For as long as he can remember, Charlie has always been interested in computers and gaming. It all started with the Sega Mega Drive and then evolved into PC gaming in his early teens. CS 1.6 was his first go at competitive gaming which soon evolved into CS:Source and now CS:GO - a game that he still plays (almost exclusively) today. Throughout that period he has also been a keen PC builder and enthusiast - dedicating a large portion of his time to the craft. My current rig is an ASUS 5700XT with AMD's Ryzen 3600X.
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The Gigabyte M32U is one of the brand’s latest 4K 144Hz gaming monitors, equipped with all the high-end features needed to produce a stunning visual experience. At the heart of this display lies a very efficient 32″ SS IPS panel that offers excellent viewing angles and colors right out of the box. Furthermore, with a high 144Hz refresh rate, crisp 4K screen resolution, and 1ms (MPRT) response time, gaming should feel liquidy smooth and incredibly sharp.
The M32U also caters to both PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S next-gen consoles, boasting HDMI 2.1 inputs for the maximum 4K @120Hz potential. Unfortunately, the M32U doesn’t offer the best HDR performance, only offering edge-lit dimming and VESA DisplayHDR 400 certification.
While this panel shares many of the same features found in the brand’s AORUS FI32U – a monitor we reviewed last year – it doesn’t quite deliver the same eye-catching performance found in the more premium AORUS monitor. Despite this being the case, the silver lining for the M32U is that it retails for around $200 cheaper than the AORUS, making it an extremely attractive prospect for both PC and console gamers.
So, will the M32U deliver where it matters or will it fall short of the mark?
Gigabyte M32U: specifications
3840 x 2160
123% sRGB, 90% DCI-P3
100 x 100mm
- HDMI 2.1 support
- Attractive design
- 144Hz refresh rate
- UHD 4K Screen resolution
- 1ms GTG response time
- HDR is only VESA 400 certified
What’s In The Box
The Gigabyte M32U comes in a very basic brown cardboard box that showcases some simplistic shots of the monitor on the exterior. Alongside this, users can find most of the panel’s key features and specifications.
Inside, the M32U sits inside two fairly robust pieces of styrofoam for protection during transit. Some construction for this monitor is required, with the stand slotting into the rear of the panel with a tool-less design. The base of the stand screws into the neck via a simple thumbscrew that, again, doesn’t require tools for construction.
Alongside the panel and the stand, users will find the following items:
- Gigabyte M32U display
- Power cable
- HDMI cable
- DisplayPort cable
- USB cable
- Warranty card
- User manual
Design And Features
With specifications out the way, let’s take a closer look at the build quality, design, and mechanical features the Gigabyte M32U comes equipped with.
Gigabyte has utilized a fairly understated design for the M32U, designing a display that looks tailored to office work than gaming. The subtle design for the ‘M’ series likely comes down to Gigabyte wanting to separate it from the AORUS brand – a feature that we’ve seen across competing monitor manufacturers in the past. Of course, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, just a feature that’s worth pointing out in case you’re considering other ‘M’ models.
The panel features an all-black design that is characterized by thin “borderless” bezels on the top and sides. The bottom bezel features Gigabyte’s branding alongside a small LED light on the right-hand side. There are no signs of G-Sync or FreeSync logos.
While the design of the M32U is relatively subtle, the stand features a glaring aesthetic that certainly catches the eye. It’s easily one of the thickest stand’s we’ve seen in some time, and not in a good way. Gigabyte has branded the stand with a ‘KVM series’ stamp, showcasing one of the panel’s main features. The stand does feature some edging and textural differences, but overall, it’s pretty cumbersome.
Moving to the rear of the monitor and, yet again, there isn’t a great deal to discuss. Gigabyte’s branding can be seen at the top of the panel on a glossier-type finish. Underneath, the monitor protrudes slightly to encase the internal elements of the panel. The M32U SKU can be found on the rear of the monitor alongside a KVM button and joystick for navigating the various OSD menus. The rear of the stand is relatively bulky, however, it does feature a small cable management solution which is great for tidying up your desk space.
