Xiaomi is best known for its affordable phones and accessories, but the list of product categories they are willing to import increases seemingly year by year. One of the newest is the gaming monitor, with the 27-inch model coming out in June and the ultra-wide 34-inch after last month. I tested the latter and it does really well for € 399 (or ~ $ 469 – real-world euro dollar conversion tends to be closer to 1: 1, although that won’t help. for US importers).
Mi Curved Gaming Monitor features a neat minimalistic design with a versatile stand that can be tilted, swiveled, raised and lowered. The stand also features magnetic covers that are easy to switch on and off to assist with cable management, and mounting the display is very easy.
The display’s panel is in line with what you might expect from a high-end flagship a few years ago, before HDR became something more commonplace on PCs. It’s a 34-inch 3440 x 1440 display, which is the standard 21: 9 resolution for that size – it’s basically like having a 27-inch 1440p display with more than a third more horizontal real estate. The screen’s curvature is 1500R, so it’s not as pronounced as some of Samsung’s recent models, but it feels natural for this size.
The panel uses VA technology and looks nice. I set it up next to my Asus PG279Q IPS panel and the color reproduction is at least strong, with 125% coverage of the announced sRGB gamut. Xiaomi is a bit dimmer at 300 nits compared to Asus’s 350 nits, but it’s not really a problem other than when the morning light shines through the window with the curtains open. For a display that will likely be in a fixed position, that’s not a big deal and I appreciate not getting glare from the matte finish.
Brightness doesn’t mean there’s no HDR support, it’s not even the lowest-end DisplayHDR 400 spec. But the refresh rate is 144Hz, and works with FreeSync, allowing you to game at high, variable frame rates without tearing. Although FreeSync is designed for AMD GPUs and I have an Nvidia GTX 1080, I made it work with Nvidia’s “G-Sync Compatible” function, although the display has not been officially certified.
Nvidia’s official line of unverified FreeSync display use like this is “it might work, it might work partially or it might not work at all”, so I can’t full board compatibility promises. I’ve noticed that Mi Curved Gaming Monitor can only run G-Sync at up to 120Hz, but that’s more than enough to improve my 60fps experience with the vibrating PC port. Dawn horizon.
The Mi Curved gaming monitor has the basics right, but it omits some cool features you’ll find on higher-end products. Two DisplayPort and HDMI ports, each of which is a generous addition, but they’re all you get (plus a headphone jack). There is no USB hub functionality at all, nor is there USB-C support for single-cable display output and charging. The user interface, controlled by five small buttons on the back of the screen, is bad and ineffective, and I’ve never gotten used to figuring out which one is which button. I prefer the joystick-style controls on my Asus. I also noticed that the screen waking up or input switching was unusually slow, taking seconds per operation.
None of them, however, were the ones breaking the deal over the Mi Curved Gaming Monitor’s core functionality – at least not for me. If you are thinking about getting into gaming around the world or even just getting more desktop real estate, I think this is a really worthwhile option. It’s definitely worth checking out if you’re in Europe, Australia, India or other markets where Xiaomi has a presence.
Photography by Sam Byford / The Verge