ASUS ROG Strix XG438Q 4K gaming monitor review: from dream to reality

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The desktop monitor market sometimes strongly resembles the TV segment, and when the screen diagonal with the usual aspect ratio of 16:9 reaches 40+ inches, no matter how hard the manufacturers try, such a comparison happens in the minds of buyers by itself. And then they begin to compare the prices of monitors and TVs of a similar diagonal.

In order to separate such solutions into completely different segments and, to the extent possible, avoid such comparisons, NVIDIA introduced the Big Screen Gaming Display concept more than a year ago, which was based on a large, 65-inch 4K * VA panel with a multi-zone backlight system, developed capabilities, a vertical frequency of 120 Hz (moreover, native, without interpolation, like many TVs), G-Sync support, as well as an integrated NVIDIA Shield, which played the role of an advanced control unit with its own shell. It turned out to be exclusive, spectacular and very expensive, and for the companies that joined this “arms race”, it was more of a marketing story and more of a demonstration of their capabilities, rather than an attempt to make money on the final product.

However, if for some of them displays of this kind are new, then you can’t say the same about ASUS. The manufacturer managed to be noted in absolutely all segments of gaming monitors, in many of which its models still top the sales charts to this day. Among the recent innovations, we decided to pay attention to the ROG Strix XG438Q — a monitor with a rare combination of characteristics, which, in fact, attracted our attention.

⇡ # Reference information and specifications

ASUS ROG Strix XG438Q has created its own class of gaming devices, where there are no direct competitors and even just similar displays. The announcement of the monitor, which the manufacturer refers to the ROG Strix series, took place at the end of July 2019, and its recommended price is $1,099. up to $1,299. In Russia, the starting level is $820, but so far such a monitor will be delivered only on order.

Diagonal, inches 43
Aspect Ratio 16:9
Matrix coating Semi-matte (Haze)
Standard resolution, pix. 3840×2160
PPI 102
Image Options
Matrix type AMVA (*VA Type)
Backlight W-LED + KSF-Layer (?)
Max. brightness, cd/m2 450 (up to 600 in HDR peak)
Contrast static 4000 : 1
Number of displayed colors 1.07 billion (8 bit + FRC)
Vertical refresh rate, Hz 48-120 + AMD FreeSync 2 HDR
GtG response time, ms four
Response time BtW, ms ND
Maximum viewing angles
horizontally/vertically, °
Video inputs 3 x HDMI 2.0;
1 x Display Port 1.4
Video outputs Not
Additional ports 1 × Audio-In (3.5mm);
1 × Audio Out (3.5mm);
2 x USB 3.0
Built-in speakers: number × power, W 2×10 RMS Stereo
Physical parameters
Screen Position Adjustment Tilt angle
VESA mount: dimensions (mm) Yes (100 × 100 mm)
Mount for Kensington lock Yes
Power Supply External
Max. power consumption
working / standby (W)
48 (at 200 nits) / 0.5
(with stand), L × H × D, mm
(without stand), L × H × D, mm
Net weight (with stand), kg 15.3
Net weight (without stand), kg ND
Estimated price $85 000-920

In terms of technical specifications and capabilities, the XG438Q is truly a unique product. It is based on a new AMVA-matrix (belongs to *VA-type) manufactured by AU Optronics, M430QVN02.0. This is a 43-inch 4K 16:9 solution with increased color depth to 10 bits (8 bits + FRC), 1.07 billion colors and an advanced LED backlight system (most likely using a KSF layer) with separately controlled zones and a modified backlight spectrum, due to which, according to the manufacturer, the display covers up to 90% of the DCI-P3 color space.

To combat increased eye fatigue, the backlight system is devoid of SHI modulation (Flicker-Free), and the display menu features four modes of operation of Blue Light Filter technology, which reduces the blue component in the emitted spectrum by reducing color temperature and brightness. In addition, the combination of a diagonal of 43 inches and a resolution of 3840 by 2160 pixels provides the XG438Q with a pixel density of 102 ppi, which is not so far from the classic 109-110 of modern solutions that customers love. This density eliminates the need for the scaling system in Windows.