On a more positive note, despite the monitor featuring quite a bit of plastic throughout its construction, it doesn’t feel flimsy in the slightest. However, when you consider its price tag, that shouldn’t really come as a surprise.
While the stand is garish in design, it does feature excellent stability and robustness – offering up very little in the way of wobble. All stand adjustments also feel incredibly purposeful and firm, leaving me with a satisfied feeling when repositioning the panel (if that makes sense?).
The rear of the panel is predominantly plastic but, again, it doesn’t feel flimsy or weak. During tests, minimal flex was experienced – even when using a fair amount of pressure on more vulnerable areas. All fittings and fixtures also feel well-finished, with inputs and buttons feeling firm and tactile.
As far as build quality is concerned, you can’t really knock the M32U at all.
Like most modern gaming monitors, the Gigabyte M32U offers up an anti-glare matte coating with a 3H hardness. Not only does this add an additional layer of protection to the panel, but it also helps to mitigate both natural and manmade light sources.
Unfortunately, this particular coating does tend to pick up fingerprints and oils fairly quickly – meaning regular cleaning is required.
The bezels on the M32U do feel relatively slim, especially when you consider the 32″ size of the display itself. The top and side bezels measure in at 9mm while the bottom bezel features a large (23mm) profile.
Of course, this is often the case with many modern displays, with only a few featuring ‘borderless’ bezels on all four sides.
Looking at the stand’s functionality, the M32U seems to offer the most common adjustments used by today’s gamers (height, tilt, and swivel).
On top of this, the stand also comes with a handy cable management slot that allows users to easily minimize untidy cables.
Below are the full adjustments available with this particular panel:
- Forward Tilt – 5 degrees
- Backward Tilt – 20 degrees
- Left Swivel – 30 degrees
- Right Swivel – 30 degrees
- Height – 130mm
Like most modern gaming monitors, this panel also allows for simple VESA mounting – via a 100 x 100mm bracket.
All inputs for the M32U can be found at the rear of the panel and require insertion via the normal vertical manner. As we’ve previously stated, the M32U comes with HDMI 2.1 certification, allowing users to push next-gen consoles to their maximum potential (4K@120Hz gameplay).
Alongside HDMI ports, users can also expect DisplayPort 1.4 (DSC), 3 x USB 3.0, and a USB Type-C port (ideal for connecting laptops to this panel).
See specifications for a full list of this monitor’s inputs
The OSD, or on-screen display, for the M32U does feel a little aged but certainly covers the most important picture and response time features.
Users can use the joystick found at the rear of the panel to navigate the menus, with quick options available when pressing the joystick in various directions.
Inside the OSD, users will have access to all the usual suspects, including gaming, picture, and display features. Users can also utilize the PIP/PBP mode available in this panel, alongside the KVM switch (which can be found at the rear of the monitor).
Like always, we’ll be testing the monitor’s main response-affecting features during the gaming settings – establishing any artifacts that may occur during their usage.
Color Accuracy & Picture Quality
We like to test each monitor for color reproduction to see how it would perform in color-accurate scenarios. Despite this monitor being tailored towards gamers, it still features an sRGB emulation profile which should offer up good accuracy right out of the box. There is no factory-calibration report for this monitor, so results may vary from panel to panel.
Like always, we started off the color accuracy testing section of this review by loading up our colorimeter and running a test right out of the box.
Below are the results.
|Preset||White Point||Black Depth||Contrast Ratio||Average ΔE*00||Gamma||Luminance|
|Out the box (Standard)||6024K||0.1166 cd/m²||1037:1||2.36||2.18||201cd/m2|
|sRGB preset||6139K||0.1608 cd/m²||1032:1||0.84||2.19||165cd/m2|
As you can see from the results above, the M32U offered relatively average colors right out of the box. We experienced a slightly low 6024K white point, acceptable 0.11 cd/m2 black depth, and luminance of over 200 nits (more than the required levels for comfortable daytime viewing). Despite contrast hitting the marketed 1000:1, average deltaE was below par – resulting in a 2.36 average across a relatively small pallet. Gamma was set to 2.18.
