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Pixio PXC32: Large and In Charge: Pixio Tops Itself

Hardware Reviews By Christopher Coke on July 18, 2018

Pixio PXC32: Large and In Charge: Pixio Tops Itself

Pixio is the rare “up and comer” in the world of gaming displays, which means they’re a company with something to prove; so when they release a new display, we take notice. Well, that’s exactly what they did with the new PXC32, a 32-inch, 1440p, 144Hz display, packing a curved Samsung VA panel. It’s big their best looking but is it worth picking up? Let’s find out.

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Specifications

  • MSRP: $549.99 ($499 bundle with stand - sale price)
  • Light Source: LED
  • Display Screen Size: 31.5 (diagonal)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • Resolution: 2560 x 1440
  • Refresh Rate: 144Hz
  • Panel Type: PVA (SVA)
  • Panel: Samsung LSM315DP01
  • Front Bezels: Narrow, 2mm
  • Brightness (MAX): 280 nits
  • Viewing Angle: 178/178
  • Variable Refresh Rate: AMD FreeSync
  • Freesync Range: DP and HDMI: 48-146Hz
  • Dimensions: 718.26 x 507.63 x 248.61 mm (with stand); 18.26 x 424.1 x 106.72 mm (without stand)
  • VESA: Yes
  • Connectivity: DVI-I x 1, HDMI 2.0 x 1, DPI Q x 1, Audio Out
  • Features: Overdrive, Flicker Free, Low Blue Light, Visual Presets ECO, Crosshairs, PiP, PBP
  • Weight: 17.2 lb

We’ve been watching Pixio since they came on the scene in 2016 and in just two short years are now releasing monitors that go toe-to-toe with the ASUS ROG and Acer Predators of the world, while offering savings in the triple digits. From humble roots and simple black bezels, they’ve refined their displays based on feedback from their community. Gone are the days of thick bezels and bright red Pixio branding. In its place are narrow, barely-there 2mm bits of trim. On the rear, you’ll even find glowing red LEDs for that extra bit of gamer flair.

All that to say, it’s not lacking anything in the finish department. The monitor looks good and just as expensive as it is. At $519, I firmly believe a monitor should look and perform better than the heap of cheaper displays under its heel. Those rear LEDs are a small touch, but in my mind places it right in line with the the aforementioned Predators out there.

But here’s the thing: it’s not all looks. The PXC32 is a really good monitor. I’m even more impressed because, before picking it up, I’d been using one that was almost identical on paper. Side by side, the Pixio is so much better than my Viotek that I can’t run games on it anymore. It’s been relegated to the chat screen during live streams. And I loved that monitor. But c’est la vie, you don’t know what you don’t know, and that’s that Pixio seems to have the special sauce. I’ll come back to that later.

Anyhow, let’s get into what exactly makes the PXC32 so good, starting with its size. At 32-inches, it’s what I used to consider “too big” on 1080p monitors but is the sweet spot at 1440p. For 1080p, 32-inches is too much for the pixel count and causes the dreaded screen door effect. The PXC32’s bumps the resolution to QHD, eliminating that issue, and providing you with a crisp, clear image and more immersive game experience thanks to its larger size.

For productivity, content creation, or even just browsing the web, the extra screen real estate makes a profound difference. Editing in Adobe Premiere was almost painful when I had to swap out to a 24” monitor not long ago. It also makes features like Picture-in-Picture viable if you want to run Netflix or another input down in the corner. Jumping to 32” is a whole lot like jumping to a big screen TV in your living room.

It also took the size bump to make me a believer in curved-display gaming. For full-blown TVs, I never saw the benefit of curved panels; you’re sitting too far away for a curve to really matter. Here, you’re close enough to feel that 1800R curve slightly wrap to your field of vision. Combined with that large screen, it really makes gaming feel more immersive than a standard than a standard flat panel.

