Many people know Corsair only as a manufacturer of computer components. Now the manufacturer is also entering the highly competitive display market. The Corsair Xeneon 32QHD165 is the first gaming monitor from the company to reach us. In this Corsair 32QHD165 review, we look forward to seeing if the “newcomer” can take the top spot and join the race for the super athlete.
The 32 inch computer monitor features an IPS panel with wide viewing angles in 16:9 format and has a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels. The response time is initially mentioned as 1 ms MPRT, but the manufacturer resolves in the manual that the gray change is <3 ms. The native refresh rate reaches 165Hz and is believed to ensure smooth gameplay, while FreeSync eliminates tearing and stuttering. Custom game modes and a few ergonomic setting options round out the Corsair 32QHD165’s result.
The Corsair 32QHD165 is said to be completely black. We have more impressions of anthracite. The display itself has a plastic surface that has a velvety feel. On the other hand, the support arm and base are made of metal and therefore look very valuable.
The new Corsair monitor doesn’t have the classic frameless design, but the frame on the sides and top is pretty slim at 5mm. The bottom frame is 20 mm high, and the manufacturer’s logo is in the middle. On the right, an LED provides information about the operating status. When switched on, it lights up in white and standby in orange. An operating display can also be disabled through the OSD menu.
The depth of the display is about 25mm, which rests across the surface. The housing of only 38 x 18 cm rises to the rear and has ventilation slots on the top and a connection panel on the bottom. The top of the case is incorporated with the Corsair logo as a glossy relief. The power button and 5-way joystick for operating the OSD menu are located on the left side and bottom of the rear wall.
The connection between the mounting plate and support arm has addition for tilt adjustment as well as lateral rotation of the monitor. The first allows changing the angle of the display by 20 degrees backward and 5 degrees forwards. Rotation is possible within a radius of 30 degrees on both sides.
The entire construction runs on a slide system within the monitor arm and allows for a total height adjustment of 110 mm. In the lowest position, the bottom frame is 75 mm from the table surface.
The spacious support arm offers the option to attach additional accessories from the manufacturer, such as a webcam, on top. To do this, the existing screw must be removed to expose the internal thread.
Accessories of up to four plastic clips, which are responsible for cable management, can be inserted on the back of the support arm during assembly. At the very bottom, the support arm merges into the large base, which, due to its dimensions, is not a feast for the eyes, but leaves the monitor rock-solid.
Overall, the workmanship is of a high standard and there is no need to hide from the top under any circumstances. The mechanical parts move smoothly and smoothly, and the panel fits neatly into the frame.
Corsair states a maximum consumption of 68 watts in the datasheet. At 100% brightness, ours measure well below 58.5 watts. Our Corsair 32QHD165 review unit consumes 29.4 watts at 140 cd/m². This corresponds to an efficiency of 1.30 cd/W, which is a good result. If the device is turned off via the power button, 0.3 watts are consumed and 0.4 watts on standby.
Although the Corsair 32QHD165 can’t be switched to portrait mode, the connection panel is easy to reach due to the niche’s raised position. Changing cables isn’t particularly cumbersome. The number of signal inputs is high. Our Corsair 32QHD165 review unit is plentiful with a DisplayPort 1.4, a USB-C connection, and two HDMI 2.0 interfaces.
The USB-C port has been used on very few monitors until now and is, therefore, a real added value. Although only USB 3.0 is achieved with a data throughput of 5 Gbit/s, the USB-C connection can be used not only for data transmission but as a signal input in DisplayPort alternate mode for compatible notebooks and it can be charged with 15W. There is a 3.5mm jack available for headphones at the same time.
Operation and OSD
The OSD menu is operated only via a 5-way joystick, which is easily accessed with a handle on the right side of the monitor. The power button is located above the joystick.
From the menu, four quick actions can be called by moving the joystick in different directions: Left side to control volume, right side for the input source, up for brightness, and down for picture mode.
The main menu opens by pressing the top of the joystick. The OSD menu is modern and easy to understand. It has six categories and spans two pages with eleven setting levels, so we have to scroll through.
During the Corsair 32QHD165 review, first, we reset the settings and the monitor sets the following values: Brightness 35, Contrast 50, Sharpness 5, Color temperature “Normal”, Default setting “Standard”. These values were used for subsequent evaluation with factory settings.
The Corsair 32QHD165’s gray level display is very good in light as all areas are visible, and there is no color cast. In the shadows, the last two areas don’t stand out from the dark black background. However, when viewed from the side, the light gray tones have a bluish tint and the dark gray tones lose the other three areas. The area of the color gradient near the center, where pure white meets light grey, shows only a minimal phase of color, which fortunately is not too prominent when viewed from the side.
The picture on the left shows a completely black image as seen with the naked eye; this is where noticeable weaknesses appear. On the other hand, the picture on the right with longer exposure times highlights problem areas and is only used for a clear representation.
