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Hardware Review

Gigabyte M32QC Gaming Monitor Review

Ahead of some curves

There are a couple of things that I’ve learned in the roughly two years since I built my first gaming PC in a very long time. The first is, there’s a reason I hadn’t built a PC in ages and that reason is I’m terrible at it. The less embarrassing and more important lesson is that a good, fit-for-purpose monitor setup is crucial to a good PC experience. After rocking an el cheapo Kogan ultrawide monitor for a while, I recently switched to a dual-monitor setup and haven’t looked back. That’s especially true thanks to my main display, a 32″ curved beast from Gigabyte in the M32QC gaming monitor.

Unboxing and setting up a PC monitor is rarely an exhilarating occasion, and that hasn’t changed with this monitor, but the whole process was surprisingly pleasant at least. Granted it’s been a while since I’ve put a monitor together but I was amazed at the simple way the monitor stand snaps into place at the back of the panel without the need for a single tool. In the box you get the two pieces of the stand itself, power cable, instructions, a HDMI and DVI cable as well as a USB-A to USB-B to cable for hub support. It’s not the most exciting monitor-in-a-brown-box situation but the overall unboxing and setup was ridiculously swift and easy.

Once assembled the M32QC monitor sports a fairly unexciting look that doesn’t exactly blend into the furniture but also isn’t overly ‘gamer-y’. Held up by a rather large V-shaped base it’s a bit of a desk hog in its overall footprint so if you’re not mounting it to anything that’s something to consider, but the neck part does at least have a handy cable management loop. The screen itself is surrounded by a noticeable black border but the outer bezel is nice and thin along the top and side edges, giving the display a svelte frame and overall the materials and construction are pretty decent. It’s a big boy at 31.5″ and has a subtle 1500R curve so it does look like it means business even when it’s turned off.

The monitor’s joystick-like controls are situated on the back right of the panel and allow access to a fairly comprehensive suite of options for tweaking image reproduction and activating various features, though I found the default image settings to be perfectly fine. In terms of featureset there’s a typical swathe of inputs including two HDMI 2.0 ports, a DisplayPort 1.2 connection, two USB ports with an upstream port and USB-C. That last one does allow video input but its main function is to facilitate the monitor’s support for KVM, a feature allowing users to control multiple devices plugged into the monitor with just one set of keyboard and mouse – something that’s sure to come in handy for anyone using this as a combination work-home display.

The M32QC uses a VA panel, which means it’s got great contrast and colour reproduction but shallower viewing angles than a typical IPS panel. That’s not so bad considering this monitor’s use case, given its size and the fact that it’s curved there’s a degree of expectation that the user will be sitting pretty much dead centre anyways. We’re not imaging experts here at WellPlayed so if you’re looking for hard numbers you’ll find those elsewhere, but for what it’s worth I found the monitor’s ability to reproduce a wide range of colour, depth of contrast and its HDR support to result in a very pleasing overall image. I’ve used it for browsing, movie watching and some light photo and video editing and it’s performed excellently across the board with no noticeable issues and surprising uniformity with very little clouding or light leakage that I’ve noticed during use.

The true test of any gaming monitor is naturally its performance in video games though, and I took the time to put the M32QC through its paces in a variety of different titles and genres. It took to big, cinematic games like God of War and Death Stranding incredibly well – enough that I stopped missing my old ultrawide monitor which was impressive but always looked awfully washed out. Everything looks suitably punchy and vibrant thanks to HDR support and the general quality of the panel, not quite beating out the LG OLED telly in my living room but certainly doing a good enough job that I don’t feel like I’m compromising. Firing up some slower-paced sims like Planet Zoo and Two Point Hospital I did find the 1440p resolution to look a tad fuzzy on the 32″ panel but the size also made quickly scanning for objects on-screen quite easy as a trade-off.

The only real disappointment was when it came to fast-paced shooters as even though the monitor supports up to a 170Hz refresh rate overclocked, there’s a very noticeable blur/smear on fast moving objects and screens that’s typical of a VA panel. It still performs nicely in terms of refresh and response time and supports AMD’s FreeSync Premium Pro if you’ve got the video card for it, but if you’re looking for a monitor for competitive FPS play you might need to look elsewhere.

Final Thoughts

For a 32″, 1440p 165Hz monitor costing less than AUD $500, the M32QC makes a decent case for itself. It might not offer the best high-speed gaming experience but it handled pretty much anything I could throw at it with relative ease. With support for FreeSync Premium Pro, HDR, KVM and a vivid, curved VA panel it makes for a compelling investment for anyone looking to add a bit more excitement to their everyday PC. If I was serious about competitive gaming and money was no object I might look elsewhere, but as a typical user I reckon this hits the price-to-performance sweet spot quite nicely.

Review unit supplied by the manufacturer

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Gigabyte M32QC Gaming Monitor Review
An all-rounder to get 'round
The Gigabyte M32QC is a no-nonsense gaming monitor that offers fairly compelling features and above-average image quality for a very reasonable price. Some might find the compromise of some noticeable ghosting when gaming on its VA panel to be too much of a stretch, but as a mixed-use display there's very little else I can fault it for.
The Good
32" curved VA panel looks great
KVM with USB-C is a neat inclusion
Super fast and easy assembly
Packs a decent featureset
Well-priced for its size and quality
The Bad
Blurring isn't great for fast-paced games

Gigabyte M32QC Gaming Monitor Review
An all-rounder to get 'round
The Gigabyte M32QC is a no-nonsense gaming monitor that offers fairly compelling features and above-average image quality for a very reasonable price. Some might find the compromise of some noticeable ghosting when gaming on its VA panel to be too much of a stretch, but as a mixed-use display there's very little else I can fault it for.
The Good
32" curved VA panel looks great
KVM with USB-C is a neat inclusion
Super fast and easy assembly
Packs a decent featureset
Well-priced for its size and quality
The Bad
Blurring isn't great for fast-paced games
Written By

Kieron's been gaming ever since he could first speak the words "Blast Processing" and hasn't lost his love for platformers and JRPGs since. A connoisseur of avant-garde indie experiences and underground cult classics, Kieron is a devout worshipper at the churches of Double Fine and Annapurna Interactive, to drop just a couple of names.

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