There Is Such A Thing As Too Big

ASUS got in touch with me the other week and said, "Hey, would you like to see our new monitor?" And I thought, sure. Monitors are cool. Tech is cool.

But this isn't a monitor. It's more like a TV.

I'm not completely averse to the idea of having a TV on your desk as a monitor. With 4K TVs becoming more and more affordable, especially anything under 50", the idea of having one screen replace two or three makes a lot of sense. Real estate is a premium, especially in the office, and having one nicer screen always trumps two or three garbage ones.

So when ASUS emailed to ask if I wanted to test their ASUS ROG Swift PG348Q ultrawide screen monitor, a 34" monster with an IPS panel, 100Hz refresh rate and a native resolution of 3440 x 1440. It's a veritable monster, in pixel count and raw real estate. And that's only made more obvious when it's placed between my two ordinary, daily 23" desktop monitors.

It's too bloody big, really.

Good God

Minus the larger size, IPS panel, slight curve and difference in refresh rate, you're getting a monitor with much the same features, build quality and styling as the ASUS PG258Q that I tested earlier this year. The three-pronged base is back. The ports at the back are in exactly the same place, and just as hard to reach as last time. The monitor's OSD seems a bit faster to respond and navigate through, but it's mostly what you'd expect: a bigger screen, and a nicer quality one to boot.

The PG348Q starts from $1769, by the way.

ASUS's ROG Swift PG258Q Monitor Is Gaming Overkill

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The main thing going from a standard 23" or 27" monitor to something of this size is that you need to make sure your space can physically accommodate that. I'm not talking about just being able to fit it on the desk, but having enough depth that you can use it on a daily basis comfortably.

Put simply, you don't sit an arm or an arm and half's length away from a living room TV on a regular basis. And you shouldn't be that close to a 34" screen. Apart from the fact that it's physically uncomfortable, you also have to get accustomed to not having a browser window in the direct centre of your vision.

When you use a browser on a regular basis, the positioning is pretty straightforward. Your body is in line with the centre of the monitor. Your browser window takes up the majority of the screen, or at least the centre element.

Using an ultrawide monitor shifts that centre, and it takes some getting used to. There's enough space for two 1720 x 720 (or less) windows side by side, which is useful if you spend a lot of time looking at one window while typing into another.

It doesn't quite replace a second monitor if you rely on fullscreen applications or viewing - think games, streaming, or taking screenshots of livestreams and such. And while more and more games are beginning to support ultrawide screen resolutions, plenty don't. Netflix doesn't support ultrawide videos out of the box, so if you don't want to deal with letterboxing you'll need a Chrome extension, or to spend some time fiddling around in your desktop graphic settings.

And that's kind of the kicker with something this size. Don't get me wrong, it's a beautiful screen. It's plenty bright, blacks are nice and deep, brightness is consistent throughout the whole panel and the 100Hz refresh rate is more than welcome on a screen this large. It's useful for Photoshop work as well, although you'll always want to calibrate your monitor before doing that.

But a 34" screen has to make sense for your gaming/working environment. And given that you can get two 27" 1440p monitors for $700 or $800 a pop - and there's plenty of screens with IPS panels, 144Hz refresh rates - it's hard not to say to yourself: sometimes, there is such a thing as too big.

That said, just look at how much visibility you can get in Battlegrounds with this beast:

Gorgeous. But most people won't want to pay $1769 for that privilege.


    I use this monitor and it's an absolute joy. I sit very slightly further back from it than my old monitor and don't find it difficult to use at all at an arm and a half away. The screen clarity and quality of the settings make it easy to set up so you aren't hurting your eyes or struggling to do basic daily stuff.

    You talk about the windows and desktop being off centre, but you can always fix that and also take advantage of massive amounts of screen real estate. It's awesome for games as well obviously. Having the equivalent of an extra screens worth of vision around a Reinhardt shield? Yes please.

    Anyway that's my advertorial for this super good screen that I fucking love using.

    edit: also Forza on this thing, holy shit...