We moved onto the sRGB color preset next expecting far better colors across the board. White point returned a slightly better 6139K score while black depth dropped fractionally. Contrast was basically the same, with gamma hitting a similar 2.19 as the ‘Standard’ preset. More impressive, however, was the 0.84 average deltaE. While this isn’t the most accurate sRGB emulation profile, is it enough to experience sRGB content as its intended. It’ll also make for a decent experience when editing in the sRGB space.
|Preset||White Point||Black Depth||Contrast Ratio||Average ΔE*00||Maximum ΔE*00||Gamma|
|Calibrated Profile||6507K||0.1185 cd/m²||956:1||0.18||0.52||2.19|
At this stage, we decided to throw the panel through a deep calibration to see what levels of accuracy we could produce. For best results, we altered the sRGB values to 95/90/99.
Looking at the results, improvements were certainly made after calibration. While point was now near-perfect at 6507K and black depth was similar to pre-calibration. Contrast did dip slightly, but nothing overly concerning. Best results came in the color accuracy department, with average deltaE now dropping to an impressive 0.18. Better still, the maximum deltaE only recorded a 0.52 score, making this monitor incredibly accurate over a much larger pallet of colors.
Panel uniformity is a test we run to check how uniform the luminance and colors are across the entirety of the screen. During this test, the center square is used as the reference space. Every other square is then tested to see how far it differentiates from the reference.
In an ideal world, we want every square to be green, meaning it hasn’t broken the differential threshold – something we can set at the start of the test.
Note: results will differ from panel to panel.
Like most modern IPS panels, the M32U performed well in our panel uniformity test. As you can see from the graphic above, the M32U displayed a very good uniformity result, with the majority of quadrants showcasing a green score.
There were some anomalies around the edges and in the corners, but nothing too obvious where it becomes noticeable to the human eye.
Overall, decent panel uniformity.
While color accuracy was decent when viewing the monitor from obscure angles, we did experience a reduction in luminance after around 45 degrees. This isn’t often the case with IPS panels, so we were a little underwhelmed by the results.
As part of the calibration process, the DisplayCal will give an accurate measurement of the color gamut the monitor can provide. Below are the results of the color gamut test:
On a more positive note, however, the color gamut volume did meet the specifications on the website. As you can see from the results above, the M32U recorded a 126.7% sRGB gamut volume – equivalent to 87.3% Adobe RGB or 89.7% DCI-P3.
Above we’ve included the physical graphs for each color space, showcasing the exact coverage of DCI-P3, Adobe RGB, and sRGB color spectrums. On each graph, you can clearly where the M32U exceeds (or falls short) of the specific color space.
Maximum And Minimum Brightness
We ended the color accuracy and picture quality testing by checking the maximum brightness, minimum brightness, and 120 candelas level on this panel. The results are below:
|100 Brightness||361.19 cd/m2|
|0 Brightness||52 cd/m2|
|21 Brightness||120 cd/m²|
Gigabyte M32U: Gaming Performance
With color accuracy and panel uniformity out of the way, it’s time to put the Gigabyte M32U through a number of different gaming and response tests to see how it stacks up in gaming scenarios. Like always, we’ll be testing the monitor across a variety of games to get a greater understanding of how this monitor performs in different settings and genres.
We also enabled the monitor’s VRR support, which for the M32U was FreeSync (G-Sync compatible).
Like always, we started off by playing a fast-paced competitive shooter to get a better idea of how responsive the panel is. CS:GO was the game of choice, offering up plenty of action and opportunities to experience screen artifacts like smearing, perceived blur, ghosting, and screen tear.
