Dell S3220DGF, Gigabyte G32QC and other 32″ 1440p gaming monitors

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  • #59060
    HigoChumbo

    For the third time in 8 months I find myself having to buy a monitor, this time I’m after a 1440p VA display, preferably curved.

    I’ve come across the Dell S3220DGF but there seem to be barely any major reviews or mentions of the monitor, and I was wondering if it’s a good option.

    Some concerns:

    • It’s a Samsung panel: Are Samsung CHG70‘s problems present here? (so far it seems to have much better black uniformity).
    • Issues with Nvidia: it’s Freesync 2 and some Nvidia users have reported issues with Gsync (flickering, screen turning black for a few seconds), which for the most part can be tweaked with CRU apparently and changing the variable refresh ratio range.
    • Wide gamut: I’ve discovered that the red oversaturation can be tweaked with the Nvidia control panel, so not as big as an issue.
    • Text clarity: worse than the GK850G
    • Strong smearing at lower fps? By far my main concern, since the computer it’s going to be plugged to normally performs in the 70-100 fps range (mostly used for immersive single player games instead of lighter, fast paced online stuff)

    I’ve even considered lower refresh rate monitors like the Philips ones, but 4k would be too much for this computer, so the only decent alternative seems to be the flat, lower contrast LG 32GK850G-B for about the same price as the Dell, 760-800AUD (~400gbp/460eur/500usd).

    Any superior option I’m missing or soon to be released 1440p VA monitor worth waiting for?

    #59063
    PCM2

    Hi again HigoChumbo,

    There are no fundamental differences between the Dell S3220DGF and older models we’ve reviewed using very similar Samsung SVA panels. Such as the ASUS XG32VQ and AOC AG322QCX. The partial subpixel rendering is again used, which significantly affects text clarity. This isn’t great when you’re already working with a fairly low pixel density (depends on viewing distance and sensitivity, like most things). The uniformity varies between individual units, but the Samsung CHG70 models tended to have sub-par uniformity for both dark shades and in many cases (more so the C27HG70) lighter shades. The ‘complex’ backlight design with multiple dimming zones didn’t help in that respect, in my opinion.

    All VA models are prone to certain weaknesses in pixel responsiveness. Not specifically at lower frame rates, but some of the weaknesses will persist even there, even though the pixel response requirements are lower than at higher frame rates. This one is about as well-tuned as you’ll see from the curved Samsung SVA panels, but there are still some distinct weaknesses for high-contrast transitions. Smeary trailing occurs in places. This occurs to a greater extent than on the LG 32GK850G set up optimally with respect to its pixel overdrive setting and G-SYNC activation status (i.e. enabled). I’ve actually received some useful user feedback from somebody who “upgraded” from the LG to the Dell as he fancied a change and a curve. Whilst he quite liked the curved aspect, he preferred the LG in many other respects. He reported a better dark-scene experience (lower ‘VA glow’) regardless of what static contrast figures may suggest and also confirmed these differences in pixel responsiveness. And yes, the Dell shows increasing overshoot as frame rate reduces as it lacks variable overdrive – another plus for the LG. Although the overshoot isn’t really ‘extreme’ on the Dell and certainly isn’t similar to something like the C27HG70 at reduced refresh rates.

    “Flickering” is something that VA models are particularly prone to in a variable refresh rate environment. They’re prone to the voltage changes that occur during rapid or significant refresh rate fluctuations. This isn’t just confined to ‘G-SYNC Compatible Mode’, it also occurs when using FreeSync. It’s sometimes more widespread with ‘G-SYNC Compatible Mode’ at frame rates approaching the floor of operation (‘LFC boundary’) or when that’s crossed. G-SYNC modules regulate voltage a lot more tightly, which is another plus for the 32GK850G. That’s a model I continue to recommend to users, unless the curved alternatives are substantially cheaper, they really want a wide colour gamut or FreeSync support. It sounds to me like you’re doing what you can to try to counter the wider colour gamut. And whilst you say you can tone down red saturation in Nvidia Control Panel (NVCP), it’s impossible to do so without affecting the image elsewhere or with any real accuracy in NVCP. Perhaps you don’t notice these changes or they don’t bother you, but you’ll almost certainly be upsetting the balance for some shades containing red (including yellows, oranges, browns etc.) and will be subduing or ‘dulling’ in places beyond what you ideally would be. You wouldn’t get a close match to the colour reproduction of a model with closer sRGB tracking without an sRGB emulation setting (or profiling for colour-aware applications). I discuss this sort of thing when talking about ‘digital saturation adjustment’ and related topics in my videos.

