Monoprice Dark Matter 43548 Gaming Monitor Review: Big Screen, Small Price

The Monoprice Dark Matter 43548 is a 32-inch QHD/IPS gaming monitor with 165 Hz, Adaptive-Sync and HDR.

Monoprice Dark Matter 43548
(Image: © Tom's Hardware)

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I’ve reviewed many monitors that process HDR signals correctly with proper tone-mapping but don’t actually look any better than the same image or game does in SDR mode. To get truly impactful HDR imagery, you’ll have to spend a bit more than $320 for a 32-inch QHD monitor with 165 Hz. But if gaming performance is your top priority, there is a deal to be had here.

(Image credit: MonoPrice)

The Dark Matter 43548 is a budget monitor, sure, but it also delivers great value. Though it doesn’t offer extended color or an impactful HDR image, it delivers excellent video processing, fairly accurate color and class-leading contrast. Among IPS panels, it has more image depth than many pricier competitors,.

In addition to its reliable 165 Hz and Adaptive Sync, it has a nice list of gaming features like aiming points, timers and a frame rate indicator. There’s no USB or speakers, nor are there any lighting effects. But at $320 for a 32-inch QHD gaming monitor, there's only so much you can reasonably expect.

I should note that the curved VA version of this monitor, the Zero-G 42891, which I reviewed recently, costs $20 less than the Dark Matter 43548. It has a VA panel, so it has higher contrast and it has the extended color that’s missing here. The 43548 has a better stand, and if you prefer a flat panel, that’s here too. So, if $20 is a sticking point, there’s an excellent alternative available from Monoprice.

The Dark Matter 43548 delivers everything needed for an excellent gaming experience. In the realm of budget gaming monitors, it is a solid contender. Those seeking to save some money should definitely check it out.

Christian Eberle
Contributing Editor

Christian Eberle is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He's a veteran reviewer of A/V equipment, specializing in monitors. Christian began his obsession with tech when he built his first PC in 1991, a 286 running DOS 3.0 at a blazing 12MHz. In 2006, he undertook training from the Imaging Science Foundation in video calibration and testing and thus started a passion for precise imaging that persists to this day. He is also a professional musician with a degree from the New England Conservatory as a classical bassoonist which he used to good effect as a performer with the West Point Army Band from 1987 to 2013. He enjoys watching movies and listening to high-end audio in his custom-built home theater and can be seen riding trails near his home on a race-ready ICE VTX recumbent trike. Christian enjoys the endless summer in Florida where he lives with his wife and Chihuahua and plays with orchestras around the state.

  • gggplaya
    Can you test this out, as well as all future monitors, with a PS5 and an Xbox Series X to see if they'll take in a 4k60 signal and automatically downscale to 1440p? Some 1440p monitors can do this and some can't. People want a dual purpose monitor and it would be nice to know which monitors can do this.
  • blppt
    HDR is nearly useless with IPS monitors. Its basically a grift. IPS by its very nature makes deep blacks impossible.

    In short, you want HDR, you go VA or OLED or maybe MicroLED whenever that comes out.