BERLIN – Asus splits its overall business into two parts: Zen for everyday users, and Republic of Gamers for the gaming crowd. And while the latter wouldn't be mentioned in the same breath as gaming peripheral heavyweights Razer or Logitech just yet, Asus is serious about putting out peripherals from Republic of Gamers. The ROG 7.1 headset and the Swift PG34BQ monitor are its two latest contenders.
Asus announced both the ROG 7.1 and the Swift PG34BQ at its IFA 2015 press conference, and both of them seem like straightforward products that could be of real value to PC gamers. The former is a 7.1 surround sound headset with enough settings to satisfy even the most diverse player base, while the latter is a large curved monitor that plays well with Nvidia graphics cards.
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I went ears-on with the ROG 7.1, and it only took me a few seconds before I realized that I couldn’t get it to play any music — not a surprise, as it turns out, since I was wearing a mock-up made of wood. (The real thing will be ready in a few months.)
Wooden model or not, the ROG 7.1 looks like an ambitious headset. The device's wooden analogue was large and comfortable, sporting very cushy earpads, an adjustable headband and a rigid mic that was easy to position.
More interesting was the device's external amplifier. The headset connects to a USB amp that allows users to switch among 10 different settings, which highlight sounds for a variety of different genres. A first-person shooter setting, for example, makes it easier to hear enemy footsteps, while a role-playing game setting might favor dialogue and music. Players can also adjust settings for the mic along with treble, bass and overall volume in each profile.
The Swift PG34BQ was a little bit harder to gauge, as a monitor is only as good as the computer attached to it. I saw The Witcher 3 running on a sophisticated Acer gaming desktop and, predictably, it looked great. The 34-inch 4K curved display had a bit of glare, but otherwise, it displayed crisp images at up to 120 frames per second. The color palette was gorgeous, and the 21:9 aspect ratio was ideal for both movies and video games. (TV shows, however, will have some black boxes around the edges.)
In addition to the existing mice and keyboard from Asus, the ROG 7.1 and Swift PG34BQ may help to solidify the Republic of Gamers as a go-to brand for PC aficionados. Both Asus devices look promising, but we won't have a chance to evaluate them fully until we get them in for review.