    As for future models, some will turn to using the newer 1500R curved panel variants (and steeper curvature eventually). Early reports from users in Asia from one of the first models using that panel (MSI G32C4) suggest the subpixel behaviour is more conventional and doesn’t have the sort of split seen on the other models. I don’t have any information with respect to possible pixel response time improvements, but my opinion is that the responsiveness and overall contrast experience will be comparable to the models with 1800R curve. I’d like to take a look at one of the new 1500R models when they’re more widespread and available from manufacturers we review for. Possible that might expand to include MSI in the future, but for now we seem to have more than enough to play with from the manufacturers we have established PR/review relationships with.

    Edit: Another model with 1500R curve is due shortly, the Gigabyte G32QC.

    #59065
    HigoChumbo

    Amazing as usual.

    I guess I’ll keep waiting, I’ve tracking the 32GK850G for some time but it seems to be rather hard to get here in Australia, and the person I’m getting it for saw the curve of the C24G1 and really liked it (and so did I, to be honest).

    It’s a pity there is no curved option on par with the LG.

    #59116
    ethan

    Thanks for this thread (mod: reply moved). I’m also looking for the same thing as the OP. IPS panels give me a headache. I currently have a Philips 288P 28″ 4K Monitor with a TN panel. I’m looking to change to VA for better contrast. I don’t care about refresh rate, as I don’t play FPS, nor do I do work that requires color accuracy. I use my desktop for mostly office work / youtube / movies and a couple RTS / RPG games.

    I thought about buying a Samsung 32-Inch UJ59 4K or Philips 326E8FJSB 32″ 2K Flat VA. Do these panels suck?

    At 32 inch, some buyers have complained of too low pixel-per-inch at 2K/32″ compared to 2K/27″. Do you agree? Is 27″/2K the sweet spot? Do I need 4K for 32″?

    I would prefer a flat monitor over curved.

    #59118
    PCM2

    Hi Ethan,

    As you are considering ~32″ primarily I’ve merged your thread with this one. Have a read through. Also (this is nothing personal), please do not use the term ‘2K’ to incorrectly refer to the 2560 x 1440 resolution. It’s a pet hate of mine. That thread might actually be worth a read as it’s relevant to some of the things you’ll be considering. Back to this thread, though, I pointed out in my initial reply that the fairly mediocre pixel density coupled with text-rendering issues on the 31.5″ 144Hz VA options doesn’t exactly make for a wonderful experience for overall clarity. It would be fine for some, but you’d be very brave to go from a 28″ ‘4K’ model to one of those. Especially since you said refresh rate wasn’t important to you so it seems a counter-intuitive move.

    The ‘4K’ UHD options are covered in various other threads, such as this one and this one. There’s a wealth of good information on those threads, so I’d highly recommend having a read through them. If you haven’t seen a curved monitor then, as pointed out on those threads, you need to actually spend some time with one before dismissing them. If you can. If not, I’d advise reading the relevant section of our recent review of such a model as it may sway you. I favour the curved ‘4K’ Philips (Samsung SVA panel) over the similar-sized flat models (Innolux panels), for reasons explained in some of the linked threads. But the flat models would still be a nice upgrade from your 28″ TN monitor – similar screen surface, so you’re already used to that, and the weaknesses in gamma and colour consistency are more pronounced on the TN model anyway. Vertically that’s certainly the case. You’d also get a nice size upgrade, maintain an excellent pixel density and receive a significant boost in contrast and colour gamut.

    Edit: Further replies regarding UHD options moved to this thread.

    #59881
    PCM2

    It’s worth adding that I’ve received some useful feedback suggesting that the Samsung Odyssey C32G75T also avoids partial subpixel rendering so as with the 1500R curved models should offer improvements to text clarity and fine edge display. The pixel responsiveness also appears very impressive on the Odyssey from early user pursuit photographs. We’ve requested a review sample from Samsung but it’s not currently available.

    #59902
    HigoChumbo

    Looks great (not a fan of the new gamer look, though definitely much classier than other gamer options). I just hope that they have not spend most of the budget on providing 240hz when for most of us it’s not even that easy to keep everything above 60 fps when maxed out at 1440p in most modern AAA games.

    #59910
    PCM2

    Indeed it’s very interesting. I’d expect to see that panel or a similar one with 1000R curve used by models from other manufacturers as well a bit further down the line. With less ‘gamery’ aesthetics.