The black screen is good, but there are three spots in the top right corner. However, they cannot be seen in normal operation, but only in a completely dark room with a black picture, which is rare.
The Corsair 32QHD165 has a blue tint in its brightness. The strength of the penetrating light is better than that of many other displays that also use IPS technology.
Brightness, black level, and contrast
Measurements are made after calibration at D65 as a white point. If possible, all dynamic controls are disabled. Due to the necessary adjustments, the results are lower than when the test series was carried out with the native white point.
The measurement window is not surrounded by a black border. Therefore, the values can be compared to ANSI contrast and reflect real-world conditions better than measurements for flat white and black images.
We achieved a maximum of 391 cd/m² with the native white point. It almost exactly matches the manufacturer’s information, which is 400 cd/m². In order to get to D65, a few corrections have to be made to the RGB controllers. Nevertheless, the brightness remains almost constant at 389 cd/m². With a minimum brightness of 42 cd/m², the display can be turned down far enough to be able to work in absolute darkness.
The average contrast ratio is 928:1. The manufacturer’s specifications of 1000:1 have just been missed, with a maximum contrast ratio of 975:1 with 10% luminance. After calibration, the average contrast ratio drops slightly. Overall this is a good result.
We check image symmetry using four test images (75%, 50%, 25% brightness with white, neutral tone), which we measure at 15 points. This results in the mean brightness deviation in % and the average delta C (ie chroma difference) concerning the corresponding centrally measured value.
In terms of brightness distribution, we get a satisfactory mean brightness deviation of 8.41%. A maximum deviation of 17.83% also indicates a satisfactory result. The deviation is slightly higher on the left edge of the image, but not to the extent that it would indicate a defect.
In terms of color purity, the Corsair Xeneon 32QHD165 shows a decent result with an average delta C of 1.24 and a maximum deviation of 2.72.
The surface coating of the panel has a major impact on the visual assessment of image sharpness, contrast, and sensitivity to external light. We examine the coating with a microscope and show the panel surface (the most important film) in extreme magnification.
Sub-pixel microscopic view, with focus on the screen’s surface: The Corsair 32QHD165 has a subtle, matte surface with slight finely visible depressions for diffusion. The semi-gloss coating shows colors a bit more brilliantly than it does with a fully matte coating but does not absorb incident light as strongly. It can be a problem in very bright and sunny rooms. You can then see your reflection in the mirror, especially when the image content is dark.
The photo shows the Corsair 32QHD165 screen with horizontal viewing angles of ±75 degrees and vertical angles of +60 and -45 degrees.
The viewing angle can be described as good. There’s a bit more loss of contrast at vertical viewing angles than at horizontal viewing angles, but not so much that it’s too noticeable. The colors remain constant at all angles.
In the case of consumer and office area monitors, we first test color reproduction at factory settings after reset and – if available – in an sRGB or Adobe RGB mode. The monitor is then calibrated with Quato iColor Display. The X-Rite i1Display Pro colorimeter and the X-Rite i1Pro spectrophotometer are used as measuring devices.
Color space coverage
When examining the color space, we first determine the coverage of the sRGB color space. Our Corsair 32QHD165 review unit gives a value of 99% before and after calibration, which certainly corresponds to a very good result.
Even Adobe RGB color space is covered up to 99% before and after calibration.
In the factory settings, the “Standard” mode is assigned. The following values are specified in the OSD: Brightness 35 and Contrast 50.
At factory settings, the Corsair 32QHD165 has a nice, neutral basic setting. Good results are obtained in both cases, with an average delta C of 0.26 and a range of 0.61. The gamma curve shows great results even for an uncalibrated display with an average gamma of 2.28, while the color temperature of 6366K is only slightly too warm.
The measured value goes beyond the traditional measurement of a net jump in CTC (color to color) brightness – after all, you usually see a color image on a screen. Therefore, this measurement measures the longest period of time that the monitor needs to switch from one mixed color to another and stabilizes its brightness. Mixed colors cyan, magenta, and yellow are used – each with 50% signal brightness. With CTC color change, all three sub-pixels of a pixel do not switch equally but have different rise and decay times combined with each other.
In the datasheet, a response time of 1 ms is initially specified, however, “MPRT” has been added to it. In many displays that have already been tested, the actual switching time is hidden. Not so with the Corsair 32QHD165. The response time “GTG”, which should be less than 3 ms, is noted one line below. An acceleration option (Overdrive) is available and can be found under “Image -> Response Time”. There are “normal”, “fast” and “fastest” terms. “Normal” is preset as the standard value.
In the following, it should be noted that we had to reduce our scale, which actually goes up to 40 ms, to 15 ms for all graphics due to the extremely fast image creation time, otherwise, the values could not be displayed.