    Last edited 05/07/17 12:56 pm

      I can't physically push it back any further, partially because of how the desk is and also because of the three-pronged base that takes up. So. Much. Damn. Space.

      But yeah, especially in something like Battlegrounds where peripheral vision is a massive advantage it's so helpful. I haven't had the time to fire up Star Citizen yet, but I imagine that'd be glorious on it as well. That price tag, though...

        I was redoing my home office and selected a larger desk for it lol. The spidery base legs are absolutely the worst thing about a generally excellent design. Even on a decent desk with good cable management I have the legs slightly skewed so it sits back towards the wall more.

        It is so good for pubg and multiplayer in general, but I also had a ball playing through Rise of the Tomb Raider recently. Pretty colours! See everything!

        It is stupidly expensive and you often run into the ultrawide not supported problem, but I think in general if it's in someone's price range and they have the computer to support the thing (a 1070 plus is pretty much mandatory) then I say why not. I'll probably end up happily using it for at least 6 years since my old monitor was nearly 8 when it retired. I can't really fault this monitor at all, I really enjoy using it and still get a kick every time I turn it on.

        That three legged base is just dumb dumb dumb. I keep my keyboard well back from the edge of the desk, so I'd have to have one leg pointing straight back, except the whole point of flat(ish) monitors is being able to position them close to the wall.
        So you'd have to buy either a new desk or monitor mount, which makes this monitor at least $200 more expensive. You can see it right there in the battlegrounds shot the leg is rucked under the mat and the keyboard hard against it. This thing needs a Y leg on both ends instead, have the desk clear to the wall in the middle - assuming it doesnt get in the way of the mouse.

        I am growing to hate the sound of mechanical keyboards in particular when people don't put their mics on PTT and all you hear is TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TA TA TA TAP TAP TP TP ATP TAP

        I don't know how anyone can listen to the sound of them without raging about the noise particularly when someone is typing like GODZILLA stomping through a city...

      Having the equivalent of an extra screens worth of vision around a Reinhardt shield? Yes please.Does it actually work that way? I saw mentions of how the 16:10 setting is basically just 16:9 with the sides cropped, rather than having vertical FOV extended which is kinda lame. Although I guess if they did the same for this ridiculous aspect ratio you'd be looking at shit-all vertically :P

        You don't get much more vertical vision, but you still get a little. Horizontally it's an amazing difference. I wish I could dump the comparison screens I took when I bought it in here, but when I sent them to one of my Overwatch mates his reaction was "lol holy shit".

    I'm liking the curve. I could use one of these at work!

      I was worried I wouldn't like it when I bought the monitor, but it brings a little extra special to stuff (particularly games).

    I digress, 34" is actually still slightly too small. I would really like to get my 35" screen up to around 38" in order to give more verticality which I feel is missing with my 35" screen.

    That being said, my monitor sits about a 1m+ away from me.

    This is the monitor I play Elite: Dangerous on. It's lovely.

      Apparently Destiny 2 will support ultrawide res at launch ...

        That'll be on the telly - PS4 for my Guardian (beta soon!!!). :)

        Rise of the Tomb Raider is fantastic on it though. As is The Witness.

    Woah, completely disagree with you Alex. Ive got the Acer Predator X34, 34" Ultra Widescreen IPS Panel, 100hz, and it is simply stunning. I think your reaction is based on the fact that you simply havent used it much. I was a bit overwhelmed at its size initially, but damn it grows on you.... I could never look back.

      Same. I even had 2 monitors on my desk recently because i'm doing a lot of editing at the moment, but went back to just my acer predator.

      I love this monitor. I love the widescreen. I love the picture quality. I love the stupid little lights at the bottom that light up my desk.

      I don't love the screen height. I do wish it was slightly longer heightwise to accomodate the timeline with editing, but that's really picking at hairs.

      It's the perfect monitor for me, and what little gaming I do these days is just gorgeous on it.

      It cost me $1400 and yes, that was damn expensive but I appreciate everything about it. Never looking back x2.

        The picture quality is really, really nice. I'd be very happy with a 27" 1440p screen with that for home.

