AOPEN 32HC1QUR Gaming Monitor Evaluation: Impressively Inexpensive

"The AOPEN 32HC1 offers impressive gaming performance and solid picture quality at a reasonable price."

  • Clean, reserved, curved monitor design

  • Cable routing built into the stand

  • Fast refresh rate and response time

  • The color-accurate screen makes this monitor a versatile monitor

  • Intuitive joystick for navigating on-screen display menus

  • The glossy black surface is a fingerprint and dust magnet

  • Limited adjustability

  • No built-in USB ports

Although there are many gaming monitors that offer fast refresh rates and response times, only a few offer an affordable price.

Our $ 300 AOPEN 32HC1QUR tester is a slightly curved gaming display with AMD FreeSync support, a fast refresh rate of 144 Hz, and a simple design that makes it look natural in a game room or on a desk. With a compelling set of specifications and features, the AOPEN holds its own against more expensive rivals like Asus' $ 749 35-inch FreeSync capable ultra-wide curved display, Alienware's $ 700 34-inch ultra-wide-curved gaming paneland even partner Acer's $ 799 Predator Gaming X34 curved UWQHD panel.

The power of stealth

Because of its gaming pedigree, the AOPEN 32HC1 is one of the most understated gaming monitors we've come across. Like a stealth bomber, this monitor is free from the glaring flourishes of many of its competitors.

Although the last generation Alienware 34 curved display – based on the Epic design language from Dell – already feels simple with a subdued black finish. AOPEN goes one step further and removes the LED backlight, contoured ribs and sharp angles that are typical of aggressive game designs, as well as striking color accents in favor of a monochrome solid black. Finish with a smoothly curved tail.

This unobtrusive aesthetic of the AOPEN is more typical of business displays like Dell UltraSharp and Samsung CHG90and panels for creatives like the Ultrafine 4K and 5K monitors from LG.

However, do not confuse it as fundamental. The thin black 0.38-inch bezels on the screen still give this monitor a very modern look. While the black borders are minimal, they are designed to frame the content of your screen so you can focus on your spreadsheets, office documents, or your game – without being distracted by LED backlights or eye-catching red accents.

Buying in the technology-rich design of AOPEN requires a little assembly. The screen, the plastic stand and the metal base are immediately ready for use. This is probably part of the effort to keep the package compact. You will need a screwdriver to secure the large screw that is pre-assembled to the bottom of the base to secure the stand.

The glossy back makes up for the monochromatic design, but the finish is a magnet for dust and fingerprints.

We would have liked AOPEN to have used a thumbscrew to make this part of the assembly as tool-free as possible, but it's a fairly simple task. Once the stand and base are assembled, the screen snaps onto the stand, or you can use your own VESA mount.

Although the largely plastic construction feels solid enough – the metal base helps to anchor the entire setup securely on our desk – we would have liked to use more metal to construct the stand to give the monitor some strength. The AOPEN weighs only 13.45 pounds or half the weight of Alienware's 34-inch curved panel, although the latter has a slightly larger screen.

The glossy back makes up for the monochromatic design, but the finish is a magnet for dust and fingerprints. Since the stand does not offer an option to pan or pan the screen, you must physically move the monitor if you want to adjust the screen. Fortunately, the panel itself is light enough so that moving the monitor isn't a challenge. However, you should have a microfiber cloth ready to wipe the back if you want to rearrange your desk regularly.

Immersive window in your games

The highlight of the AOPEN 32HC1 is its 31.5 inch wide QHD panel, which supports a resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 pixels. Although the AOPEN comes with a standard 16: 9 aspect ratio and is not "ultra-wide" like many other curved gaming panels, thanks to its 1800R curvature it can still be impressive. The curvature feels more subtle than the Alienware 34 with a 1900 radius of curvature.

The AOPEN is based on vertical orientation (VA) LED screen technology instead of the IPS panels on most consumer monitors, which improve the contrast and reproduce deeper black tones. Gamers will likely appreciate these features. Like IPS, the AOPEN's VA panel supports wide viewing angles of 178 degrees, although most players may want to be centered in front of the monitor due to the curvature of the screen.

