4K monitors with a high refresh rate are still few and far between, but they are finally starting to appear – just in time for owners of brand new graphics cards NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080, with which 4K gaming finally crossed the 60 fps mark. One such monitor is the 32-inch Gigabyte Aorus FI32U, which we will review today.
Specifications of Gigabyte Aorus FI32U
|Screen Type||SS IPS|
|Refresh rate||144 Hz|
|Color coverage||enhanced, 90% DCI-P3|
|HDR support||Display HDR400|
|Wall mount||VESA 100×100|
|Adjustments||tilt forward-backward, turn left-right, change height, portrait mode|
|Connectors||1x DisplayPort 1.4, 2x HDMI 2.1, 1x USB-C, 2x USB 3.0, headphone output, microphone input|
|Additional functionality||KVM, FreeSync Premium support, ESS Saber audio chip
|Dimensions (including stand), HxWxD||718x598x283 mm|
|Approximate price in Ukraine||39 thousand UAH|
The appearance of the Gigabyte Aorus FI32U unequivocally indicates that the monitor is a gaming accessory even when it is turned off: the glossy “zippers” on the back of the case and the “predatory” shape of the stand immediately clearly hint that it is not an office model. After turning it on, the final suspicions are dispelled: the monitor has RGB lighting with the same “lightning bolts” and the AORUS logo on the leg. At the same time, the way Gigabyte Aorus FI32U looks from the back makes placing it with its “back” close to the wall seem like a waste of the work of the designers who worked on its appearance.
Around the screen there is a thin “invisible” frame that hides under the protective glass – along with the thin line of the side face of the body, the image is surrounded by a frame just under 1 cm wide on the sides and top. From below, the screen is visually supported by the body frame with the AORUS logo in the center. The stand is massive and large, with a metal base and “legs”. There is a handle in the upper part to facilitate transportation – this is not very relevant for an ordinary user, but it came in handy during testing (especially considering the significant weight of the monitor – more than 10 kg).
The stand is fully functional, allows you to turn the screen left-right (+20°..-20°), tilt it back and forth (+20°..-5°), adjust the height (0..13 cm) and even turn it into portrait mode regime. All video connectors are located in a small niche under the stand mount: this is one DisplayPort 1.4, two HDMI 2.1 and USB-C; also here you can find a USB hub with 2 USB 3.0 ports and two minijacks: for wired headphones and a microphone. At the bottom of the stand there is a hole for organizing the connected cables.
The Gigabyte Aorus FI32U is controlled using a joystick located on the bottom face in the center, under the logo. Various functions can be assigned to its deflection in any direction as desired, pressing it brings up a quick menu from which you can go to the main one or open two additional menus – “game assistant” (information about the refresh rate, timer, number of fps, scope) and “information panel” (system indicators such as processor temperature, cooler speed, etc.).
In the main menu, the first item is Gaming — with settings for overdrive, adaptive frequency, screen proportions, etc. The next section is Picture, it adjusts the traditional parameters: brightness, contrast, gamma, color temperature, color saturation, local backlight dimming, etc. The item with a rather obscure name Display contains switching inputs, KVM settings, enabling HDR and selecting the RGB range for connecting via HDMI.
The PIP/PBP section allows you to enable the “frame-in-frame” mode, and System contains all the system parameters: language and settings of the on-screen menu, RGB backlight operation modes, audio parameters, selection of joystick deflection functions, LED indicator behavior, time until disconnection, etc.
The Gigabyte Aorus FI32U uses a 31.5-inch 10-bit (8-bit + FRC) IPS panel with an aspect ratio of 16:9 and a resolution of 3840×2160 pixels. The pixel density is 140 PPI, the point size is 0.1816 mm; this is a very good indicator in terms of image density and smoothness of fonts: you can make out individual points on the image only if you look closely at the screen.
The manufacturer calls the panel SS IPS (Super Speed IPS) – its response time is only 1 ms (GtG), i.e. at the level of the fastest gaming TN panels. It is also worth noting the support for AMD FreeSync Premium Pro adaptive frequency technology, which works in the range of 48-144 Hz. Gigabyte Aorus FI32U currently does not have official NVIDIA G-SYNC certification, but unofficially this monitor is compatible with NVIDIA technology in the same frequency range.
The maximum refresh rate is 144 Hz, connected via both DisplayPort and HDMI – thanks to HDMI 2.1 ports. If you use this monitor with PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X consoles, the maximum available video mode will be 4K@120 Hz.
The brightness in this monitor is regulated by changing the current strength, PWM is not used over the entire brightness range, so there is no screen flickering. Gigabyte Aorus FI32U also has a TÜV Rheinland Eye Comfort certificate, which confirms that this monitor does not tire the eyes and allows you to work comfortably for a long time.
The Gigabyte Aorus FI32U doesn’t have speakers, but for audiophiles it offers something much more interesting: this monitor has… a built-in ESS Saber DAC that works with headphones or active speakers connected to the 3.5mm minijack.