Latency is an important value for gamers, we determine it as the sum of half of the signal delay time and the average frame change time. We measured a very short signal delay of 1 ms during the Corsair 32QHD165 review. Half the average picture converting time is also very short at 2.3 ms. Overall, this makes for a total latency of 3.3 ms, which is especially suitable for fast shooters.
The Corsair 32QHD165’s backlight works with W-LED and is lit continuously. The comparison in the diagram shows: with both full and low brightness settings, the luminous flux is not interrupted, as would be the case with PWM backlights.
60Hz on older game consoles
The Corsair 32QHD165 shows a smeared display on older game consoles that haven’t yet had an update rate above 60Hz, especially when cornering or playing other games in which the image is quickly shifted horizontally. Minimal correction occurs when the response time is set to the highest “fastest” level. However, other quality drawbacks occur here. Particularly strong overshoots draw a violent corona at the edges of the moving object, as can be seen in the following figure.
The large panel is also not conducive to visual impressions at 60Hz. In particular, “stuttering” of the unsynchronized image has a much stronger effect, as if under a magnifying glass because you are sitting very close to the device with a monitor. That’s why the test subject is not the best choice on older game consoles.
165Hz on computer
If the Corsair 32QHD165 is connected to a computer, you’ll experience peak performance. Due to the WQHD resolution, decent frame rates can be achieved with VRR, even if the GPU doesn’t come off the top shelf. According to the Radeon software, the sweet spot is between 48 and 165 Hz.
Of course, the following also applies here: the higher the refresh rate, the sharper, quieter, and smoother the image effect will be. As already mentioned in the ” 165 Hz Response time” section, even the highest overdrive setting “Fastest” shows only minimal loss of quality, as the following figure shows.
It’s great to play along. However, if you want to see a completely flawless image, set the response time to “Fast”. Also, the test shows pretty decent motion blur even without the “MPRT” blur reduction tool.
The blur reduction tool is called “MPRT” in Corsair and can be found under the “Image” category. Blur reduction can only be used when FreeSync is disabled and can be selected at 120 or 165 Hz. Additional settings such as the choice of pulse length are not available. Brightness control has been disabled, but the brightness of 116 cd/m² is at a playable level at both 120 Hz and 165 Hz. The quality of blur reduction in the upper and middle range is good to very good. At the bottom of the picture, however, the quality drops sharply, as can be seen in the following picture.
Unfortunately, not everyone can tolerate pulsed background light, which is why some people will complain of rapid fatigue and headaches. Everyone else, especially shooting gamers, will be pleased with the decent performance of blurring in the middle of the picture.
The Corsair 32QHD165 has DisplayHDR-400 certification. Even at a maximum brightness of 440 cd/m² in HDR mode, it becomes clear that there is no AHA experience here as the dynamic range is too small.
We’d say the Corsair 32QHD165 is an inconspicuous one. Neither flashy design has been used here, nor does Corsair want to attract attention with any show elements. What is surprising, however, is much more than just the static design. The support arms and base, which are made entirely of metal, are impressive. The monitor stands like a tank on the table and can also score points in terms of processing. The mechanics of the moving parts move smoothly, and all ergonomic functions are available except in pivot mode.
The display scores with the neutral setting at factory settings, and sRGB emulation also enables color-accurate work in this color space before calibration. In addition, emulation is practical because the brightness can be regulated. The brightness distribution is at a satisfactory level, and the color purity is at a good level. At first glance, you can tell that the 32QHD165 has an image with very intense colors. After calibration, the first impression eventually comes true. During the Corsair 32QHD165 review, we map the Adobe RGB color space, while 91% of the DCI-P3 color space is covered.
In larger groups, the Corsair 32QHD165 would be suitable for watching movies just because of its size. In addition, good viewing angle stability and strong colors have already been mentioned. Unfortunately, there are coordination problems with the signal level transmitted via HDMI. There is no video level output here, so the monitor doesn’t use the entire dynamic range.
Since the Corsair 32QHD165 is advertised as a gaming display, the main focus is definitely on game qualities and performance. Older game consoles don’t yet deliver great performance at 60Hz, but the model may show what it’s capable of on a computer. The Corsair 32QHD165 review unit could score here due to the huge native update rate of 165Hz. It doesn’t have to hide from the top flagships when it comes to switching times. While many screens are on maximum overdrive, producing very poor image quality with excessive overshoots and achieving only this way the specified switching times, the Corsair product shows a qualitatively lossy image here as well. The total latency of 3.3 ms is also in the top league here. The Blur Reduction tool works great in the center of the image and can be used up to a maximum refresh rate of 165Hz.
Our first Corsair 32QHD165 review makes a great impression overall and doesn’t have to hide from the big players in terms of performance. With an online price of $799.99 on Bestbuy.com or £699.99 on Amazon.co.uk, and the features to be offered, it is largely in the moderate price segment.