Since the XG438Q is not only a gaming device, but also an entertainment device in general, its brightness has been increased to 450 nits in normal operation and up to 600 nits in HDR mode. The contrast ratio of the hero of the review is as much as 4000: 1, which is a very high level even for a * VA display. Viewing angles remained at the usual level of 178 degrees in both planes (of course, taking into account the 10-fold drop in contrast).

The monitor has passed the VESA DisplayHDR 600 certification, which is not surprising given the characteristics of the matrix used in it. Meanwhile, it is worth remembering that the most real HDR is currently possible only on OLED panels, as well as on LCD devices with hundreds, if not thousands, of separately controlled zones. Alas, the XG438Q is not included in this list and can please you only with initially deep blacks, bright whites, increased color depth, a fairly large (by monitor standards) screen and the ability to work with HDR metadata, making the necessary changes in contrast and brightness of the picture using other gamma curves. If you like a bright and oversaturated picture, you will definitely like this, including thanks to the three HDR content processing modes built into the monitor: Cinema HDR, Gaming HDR and FreeSync 2 HDR.

When it comes to speed, ASUS ROG Strix XG438Q doesn’t try to set records. Based on its many years of experience, the manufacturer did not splurge on completely unrealistic TX numbers for its *VA giant: 4 ms GtG, no black frame insertion system and AMD Free-Sync 2 HDR operating in the 48-120 range Hz is our everything. It is impossible not to mention the same vertical frequency of 120 Hz, but here it is worth noting that this is new only for a 4K standard * VA matrix. For panels of this type with a lower resolution, this figure is not the limit for a long time, and you can easily find 144-, 165-, 200- and even 240-Hz models.

The XG438Q is not exactly a typical player on the market, so its design is frame, and the ergonomics of the stand provide it with only one degree of freedom: tilt adjustment. The model is equipped with a powerful built-in speaker system (2 speakers of 10 W each), a remote control, three HDMI 2.0 ports, one DisplayPort 1.4 and a pair of audio jacks. There are two USB 3.0 ports for working with peripherals, and one mini-USB is designed to connect an external ROG logo projection unit that can be synchronized with the Aura RGB system.

Among other features, the manufacturer talks about PiP / PbP with a wide range of settings, classic for ASUS gaming monitors GamePlus technologies (various scopes, timers, etc.), Shadow Boost (increasing the visibility of dark areas) and GameFast (reducing input lag). Of the fairly new features, we note the DisplayWidget software package, with which the user can quickly switch and configure GameVisual modes, install presets for various applications and games, fine-tune color reproduction, share an AXLM file with personal settings, define shortcut keys and conveniently position several windows on the screen in 14 proposed options.

⇡#Equipment and appearance

The monitor comes fully assembled in a huge cardboard box, and to unpack it, you need to remove four plastic clips and lift the protective part up. There is no plastic carrying handle, and for transportation it is better to use a car and, probably, a second pair of hands — the monitor is too heavy.

The packaging is printed with high quality. The same photograph of the display is used on both sides and its main features are listed with the help of various icons.

The sticker on the package does not contain particularly useful information for the buyer. It informs only that the display is made in China, at the factory of the contract manufacturer TPV Electronics (Fujian).

The delivery set is in a separate box and includes everything that is possible:

  • power cable;
  • external PSU;
  • DisplayPort cable;
  • HDMI cable (in our case, there were two of them at once);
  • USB cable for PC connection;
  • external block of the ROG logo projection;
  • remote control (without batteries);
  • rear cover of the main interface area;
  • quick installation and configuration guide;
  • prospectus ASUS VIP Member;
  • prospectus for safe use.

Due to the size of the device and, probably, the features of the matrix used, the manufacturer had to seriously change its approach when designing a monitor and do without a “frameless” design, but familiar elements from the ROG series still remained with us.