    #61374
    PCM2

    A few quick updates relevant to this thread:

    1) We’ll shortly be reviewing the Gigabyte G32QC.

    2) The 31.5″ Samsung Odyssey G7 has a confirmed normal subpixel layout and seems to have quite weak contrast compared to competing models but significantly improved pixel responsiveness. The 31.5″ Samsung Odyssey G5 uses partial subpixel illumination. It also has significantly weaker pixel responsiveness, so it isn’t just a slightly cut down 144Hz version – it’s a completely different product.

    #61524
    antrhax

    I thought about it for a long time and with the help of this forum, I have now made a decision:

    I’m looking for a 32 inch monitor – the best of both worlds. It is bigger than a 24/27 inch monitor and has the 16:9 format. Why? Because 34 inch has 2 black bars when watching movies (21:9 is not optimized for most films) and also the game view is not important for me (21:9 has no advantage for me in counterstrike, apex or rocket league). I would rather have a generally large monitor than a very wide one, so 34 inches is not for me.

    Now I’m looking for a 32 inch monitor with the following data:
    .) 32″
    .) 144hz or more
    .) Max 500$/€
    .) Gsync is not important to me
    .) For gaming, office stuff and sometimes movies (but color fidelity is not important to me, should be sharp and “clean”)

    Can someone recommend a monitor to me? Thanks 🙂

    #61527
    PCM2

    anthrhax,

    I’ve merged your thread with this one as it’s a suitable place given what you’re looking for. Have a read through this – and I’d suggest waiting for our review of the G32QC which will be published in the not too distant future, too. You’re definitely going to want to stick to a model like that without partial subpixel rendering issues (highlighted above and will be reinforced in the upcoming review).

    #61528
    antrhax

    Hey, thank you! I will wait. I have read this thread and have to say that I don’t like the LG 32GK850G, because I have already seen that the writing is not at all sharp to read.

    The Dell S3220DGF has also the same problem?! So maybe the new G32QC is better or no monitor is fitting.

    #61554
    Jothin

    Hello,

    I’m also looking for a 32-inch monitor with a 1440p resolution and a 144hz refresh rate. I know my options are limited when it comes to screen technology.

    I am very much looking forward to the review of the G32QC. AOC is releasing CQ32G2SE/BK. However, I cannot find any details on this monitor anywhere. (Besides AOC’s official site). Does anyone have any information on this monitor, reviews, release date, is it coming to the UK?

    The odyssey g7 as it is too expensive and I’ve had bad experiences with Samsung monitors. PPI of 1440p on a 32-inch monitor is the same as 1080p at 24 inches. This doesn’t bother me as I’m terribly short-sighted. I don’t want to deal with the expense of 4k either in terms of upgrading my hardware.

    The monitor will be used for gaming, movies, word processing to general web browsing. Good colours, I don’t want a washed-out image. This has put me off the LG models at this screen size.

    Any recommendations will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks for making in-depth reviews. (I bought my son’s AOC 24G2U base upon your review).
    (My budget is £500)

    Cheers.

    #61557
    PCM2

    We’ve got a detailed news piece up on the CQ32G2S(E) which includes all currently confirmed information. AOC EU listing so it is coming as arriving in the UK at some point, but exact details of when that is aren’t currently in the wild and neither is pricing for the UK. AOC are generally very competitive with their pricing. They haven’t issued a press release with this sort of information, but I’d estimate similar if not marginally higher pricing to the Gigabyte and official release here later this month or November. In Germany it’s listed for ~€414 (vs. €374 for the Gigabyte) and due to ship in ‘1 to 2 months’. It uses the same panel as the G32QC so that will set a good baseline for expectations when the review is published. You’d then have to go from there based on what you decide to buy.

    As with any monitors none of these ~32″ models are perfect – especially when it comes to issues like pixel response time. Even the much-vaunted (and expensive) Samsung C32G75T has its imperfections when it comes to pixel responsiveness, although it’s significantly better than others in that respect. The contrast is somewhat below average in its class and it seems to have more widespread and noticeable flickering issues than usual for the technology. There are reports of potentially obvious static interlace patterns at higher refresh rates as well – not everyone is sensitive to these, but it’s another thing we cover in our reviews. I’ve seen quite a few users describe it as a ‘prototype’. Samsung knows I’m very open, critical and thorough with my reviews in a way nobody else is so I’m not entirely surprised they haven’t sent a sample my way. They prefer influencers who shower products with praise or people who don’t actually game to test these things first.