We launched into a bit of deathmatch and initial gameplay felt pretty smooth and artifact-free. However, under closer inspection, some blurring and jittering were noticeable. It’s worth mentioning that the monitor was in its ‘out of the box’ state, meaning Overdrive was set to ‘Smart OD’. We tweaked the settings of the monitor and found that ‘Balance’ was the best Overdrive setting for image clarity and motion blur. While the monitor does offer a higher setting (Speed), using it results in a bunch of overshoot artifacts that look pretty nasty.
We played a few other competitive titles (COD, PUBG) using the monitor’s best overdrive and refresh rate settings and gameplay felt decent. Of course, comparing this to an esports-grade 360Hz monitor would result in some pretty obvious differences, however, when comparing this to other 4K 144hz monitors, you’d have to give credit where credit is due.
We have performed a comprehensive BlurBusters ghosting test below to give you a better idea of how the panel handles fast-moving images.
We decided to throw the M32U into a few less-intensive games and general immersion felt excellent. The IPS panel offered up good viewing angles and colors looked vibrant and realistic. Better yet, screen artifacts weren’t nearly as apparent in these slower titles, with SOTTR, New World, Far Cry 6, and Elden Ring all feeling incredibly lucid.
We tested the monitor’s HDR functionality and, as expected, the results were relatively underwhelming. The M32U offers up VESA DisplayHDR 400 certification which, for all intents and purposes, is only marginally better than a panel that features a 350 nit peak luminance. Using the HDR functionality in Shadow of the Tomb Raider did produce slightly more detail in bright scenes, but nothing overly extensive. To the untrained eye, you’d struggle to see any real difference if truth be told.
As you’d expect, the 4K screen resolution produced incredibly crisp image quality and the thin bezels helped with the overall feeling of immersion and focus. The 32 inch screen size also paired perfectly with the 4K screen resolution to produce the perfect pixel density for gameplay at this resolution.
Blur Buster UFO test
To end the gaming performance tests, we ran the monitor through the BlurBuster UFO test. This test is a fantastic way of quickly seeing the motion clarity of moving objects and general perceived blur. We tested all the monitor’s main response time features on the max refresh rate available – which for this panel is 144Hz.
Below are the results:
As you can see from the image above, the M32U offered up OK motion clarity during the Blurbuster UFO test. In this test, it’s easy to see the overshoot (when using the Speed setting) we were discussing during the competitive gaming run-through – with a white highlight seen on all three UFOs.
Enabling the Aim Stabilizer feature was great for additional clarity – depicted perfectly by the UFOs above. However, when utilizing this particular setting, it did create a slightly jittery feel – especially when playing CS:GO. It was hard to pinpoint, but something just felt a little off – even when holding 144 frames per second.
Having said that, it was still a usable feature, with character models offering better perceived blur on average.
So, there you have it, our complete rundown of the Gigabyte M32U gaming monitor – a well-priced 4K 144Hz gaming monitor. The only question left to answer is, does this monitor showcase good value for money? And we’ve pretty much just answered that.
Overall, the M32U seems to tick all the right boxes – offering up fantastic image quality thanks to a 4K IPS panel at the heart of its design. Gameplay felt incredibly smooth on this monitor, with the 144Hz refresh rate, low response time, and excellent input lag combining perfectly. Despite some artifacts noticeable during competitive games, you’d have to say the M32U definitely excelled when comparing it to other 4K 144Hz monitors in today’s market.
Unfortunately, the M32U didn’t offer the best HDR experience, only offering VESA DisplayHDR 400 certification and 90% coverage of the DCI-P3 spectrum – less than the 95% required for true HDR. It also didn’t get bright enough for a real HDR experience either, only just breaching the marketed 350 nits quoted on the specs list. Furthermore, there are some quirky design features that will certainly split the market – mainly that large, garish stand.
All being said, you’d have to say that the M32U offers up excellent value for money, especially when compared to the more expensive AORUS FI32U. Better yet, this monitor features fantastic versatility, offering up great performance in both PC and console gaming, not to mention general content consumption as well.