The new XG438Q looks and feels like a TV from the most expensive product families of famous TV brands, and the gaming focus is emphasized by the large logo of the Republic of Gamers series, textured plastic with a spectacular engraving in the form of some kind of electronic circuit and a rather large complex metal stand with barely noticeable red inserts in the form red rings on three pillars.

Despite the way the stand is attached to the case, it provides the monitor with tilt adjustment, is very stable and is not in doubt about its safety.

If necessary, the stand can be dismantled, and any suitable VESA-compatible bracket with fasteners of the 100 × 100 mm standard can be used instead. For a 43-inch panel, the chosen standard looks a little strange, but we are sure that the engineers have calculated everything.

The ROG logo projection system this time turned out to be outside — it was made using a separate remote unit that is connected to the monitor via mini-USB. Outwardly, such a solution looks, frankly, strange (especially considering the size of the case), but, on the other hand, you will rarely look at the back of the monitor, so there is nothing to worry about.

The projected logo is perfectly visible both day and night. There are more than enough options for its operation scheme and backlight colors.

The matrix of the monitor with a semi-matte work surface. It has sufficient anti-reflective properties and pleases that the crystal effect on it is almost imperceptible in any viewing conditions.

From one sticker on the back of the monitor, we finally found out the production date of our copy (July 2019) and once again confirmed the contractor in the face of the notorious company TPV Electronics, which often fulfills orders for ASUS and many other brands.

The interface connectors are located at the rear of the case, distributed over two pads, directed down and to the side. Connecting cables in the first case is not very convenient, but you will, hopefully, rarely do this, and therefore you can be patient.

In turn, the lower section is closed with a plastic cover, which provides the monitor with some kind of cable management system and improves its appearance.

The monitor has a built-in speaker system with a total power of as much as 20 W, which is responsible for the proprietary SonicMaster technology. The maximum volume of the system is more than sufficient, and the quality of the sound path is frankly pleasing and does not cause any particular complaints, unless, of course, we remember that this is just a monitor.

The build quality of the monitor under study is close to ideal: all parts are connected precisely and with minimal uniform gaps, the painting is even, there are no backlashes, and the structure is highly rigid. The buildup of the body on the stand stops in 1-2 seconds.

The display, due to its large thickness, does not lend itself to twisting, but slightly crunches / creaks with adequate physical impact, which is normal for such sizes. Expensive materials are used, with different textures and matte finishes, with high practicality and wear resistance. In general, there are no questions — 5 out of 5.

⇡#Menu and controls

The monitor is controlled by a five-way joystick and four different-sized trapezoidal physical buttons located at the rear of the device.

On the bottom edge there is a dim white power LED, which, if desired, can be turned off through the settings. An additional indicator of the monitor’s operation can be the projection of the ROG logo using a special external unit.

Of the four control buttons, one is responsible for turning on the monitor, the other is the cancel or exit button, the remaining two serve to activate the signal source selection and quick access to the GameVisual modes — these are the quick access functions selected by the manufacturer by default, but in the future they can be change to your taste.

Navigation through the menu is made by means of a five-way joystick. This is one of the most successful ways to work with the OSD menu — and ASUS has long known about it. It takes a minimum of time to get used to, you can manage without problems both day and night, everything is accessible and easy.

The menu design has not changed for a long time, and in the XG438Q everything is the same as in other solutions of the ROG Strix and ROG Swift families. The appearance of the OSD screen is simple, concise and modern. In the case of the novelty, it contains eight sections with slightly modified content.

The first two sections of the novelty are dedicated to the choice of GameVisual modes and the capabilities of the GamePlus system, which can provide the user with an on-screen sight, a timer, an FPS counter, and the like.

You can change the brightness, contrast, color temperature, gamma and saturation in the Color section. Separately, we note that in most modes not all parameters are available, and when the HDR mode is activated in the OS, the section is completely blocked. The same, by the way, happens when you select the sRGB preset.

