Corsair Xeneon 32 running Deep Rock Galactic.

Corsair Xeneon 32 Review: A Fantastic Game Monitor, At A Price | Digital trends

Corsair Xeneon 32 runs Deep Rock Galactic.

Corsair Xeneon 32UHD144

MSRP $ 1,000.00

“Corsair’s first 4K game monitor is fantastic, but there are cheaper options that go toe-to-toe on specs.”

Benefits

  • Excellent color coverage and precision

  • iCue integration

  • Simple screen display

  • Several cable management options

  • FreeSync and G-Sync support

Cons

  • Limited HDR

  • Local dimming is too noticeable

  • A little expensive

  • Large and bulky

Corsair is not known for making game monitors, but it is starting to make inroads into space. Xeneon 32UHD144 is the company’s first 4K game monitor, and although it’s not entirely okay with best game monitors you can buy, it is still a solid step into a new market.

It’s not just a retreading of other 4K displays you’ve seen, as it implements a quantum dot layer to enhance the color, which works wonders. Integration with Corsair’s excellent iCue software is also a major selling point. Where Xeneon 32 loses is on HDR and pricing, especially as competing monitors like Sony InZone M9 become more common.

Specifications

Corsair Xeneon 32UHD144
Screen size 32 inches
Panel type IPS quantum dot
Resolution 3840 x 2560 (4K)
Maximum brightness 400 nits (SDR), 600 nits (HDR)
Contrast ratio 1000: 1
HDR DisplayHDR 600 with edge-lit local light control (16 zones)
Response time 12 ms GtG, 1 ms MPRT
Update frequency 144Hz
Variable update AMD FreeSync Premium, Nvidia G-Sync compatible
Curve No
Speaker No
Entrances 2x HDMI 2.1, 1x DisplayPort 1.4, 1x USB-C (Alt mode)
USB ports 2x USB-A, 1x USB-C
Adjustments 25 degree incline, 60 degree rotation, 4.3 inch height
Weight 20.9 pounds
Dimensions (WxHxD) 28.8 x 23.9 x 12.4 inches
List price 1,000 USD

Design and functions

Stand on the Corsair Xeneon 32 screen.
Jacob Roach / Digital trends

Xeneon 32 is a monster monitor, for better or worse. It contains a large metal stand with plenty of wiring potential, as well as several wiring channels on the back of the thick arm. On top of the stand there is also a mount for Elgato Flex Arm, so you can attach a lamp or webcam directly to the monitor.

I love the goodies, but the Xeneon 32 is just that Big. A 32-inch screen is already massive, and Corsair went with a stand that eats up desk space. It does not extend in front of the monitor on which the stand is mounted Acer Predator X28, but it’s still massive. It’s heavy too. With a monitor and stand, the Xeneon 32 is just a hair’s breadth short at 21 pounds. It’s six pounds heavier than the 34-inch ultrawide Alienware 34 QD-OLED.

Big and heavy are not bad in themselves, but you should know what you are getting into with the Xeneon 32. The good news is that the stand is a significant contributing factor to the weight and size, and you can replace it with a monitor arm thanks to the screen’s 100 mm x 100 mm VESA mount.

Ports and controls

For gates, Xeneon 32 has the basics down pat. The two HDMI 2.1 ports take point, we use 4K at 144Hz, unlike older HDMI 2.0 ports. Most PC gamers will use the DisplayPort 1.4 port instead, but it’s nice to see HDMI 2.1 for high refresh rates on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. You can also connect the monitor via USB-C with the same specifications as DisplayPort, too if most graphics cards do not have a USB-C port today.

You get a four-way joystick to control the monitor, and Corsair’s on-screen display (OSD) is clean and organized. I’ve never had a problem navigating it, but you do not have to control the monitor this way. You actually have three more ways to control the monitor, although I guess most will use Corsair’s excellent iCue software.

OSD on the Corsair Xeneon 32 screen.
Jacob Roach / Digital trends

I have to say that iCue is my favorite app for peripherals, and that’s a big reason why I rate peripherals as Corsair Saber Pro so high. The Xeneon 32 will appear in the iCue just as peripherals would, and you can adjust everything you would normally see in the on-screen display (OSD). It includes all your picture settings, but also settings such as the audio source and if you want the LED power indicator on.

The app also enables two other ways to control the monitor – via Elgato’s Stream Deck or Corsair iCue Nexus. Both come with a more limited range of settings, such as your input source, image mode and gamma, but they are nice to have. You need one of these hardware to unlock this feature, and Xeneon does not argue for buying one. However, if you already have a Stream Deck or Nexus, this is a nice benefit.

You have a good amount of bandwidth in the settings and Corsair does not degrade the experience with a cluttered screen like MSI Optix MPG 32. Corsair provides several picture modes, including sRGB, AdobeRGB and DCI-P3 modes for creative workers, and you can access settings such as the local dimming switch even when HDR is on.

Image quality

Deep Rock Galactic runs on Corsair Xeneon 32.
Jacob Roach / Digital trends

There is a reason why the Xeneon 32 looks so good: quantum dot technology. This extra layer enhances colors far beyond what typical IPS panels can do, and it enables Xeneon to achieve excellent color coverage and precision. HDR is not good, as I will dig into the next section, but quantum dot meant that I felt good and left HDR off.

Let’s get the results out of the way: You get 100% coverage of sRGB and Adobe RGB color space, and the Xeneon 32 has dedicated presets for each of these modes to limit color coverage. You also get 95% coverage of DCI-P3 according to my results, and the monitor is shockingly color-accurate out of the box – I measured a Delta E at 0.81, which is suitable for professional color work.

