Screen Size: 28 inches
Resolution: 3840 x 2160
Refresh Rate: 144 Hz
Inputs: DisplayPort, HDMI, USB-A, USB-B, 3.5 mm audio
Dimensions: 25.2 x 21.3 x 8.4 inches
If I were to buy a gaming monitor tomorrow, it would probably be the Asus TUF Gaming VG28UQL1A. Having tested quite a few displays over the past few weeks, I couldn’t help but notice that almost every one had a significant drawback. Whether it was an awkward design, a dull color palette or an outdated array of ports, almost every device I analyzed had some critical flaw that threatened to compromise the experience.
By contrast, the $800 VG28UQL1A is nearly flawless. It has a gorgeous screen with vibrant colors; it has an elegant design with an easy setup; it has smart functionality for both powerful PCs and current-gen consoles. While the HDR could be a tiny bit more accurate, and the menus could be slightly more intuitive, the VG28UQL1A is simply one of the best gaming monitors we’ve tested in quite a while. Read our Asus TUF Gaming VG28UQL1A review for more.
Asus TUF Gaming VG28UQL1A review: Design
With its minimalist base and thick stand, the Asus TUF Gaming VG28UQL1A looks like a gaming monitor. However, it doesn’t look like an obnoxiously overdesigned gaming monitor, favoring simple angles and just a few geometric flourishes. The screen measures 28 inches across, with minimal bezels on the sides and top, and a slightly larger bezel sporting the Asus logo on the bottom. The device should look right at home in a gaming nook. But the VG28UQL1A would look just fine in a professional or creative setting as well, especially since it’s powerful enough to handle all sorts of graphic design work.
One particularly useful feature of the VG28UQL1A is that you can orient the screen vertically. That’s a boon for productivity users, but it’s easy enough to transition back when you’re ready to game. You can tilt the screen back and forth 25 degrees, swivel it side-to-side 30 degrees, or move it up and down about five inches. However you like to play, the VG28UQL1A should have a configuration for you.
In terms of ports, the VG28UQL1A has most of what you’ll need, but not absolutely everything. It has two HDMI 2.1 ports, two HDMI 2.0 ports and one DisplayPort, which should be enough to connect plenty of consoles and at least one serious PC. In terms of routing, you can also hook up a USB-B cable, and access two USB-A ports and a 3.5 mm audio jack. My only complaint here is that the ports are pretty out of the way, so it’s probably not worth the effort for any peripherals that you may need to unplug frequently.
Similarly, the monitor could have benefited from at least one USB-C port. Between carrying video signals, charging gadgets and connecting new peripherals, USB-C has become pretty prevalent in the gaming space over the last few years, and even just one port would have gone a long way.
Asus TUF Gaming VG28UQL1A review: Screen
If there’s one thing I want to convey about the Asus TUF Gaming VG28UQL1A monitor in this review, it’s that it has an absolutely gorgeous screen. Twenty-eight inches is a fine size for most desks, while the 4K resolution and 144 Hz refresh rate are ideal for gaming, TV, movies and any number of productivity tasks. The image is bright, crisp and sharp, and the colors are vibrant and lifelike.
Here’s how the VG28UQL1A stacks up to a few similar monitors:
|Brightness (nits)||sRGB Spectrum (%)||Delta-E|
|Asus TUF Gaming VG28UQL1A (Scenery)||263||133||0.23|
|Asus TUF Gaming VG28UQL1A (HDR)||233||133||0.23|
|Acer Nitro XV282K (Standard)||185||137||0.31|
|Acer Nitro XV282K (HDR)||248||136||0.22|
|Sony Inzone M9 (Standard)||396||145||0.31|
|Sony Inzone M9 (HDR)||793||145||0.31|
The benchmarks are generally in line with our observations. The VG28UQL1A benchmarked well compared to some of its closest analogues, including the Acer Nitro XV282K and the Sony Inzone M9. While the VG28UQL1A was a little brighter than the XV282K in a standard configuration (263 nits vs. 185 nits), it was a little dimmer in HDR (233 nits vs. 248 nits).
Likewise, the VG28UQL1A’s sRGB color spectrum of 133% didn’t quite match up to the XV282K’s 137%. However, the VG28UQL1A produced more accurate color, with a Delta-E measurement of 0.23, compared to the XV282K’s 0.31. (Closer to zero is better.)
Interestingly, the Inzone M9 outperformed both of these machines on every count except for color accuracy. Still, the Inzone M9 is brand-new and costs $100 more than the VG28UQL1A, so perhaps it’s not surprising that the benchmarks are a little better.
Asus TUF Gaming VG28UQL1A review: Performance
One interesting thing about the Asus TUF Gaming VG28UQL1A is that it worked well with every single one of my test games. Most gaming monitors excel at certain titles and falter on others, but the VG28UQL1A made demanding games on both the PC and PS5 look beautiful, with deep, rich colors and fluid frame rates.
To put things in perspective, I play a lot of Doom Eternal, as it is one of my go-to games for testing every kind of gaming peripheral. I have never seen this game look as good as it does on the VG28UQL1A. The deep, exaggerated, hellish reds and oranges of the volcanic landscape contrasted gorgeously with the dull gray of a shotgun, the electric blue of a plasma gun or the rich green of the Doom Slayer’s armor.
The monitor didn’t skimp on the other games either, with beautiful contrast in the nighttime cities of FFXIV, and deep blues and greens on the medieval battlefields of Age of Empires. The blues and grays in Cyberpunk 2077 weren’t quite as striking as I’d hoped, but the electric pinks and oranges drew me right back in.
However, with HDR activated, the graphics on PS5 looked a little bit darker than I expected. Activating the monitor’s console mode didn’t seem to change much. Both Nioh and AC Valhalla still had excellent contrast and rich colors, but the screen simply didn’t look that bright, which presented a difficulty in well-lit rooms or dark in-game environs. You can toy around with the PS5’s HDR settings and each game’s graphical settings, but it’s more effort than I expected to expend on each game to make it look good. It’s not a dealbreaker by any means, but PC games look essentially perfect with no user input, and I had hoped that the PS5 would be the same.
Asus TUF Gaming VG28UQL1A review: Interface
The Asus TUF Gaming VG28UQL1A has a menu system that’s chock full of options, but also a little convoluted. You have tons of options, from Variable OD, to GamePlus, to Shadow Boost, but it’s not quite clear what each option does, or which of them you can use with HDR settings. There are simply a lot of complicated permutations available. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I wonder how many players will want to learn the complex menus in and out, and how many of them will simply want to jump into a game.
One thing you can do with the Asus menu is raise and lower the volume, and this is worth discussing. While the VG28UQL1A is not the only gaming monitor with a set of speakers, it’s one of the only gaming monitors with a decent set of speakers. While the speakers aren’t anything special, compressing bass, treble and vocals a bit more than I’d like, they’re perfectly passable for everyday play. After playing through about half an hour of Cyberpunk 2077, I realized that I didn’t have any desire to put my headphones in, which may be a record for a gaming monitor.
Asus TUF Gaming VG28UQL1A review: Verdict
While the Asus TUF Gaming VG28UQL1A isn’t an absolutely perfect gaming monitor, it’s tantalizingly close. The HDR brightness could be a bit better, and a USB-C port would not have gone amiss. But these flaws do little to detract from a monitor that brings demanding games to life with a minimum of effort.
To be fair, the VG28UQL1A benchmarked similarly to the XV282K and the Inzone M9, and I don’t think the Asus is better than those two competitors in every way. If you’re going to look at one, you may as well look at all three. But if you’re looking for a gaming monitor that gets essentially everything right, you need look no further.