The fourth section, Image, contains settings for the scaler, dynamic contrast, OverDrive (OD) matrix response acceleration and Shadow Boost technology, which allows you to increase the visibility in the shadows. The local dimming function is available (enabled by default), and when HDR is enabled in the operating system, the HDR subsection becomes available with three metadata interpretation/processing modes. Also in this section are the modes of the familiar Blue Light Filter technology and the ability to activate Adaptive-Sync / FreeSync.

The fifth section with the appropriate name provides extremely wide opportunities for configuring PiP / PbP functions.

And the sixth one is dedicated to the choice of the signal source.

The System Setup section contains parameters that are mostly not related to the quality of the image on the screen. Among the available options: setting the appearance and position of the OSD menu, choosing the localization language (Russian is set by default, but due to not the best translation, I switched to English), blocking the control keys and turning off the power indicator.

There is a subsection with basic operating information on the monitor, the ability to change the scheme of USB ports, activate Aura Sync, configure Aura RGB and the sound system, and define two functions for quick access.

The last section is designed to save the settings made to one of the three memory cells. If necessary, you can quickly switch between them.


⇡#Test Methodology

The ASUS ROG Strix XG438Q was tested using the X-Rite i1 Display Pro colorimeter in combination with the X-Rite i1 Pro reference spectrophotometer, Argyll CMS with dispcalGUI and HCFR Colormeter software. All operations were carried out in Windows 10 Pro x64 with the latest updates. During the main testing phase, the screen refresh rate was 120 Hz, and the color depth was set to 8 bits.

In accordance with the methodology, we will measure the following monitor parameters:

  • white brightness, black brightness, contrast ratio at backlight power from 0 to 100% in 10% increments;
  • color gamut;
  • color temperature;
  • gamma curves of the three primary colors RGB;
  • gray gamma curve;
  • color deviation DeltaE (according to the CIEDE1994 standard);
  • backlight uniformity, color temperature uniformity (in Kelvin and DeltaE units) at 100 cd/m2 brightness at center point2.

All measurements described above were carried out before and after calibration. During tests, we measure the main monitor profiles: default, sRGB (if available) and Adobe RGB (if available). Calibration is carried out in the default profile, except for special cases, which will be discussed later. For monitors with wide color gamuts, we select the sRGB hardware emulation mode, if available. Before starting all tests, the monitor warms up for 3-4 hours, and all its settings are reset to factory settings.

We’ll also continue our old practice of posting calibration profiles for the monitors we’ve tested at the end of the article. At the same time, the 3DNews test lab warns that such a profile will not be able to 100% correct the shortcomings of your particular monitor. The fact is that all monitors (even within the same model) will necessarily differ from each other in small color errors. It is physically impossible to make two identical matrices, so a colorimeter or spectrophotometer is required for any serious monitor calibration. But even a “universal” profile created for a specific instance can generally improve the situation for other devices of the same model, especially in the case of cheap displays with pronounced color rendition defects.

⇡#Operating parameters

The ASUS ROG Strix XG438Q offers eight pre-installed GameVisual modes and four Blue Light Filter options. When testing the monitor, we used the Display Port 1.4 interface as the most hassle-free and maximizes the new features.

By default, the basic settings look like this:

  • GameVisual-Racing;
  • Brightness — 90;
  • Contrast — 80;
  • color temp. – User (100/100/100);
  • Gamma — 2.2;
  • OD — Level 3;
  • Shadow Boost — Level 0
  • Dynamic Dimming – On.

During manual edits for the brightness at the center point of 100 nits and the white point of 6500 K, the settings took the form:

  • GameVisual-User;
  • Brightness — 0;
  • Contrast — 80;
  • color temp. — User (94/98/97);
  • Gamma — 2.2;
  • OD — Level 4;
  • Shadow Boost — Level 0
  • Dynamic Dimming – Off.

We had to reduce the brightness settings to zero, after which more serious RGB Gain edits were required, not only to set the white point, but also to further reduce the brightness to the required level. The overclocking level was increased without loss of transition quality (artifacts did not appear), and for image stability, the Dynamic Dimming system was turned off.

