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NZXT Canvas QHD 32Q Curved Review



Introduction

Monitor stands are a funny thing. When you're new to our hobby you don't really care what a stand can do. Indeed unless you spend hours in front of your display then a lot of them are just fine. If you've ever browsed alternative stands it's easy to come away with the idea that monitor stands must be made of solid gold to justify the price, and once you get in to the world of monitor arms, and particularly monitor arms that can actually hold a heavy display up without sinking, then prices become nearly the same as the monitor itself.

However, if you've ever needed a portrait orientation for photo editing, reading a particularly lengthy document or playing old arcade games that come in TATE mode, you'll suddenly realise that a lot of the stands supplied with monitors are of dubious quality. Cost cutting is usually made to the stand first, after all.

So maybe you've invested in a new stand, or maybe even a monitor arm. The world of monitor arms in particular is one where the uninformed might wonder why a brand such as Ergotron costs significantly more than random brand from China. And then you use it and realise that instead of the claimed 32 inch monitor, it can barely support a sheet of paper without dropping down to your desktop. But if you have got a high end stand or arm then it is annoying to have to pay extra for a monitor for a stand you'll never need or use.

Enter NZXT, who are rapidly expanding their brand range and now have added two Canvas QHD monitors to their armoury. The 27" IPS flat and the 32" VA Curved that we have on test today. Both are available in black or white chassis, and best of all both are available with an NZXT stand, no stand at all, or for an extra cost an NZXT monitor arm. The arm is one of the best we've ever seen, and is the real USP of this package. Let's take a look.

Technical Specifications

NZXT are releasing both a 27 inch and 32 inch Canvas display, but it's the 32 we have in the office for test. They are very similar, although the 27 inch is a flat IPS panel, whilst the 32 inch is a strongly curved (R1500) VA model. Otherwise the brightness, gamut, viewing angles, connection options and resolution are identical.




Up Close - Stand Options

We have the curved 32Q in today, and nobody could accuse NZXT of wasting money and the environment on needlessly showy packaging. Considering most of us treat a box as something that just stops us playing with our new toy and then fills up our recycling bin, we approve.



Similarly we have two of the three stand options available. We haven't got the double-arm, but we expect it to be of a similar quality as the single.




Because we obviously were sent the white monitor we also got the white stand, and as you can see it's very familiar to anyone who has purchased a new monitor before. It clips in to the VESA mount, has cable routing options as well as height and tilt adjustment. All fairly standard stuff.






If you've never indulged in the excess of a monitor arm before then what follows is an absolute treat. You clamp them to the back of your desk with a vice like device, although the all metal footplate means you probably shouldn't clamp it to a Chippendale table.




Screws affix it to the VESA mounting point on the back of the Canvas QHD 32Q and you're ready to go. You can also see the tension screw on the top that is used to adjust how firmly it keeps your panel in place. Even at near full tension it's buttery smooth to move your display around, and the joys of being able to place it exactly where you wish cannot be overstated. Have it flat for a hardcore pinball experience, vertical for your efforts in DoDonPachi, or easily be able to show people in the room that cool cat video you've just seen.




Where monitor arms really score highly is desk space. Without a giant "foot" you have all your desk available. Want to place your speakers right in front of you? Want to be able to push your keyboard beneath it whilst you have a working dinner? Want to have your keyboard on hand whilst racing or flying with a suitable peripheral? Or, just want to move your monitor entirely out of the way without having to lift it up? A good monitor arm - and the NZXT offering is a great one - has you covered.




Canvas 32Q

The fact the NZXT monitor arm can give you this much adjustment and hold the monitor at any position in between, rock solidly we might add, is near witchcraft. Normally this level of stability is only available on stands that cost a serious amount of wedge.





The NZXT Canvas has a curve very much in the upper limits of how curved a panel can be before it resembles a Samsung G9. Just be aware that after a bit of time on this display you'll think your world is warped when you move back to a flat screen. The pincushion effect is real, but your brain quickly adapts so that when you go back to a flat display it looks like it has massive barrel distortion. Still, for vision-filling gaming there are few more immersive experiences this side of strapping a pair of motion-sickness generating goggles to your head.




Like nearly all displays we see these days the bezel has been reduced to barely there, even if the display panel itself still has the same gap around the outside. It's that curious form over function thing. People want the look of thinner bezels so bezels have become thin, despite the picture not filling the screen. You could just as easily cover that blank space on the outside with a thicker bezel and not lose any image. Maybe we're old. We don't understand the obsession with thin laptops either because it's not like a laptop is pocket sized, so what difference is a few mm here and there? Anyway, moving on.




Considering how thin the bezel is, and that the back of your display is something you almost never see, you'd have to be commited to the white to pay the extra, although it's nice to have the option.




There are plenty of connection options on the back of the NZXT Canvas. Display Port 1.2, twin HDMI 2.0, USB 3.0 pass-through and a Type-C DisplayPort alternate as well as a headphone jack.




Lastly on the back we have the familiar nipple that allows you to take control of the OSD and customise the display to your liking. Reaching behind the Canvas to adjust things reminds us of our days in convent school.




Conclusion

We have to start with the various pricing options, because they are the element of the NZXT Canvas launch that is the unique element to their product. There are so many options.

Both Canvas displays are available in 27 and 32 inch, and both are available in either black or, as we have here, white. However, those aren't the only variations. Let's run through them :

27 Inch with stand : Black £389. White £399.

27 Inch without stand : Black £349. White £369.

32 Inch with stand : Black £469. White £489.

32 Inch without stand : Black £429. White £449.

Curiously the higher manufacturing costs of the white model over the black one is less with the 27" and stand option. Otherwise it's a £20 premium. If you haven't already got a stand or monitor arm of your own but want the truly amazing quality arms that NZXT can supply then a single arm for a single display is £139.99, whilst a dual arm for two displays is £199.99. Very much in the ballpark of good monitor arms, but incredible quality. We have used Ergotron arms before and we consider the NZXT model to be their equal in performance. We can't think of a higher recommendation than that.

As for the displays we've only got the VA equipped NZXT Canvas 32Q here for review. It is more curve than we like at 1500R - curvature runs from 1000R which is a banana through 1500 to the more tolerably flat curves around 2000R+ until you reach flat, as the 27 inch Canvas is. How much the curve annoys you is very much a matter of personal preference. Even on a display of this size we find the pincushion effect to be too much to live with on those daily tasks, although it's fine when gaming. Gaming is also what NZXT expect you to be doing with the 32 inch model and it's VA panel. You don't get the colour accuracy and viewing angles on a VA panel that you do on the IPS-equipped 27 inch. Another thing to take into consideration.

Technically the NZXT Canvas hits the current sweet spot of 1440P @ 165hz. It has a good OSD although you can adjust some basic settings using the NZXT Cam software which is perfect for those of you who already own some NZXT products such as their Kraken cooler or Function keyboards. It might sound like we're damning with faint praise but the panel is exactly as good as you'd expect a large format VA panel to be. It has no obvious flaws or issues, but neither is the picture quality as spectacular as the Quantum Dot Cooler Master GM34 we recently reviewed.

What this is all about is the flexibility of having a monitor that can be either black or white, and is available with a standard NZXT stand, no stand at all if you already own one, or the opportunity to purchase about the best monitor arm we've ever used at a price that will leave you slack-jawed. If it was for us we'd go for the better image quality of the IPS 27" model - in white, natch - with the single arm. Although at near £500 it's up against some seriously stiff competition in the visual impact stakes. You're very much paying for choice, rather than the purity of a high-end image.

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