Asus ROG Swift PG42UQ 4K OLED Review: Stunning in Every Respect

The Asus ROG Swift PG42UQ is a 42-inch 4K OLED gaming monitor with 138 Hz, Adaptive-Sync, HDR and extended color.

Asus ROG Swift PG42UQ
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Tom's Hardware)

Why you can trust Tom's Hardware Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

I used to call OLED computer monitors "unicorn" because I wasn’t sure they would ever exist. Now they do, and we’re seeing models that fit on a desk and can serve as workday tools and entertainment machines. The issue has been size, with early examples being 48 inches or more, which is often too big. 42 inches makes more sense and 27-inch models have been announced. I look forward to checking them out soon.

As an OLED fan, I want them to succeed. The image quality of even an average OLED far exceeds that of the best premium LCDs. There are some great Mini LED screens out there, but OLED has an optical quality that is simply unmatched.

(Image credit: Asus)

The Asus ROG Swift PG42UQ advances the state of the art. Not only is it a practical size for many people, but its performance also makes it suitable for nearly any task required by a computer monitor. You can eliminate the multi-screen setup if you want and just have one of them in front of you. Three or four documents easily fit in a readable size. You can sit close enough to scale fonts to 150% and still not see the pixel structure. And its image quality sports deep contrast and fatigue-free viewing for long sessions.

Gaming on an OLED has yet to be anything but incredible for me. The PG42UQ’s motion processing is superb, with flawless Adaptive-Sync, a quick 138 Hz refresh rate and no need for overdrive or backlight strobing. With low input lag, gamers of all skill levels will have a great time.

The PG42UQ has the best sound quality I’ve experienced outside of a large-screen TV with a soundbar like Philips’ 559M1 or HP’s Omen X Emperium 65. Asus has taken full advantage of the extra internal space to fit quality speakers that deliver clear sound and solid bass.

The only thing that could use a tweak is HDR color, specifically red. I noted some under-saturation in testing, and I could see that in content, it had a tad less punch than the Aorus FO48U and Alienware AW3423DWF. Otherwise, the image quality is stunning. For SDR material, there is nothing to complain about, thanks to its infinite contrast and super-accurate color that doesn’t require calibration.

The Asus ROG Swift PG42UQ is a significant step in the right direction for desktop OLED monitors. It’s an addictive pleasure to use for gaming, movies and work. If you want a jumbo screen on your high-end desktop, you should definitely check it out.

MORE: Best Gaming Monitors

MORE: How We Test PC Monitors

MORE: How to Buy a PC Monitor: A 2022 Guide

MORE: How to Choose the Best HDR Monitor

Christian Eberle
Contributing Editor

Christian Eberle is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He's a veteran reviewer of A/V equipment, specializing in monitors.

  • oofdragon
    "One obstacle to wide acceptance has been size. Early OLED computer monitors weren’t much smaller than big-screen TVs". Article about 42 inch "PC monitor". Fail
    Reply
  • JarredWaltonGPU
    oofdragon said:
    "One obstacle to wide acceptance has been size. Early OLED computer monitors weren’t much smaller than big-screen TVs". Article about 42 inch "PC monitor". Fail
    42 inches for 4K on a monitor seems about ideal to me! I felt 30-inch for 1440p was a good size, so if you want to increase the resolution by 125% (1.5X in each dimension), you definitely need to make the screens bigger. This 4K in a 14-inch laptop business is ludicrous, and 4K in a 28-inch monitor isn't much better for practical use.
    Reply
  • Greg7579
    Admin said:
    Asus adds a 42-inch 4K model to the list of available OLED gaming monitors. The ROG Swift PG42UQ sports a 138 Hz refresh rate, Adaptive-Sync, HDR and extended color. It delivers a stunning image and premium gaming performance.

    Asus ROG Swift PG42UQ 4K OLED Review: Stunning in Every Respect : Read more
    I am a photographer and shoot high-res GFX 100 (100 MP) files. For years I have used an ASUS 32 inch IPS professional monitor that cost me several thousand 5 years ago. I don't render or edit video, and I don't game. I just edit and enjoy my high-res image files and use Photoshop and mostly Lightroom. The color gamut is important to me, but this monitor seems to be right there at the professional level for photography work, and the 42 inch size (up from 32) I think I would relish.

    So, should I get this monitor if I never game? I build my own high-end desktop and am about to build a rig with the 4090 just for the Hell of it.

    What do I lose when compared to the ASUS pro mini-led monitor that costs 5 grand?

    I think I'm going to get this monitor for my photography work and enjoyment.

    What do you think? Or is ASUS about to come out with a new "Pro" monitor that is cheaper and better than their current lineup?

