CORSAIR XENEON FLEX OLED REVIEW

Corsair xeneon flex oled review

The 45-inch flexible OLED screen of Corsair Xeneon Flex Oled is sorta stunning, but fundamentally flawed and painfully pricey.

CORSAIR XENON FLEX 45WQHD240 SPECS

  • Screen size: 45-inch
  • Resolution: 3,440 x 1,440
  • Brightness: 1,000 nits peak, 150 nit full screen
  • Response time: 0.01ms
  • Refresh rate: 240Hz
  • Viewing angle: 178° H&V
  • Contrast ratio: 1,500,000:1
  • Features: LG OLED panel, 98.5% DCI-P3, adaptive sync, 1x DisplayPort 1.4, 2x HDMI 2.1, USB Type-C with 90W PD, USB hub, up to 800R curve
  • Price: $1,999 | £2,099

The basic question of brightness is a bit of a minefield with OLED tech as implied by those complicated specifications. OLED panels have no problems cranking up the brightness over a limited portion of the entire panel or in small windows. But in terms of power consumption, the risk of burn in and heat, larger objects or full-screen brightness is a real challenge. This is the reason behind the full-screen brightness ratings of OLED screens being just a small fraction of their peak capabilities.

Corsair xeneon flex oled
Corsair xeneon flex oled

ADVANTAGES 

  • It’s response time is ultra fast
  • It has pretty much perfect black levels
  • It has good connectivity

DISADVANTAGES 

  • It’s full-screen brightness is disappointing 
  • It feels fragile when flexing
  • It has relatively low resolution
  • You can get a 42-inch 4K OLED gaming TV at half the price

A lot is promised by the OLED screen tech. But so far, painfully little on the desktop has been delivered by it for PC gamers. The only true OLED PC gaming monitor we have seen so far is the excellent 34-inch Alienware 34 AW3423DW and now, there is the arrival of the new Corsair Xenon Flex 45WQHD240.

As the Xeneon Flex branding implies, this OLED is not only curved, but it also actually bends. You can manually set the amount of curve anywhere from a very tight 800R curve to completely flat. So if you set it to maximum curve, the Corsair monitor is pretty extreme.

Anyways, speed is what the Corsair Xeneon Flex 45WQHD240 definitely delivers. The panel is rated at 0.01 for full on-off response and 0.03ms for GtG pixel response. The 0.01 rate is miles better than any LCD monitor with the refresh rate peaking at 240Hz while the latter is plenty for all but semi-pro esports addicts.

BUT IS IT ACTUALLY ANY GOOD?

Increasingly, brightness is the big question mark involved over any OLED panel implemented in a desktop gaming monitor. Here, the Xeneon Flex gives a very mixed performance. It all depends on the kind of content that is being displayed.

In simple terms if the contents is brighter, the Xeneon Flex will work worse, that is, the full-screen brightness is subjectively poor. Whether you run in HDR or SDR mode, brightly-lit outdoor gaming scenes will look pretty dull. Also, the ultra-enthusiast price point of this panel is really disappointing.

The content of this OLED panel features dark backgrounds punctuated by small and bright objects. Combine that with the perfect black levels and the results can be pretty gorgeous.

PIXEL DENSITY

For a 45-inch panel, 3,440 by 1,440 is an awfully low resolution. That’s especially true when the panel has WRGB that is required for the proper working of subpixel fonts rather than RGB pixels. Admittedly, I expected the text to look worse but it’s not. 

But you will be making a big mistake, if you spent $2,000 to play strategy games on this thing. The pixel density just doesn’t cut it as a multi-purpose tool for both gaming and other PC work.

Speed is what the Corsair Xeneon Flex 45WQHD240 definitely delivers. On any LCD monitor, the OLED pixel response that is combined with 240Hz refresh is a definite step up. 

BACK ON THE WINDOWS DESKTOP

However, it’s hard to overlook the brightness limitations. The punch and zing is simply lacking by the panel. The ABL (Automatic Brightness Limiter) algorithms that adjust brightness according to how much of the panel is being driven hard are being run by most of the large format OLED screens. The panel lacks a heatsink which causes the Corsair’s ABL to be quite aggressive.

For allowing the latest OLED TVs to achieve better large-object and full-screen brightness, the given heatsinks are increasingly being used which is an important omission. It is hard to see the flexible panel feature being combined with a heatsink after looking at the way it has been engineered. However, with a heatsink that would enable more overall panel brightness, we’d far rather get a flat panel or a fixed curve if it’s correct that the use of a panel heatsink will be prevented by the flexible panel.

OVERALL PERFORMANCE

As already told, the Corsair Xeneon Flex 45WQHD240 has been a very mixed performer. It is pretty difficult to stomach this pixel density with relatively low resolution  at such a price point. So, it needs to be exceptional for the rest of the experience. But unfortunately, it is not.

The full screen brightness, besides being inconsistent across the panel, is also poor in absolute terms. Even when limiting the brightness available to at least some extent by precluding the use of a heatsink, the adjustable panel curve still doesn’t add a great deal to the experience.

However, to get a reminder of just how problematic HDR remains on the PC, the Corsair Xeneon Flex 45WQHD240 has been a good example. Although the incredible black levels, full screen brightness has been offered by the OLED panels, the larger panels have still remained a major limitation. On the other hand, of course, the Mini-LED monitors also have their own set of issues. Thus, in terms of brightness, while controlling everything with precision, a very, very few monitors can do both the peaks and the lows; and unfortunately, the Xeneon Flex doesn’t buck that trend.

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