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Asus ROG Strix XG35VQ Monitor Review: A Prime, Curved Pick for FreeSync Gaming

Grayscale, Gamma & Color

Like all Asus ROG displays, we start our tests in the default Racing mode. Results of late have been mixed, but the ROG Strix XG35VQ does a little better than others before calibration. We wouldn’t quite say it doesn’t need adjustment, but if you’d rather not tweak, accuracy is good. As you’ll see below, there is some serious potential to unlock here.

Grayscale Tracking

Our grayscale and gamma tests are described in detail here.

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Racing mode offers a slightly blue white point with errors that can be seen above the 50% brightness level. For real-world content, it's barely noticeable, but when one spends this much on a monitor, one should experience all the performance it can offer. sRGB mode delivers similar accuracy, but now the white point is a bit red. Errors are slightly higher and cross the visible threshold at 40% brightness. After reducing the blue slider by six clicks (red and green were left unchanged), we generated an almost picture-perfect chart. Every single value is less than 1dE. Very few monitors measure this well, even expensive professional displays. This is impressive performance, especially from a gaming screen.

Comparisons

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A default grayscale average error of 3.59dE is good but not great; four of the monitors score better. While this is something of a nit-pick, we hold premium screens to a high standard. Once calibrated, though, the XG35VQ shoots right to the top. 0.51dE is one of the lowest grayscale error results we’ve ever recorded. And we can’t help but point out that sitting in a close second place is Asus’ XG32V. Of course, none of these monitors has any serious color issues.

Gamma Response

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The XG35VQ’s gamma tracking tests proved interesting. In Racing mode, the trace rides just barely under 2.2. This isn’t a problem by any stretch, but we’d rather see it just over the line. VA monitors, with their extra contrast, sometimes benefit from a slightly darker gamma. It enhances depth and color saturation subtly, while improving image quality. To that end, we tried using the 2.5 preset in the OSD. It produces numbers around the 2.4 level, which is fine, but unfortunately has a negative impact on color accuracy. We’ll show you that result below. Bottom line: Stick with Racing and the 2.2 preset for the best picture.

Comparisons

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The XG35VQ’s gamma tracking is the tightest of the bunch, but its 2.11 average value pulls it to last place in the second chart. All the monitors are quite close in performance, and visual differences from bottom to top are small. We have no issues with any of them. Our only wish is for a preset between 2.2 and 2.5. Then, we could have a slightly darker gamma (say, around 2.3) with better color saturation and luminance.

Color Gamut & Luminance

For details on our color gamut testing and volume calculations, please click here.

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Racing and sRGB post very similar gamut and luminance results. The only choice to make is whether you want a slightly cool or slightly warm presentation. Otherwise, color is nearly identical in accuracy. Calibrating the User mode, however, takes things to another level. A 1.35dE average is easily in pro-display territory. All we had to do was lower the blue slider from 100 to 94 to achieve this. Asus has done a superb job with the ROG Strix XG35VQ’s color.

You can see the results of our gamma experiment in the final two charts. Upping the preset to 2.5 adds some depth to the image, but color accuracy suffers a bit. And we do mean just a bit; the visual difference is quite small. But you can see that mid-tones are oversaturated, while luminance levels have dropped somewhat. It comes down to personal preference, and some users may prefer the higher gamma setting. Since it doesn’t interact with other image parameters, it’s worth trying both to see which you like better.

Comparisons

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The XG35VQ has excellent color accuracy, and so do all the monitors in this group. We chose them based on size and screen type, but it turns out that they’re all very well-engineered and precise. Most gamers aren’t too concerned with the finer points of image fidelity. (Reader comments trend more in the direction of resolution and refresh rates.) But we think color accuracy should be a top priority in any monitor purchase, regardless of intended use. Asus checks all the boxes with this monitor.

Gamut volume is slightly larger than 100% sRGB, which, in our opinion, is a good thing. All three primaries pass the limit by the same amount, so the result is rich, saturated color that stays in touch with the standard. And if one wants to hit the marks perfectly, a custom profile can accomplish that. It’s always easy to reduce color when there’s too much, but you can’t add hues that aren’t there, if a gamut falls short of the target.

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