    I don't need 144 Hz, but why not? Maybe I will even try a game or two.
    Reply
  • hancor
    Greg7579 said:
    I am a photographer and shoot high-res GFX 100 (100 MP) files. For years I have used an ASUS 32 inch IPS professional monitor that cost me several thousand 5 years ago. I don't render or edit video, and I don't game. I just edit and enjoy my high-res image files and use Photoshop and mostly Lightroom. The color gamut is important to me, but this monitor seems to be right there at the professional level for photography work, and the 42 inch size (up from 32) I think I would relish.

    So, should I get this monitor if I never game? I build my own high-end desktop and am about to build a rig with the 4090 just for the Hell of it.

    What do I lose when compared to the ASUS pro mini-led monitor that costs 5 grand?

    I think I'm going to get this monitor for my photography work and enjoyment.

    What do you think? Or is ASUS about to come out with a new "Pro" monitor that is cheaper and better than their current lineup?

    I don't need 144 Hz, but why not? Maybe I will even try a game or two.

    I bought this unit about 2 months ago, and the firmware issue is now resolved. This monitor is everything state of the art, for gaming, photography, or plain old work, net surfing. Currently, paired with my EVGA 2080 Ti, while the EVGA FTW3 RTX Ultra Gaming, is being repaired. Colors just "pop" compared to TN, VA, or IPS panels.
    Without question you will enjoy this monitor immensely. Cheers :)
    Reply
  • eisenb11
    I have this monitor and it’s great - but I can’t believe that the article didn’t mention fringing on text. IMHO that’s the biggest issue (although you can live with it) with this monitor.

    The author is minimizing it by using 150% scaling. He really should have also tested the monitor at 100% scaling so you can, you know, use the full 4K res of the monitor for your desktop.

    This is an inherent problem of the WRGB sub pixel layout which pretty much all LG panels use. The real fix is that enough people need to complain about it (not work around it with higher scaling) so Microsoft updates ClearType which is currently optimized for normal RGB.

    For those with this monitor, using MacType helps a bit, but a real fix to ClearType is really needed. It improves text quality, but it’s still nowhere near LCD level. You can turn off ClearType, but text looks terrible - even at 4K resolution so that it’s still better looking with the fringing.
    Reply
  • PlaneInTheSky
    Even the best Mini LED panels can’t reproduce intra-image black levels like an OLED.

    Yep, my OLED has far better local dimming than the Mini LCD TV and none of the light bleeding. Each Mini LED backlight still illuminates thousands of pixels, so Mini LED still suffers from the same problems of IPS, TN and VA panels, light bleeding, no true black, viewing angle problems, etc.

    The light bleeding which causes blooming, is less of an issue on TV consuming movies for example. But it is a real issue for text for example.

    Only OLED and E-ink solves this problem.

    (The exception is of course the QD-OLED garbage from Samsung and Alienware, which messes it all up with their color artefacts.)

    The big promise was that Micro LED would solve Mini LED's problems and have per pixel dimming. But Micro LED is turning out to be a manufacturing nightmare. The tiny circuitry needed to power millions of LED is a mess and yields are terrible.
    Reply
  • PlaneInTheSky
    I have this monitor and it’s great - but I can’t believe that the article didn’t mention fringing on text. IMHO that’s the biggest issue (although you can live with it) with this monitor.

    The Alienware and Samsung QD-OLED have this problem. Color artefacts, color fringes. Whatever people want to call it. They're red and green lines surrounding high contrast elements due to a difference in pixel layout.

    I am spared from this problem on my regular OLED TV which I use as a monitor.
    Reply
  • PlaneInTheSky
    This is an inherent problem of the WRGB sub pixel layout which pretty much all LG panels use.

    LG sells OLED monitors with an RGB layout that has no color fringing, like the LG Ultrafine Pro series.

    Of course, they're more expensive than the OLED screens found in gaming monitors.
    Reply
  • Blacksad999
    Interesting review. Every other monitor testing site and reviewer suggested that "Cinema Mode" is the best setting for accurate colors. I'm also curious which firmware the reviewer is using, as people all over the place are dealing with washed out non-functional HDR on firmware V033. All of the previous firmware versions don't allow the panel to wake on sleep if you're using "overclocking" to reach 138hz, and the pixel refresh pop up returns very commonly, so I was surprised to see no mention of any of that.
    You can read about the broken HDR in depth on Rtings review of the monitor. The tone mapping is broken on this monitor, and only covers 34% of the gamut when HDR is on, as you can see here: https://www.rtings.com/assets/pages/ncyZeV4m/fall-800-hdr-off-large.jpgIf anyone knows which firmware the reviewer is using, let me know. I don't think it's the updated version V033.
    Reply
  • DougMcC
    So close to the monitor i'm dying to buy. Just get me to 144hz and no bigger than 37".
    Reply