Asus Designo Curve MX38VC Monitor Rewiews
A premium productivity panel, but at a price...
NOT INTO GAMING?
Then it’s easy to get the feeling PC monitor makers aren’t interested in having you as a customer. After all, so much recent innovation centers around improving gaming performance. We’re talking high refresh, adaptive synching, even HDR up to a point.
Of course, what makes for a great gaming panel can be beneficial in other areas. HDR is a case in point. But when it comes to productivity, stuff like adaptive sync and high refresh? Not so much. Instead, if you have a solid budget to play with, what you primarily want is a nice, big, high-quality panel with lots of pixels.
What you want, on paper at least, is the Asus Designo Curve MX38VC. With a 38- inch IPS panel and 3,840x1,600 pixels, it checks all the really important boxes. It also adds a few frills that may help seal the deal, not that you’re likely to feel you’re getting a bargain at over $1,000.
It’s not quite the first such monitor we’ve seen. The LG 38UC99 sports the same panel spec, including the 21:9 superwide aspect ratio, 2300R curvature, and thin bezels on three sides. Indeed, it’s almost certainly the same LG-produced panel in both monitors. Both also support USB Type-C, which is great for reducing cable clutter, and even better if you drive your screen with a laptop, given it supports simultaneous charging.
Speaking of charging, one of the MX38VC’s party tricks is wireless charging for Qi-compatible devices. There’s a charging pad built into the base of the stand, which can charge devices even when the display is asleep.
Another surprising feature is the integrated Harman Kardon sound system, with support for Bluetooth audio streaming. We don’t want to overstate the quality of audio it produces—even a fairly cheap 2.1 speaker setup would match and probably exceed it—but there’s reasonable dynamic range and definition on offer, and overall it’s an absolutely livable if not truly enjoyable audio solution. Factor in the USB-C, charging dock, and built-in speakers—oh, and a triple-port USB 3.0 hub—and you have a monitor that promises to reduce cable clutter to an absolute minimum.
But what of the image quality? It’s pretty much what you’d expect, given the specs. This isn’t an HDR panel, so the visuals are quite subdued, but the factory calibration is sound, with no obvious flaws in any of our test images. It’s an IPS panel, so the colors are very convincing, the contrast is good rather than excellent, and the viewing angles are outstanding.
As for how that 3,840x1,600 resolution maps to the 38-inch panel, the result is an unspectacular 110 ppi. This is not a high-density display. That said, the sheer pixel count ensures plenty of desktop real estate, especially compared to many other superwide monitors, which tend to offer limited vertical resolution. If you want to run multiple documents, webpages, and applications side by side, the MX38VC is very sweet, that’s for sure.
What’s more, while it’s not a gaming monitor, it’s still pretty breathtaking if you fire up something good-looking like Witcher III. The size of the panel and the wide aspect ratio make for an immersive experience. Adaptive sync helps, too, although the fun is capped to 70Hz.
All in, this is a very nice monitor for general computing. Our only reservation is the lack of HDR support. In 2019, the absence of HDR on a premium panel priced north of $1,000 is conspicuous. It’s not necessarily a deal-breaker, but it does compromise the MX38VC’s valueproposition.
Plus: THUNDERBOLT High-quality panel with lots of pixels; strong peripheral features.
Minus: PARALLEL PORT Very expensive; no HDR or high refresh.
Panel Size 37.5-inch, Native Resolution: 3,840x1,600, Pixel Density 110 ppi, Panel Type IPS, Maximum Refresh 70Hz, Response 5ms, Contrast 1,000:1, Display Inputs 2x HDMI, DisplayPort, USB-C, Connectivity 3x USB 3.0, VESA Mount No, Warranty Three years, Price $1,099