The PXC32 also uses a much better panel than most gaming monitors out there and, impressively, Pixio has sourced it from Samsung. That’s right, it’s a Samsung screen - how about that. While most gaming monitors rely on ultra-fast TN panels, the PXC32 uses and SVA panel, which offers much better blacks, colors, and viewing angles than a TN.

The trade-off is that VA panels just aren’t as fast as TN panels, which is why you see those other models consistently quote their 1ms response times. The SVA used here won’t hit 1ms but it will hit 4ms, which is more than enough for fast-paced gaming and even eSports. Human reaction time is far higher than either 1ms or 4ms, but the larger concern is ghosting and input lag. I tested a multitude of games, as well as the gamut of tests over at UFOTest, with Overdrive enabled and without, and didn’t encounter it once. Let your fears be allayed, TN converts. The grass really is greener. 

The one thing to note here is that you’ll need a decent, but perhaps not as beefy as you might think, video card to get the most out of the PXC32. To run games at 1440p at the coveted 60FPS, I recommend friends in the Nvidia camp use a GTX 1070 or higher. To hit 144, you’ll likely need a 1080 or 1080 Ti. If you’re an AMD user, you’re in luck, however, as the monitor supports Freesync Variable Refresh Rate with a range of 48 - 146Hz. Even mid-range cards can claw up to 48FPS and from there Freesync will take over and eliminate screen tearing to give you a silky smooth gameplay experience.

I’m a big fan of color and richness in my displays and typically turn my brightness and saturation way up. The PXC32 ships with a handful of presets, but I recommend setting it to standard and then heading into the easy to navigate menus to customize your image for yourself. With a few tweaks, the PXC32 produces a phenomenal image…

… which brings me back to my original monitor. Before the PXC32, I’d been using the Viotek GN32Q. It’s great. I loved it. By specs alone, I expected the PXC32 to be almost identical. They were both 1440p, 144hz, Samsung VA monitors. Except… they’re not. The whites are much whiter on Pixio’s display, and colors are richer and more accurate. Playing PUBG, I noticed something seemed... off. See for yourself:

Notice the yellow? I did, on everything, and I can’t unsee it. It was so noticeable that I emailed Pixio to ask what exactly made theirs so much better. Without knowing exactly which Samsung panel is in the Viotek, it’s hard to say, but my contact did say that they tweak their panels to bring out their best right up to and sometimes after QC. The Pixio Difference?

If there’s one downside, it’s that the stand really doesn’t compare with the rest of the package. It’s rigid and only offers a small array of tilt adjustment. Pixio does sell a fully adjustable stand with the P-400, and its VESA compatibility means it work with most aftermarket stands, but I’ll hold out hope that one day the P-400 becomes a pack-in without buying a bundle.

Final Thoughts

There’s a host of other features here but I think the picture above really wraps it up best. Two equivalent displays, running in Nvidia Surround, and just look at how much better it is. I’ve had a great time enjoying all kinds of content on the Pixio PXC32. It’s huge size, excellent resolution and refresh rate, improved colors and brightness, and easy menu navigation have really made it all I could ask for in a monitor. It isn’t cheap but in the waters it’s treading it is cheaper than it’s competition and I would stack it against them any day of the week while counting my saved bills. Recommended. 

Pros

  • Excellent image quality
  • Curved Samsung VA Panel
  • Definite improvements in design
  • Much better whites and colors than comparable panels
  • No ghosting or input lag, even without overdrive
  • No dropped frames at 144Hz

Cons

  • Lack of adjustments in included stand

*NOTE: Pixio was able to negotiate a deal for MMO readers to save $25 with NewEgg if they decide to pick a PXC32 up for themselves. Head to the product listing here and enter code PXMMORPG at checkout for your discount!

The sample used to write this review was provided by Pixio Gaming for evaluation purposes


Christopher Coke / Chris has been a fan of MMOs since the mid-1990s when he cut his teeth on MUDs. These days he scours the internet for the latest and greatest multiplayer gaming experiences.