By this time next year, it’s very possible the best gaming monitors will feature HDMI 2.1 connectors, but that will depend in part on price and availability—monitor makers have been a bit slow getting HDMI 2.1 models out the door. To that end, the Asus ROG Strix XG438Q is now available to pre-order in the UK.
That’s the good news. The sobering news is that it’s listed at Overclockers.uk for £1,349, which is a little under $1,900 in US currency. Of course, we knew the XG438Q was going to be expensive when Asus announced it last August, but once its intended retail release slipped past the fourth quarter of last year, there was hope the delay might result in a lower price. Nope.
Perhaps it would have, if other hardware makers had been able release HDMI 2.1 models by now. Instead, they have had to contend with delays of their own. Case in point, Eve’s anticipated Spectrum lineup was delayed for the second time in January, and if all goes to plan, two of the three models will ship at the end of April, while the third one will be available by June.
Should you hold out for an HDMI 2.1 display? That depends on your needs. The latest HDMI standard offers a big bump in uncompressed bandwidth to 48Gbps (and compressed bandwidth up to 128Gbps), which is enough to handle up to a 10K resolution at 120Hz
It also boasts some nifty baked in features, like variable refresh rate support for smoother gameplay, and an auto low latency mode that negates the need to select an input’s ‘Game’ mode to reduce lag (this is mostly useful for TVs, when switching from movies/TV shows to gaming).
As for the XG438Q, beyond offering a pair of HDMI 2.1 ports, this is a large 43-inch VA display with a 4K resolution, 144MHz refresh rate, and 1ms response time. It’s also a FreeSync Premium Pro model, so you get HDR support as well (with a peak brightness of 1,000 nits in this case).
The XG438Q is a high-end offering for sure, with a price tag to match. Just note that in order to take full advantage of HDMI 2.1, you’ll need a GeForce RTX 30-series or Radeon RX 6000-series GPU, and/or either a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X/S.