          1440P? You're a humble man Alex.

          Me? I want all the inches. And resolutions. All of them.

          But under $1400. Cos the money gets crazy after a while. Need a good card to drive all those pixels as well. I could never justify the machine I have if it wasn't for work.

          I love this rig though.

        same, also doing a heap of editing and getting into streaming... went from 2 x 26" monitors to just the acer. Prob going to be adding another screen but thats mainly for streaming purposes, to keep chat up and OBS preview.

        but yeah the Predator is PERFECT for editing....

          It's really nice. Only thing that isn't perfect for me is I have to either colour grade, or edit. I don't have the screen space to have all my scopes up while editing so I can't do both, and with 2 screens I could do this, but it felt like I was watching a tennis match. Head alllll the way to the left, then alll the way to the right to check the other screen.

          So I changed my workflow and now it's all fine. Shouldn't really be working on colours until the edit is locked anyway but sometimes I can't help myself when I see something that just needs a little work to look amazing.

    Im in the not big enough camp, but only because Im looking to replace my TV in the living room. The PS4 has all the smarts I need, so a Smart TV is wasted, and we dont watch live FTA TV either, so the tuner can go too.

    Monitor with HDMI in and >46inches please. The other thought Im having a think about is a projector.

    Last edited 05/07/17 1:36 pm

    Been running 3x 24" 1080p screens the past few years, and I think my next PC will opt for a larger gaming monitor and a smaller one in portrait mode beside it...

    Don't let the 34" number throw you off, this screen is only slightly taller than a typical 23". This is very much a desk monitor, not a TV replacement.

    I have this model, picked it up recently. Arms length (including fingers) is about the right distance from this screen. In terms of positioning you treat it the same way you would a 24-25" screen, it just gives you extra width to work with. I found the factory brightness way too high for comfortable long-term viewing though, turned it down to the 35-40 range. The factory colour balance was also pretty terrible, too much green in particular.

    In case anyone's especially picky about these kinds of things, both the Asus PG348Q and Acer X34 suffer from scanlines at 100Hz. The severity varies from moment to moment but it's a known issue driving the panel (which is the same in both screens) at higher overclocks. Sometimes they're not visible at all, sometimes they're quite noticeable (albeit still faint). This doesn't happen at the default 60Hz so you can always fall back to that if it bothers you.

    If you're uncompromising, maybe wait for the next model that Asus announced but hasn't released yet, designed to hit 200Hz. On the other hand, it's a VA panel where as this model is IPS, so there are always compromises.

      100hz is not guaranteed on these panels. I downclocked mine to 95hz and they disappeared.

        They can appear at any rate (even 60Hz) when overclock mode is enabled. That aside, I did say "at high overclocks" since that's where they tend to appear more frequently/noticeably.

          Hey man. Are you sure? Double read your msg. Maybe you're not replying to me? Cos you literally said (sorry for quotes but)

          both the Asus PG348Q and Acer X34 suffer from scanlines at 100Hz.

          and you also literally said that they DON'T appear at 60hz. So a bit confusing. Anyway, no biggy. Just saying that for me, I had this issue, but going back to 95hz cleared it up. It is a bit of a crapshoot buying these monitors and I was prepared to return mine as many times as it took to get a good one, but I fell in love with this one out of the gate and was more than happy to accept 5% less hz for picture quality and colour reproduction like this. And being able to have several, usable windows open at the same time is great for my work.

            it's a known issue driving the panel (which is the same in both screens) at higher overclocks.
            This doesn't happen at the default 60Hz

            Sorry if that wasn't clear, the issue doesn't appear when overclock is off (ie. default 60Hz), can appear when overclock is on (any frequency) and is more likely to appear at higher overclocks.

            I'm not saying the monitor is bad, I wouldn't have forked out ~$1800 for it if I hadn't done my research first. It's just something that can happen and people who are sticklers for that kind of thing should know about it before jumping in.

    The LG 31MU97 I have has 12 percent greater screen area than that screen. I'll admit sometimes it's too big to be useful though.

