Sharp picture. Inky blacks. AMD FreeSync enabled. Powerful audio. Wireless charging station. Solid gaming performance.
No USB ports. Slightly skewed color accuracy. Middling viewing-angle performance.
- Bottom Line
The Asus Designo Curved MX34VQ is a 34-inch gaming monitor with a steep curve and some nice features, including a wireless charging base, gamer-friendly settings, and a powerful audio system.
With its pronounced curve and gamer-centric features, the Asus Designo Curved MX34VQ ($799.99) not only provides a more immersive gaming experience than its flat-screen counterparts, but it will wirelessly charge your compatible mobile devices while you're playing. While its viewing-angle performance is middling, this 34-inch gaming monitor uses AMD's FreeSync anti-tearing technology and a fast 100Hz refresh rate to deliver smooth gaming performance, and its Harman Kardon sound system offers rich audio.
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Design and Features
The MX34VQ's bezel-free cabinet, black-and-silver finish, and clear, see-through base offer a pleasing aesthetic. The Vertical Alignment (VA) panel's 1,800R curvature isn't quite as pronounced as the 1,500R curvature of the 34-inch Samsung CF791, but it's noticeably curvier than the Acer Predator X34 (3,800R) and the LG 38UC99-W (2,300R). It has a 3,440-by-1,440 resolution, a 3,000:1 contrast ratio, a 21:9 aspect ratio, a 300 cd/m2 peak brightness, and a 4-millisecond (gray-to-gray) pixel response.
There are no function buttons visible on the cabinet to break up the monitor's smooth lines; instead, there's a five-way mini-joystick controller positioned at the bottom of the cabinet that is used to navigate the on-screen menus and change settings values. A pair of down-firing 8-watt Harman Kardon speakers is built into the bottom of the cabinet, and an array of video inputs can be found around back, facing downward. They include three HDMI inputs, a DisplayPort input, and an audio input. Missing are the USB 3.0 ports that you get with the Samsung 34-inch CF791 Curved Widescreen Monitor and the LG 34UC79G-B.
The cabinet is supported by a round base that provides 20 degrees of tilt adjustability, but lacks pivot, swivel, and height adjustments. The transparent base contains an embedded 5-watt/1A Qi charging pad and a series of LED lights that flash blue while the pad is charging a device and amber if there's a charging error. The pad will only charge Qi-compatible devices.
In addition to Brightness, Contrast, and Color Temperature settings, the MX34VQ has eight picture presets, including Standard, sRGB, Dark Room, Scenery, Theater, Game, Night View, and Reading modes. It also has four Blue Light Filter settings, Saturation, Sharpness, and Skin Tone settings, and multiple Picture-in-Picture (PiP) settings. You can adjust individual red, green, and blue intensity levels, but there are no advanced six-color adjustments. However, it does offer the same GamePlus crosshair, timer, and frame-counter gaming tools that you get with the Asus ROG Swift PG258Q, and it has four audio presets for gaming, movies, music, and user (custom).
Asus covers the MX34VQ with a three-year warranty on parts, labor, and backlight. Included in the box are DisplayPort and HDMI cables and a Quick Start Guide.
The MX34VQ performed wonderfully in our Crysis 3 (PC) and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (Sony PlayStation 4) gaming tests. Motion artifacts were non-existent, and there was no visible screen tearing, thanks to AMD's FreeSync technology. Gameplay was smooth, with no stutter or ghosting, and the curved screen offers great peripheral vision that makes you feel closer to the action. The panel turned in a relatively short input lag of 10.8 milliseconds, as measured with a Leo Bodnar Video Signal Lag Tester, and showed no noticeable lag during gameplay. Our fastest monitor, the BenQ SW2700PT, measured 9.5 milliseconds.
The panel's ability to display very dark blacks helped give colors some pop, but color accuracy was a bit skewed in our tests. On the chromaticity chart below, measured colors are represented by the colored dots, and the ideal CIE color coordinates are represented by the boxes. As the chart illustrates, green is completely outside of its box, and red is barely touching its outer border. Slightly skewed colors are not uncommon in monitors that aren't designed for color-critical work and in most cases, including here, they do not result in color errors or tinting. In fact, colors appeared rich and well-saturated while watching scenes from Marvel's Antman on Blu-ray and in the full-screen DisplayMate Color Purity and Uniformity tests.
As we saw with the Samsung CF791, which also uses a VA panel, blacks were a bit heavy in the DisplayMate 64-Step Grayscale test, but shadow detail in my test images remained sharp. Viewing angles were decent, but not as good as what you get from a good In-Plane Switching (IPS) panel; there was some loss of color fidelity when viewed from an extreme angle.
The MX34VQ consumed 48 watts of power while operating in Standard mode, and switching to ECO mode only reduced consumption to 46 watts. The Samsung CF791 used 45 watts in Standard mode, 36 watts with ECO Saving Plus set to Low, and 28 watts with ECO Saving Plus set to High. The NEC MultiSync EX341R-BK used 59 watts, and the LG 34UC79G-B consumed 48 watts.
Smooth motion handling and a curved 34-inch screen make the Asus Designo Curved MX34VQ a good choice for users looking for a monitor that offers a more immersive gaming experience than a traditional flat-screen monitor. Its VA panel delivered dark blacks and handled our gaming tests with aplomb, and its Harman Kardon sound system provides better-than-average audio output. In addition to the Asus GamePlus gaming tools, the MV34VQ comes with a charging pad that will keep your Qi-compatible phone or tablet fully charged and ready to go.
The Acer XR382CQK, our Editors' Choice for extra-large-screen gaming monitors, will cost you around $500 more than the MX34VQ, but it offers a much bigger 38-inch IPS screen and delivered excellent color and grayscale performance in testing. It also has USB 3.0 and USB-C ports, numerous digital video ports (including a DisplayPort output), and advanced color settings.
By John R. Delaney Contributing Editor
As a Contributing Editor for PCMag, John Delaney has been testing and reviewing monitors, TVs, PCs, networking and smart home gear, and other assorted hardware and peripherals for almost 20 years. A 13-year veteran of PC Magazine's Labs (most recently as Director of Operations), John was responsible for the recruitment, training and management of the Labs technical staff, as well as evaluating and maintaining the integrity of the Labs testing machines and procedures. Prior to joining Ziff Davis, John spent six years in retail operations for… More »
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