⇡#White brightness, black brightness, contrast ratio

The initial check was carried out in the Racing mode with the default settings:

Brightness in menu (%) White brightness (cd/m2) Black brightness (cd/m2) Static contrast (x:1)
one hundred 523 0.139 3763
90 471 0.125 3768
80 433 0.115 3765
70 391 0.104 3760
60 353 0.094 3755
50 311 0.082 3793
40 270 0.072 3750
thirty 228 0.06 3800
20 189 0.05 3780
10 149 0.04 3725
0 106 0.028 3786

The maximum brightness at the central point turned out to be higher than the declared level and amounted to 523 cd / m2 in SDR mode and as many as 685 in HDR, and on a permanent basis, and not in a short-term peak. In turn, the resulting minimum on the white field greatly upset us — 106 cd / m2. And after all, this is not the first time ASUS has done this.

In terms of contrast ratio, the XG438Q achieved a level of almost 3800:1, which is a high result for a modern *VA matrix. And thanks to the lowest possible black point of 0.028 nits and locally controlled backlighting, the calculated maximum can be almost 25,000:1. This, of course, is not OLED at all, but for LCD technology it is beyond praise.

⇡#Results at default settings

The monitor in question has a spread spectrum backlight matrix and, according to the manufacturer, provides up to 90% coverage of the DCI-P3 space.

The coverage is really wide, but in our testing, the XG438Q’s performance was only 83.2% DCI-P3 compliant at default settings. We won’t be especially sad here, because the monitor is still not very suitable for professional work (for various reasons), and for an ordinary consumer, even such a result is a pleasant addition against the background of the old and still actively used sRGB space.

In addition, the XG438Q pleases with a very accurate white point and perfect stability of the CG grayscale.

Gamma curves continue the list of advantages of the model. They are set as accurately as possible in accordance with the value of 2.2, there is no imbalance between the channels, the picture contrast is what it should be.

However, due to the color gamut, which does not fully comply with DCI-P3 and significantly exceeds sRGB, it is problematic to choose the most appropriate reference profile. We got the minimum level of deviations when choosing sRGB, and the corresponding report is presented above. You should not be surprised at the deviations in this case, because precisely set curves and a white point are not the only thing that is required from the monitor. On the other hand, if you do not work with color, then you will not have any problems — you can relax and enjoy the riot of colors on the screen.

⇡#results after tuning and calibration

Those who care about the most accurate color reproduction still cannot do without setting up and calibrating the monitor. In the case of the XG438Q, we lowered the backlight brightness and RGB Gain to achieve the desired brightness level and white point color temperature.

The anchor points on the CIE diagram slightly changed their coordinates, but there were no global changes in the color gamut. The monitor under study again demonstrated a high level of sRGB space compliance and almost 83% DCI-P3.

The white point crept close to 6500 K, and the stability of the CG grayscale decreased slightly.

The gamma curves sank slightly relative to the reference, and to prevent this from happening, you can only do profiling — without editing the LUT of the video card.

At the same time, in the test for color accuracy from the Argyll CMS complex, we got an excellent result, which is unattainable for many other models. Of course, this does not negate other problems of the matrix used (color shift, Black Crush, banding), but the numbers are still impressive — at least they speak of the monitor’s capabilities.

⇡#Results in mode sRGB

Our methodology requires that we test a special sRGB mode from the general list of GameVisual. When it is activated in the monitor menu, most of the settings related to color reproduction are blocked (including the brightness of the backlight, which is set at a high level of 197 nits), and the color gamut must be brought to the standard corresponding to the name.

Alas, this is not the case with the XG438Q. The color gamut remains at the original level, that is, there is no emulation, and the need to use the device’s color profile in sRGB Mode does not disappear anywhere.

In the studied mode, the white point goes closer to 7000 K, and the stability of the CG grayscale is slightly reduced.

Gamma curves are set above 2.2, which results in a slight drop in on-screen image contrast, while enhancing the already good shadow detail.

