When it comes to monitors if you have the cash then you can pretty much have it all, but at the lower end of the scale it becomes a case of picking and choosing what you really want. Do you desire those extra pixels? Or do you favour a high refresh rate? A fast response time, or vibrant colours capable of searing your eyeballs? In this case Cello, who have begun bringing their products to the UK, reckon you might like as many frames per second as you can handle and 32″ of screen to go with it. Let’s check out the snappily named Cello W3203SH
Let’s kickoff with the basics: the Cello W3203SH offers up its 32″ inches of panel in a 16:9 widescreen format and housed within reasonably thin bezels. On the rear there’s a bit of visual flair thanks a large triangular chunk of plastic that houses two air vents keeping the whole unit cooled. These two vents as well as a line atop the screen are bright red which might cause headaches if you like your gear to match. No other colors seem to be available, a strange choice considering a lot of folk do like a sense of uniformity amongst their tech.
The stand is a chunky metal number that requires some minimal construction. At 724.5 x 208.6 x 510.5mm the whole thing is fairly deep, so if you have a smaller desk you might struggle to fit this beast on there. Make sure you measure before you buy.
Disappointingly, there is absolutely no height adjustment or tilt. What you see is what you get. In 2019 lacking both of these features is a major problem in my eyes, even if the Cello is a budget monitor. There’s no option for Vesa mounting, either, so you’re stuck with what you get in the box.
In terms of connectivity there’s exactly one HDMI and one Displayport located on the back. There’s also a DVI connection and a standard 3.5mm audio jack in case you want to route your audio through the monitor itself.
On the back you’ll also find that there’s a red, plastic half-hoop designed to help hold cables out of the way so that everything looks clean and tidy. It doesn’t do a great job, but it’s better than having nothing.
But let’s get onto the juicy stuff. The Cello sports a VA LED panel, a type that usually features good colors and great contrast but that is typically slower when it comes to response times. Now, I’m far from an expert and I don’t have any professional gear to help me properly dissect the panel’s performance, response times and image. In other words, the following is my opinion based purely on looking at the screen. I stared intently and at close range, sacrificing the health of my own precious eyeballs to deliver this review. While I can no longer see the faces of my loved ones, it was worth it.
At 1080p and with 32″ inches of screen the Cello is sitting at the limits of resolution versus size. Text isn’t as sharp as I’d like, for example. At this sort of size I’d personally have preferred 1440p but the 1080p image does the trick. The 1080p resolution of the Cello W3203SH does at least have benefit of meaning it will be a lot easier to get those high frame rates without needing a super-powered computer.
The overall image quality is what I’d describe as being okay. Being a VA panel the nice levels of contrast aren’t really a surprise, with some nice deep blacks to be found. But the colours don’t match that. They lack the punch and pop of an IPS panel, certainly, but they also just aren’t able to match some of the better VA panels on the market, either. Compared to my own AOC AG352UCG6, which is also a VA, the colours are noticeably less vibrant, though some tweaking in the settings can help. A quick check of the box reveals that Cello claim the panel has a 72% colour gamut which explains the issue. That rating puts it firmly in the average category, and compared to my own screen the smaller range of colors is notable as it means there’s a little less depth to the image.
The edge lighting also wasn’t the best because there’s some inconsistency across the screen. The edges were nice and bright, but toward the middle it was lacking. There was also a slightly washed out quality to the overall image.
However, I’m comparing this £250 screen to a vastly more expensive model. Given the price range the image quality is okay. It’s not going to blow you away, but it’s perfectly fine.
Okay, so far there’s nothing special about the Cello. What are all these sacrifices for? Well, the big selling point of this monitor is that for your £249 you get a 144hz refresh rate, meaning providing that you have powerful enough hardware you can hit 144fps in-game and be able to see it. Over the years there have been huge debates about what can and cannot be seen by the human eye. Make no mistake, 60hz is not the limit of what you can see and doubling the amount of frames being pushed onto the screen has a huge effect. Everything is silky smooth. The power of the effect will change from person to person with some being more sensitive to it than others, but for me the 144hz refresh rate is probably a bigger upgrade than going from 1080p to 4k. It’s hard to go back.
When it comes to response time Cello advertise 5ms, although it’s a little trickier than that. The actual default response time is 26ms as listed on the packaging , so to achieve the 5ms you need to use the Overdrive function. In general this can result in some issues like ghosting. In the case of the Cello monitor I found the highest Overdrive setting did cause some notable ghosting, but the mid-range setting proved fine so I left it that. I had no way of knowing what the exact response time was, then, but I can say that it felt perfectly fine to play on, keeping in mind that I’m not at a professional level. Games like DOOM and CS: GO had no issues with response times.
There’a also support for AMD’s Freesync technology which means if you have an AMD graphics card you can use this to match refresh rate of the screen to the in-game framerate. In theory this reduces the amount of screen tearing and should make for a smoother experience.
You get a few little bonus features, too. For example the screen boasts flicker-free technology which should in theory held reduce headaches. Now, this is a difficult thing to test as not everyone gets headaches from looking at screens. I am actually one of those unfortunate people who can suffer from headaches so I’ve favored flicker-free screens whereever possible as I discovered years ago that they did seem to genuinely help me.
There’s also low blue light which is helpful at night to reduce eye strain. It’s not something I personally use, but a lot of people don’t like having their retinas seared at nighttime so I’m sure it will prove useful to someone.
The Cello W3203SH isn’t going to blow any minds but if you really fancy joining the glorious 144hz master race then you can get a membership at a reasonable price backed up by decent picture quality and a sizable chunk of screen real estate to boot.