NZXT Canvas 32Q Curved Review

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NZXT may be best known for its PCs and gaming components, but the company has extended its efforts to cover all aspects of a PC build with generally positive results. Although we didn’t love the ultra-lightweight NZXT Lift mouse, the compact Function Mini TKL keyboard impressed us enough to win an Editors’ Choice award. Now, NZXT has unveiled a gaming monitor, the $339.99 Canvas 32Q Curved. Its beautiful 1500R curve, bold matte color palette and 165Hz refresh rate with QHD (1440p) resolution are backed by strong performance across the board. The Canvas 32Q doesn’t advance the dial dramatically, but it’s capable and affordable enough to earn our recommendation as a budget gaming monitor.


A canvas like no other

NZXT products typically have a bold, austere look, and the Canvas 32Q Curved is no different. We opted for a black monitor and support this review, but there is also a white option, and buyers can mix and match if they wish. The company also offers a 27-inch and 32-inch flat version with similar specs. Whichever model you choose, you’ll see an immersive edge-to-edge display with ultra-thin bezels on all sides. The clean aesthetic continues on the lower bezel with just a small indicator light in the lower right corner.

NZXT Canvas 32Q Curved Right Angle

(Photo: Molly Flores)

The simple styling wraps to the back, where you’ll find a single on-screen display (OSD) control joystick and no flashy RGB lighting. The $339.99 price we quote reflects both the monitor ($289.99) and its $50 stand; NZXT also sells single and dual mounting arms for $99.99 and $169.99 respectively. If you already have a wall mount, the display can easily be attached via its rear 100mm by 100mm VESA port.

More interesting than the mounting hardware is the monitor’s USB hub, which consists of two USB Type-A ports, one USB Type-B, one USB Type-C (which acts as an alternate DisplayPort), a 3.5 jack mm and a DisplayPort 1.2 (instead of the usual DisplayPort 1.4).

NZXT Canvas 32Q Curved USB Hub

(Photo: Molly Flores)

In fact, the DisplayPort difference is nothing to worry about. A 1.2 port has less bandwidth than a 1.4 connector, but due to the monitor’s 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution cap, it’s a cost saving that won’t affect your gameplay. Unfortunately, the internal speakers have also been discontinued, so you’ll have to budget for a pair of external speakers with the monitor, if you don’t rely on headphones.

NZXT Canvas 32Q Curved Rear Sight

(Photo: Molly Flores)

Although the hardware may lack modern intricacies, the downloadable NZXT CAM software provides an easy-to-navigate overview under the hood of your PC. System specs and monitoring information are available at all times, and there’s even an option to help you overclock your system. As far as customization goes, the outlook is pretty straightforward unless you invest in some additional NZXT hardware. You’ll even need a USB-B cord to access additional CAM monitor settings.

At 16.6 x 27.9 x 4.4 inches and 12 pounds without its stand, the Canvas 32Q Curved is quite compact despite its 31.5-inch diagonal screen space. The 1500R curvature of the panel (the ‘R’ stands for ‘radius’) means that a ring of these monitors would form a circle with a radius of around 1500mm. The curvature makes the screen appear larger, reducing glare while providing deeper perceived blacks. It’s a less steep curve than a 1000R monitor, but it looks great, especially for the size.

What the NZXT lacks in high resolution, it makes up for in performance, with a fast 165Hz refresh rate for fans of fast shooters who value extra frames over fine graphical fidelity. The Canvas features a VA panel, a technology known for delivering deeper blacks and improved highlights and shadow detail at the expense of color accuracy, all of which we’ll look at in our tests below.


NZXT Canvas 32Q Curved review: A budget brawler

The 32-inch size is ideal for many gaming monitors, curved or not, but looks can’t be the only deciding factor in your search for the perfect screen. That’s why we test every screen through a standard glove of benchmarks, using a Datacolor SpyderX Elite(Opens in a new window) calibration sensor and software to compare screens of similar size and resolution. We leave monitors at their factory settings unless otherwise specified.

First, we test the monitor in its default picture mode with an SDR signal. The Canvas achieved a brightness of 348 nits with a black level of 0.14, resulting in a contrast ratio of 2,520:1, well above the 1,000:1 promised by its specs. A higher contrast ratio means deeper blacks and luminescent whites.

NZXT Canvas 32Q Curved Color Gamut

(Credit: PCMag)

Running the same test again in HDR mode, we saw a dramatic drop in brightness – just 176 nits recorded. The monitor uses HDR10 which on paper should deliver 1,000 nits of peak brightness, but it doesn’t, at least not out of the box. Further calibration will be required and the NZXT lacks robust picture adjustment options.

Our next test measures a monitor’s color coverage. The Canvas 32Q Curved covered 100% of the sRGB color gamut, 83% of Adobe RGB and 89% of DCI-P3 – great results for a curved screen in this price range, although a bit below the Cooler Master GM34, the Corsair Xeneon 32QHD165 and the Gigabyte M27QX.

NZXT Canvas 32Q Curved Color Accuracy

(Credit: PCMag)

Our color accuracy test played a different tune, unfortunately sounding worse. The NZXT recorded a disappointing uncalibrated Delta E reading of 2.39, possibly due to its VA panel. Higher Delta E numbers mean that common colors tend to stray from their purest forms; content creators are looking for a value less than 1 and most consumer monitor buyers are looking for a value less than 2. Will gamers notice? Maybe not, but if you plan to use this display for creative applications as well as games, just know that you’ll have your work cut out to optimize your settings.

Gaming performance

Gamers are as interested in brightness and color results as anyone else, but the benchmark they’re most interested in is input lag. Using our HDFury Diva, we measured the NZXT’s lag to sub 1 millisecond – gaming gold, especially for players of high frame rate titles.

At 165Hz, the Canvas is a worthy contender. The display supports FreeSync Premium and is G-Sync compatible, added bonuses for gaming at frame rates above 60fps with a compatible graphics card. Fast-paced titles like Rainbow Six Siege looked excellent, with no ghosting to speak of. A few Counter-Strike and Hitman games were also smooth and stable.


NZXT Up: A new contender for gaming monitors

NZXT’s first monitor is very successful. Although the Canvas 32Q Curved’s color accuracy and HDR implementation are disappointing, it strikes a good balance between performance, visual clarity and low cost and looks good to boot. If you’re looking for a budget gaming monitor with a subtle curve and high 1440p refresh rate, this is definitely worth a look.

The essential

NZXT’s first foray into monitors is a success, as the Canvas 32Q Curved impresses with its sleek design and low input lag.

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