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.
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.