With FreeSync technology and a 4 ms response time from gray to gray and a refresh rate of 144 Hz, the AOPEN beats last year's G-Sync panels – ours Alienware 34 curved AW3418 review The device was only able to achieve 120 Hz with overclocking technology – but does not come close to the 240 Hz refresh rates of this year's G-Sync monitors like the new Alienware 34 Curved for 2019.

We tested the AOPEN on systems with AMD's Radeon graphics cards, and as announced, the performance was smooth. Controlling the monitor's refresh rate with the AMD graphics card has significantly reduced tearing and stuttering – usually caused by misalignment with a game's frame rate – on the AOPEN 32HC1.

Although the black levels cannot match more expensive panels that support AMOLED or QLED technologies, the AOPEN was a very responsive screen that AMD players no longer want. And although Nvidia players with FreeSync support are advertised, they are not left out – recently released drivers Help GeForce players take advantage of FreeSync displays. Titles like Battlefield VThe monitor kept pace with the game, ghosting and cracks on the display were very small, and users with a more modern Radeon graphics card will be satisfied with the performance.

With a maximum brightness of 250 nits, the AOPEN isn't the brightest panel we've come across, but the visibility of the screen shouldn't be a challenge at all.

Confusing connections

To keep the design clean, the AOPEN has a recessed cutout on the underside to accommodate the base connections. Since the control panel cannot be swiveled 90 degrees to achieve portrait orientation, it is difficult to reach due to the downward facing connectors.

Of course, when setting up the monitor for the first time, you will probably only need access to the ports once, since the AOPEN does not have a USB hub, which is typical for most high-end monitors to access USB sticks. If your gaming setup includes the AOPEN, you'll need to grab your desktop tower to connect all of your USB peripherals.

On the bottom of the monitor you will find DVI, HDMI 1.4 and DisplayPort 1.2a Ports together with a plug for the power cable. Fortunately, the power supply is built into the monitor, so this setup at least means you don't have to saddle up with a large power brick hanging from your desk.

Typical of the stands of most modern monitors, the stand of the AOPEN is provided with a long, oval cutout. If you are obsessed with keeping your place clean, you can run the wires through the slot to make cable management easier. Since there is no USB hub integrated in the AOPEN, you probably only need to route two cables through the opening – the display cable that connects the panel to your AMD gaming PC and the power cable.

To keep costs down, the AOPEN does not have built-in speakers. You must therefore bring your own gaming speakers or headphones for audio output.

Instead of a series of buttons, AOPEN uses a single joystick with which the display can be switched on and various settings can be switched. Pressing the joystick turns the control panel on and off. If you move the joystick in any direction, the OSD menu is activated so that you can switch to one of the preset modes or adjust the contrast and brightness.

In addition to the detailed controls, there are three preset game modes: a custom user mode, a standard mode, an eco mode, a picture mode and a video mode. The game presets are tailored to action, racing and sports.

Made for games, but good for more

Although the AOPEN 32HC1 was developed for games, it can also be used for basic creative work if necessary. If you are a designer and want to put the finishing touches on a creative project, the color-accurate control panel of the AOPEN can take this monitor beyond playing. After our display analysis with SpyderX Pro from Datacolor The AOPEN color calibration tool benefits from a panel that supports a wide range of colors.

The screen supports 99 percent of the sRGB color space, 86 percent of the Adobe RGB color space and 92 percent of the P3 color space. The screen contrast is similarly good at 1070: 1 and is thus in the range of the contrast ratio 1040: 1 of the iMac 5K and the contrast ratio 1140: 1 of Surface Studio 2. In comparison, Alienware 34 Curved had a lower contrast ratio of 730: 1 last year , but a higher brightness of 326 nits.

In games with large dark areas on the screen, you will notice a little light around the edges of the display.

In terms of color accuracy and color uniformity, Datacolor's Spyder5 Elite display analysis rated the AOPEN at least four out of five. For the color accuracy, the average delta score for the AOPEN is 2.40, which makes it more suitable for creative workflows than the integrated AMOLED panel of the Alienware m15 laptop with a delta of 6.31. When it comes to color accuracy, a lower delta is better, and creative monitors like the LG Ultrafine 4K developed for Mac users only got a hair better at 2.39. Dell's premium Ultrasharp U3818DW had a delta of 0.97, but this display has a price tag of more than $ 1,000.