    Ive been using the LG equivalent for almost 2 years, playing games, work and casual.. cant go back to my dual 27" 1440p monitor.

    Its not too big because of the wide ratio, its still a 1440p monitor vertically, so if youre running 2x 27" 1440p monitors like i have, its an easy transition and much better aesthetically.

    A 4k monitor that is 2160p is much harder to use and inferior aesthetically to a 1440p monitor.

    Hi Alex,

    Like Eric Han above, I've been a daily user of the LG model for around 2 years as well.
    I moved from 3 x 27" displays to keeping one 27" for Netflix and the LG 34" for gaming.
    If you're used to playing an ultrawide format then this switch removes the bezels of the 3 displays and gives you the useful part of the peripheral vision of the left and right monitors in a single display.
    To go from a single 27" to this though is a hell of a jump.
    The main benefit (as you identified) is the larger perspective.
    However the biggest draw back is games that provide no FOV slider, or a limited range in that slider with no ability to modify FOV via configuration end up being major deal breakers.
    Its not uncommon for me to set my FOV to 110 or more depending on the game whereas on a 27" I'd put it to 90 at most where default in the 70 range is barf range.
    Additionally games that don't support 21:9 and force 16:9 are also a big deal breaker.
    Most game engines such as Unity, Unreal, CryEngine support 21:9 natively, but it depends on the game developers allowing their assets to be displayed in the format- this can be quite maddening when you know its possible but a game is provided in a limited way because of undisclosed reasons.

    As a side note: there is a curator on steam to help buyers know which games support 21:9 and to what degree. The community contributes to a thread- the curator then aggregates that info back to the community- its worth checking out. A good example- is some games support 21:9 but their menu's end up out of whack because of it. The curator will disclose this kind of thing.

    Last edited 06/07/17 8:43 am

    If you want a big screen... just buy VR.... if not im sticking with 16:9 30 inches thanx

      What if you don't want VR and prefer a big screen like this? I don't think I will ever invest in VR because I like to be able to drink a beer or whatever while I play games on PC.

        bigger than 30 inches means you have to move your eyes or head

        not a good thing when having beers

          lol what

            headache or neckache material when doing that for 9 hours a day

              You wear a VR headset for 9 hours a day?

                monitors m8 monitors

                there is a thing as too big monitor.... it causes strain... i had a too big monitor in 2005

                big monitors are nothing new

                  I work on it for 8 hours no problem because I centralise the work I'm doing and it operates more comfortably than two screens if I'm spreadsheeting. It owns for games because it has a nice curve and really gets you in. I pick up a beer and drink it, then I return to the game. If moving your eyes is giving you a headache I don't know what to tell you and if you are moving your head around lots you are too close. It's far easier on my eyes than my old 1080p 28" and you can't go wrong with massive amounts of screen real estate.

    For screens there's no such thing as too big. When you have monitors like this the question becomes 'too close?'

      As with tv screens, if you need to turn your head to see all of the picture, you're too close.

    When I read this title, I assumed it would be about a 38" monitor... But it's about a 34"?

    Not only are they becoming more standard now, but they're nothing remotely new lol

    Also I've had one for about a year now. It is quite big, but I would call it a pretty good size. Makes gaming more immersive, and normal desktop use much better.

    I would see more of a point arguing that a 38"+ was too big... but a 34"...? Really?

    Biggest tip for these is the WinKey + Left/Right arrow keyboard shortcut. Pushes a window to the left or right of the screen, taking exactly half the screen width. You can quickly put two windows side by side with this. You can also do it by dragging the title bar of the window to the edge of the screen, which will do the same thing and (optionally - this can be turned off - Settings > System > Multitasking in Win10) bring up a window picker to pick a second window to take up the other half of the screen.


      How did I not know that shortcut.... I know alot of obscure windows shortcuts but that one.....

      Thank you kind

        You can actually press WinKey + Left/Right then Up/Down to put it into a corner too!

    I've had this monitor for a year. It's great. Other than the fact a 1080 can't run some games on Ultra max resolution 100hz :(

    Battlegrounds is great on it though. I SEE EVERYTHING

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