In the test for color accuracy, the sRGB mode showed the highest result (however, the difference compared to the standard mode lies within the measurement error). But it is worth remembering that the brightness of the backlight is locked at a very high level, and the white point is shifted to the «cold» zone — and this cannot be changed. Do you need such restrictions and changes? We doubt.

⇡#Results in mode Blue light filter

To reduce eye strain, manufacturers have long offered Blue Light Filter modes with a reduced blue component of the backlight spectrum. The ASUS monitor has four such modes with different levels of impact. The first three affect only the white point, with slight shifts in color temperature, and in the fourth there is an additional sharp drop in brightness — up to 160 nits (I would like even lower). That is what we will consider.

To our surprise, the monitor’s color gamut remained at a high level. We did not notice any visible changes, but you can trace them on the numbers.

The white point settled at 4830 K and took on a slight greenish tint. Something similar happened with shades of gray, which are located side by side in a fairly dense group, while maintaining the highest possible stability of the CG.

According to the set gamma curves, the mode reminded us of sRGB Mode, but with a slightly larger imbalance between the R-, G- and B-components. To reduce eye strain, reduced image contrast is a plus, but there are no other changes here.

The highest deviations from the reference in the Argyll CMS test, as expected, fell on the white point, but the deviations also increased in terms of the measured color patches. If you want to quickly reduce the color temperature and brightness, thereby reducing eye strain, then the Blue Light Filter at the fourth level is a simple and effective way. The first three levels will definitely not give such an effect.

⇡#Backlight Uniformity

The uniformity of the display backlight was tested after reducing the brightness at the center point of the monitor to a level of 100 cd/m2 and setting the color temperature to ~6500 Kelvin. Backlight compensation system is not used in XG438Q.

The picture above shows a photograph of a white field with a certain exposure compensation during shooting (in the dark) and further software processing for a more visual representation of the backlight uniformity.

Serious problems are visible both in the light field and in all gray shades. In our experience, this is quite common for large *VA- and IPS-panels in 16:9 format, including those installed in full-fledged TVs.

The average deviation from the central point was 20.7%, and the maximum was 44.6%. The result is very low, high brightness is observed only in the central area of ​​the screen, and the farther from it, the stronger the fall. We would not count on something completely different when buying this model in a store. We think that all instances of the XG438Q demonstrate something similar to our case.

But with the uniformity of color temperature on a white field, things are much better. In our specimen, the spread was no more than 685 K, the average deviation from the central point was 2.2%, and the maximum was 5.3%. The result is average, but against the background of the difference in brightness, this is a victory!

Now let’s look at the uniformity of the backlight and the different color effects in the case of a black box. We will do this using two photographs taken at different distances from the screen (~ 70 and 150-200 cm).

From the point of view of the angular glow effect, the monitor under review proved to be good and one of the best *VA solutions among those tested by us. Even at high brightness, there were no problems with uniformity, there is no “cloud effect”, the surface is clean, without stripes and various patches of heterogeneity.

At a greater distance from the screen, Glow disappears completely and it becomes clear that with real black uniformity, our XG438Q instance is fine. This is the case when *VA-monitor is many times ahead of 40-43-inch solutions based on IPS panels.

But do not forget that the matrix in the XG438Q has a multi-zone backlight system with dynamic brightness control, which is enabled by default. There are not so many zones, respectively, each of them is quite large. Above, various options for activating them are demonstrated, according to which it becomes clear that such a backlight system will definitely not work to show a beautiful picture without stray flare. Understanding this and closely studying its work in the first couple of hours spent at the monitor, we turned off the Dynamic Backlight system and did not turn it on throughout the rest of the testing.

⇡#Features of the model and visual evaluation of the image

⇡#Gradient Quality and Response Speed

The pseudo-10-bit matrix used in the ASUS ROG Strix XG438Q was able to demonstrate good uniform gradients in all preset modes and after editing the operating parameters in the OSD menu.