This monitor can receive a video signal not only through DisplayPort and HDMI, but also through USB-C. In addition, there is KVM support, so you can connect two systems to the Gigabyte Aorus FI32U – for example, a desktop and a laptop – and conveniently work on them using one set of keyboard and mouse (thanks to the presence of a USB 3.0 hub).
Gigabyte Aorus FI32U supports HDR mode and has VESA DisplayHDR400 certification, which states that in this mode the peak brightness is at least 400 nits. Also, the monitor has a function of local dimming of the backlight, thanks to which you can get deeper shadows and a more saturated image in general.
You can also control the Gigabyte Aorus FI32U using the SideKick OSD utility. To do this, you need to connect the monitor to the computer using a USB cable, after which you can choose video modes, change image parameters and make other settings in a much more convenient way.
The screen coating is “semi-matte”, which has almost imperceptible parasitic reflections on a dark background, if you look at it from a typical position of a PC user. When tilted to the side, the screen gradually becomes more “glossy”, but it does not interfere with work behind it. The so-called crystal effect is present, but very moderate.
The reaction time is specified by the manufacturer at 1 ms, and at maximum overdrive and a refresh rate of 144 Hz, the real value is very close to the official data: 1-2 ms. Input lag is also minimal, so this monitor really has a very fast panel with minimal blurring in dynamic scenes that reacts almost immediately to the player’s actions. This makes the Gigabyte Aorus FI32U a great option for fast-paced online shooters that require an instant response to what’s happening in the game.
For overdrive in the monitor settings, you can choose a different degree of intensity or turn it off completely. Note that even without overclocking at all, the dynamic image remains quite clear, at the level of other gaming IPS monitors with overdrive enabled. The best option, in our opinion, is Picture Quality: it still has no overdrive artifacts, but moving objects in the image become much clearer. In the following modes, Balance and Speed, the clarity is almost perfect, but artifacts in the form of dark “plumes” behind moving objects become noticeable.
Overdrive disabled, Picture Quality, Balance, Speed (144 Hz):
Black uniformity is generally good for the screen size, but there is a moderate slightly lighter spot in the upper right corner against a black background. However, you can see this only if you display a black background on the screen, turn on the maximum brightness and look at it in complete darkness – in the usual version of working at the monitor, it is completely invisible.
The viewing angles of the Gigabyte Aorus FI32U are very good even for an IPS monitor. When looking from the side, the screen loses a little brightness, but it is not critical at all, while the image quality does not deteriorate, the colors remain almost as saturated.
In the Picture menu section, you can choose between different video modes designed for different tasks: game genres, movies, reading, etc. By default, the Green eco mode is set, in which the brightness is locked at 33% (140 cd/m²). If this value suits you, Green can be considered a good option for initial familiarization with the monitor. If you need full access to manual adjustments, it is better to choose the Custom mode (of which there are as many as three, so you can create several different profiles for different needs).
The color coverage of the Gigabyte Aorus FI32U is slightly expanded, almost completely covering the sRGB space, 81% Adobe RGB and 86% DCI-P3. The lowest brightness is quite high, 43 cd/m² – this will be enough for a comfortable game in very low light, but in full and in the dark, the screen will still appear a little bright. The maximum brightness in SDR mode is 350 cd/m², the static contrast is 1000:1. These are the values stated in the official technical specifications, these are quite decent indicators for an IPS panel (although the contrast could be a little higher). In HDR mode, the peak brightness increases slightly, up to ~430 cd/m² – this allows the monitor to pass the basic DisplayHDR400 certification.
A bit unusually for a gaming monitor, the Gigabyte Aorus FI32U has quite a few gamma presets: in the Off option it is 2.1, which is slightly lower than its standard value (2.2). However, in all other options (from 1.8 to 2.6 with a step of 0.2), the real value of the gamma perfectly corresponds to the declared value. The color temperature can have four values: Cool (11700K), Normal (7200K), Warm (5200K) and User Define — in the latter case, the user can independently adjust it according to the three main colors; by default, the color temperature in this mode is a little cool, 7700K.
Color temperature uniformity is mediocre: the maximum deviation in different areas of the screen ΔE is 7.7. But the uniformity of the white field is very good: in the “darkest” lower left corner, the brightness is only 7% lower than the brightest center; considering the size of the panel, this is a very good indicator for a gaming monitor. The accuracy of color reproduction is very high, the Gigabyte Aorus FI32U clearly passes the factory calibration (although it was not possible to find a corresponding report in the box with the monitor): the maximum value of ΔE is only 1.8, the average is 0.5. As a reminder, it is considered that the average user is unable to notice the difference between the reference color and the one displayed by the monitor, if ΔE does not exceed two.
Also among the video modes is sRGB, in which all parameters except brightness are blocked. In it, the color range is narrowed to the standard (94% sRGB, 72% Adobe RGB, 72% DCI-P3), the brightness is adjustable in the range of 41-340 cd/m², the maximum static contrast is slightly reduced, to 830:1. Color accuracy is also very good, although slightly inferior to the Custom mode: the average ΔE value is one.
Other video modes offer various presets for brightness, gamma, color saturation, etc.: for example, Reader mode significantly reduces brightness and makes the image softer, Movie, on the contrary, increases brightness and saturation, etc.