Where the AOPEN can improve is its luminance uniformity. If you are working on general computer tasks such as surfing the Internet or office documents, you will not notice the areas where the screen brightness differs. However, in games with large dark areas on the screen you will notice a little bleeding around the screen edges of the display. Our Datacolor Spyder5 Elite has determined that the top center, bottom side edges and bottom right side of the display are lighter than the center of the display.

If you play games with dark scenes, do creative work, or frequently use night mode with a black background, the uneven screen brightness can be a bit distracting. However, this is not noticeable in general productivity tasks.

Another mediocre score for the AOPEN is the screen's white point rating. While the effects of brightness uniformity are enhanced by darker content on the screen, the white point, also known as the color temperature of the screen, influences the display of white on the display.

The effects of the white point on the AOPEN can be felt after the display has been calibrated using the Datacolor calibration program. After unpacking, the panel appears warmer and has a subtle yellowish or reddish hue that is not unlike some of the vibrant AMOLED panels on smartphones. Calibration reduced the overall saturation of the screen and the skin tones appeared to be cooler. I preferred the more punchy colors when playing on the pre-calibrated display and only applied Datacolor's calibration settings here when I needed to perform tasks that required more accurate colors, such as: B. Photo editing.

Our opinion

The curved 32-inch gaming panel from AOPEN is a competent monitor, which is intended as a companion for players who play with AMD technology. An affordable price combined with performance-oriented functions such as a screen update of 144 Hz, fast response times and a color-accurate panel that supports a large P3 color space in a subdued monochrome design makes the AOPEN a versatile panel with an appeal that goes beyond the essentials goes beyond gaming.

Is there a better alternative?

Possible alternatives to the curved 32-inch WQHD gaming monitor from AOPEN are: HP's omen 32, a panel of similar size and resolution that supports 5 ms response time and slower 75 Hz refresh rate. As an AMD FreeSync-compatible panel, the Omen display costs a competitive price of $ 344 for the AOPEN. The downside here, however, is that you won't get a curved screen and the response time may be a little slower than what players are asking for.

In the AMD arena, Alienware's 25-inch AW2518 monitor is another popular monitor. While this is last year's model – the company recently announced a major redesign for 2019 at Gamescom – it is currently slashed to $ 279, making it an affordable entry into the AMD ecosystem. This panel offers advanced specifications such as 240 Hz refresh rates, 1 ms response time, a 400-nit screen and FreeSync performance, which appears to be more advanced than the AOPEN test device.

The downside here is that the much smaller 25-inch panel has an FHD resolution and you lose the impressive, curved screen design of the AOPEN if you choose the Alienware option. While Alienware offers a larger 34-inch curved display, this monitor is based on Nvidia's G-Sync technology and is a more expensive option.

How long it will take?

With a refresh rate of 144 Hz and a three-year warranty, the AOPEN should be suitable for most players for at least three years or until the display technology changes. An example of Alienware's 34-inch G-Sync enabled monitor is that the 120 Hz panel with overclocking jumped to a 144 Hz native refresh rate this year. Similarly, within a few years, we expect the 240 Hz refresh rate of the FreeSync-equipped Alienware 25 to be a common feature for high-end AMD gaming ecosystems, and enthusiasts will likely want to choose a panel with the faster refresh rate. In the meantime, the AOPEN monitor offers many convincing high-end specifications at an affordable price.

If you don't have a premium gaming rig from a boutique plan, or have had an extended warranty on your PC, AOPEN's three-year limited warranty will likely help the monitor outlast most PCs in terms of support coverage . The directive applies to both parts and workers and is one of the most generous standard guarantee guidelines we have seen for PC accessories on the market.

Should you buy it

Yes. The 32HC1 from AOPEN is an affordable gaming monitor that offers the key features that many players need. Non-gamers will appreciate the monitor's color-accurate screen, which supports a large P3 color space, and the understated design makes this panel versatile enough for gaming or work.

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