A very high-quality factory setting allowed the monitor to get by with minimal edits to the LUT of the video card during the calibration, but even they significantly reduced the quality of transitions in the 0-10% region. From this, we concluded that it is better to do with manual configuration and regular profiling — creating an individual profile without LUT edits. For the XG438Q, this would be ideal and sufficient for a first-class, accurate image.

On the other hand, the problem of «banding» did not bypass the XG438Q. The effect is revealed to the maximum extent, problems with dark tonal transitions are clearly visible, so working with color behind the hero of the review is not the best idea.

The ASUS ROG Strix XG438Q model is assigned by the manufacturer to the gaming family, but in the segment under consideration this is generally the only model — an additional division into gaming and non-gaming is not required here.

The maximum vertical frequency of 120 Hz does not pull on a record, like 4 ms GtG, but for a large *VA display with a 4K standard matrix, this is a high level.

To overclock the matrix in the XG438Q, the manufacturer uses the standard Overdrive technology with six modes of operation. By default, Level 3 is set, which in reality turned out to be not much superior to the other three levels. When Level 4 is activated, the pixel response speed increases without the appearance of clearly distinguishable artifacts, and Level 5 significantly reduces the length of the trails, but artifacts begin to manifest themselves with almost any movement on the screen. So we settled on Level 4.

In terms of overall speed, the monitor, of course, is not a competitor to various high-speed IPS and TN + Film solutions, which is especially noticeable in dark transitions. Among *VA-solutions with a similar refresh rate (up to 165 Hz), the new ASUS can compete with many, but in any case it does not pull on the leader’s role. However, if you are interested in the 16:9 format and a similar diagonal, then you still have no options. Feel free to take and play!

Finally, we note the absence of frame drops at a maximum frequency of 120 Hz, which was confirmed by a special test from the UFOTest package. In this issue, the monitor did not have any problems.

⇡#viewing angles and GlowEffect

Any *VA-monitors demonstrate average image stability and viewing angles, and the price of the device, as we have already found out, does not affect the parameters studied in this section.

With slight changes in the viewing angle in the vertical plane, the picture on the screen does not change at all, demonstrating the level of IPS solutions. True, we should not forget about the Black Crush effect, which appears already at small deviations from the normal, especially if the image has a lot of dark areas.

If you increase the angle to 35-45 degrees, then the image becomes less contrast, saturation decreases, shadows brighten, there is a noticeable color shift (color-shift) on certain shades (mostly gray). When viewed from above or below, such changes are seen much faster (even with a smaller level of deviations from the normal). Of course, it cannot be compared with the behavior of IPS models.

Due to the deep blacks and high backlight uniformity, the glow effect on the black box does not affect the XG438Q to a small extent. Depending on the position of the user in front of the screen with a black fill, the stray shade and the degree of its manifestation vary greatly, however, against the backdrop of large IPS solutions, the hero of the review is just another level!

As for color images, it is the viewing angles that affect more than Glow. When viewed from an angle, the contrast of the picture drops sharply, in some cases the effect of posterization may appear on complex color transitions. In other words, everything is as usual, and this effect practically does not depend on the size of the panel.

⇡#crystal effect, Crosshatching, PWM, sharpness, operation noise

The ASUS ROG Strix XG438Q monitor uses a matrix with a high-quality semi-matte work surface.

The picture on the screen is pleasing to the eye. The crystalline effect is barely noticeable, many will not see it at all. When you change the viewing angle, its distinguishability is practically not enhanced. This display model is completely free from the Cross-Hatching effect.

And everything would be fine, but XG438Q has more than enough problems with text processing and some small elements. This is due to the non-standard pixel structure — BGR instead of RGB, which is one of the most significant shortcomings of the model. Consider this even before purchasing a display!

Some buyers use a VESA mount, flip the monitor 180 degrees (it turns out an RGB display) and make the necessary changes in the parameters in the video card driver — flip the picture. We see this solution as strange, and therefore we consider the only possible way to improve the readability of fonts to change the way ClearType works. Hidden settings written through the Windows registry are described on the Microsoft website. We checked the effect — it is, albeit not to the extent that we expected.

