Windows Central Verdict
The NZXT Canvas 27Q is a great mid-range gaming monitor. It's on the more affordable side of the scale in this segment but manages to pack inside an IPS panel with a 1440p resolution and 165Hz refresh rate.
Gorgeous clean NZXT design
Great IPS panel
165Hz refresh rate
NZXT CAM integration
No G-Sync support
HDR is a little weak
Doesn't get very bright
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NZXT makes all kinds of PC hardware these days. From PC cases to coolers, from PSUs to motherboards. The company even launched a keyboard and mouse, but today we're looking at one of two new monitors being launched as part of the Canvas family of products.
The NZXT Canvas 27Q is a 27-inch IPS gaming monitor with a refresh rate of 165Hz, a response time of just 1ms, and support for AMD FreeSync Premium. The competition for this segment of best PC monitors is seriously hot, so it's going to take something special for NZXT to break into the market.
Luckily for NZXT, the design of the Canvas 27Q already stands out and the stated specifications should ensure it performs as well as most other sub-$400 screens out there.
NZXT Canvas 27Q: Price, specs, and availability
The NZXT Canvas 27Q is available from $319.99 for the black version without a stand. The white version is $339.99. For a stand to be included, you need to shell out $359.99 and $379.99, respectively. NZXT claims the higher price for the white versions is due to the increased cost in manufacturing the products in that color.
For specifications, the NZXT Canvas 27Q comes rocking similar features found in other mid-tier gaming monitors at this price range.
|Specifications||NZXT Canvas 27Q|
|Color gamut||90% DCI-P3, 99% sRGB|
|Response time (GtG)||1ms|
|Sync support||AMD FreeSync Premium|
|Ports||2x HDMI 2.0|
|Row 12 - Cell 0||1x DisplayPort 1.2|
|Row 13 - Cell 0||2x USB-A 3.0|
|Row 14 - Cell 0||1x USB-B 3.0|
|Row 15 - Cell 0||1x USB-C (DisplayPort)|
|Row 16 - Cell 0||1x 3.5mm audio jack|
|PSU||External power brick|
|VESA||100mm x 100mm (M4 x 15mm)|
|Dimensions||615mm x 526.6mm x 222.8mm (w/ stand)|
|Row 20 - Cell 0||615mm x 367mm x 68.6mm|
|Row 22 - Cell 0||2.6kg (stand)|
While it's an IPS panel, the response time is a solid 1ms (GtG) and the refresh rate of 165Hz makes the Canvas 27Q ideal for gaming.
NZXT Canvas 27Q: Design and features
Design is usually where NZXT excels, and the Canvas 27Q seems to stick to this tradition. Our review sample arrived in white, so did the stand. They're gorgeous after unboxing from the usual NZXT packaging. It's a good use of plastic and metal for the stand, which prevents the screen from wobbling.
The display itself has black bezels up front with subtle NZXT branding. On the rear is all-white with a single black strip of perforated plastic to aid heat dissipation. We've got a small control knob on the lower left on the rear, which is used for the OSD controls.
If you're not a fan of OSD controls (some of them can be awful), NZXT does allow the connecting of the USB-B port to your PC so NZXT CAM can manage everything in one place with other NZXT hardware. There's an array of ports on the 27Q for hooking up just about everything.
Two HDMI 2.0 ports are joined by a single DisplayPort 1.4 connection. There's also a 3.5mm audio jack and a few USB ports. The stand has a cable management hole for routing of cables from the aforementioned ports, and it does the job just fine. You won't have any issue adjusting the NZXT Canvas 27Q to your liking.
It's possible to adjust the tilt, swivel, height, and pivot of the screen so you can even go full portrait mode if desired. The power brick is external, which isn't a major issue as the cabling is long enough. It's a simple, but well-executed design that looks far more premium.
NZXT Canvas 27Q: Gaming and performance
The NZXT Canvas 27Q shouldn't have an issue with performance for work and play. The IPS technology provides it with a much-needed headstart for viewing angles and colors popping, but it's also got a high refresh rate and super-low response time. All this makes the monitor a solid pick for gaming ... on paper.
For color gamut scoring, we managed to achieve 99.1% for sRGB, 76.4% for Adobe RGB, and 90.1% for DCI-P3. That's not too shabby, but the brightness is a little weak. I only managed to measure a peak brightness at the center of just 260cd/m², which is less than the 32-inch NZXT Canvas 32Q and what NZXT states for this screen. It's not terrible for gaming, though.
Like the 32-inch sibling, the Canvas 27Q has a non-glossy finish atop the screen that does a good job of keeping reflections at bay. The low brightness will play into effect when used in a really bright room, but that's only if you have a light source directly facing the screen itself. For general use, I encountered no problem.
Playing games on the 27Q is a breeze. Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord, X4: Foundations, Unreal Tournament 2004, DOOM, and Planet Zoo all looked great. The fast-paced action of UT2K4 and DOOM took full advantage of the 165Hz refresh rate for butter-smooth gameplay.
NZXT Canvas 27Q: Competition
A close competitor would be the Dell Gaming Monitor S2721DGF, which also has a QHD resolution, but has a slightly lower refresh rate of 165Hz, and doesn't have HDR support. What the Dell screen does have over the NZXT Canvas 27Q is the certification for NVIDIA G-Sync.
Other great 27-inch gaming monitors include the LG 27GN800-B with its 27-inch IPS panel, 144Hz refresh rate, 1m response time, and it too has G-Sync certification. If NZXT adds G-Sync support, the Canvas 27Q becomes all the more appealing.
So long as you match a higher refresh rate with a few other features offered by all these screens, you're going to have a good time gaming.
NZXT Canvas 27Q: Should you buy?
You should buy if ...
- You already have a monitor arm setup and just need a panel (or few)
- You're a big fan of NZXT's minimalist product design
- You fancy a flat gaming display in white
You shouldn't buy if ...
- You want the brightest screen on the market
- You have an NVIDIA GPU and enjoy G-Sync
- You want a curved display
I recommend you purchase the NZXT Canvas 27Q if you're in the market for a new 27-inch gaming monitor with a resolution of 1440p. The 165Hz refresh rate and low 1ms response time make it perfect for gaming, so does the IPS panel for solid colors and viewing angles. The high level of adjustment makes it easy to position it just right.
It's missing a few features like NVIDIA G-Sync, but these aren't deal breakers and will only affect those with NVIDIA GPUs. Playing DOOM and a few other titles using an NVIDIA card without G-Sync enabled didn't see much in the form of screen tearing. If you need to, V-Sync is always available.
For the very first gaming monitor from NZXT, the Canvas 27Q is a great attempt at creating something excellent. The design is top notch. I would like to see the company work on some other models, such as an ultrawide panel or one that supports NVIDIA cards and sync technology from the get-go.
Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.