Where Xeneon 32 is fighting are black levels. I measured a top brightness of almost 480 nits, well above the rating Corsair advertises. The washed out black colors meant that the contrast was much lower, however, and reached 660: 1 as opposed to 1,000: 1 that IPS panels can handle. There is no problem with HDR turned off, but with it on, the contrast stings.

Quantum dot works wonders for color saturation.

Local dimming is available, both with HDR on and off, but the slow transitions and the limited number of dimming zones mean that it is not an option for most people.

However, I did not care about contrast when I used the Xeneon 32. I was completely focused on color. Quantum dot works wonders for color saturation, making games, movies and even the Windows desktop look much more vibrant. Xeneon 32 in SDR looks like you turned up the saturation knob just before it became too much, and I love the results.

The problem is the competition that Xeneon 32 faces. For $ 1,000, it competes against Sony’s InZone M9, which has much better HDR, and Alienware’s 34 QD OLED, which further enhances the quantum dot over a contrasting OLED panel. Corsair’s monitor can go toe – to – toe with most 4K monitors in its price range, but it does not stand the test of time and offers nothing new in the panel department.

HDR performance

HDR video on the Corsair Xeneon 32 screen.
Jacob Roach / Digital trends

HDR on PC is awful, and much of it depends on monitors. Screens like the Sony InZone M9 push the line with Full Array Local Dimming (FALD) and a larger number of local dimming zones, but the Xeneon 32 does not join Sony’s line.

The monitor carries VESA’s DisplayHDR 600 certification, which is only one step above the lowest DisplayHDR 400 certification found on monitors such as HP Omen 27c. Certification is important, but it’s more important how the monitor gets there. Corsair uses edge-lit local dimming over 16 zones, which means that the monitor can adjust how bright the backlight is over certain parts of the screen to increase the contrast.

It just does not hit the target. Even when they reached upwards of 700 nits brightness with HDR debris, the blacks continued to look washed out in gray due to the IPS panel. This is a limitation of the panel technology Corsair uses, and without the proper FOLD that the InZone M9 offers, you will not get solid HDR performance.

Game performance

Destiny 2 runs on the Corsair Xeneon 32.
Jacob Roach / Digital trends

Xeneon 32 achieves all ratings for gaming performance. The 144Hz refresh rate is perfect for most players, it works with FreeSync and G-Sync for variable refresh rates, and a dedicated game mode can make response times as fast as possible. With standard dynamic range, Xeneon is a fantastic game monitor.

I played Destiny 2, A piece of Resident Evil 2, and Monster Hunter Rise. All three looked great, but I was constantly reminded of the 4K resolution with an RTX 3070. Remember, 4K is still demanding in 2022, so make sure you have one of those best graphics card in your PC to pick up Corsair’s latest screen.

The limited fog zones and washed out black levels simply did not make it for HDR games.

Response times and variable refresh rates were stable, but I rarely switched to HDR to play games. The limited fog zones and washed out black levels just did not, not even in Destiny 2. Worse, it quantum dot lager is not the best in games with HDR turned on. Turning off HDR and switching to the game preset results in much more vibrant colors and increased contrast.

I loved playing on Xeneon with HDR turned off. Quantum dot does so much for color that you will forget that HDR is even an option, to be honest. However, good HDR would further enhance that experience. I would have liked to see more dimming zones, or maybe even better contrast with a VA panel, especially considering the price Corsair is asking for.

Pricing

The Xeneon 32 is not too expensive, but it comes in at $ 100 more than its most direct competitor – the MSI Optix MPG 32. I suspect that both the MSI and Corsair monitors use the same panel, as they both offer a 32-inch 4K screen with a refresh rate of 144Hz, and they both use quantum dot to enhance the colors. For $ 1,000, the Xeneon is not too expensive, but it’s on the edge.

I have to see what the monitor actually sells for when it hits the market. At times, the competing MSI monitor sold for about $ 1,400. Right now, $ 100 separates the two monitors. Depending on sales and demand, however, I imagine they will stop selling around the same price, give or take $ 50.

Although iCue integration is a reason to spend the extra money, you can save big if you are just worried about specifications. The Gigabyte M32U, for example, is also a 32-inch 4K display with a refresh rate of 144Hz, and it often sells for $ 750 or less. It does not have as good HDR performance, but honestly, Xeneon is not amazing in the HDR department either.

Our opinion

Xeneon 32 stands out with quality of life features like iCue and excellent color thanks to the quantum dot layer. But as screens like Sony’s InZone M9 and Alienware’s 34 QD-OLED become available, the price is a bit high for what Corsair offers. Players will love the enhanced color, but if you are looking for HDR, there are better options for about the same price.

Are there any alternatives?

Yes. The most direct competitor is the MSI MPG 32 QD, which also has a 32-inch screen with a quantum dot layer. If you do not mind resizing, Sony’s InZone M9 and Alienware’s 34 QD-OLED are good options that offer better overall image quality and much better HDR performance.

How long will it be?

IPS panels will last for several years at full brightness, so you can expect a decade or more of using the Xeneon 32 before you need to upgrade.

Are you going to buy it?

Yes, provided the price drops. Right now, MSI’s offering is cheaper while matching the Xeneon 32 point-by-point. If they stop selling for about the same price, Corsair’s monitor is still a better option due to its iCue integration.

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