According to the manufacturer, the display has Flicker-Free backlighting, which was confirmed during our tests. At any level of brightness, SHI modulation is not used, or its frequency is several kilohertz or even tens of kilohertz. For their own eyes, potential buyers can be calm. It remains not to forget about the need to take breaks in work and not to set too high brightness in low or medium ambient light.

The XG438Q uses an external power supply. There are no parasitic sounds from it and the control electronics of the monitor.


ASUS likes to experiment, constantly sets trends and often goes ahead of its competitors, since many matrices get to them much later. Manufacturer engineers are not afraid of difficulties, and marketers find thousands of reasons why each new product is worth its money and should be purchased by one or another category of consumers. Did that happen with the new ROG Strix XG438Q? Not really.

The hero of the review plays in the segment of large gaming monitors, but he is the only one among models with a standard aspect ratio. A 16:9 display with a diagonal of 43 inches will be too large for many, and as a TV and for the XG438Q game console, on the contrary, it is small, and it costs too much for this application, and it has such problems with backlight uniformity in a bright field the same as TV models for 30-40 thousand.

By a somewhat strange coincidence, for a rather expensive gaming display, a not the fastest * VA matrix was again chosen, which, despite the increased vertical frequency, shows a level slightly lower than far from the fastest gaming IPS in other market segments. Yes, and there are questions about the choice of the AMVA model itself from AUO. At least one: why do we need a BGR pixel structure that creates obvious problems? Yes, if you perform a couple of not-so-obvious actions in Windows, you can do better, and if you only play and watch movies at the monitor, then a very strange elaboration of the text will never be noticed at all. But do so many consumers plan to use the review hero, forgetting about web surfing and working with documents? Unlikely, though anything is possible…

If we forget about the above features, then the manufacturer was able to show the real advantages of *VA technology in the form of very deep blacks, perfect backlight uniformity on it, and an almost absent Glow effect. You rarely see this now. Otherwise, the decision is made for special cases and definitely not for those who prefer working at a computer to games. Nevertheless, he certainly has his own audience. Good luck with your choice!

From file server can download color profile for this monitor which we received after setup and calibration.


  • nice design — at the level of premium TV models (since we compare with them);
  • excellent quality of materials and assembly;
  • tilt adjustment and VESA-mount standard 100 × 100 mm;
  • excellent delivery set;
  • convenient control system based on physical keys and a 5-position joystick;
  • very good factory setting;
  • extended color gamut (lovers of a rich picture will like it);
  • high quality gradients in preset modes and after manual edits;
  • official support for AMD FreeSync in the range of 48-120 Hz;
  • compliance with VESA DisplayHDR 600 — including thanks to the multi-zone backlight system (however, this is a rather dubious plus);
  • perfect uniformity of illumination on a black field;
  • backlight without flicker (Flicker-Free) in the entire range of brightness changes;
  • no visible crystal effect, cross-hatching and parasitic sounds of electronics during operation;
  • barely noticeable Glow effect;
  • the first large 4K *VA with an increased refresh rate at a more or less adequate price (and not 250-350 thousand, like in 65-inch models).


  • high minimum brightness level — to reduce to adequate values, you will have to reduce the contrast ratio and RGB gain;
  • very low backlight uniformity in a bright field in terms of brightness level — this is probably the problem of all similar matrices (including those in the TV segment);
  • BGR pixel structure, and with it serious problems with the development of text and some small elements. It gets better when applying hidden registry edits to the ClearType feature.

May not suit:

  • ROG logo projection system as a separate unit;
  • use of frame design;
  • a significant decrease in the quality of gradients after minimal LUT edits — so it’s better to do with tuning and profiling;
  • the lack of a really working sRGB space emulation mode;
  • average viewing angles — you can’t expect anything else from a large *VA matrix;
  • the speed level of the panel may surprise you unpleasantly — if you have not yet seen *VA gaming monitors and compared them with IPS and TN + Film with a similar refresh rate;
  • average backlight uniformity in terms of color temperature on a white field.


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