needs a colour accurate monitor and also likes to play adventure games – this monitor is awesome for that. You have great visuals and when paired with adaptive sync all the content looks simply stunning.

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