    #61611
    Jothin

    Hello Again,

    I managed to pick up the Dell S3220DGF for £300. The screen and colours are stunning. The text is fine at this size as well. No dead pixels or anything. I couldn’t notice any latency either as this monitor is classed as 4ms. This size monitor is perfect for my eyesight which is a huge bonus.

    I would have kept this monitor except it has one huge fault. It flickers like crazy when gaming, on youtube and netflix. I have a 5700 XT so theres no issue between my graphics card and freesync.

    The unit I have was built in August of this year. This updated version of the monitor does support 120hz, unlike the earlier versions. However, this flickering issue is there. I’ve only had this unit a day and its getting returned.

    I need PC monitor’s review of the Gigabyte G32QC more than ever, I’m not buying another thing until I see it. I read so many positive reviews of the Dell S3220DGF. A major tech website even gave it the monitor of the year for 2020. I’m still checking every day for a review and stock of the AOC CQ32G2SE/BK but no luck. I’ve looked everywhere for the recommended LG 32GK850G but cannot find it anywhere or its selling overpriced and used.

    Fingers crossed the Gigabyte G32QC reviews decently. Are there any other good recommendations at this screen size?

    Cheers

    #61613
    PCM2

    There aren’t any alternatives I’d consider that aren’t already discussed here, you’re focusing on the key players already. The G32QC review should be published tomorrow (Friday) at some point, with any luck.

    Sorry to hear about your flickering issues with the S3220DGF. I assume this only happened if you had Adaptive-Sync (FreeSync) active. I’m not sure about the Dell, specifically, and what’s going on there – but it seems other people have reported similar issues over on the Dell forum and Reddit. It’s usual to have flickering on high refresh rate VA models when Adaptive-Sync is being used. Usually around the LFC boundary (~48Hz or 48fps – in theory) and where there are significant frame rate fluctuations. Such as a large drop or sudden large rise. I mentioned this earlier on in this thread. Clear flickering when watching Netflix or other videos is an odd one, that really shouldn’t be happening but it must cause the monitor to run at a refresh rate that it isn’t ‘comfortable’ with. It’s not something I’ve observed on the G32QC when watching movie content.

    #61614
    Jothin

    Thanks for the quick reply.

    With youtube, it flickers when the cursor is on the part of the screen playing the video until the cursor disappears. Netflix, its the banner at the top that plays a trailer and during watching. I have never encountered either problem before.

    The issue is resolved when freesync is disabled. Crazy for someone with a 5700 XT.

    Again thanks for the help.
    If I do purchase the G32QC, I will use your amazon like and update the community of my time with it.
    It depends on your review as I don’t trust all the other reviewers giving it an excellent score.

    Cheers

    #61622
    PCM2

    As it’s highly relevant to this thread and those watching it, our review of the Gigabyte G32QC has been published. I suppose it reinforces the point that no monitor is perfect. It didn’t do quite enough for me to be awarded our ‘recommended badge’, but that’s certainly not to say it’s a bad monitor. It gave perhaps the best-rounded experience of any high refresh rate 31.5″ WQHD model I’ve used and there isn’t really an alternative I could recommend above this when everything is considered. I think it still offers a lot of bang for your buck, so to speak.

    #61626
    Jothin

    Thanks for your video and written review on the Gigabyte G32QC. Based upon your review I have decided to order this monitor (I used your affiliate link 🙂 ).

    It is due to be delivered on Sunday. I hope this monitor works out. I’m close to giving up on 32-inch monitors and close to going back to trying 27-inch monitors on an arm close to my face.

    I’ve tried the BenQ ex2780q which had issues with the inbuilt speaker. I really find IPS screens look washed out with low colours. If I do order yet another monitor it will be the LG 27GN850. From what I’ve read it is the exact same as the LG 27GL850-B minus a few ports on the back. Amazon has it in stock which is great with their return policy.

    I’m still waiting for Dell to get back to me for the return of the S3220DGF, so much for getting back to me in 1 business day. It’s 2 days now and very frustrating. Grrrrrrrrrrr.

    Thanks again for the brilliant review.
    Cheers

    #61629
    PCM2

    I’m glad you enjoyed the review of the G32QC and have decided to take the plunge – your support is also appreciated! I think seeing it for yourself was the right thing to do rather than giving up on these sort of models completely. Hopefully it works out for you and I look forward to your feedback when you’ve had a chance to play with it. You’re correct about the 27GN850 vs. the older 27GL850, it’s just a minor refresh with slight aesthetic changes and fewer ports. The core performance is much the same.

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