We’re back, back again, with our NZXT HUE 2 Ambient V2 review. Following our assessment of the original “V1,” which disappointed more than it impressed, NZXT reached out to ask us to take a look at the new and (hopefully) improved version. So here we are, with the second attempt at RGB goodness that aims to expand your monitor into a glorious light show.
NZXT HUE 2 Ambient V2 Review | What a difference a V2 makes
So what exactly has NZXT done to the Ambient Kit to make it “V2″? Quite a bit, actually. Based on user feedback from the first version, NZXT has improved the HUE 2 Ambient Kit in three key ways.
The first big change is the stronger and thicker adhesive found on the back of the LED strips. Though I didn’t have any issues with the first version’s ability to stick, there were reports from others of the strips falling off the back of monitors. The stronger adhesive is recognizable by a red backing, making it clear that these strips use the new-and-improved formula. Couple this new sticky solution with the L-shape corner connectors (also new) and installation is now even easier, and the product is much more likely to stay in place. A cleaning wipe and cloth are also now provided, which help ensure the monitor surface is clean and free of any dust or debris to optimize stickiness.
The next big change is support for ultra-wide monitors. As 21:9 monitors become more widely adopted, due to them offering the advantages of multi-monitor setups without the bezel in between, it’s good to see NZXT responding to the increased demand. The 21″-25″ version of the Ambient Kit now supports 34″-35” ultra-wide format monitors, meaning there are no awkward gaps in the coverage area.
Finally, and perhaps most important for those looking to take advantage of the Ambient Mode, are the improvements made to the “display algorithm.” This is an area that I was hoping NZXT would improve upon, and I commented in my initial review about the colors’ inconsistency. Sometimes they would be spot on, while at other times they would miss the mark entirely. Upon installing the latest version of the CAM software, users should begin to witness the effects of the updated algorithm. This should lead to “improved color fidelity.”
Happily, for owners of the V1 Ambient Kit, NZXT is providing free upgrade kits. Upon providing proof of purchase, users will be sent replacement adhesive strips, cleaning wipes, and L-shaped corner brackets. This is fantastic to see!
NZXT HUE 2 Ambient V2 Review | Almost there
So, do all of these improvements add up to an overall better product? Objectively, when it comes to the stronger adhesive, better corner brackets, and support for ultra-wide monitors, it has to be a “yes” from me. However, when it comes to the more subjective aspects, like the effect of the Ambient Mode when playing games, I’m still on the fence.
I’m a fan of the tweaks that NZXT has made to its CAM software in order to improve color accuracy, as I’m now able to sometimes spot green lighting for green scenes, which was pretty much absent during my testing of the V1. For slower-paced games, or for movies and TV shows, the Ambient Kit really helps to “extend” the visuals beyond the monitor. The LEDs are very bright and the colors are vibrant, which I’ve attempted to capture in the video below.
However, as you’ll also hopefully be able to tell in the video above, the slow rate at which the lights refresh can often lead to some jarring moments during fast-paced games like Apex Legends. 95% of the time, this isn’t too difficult to ignore, but for that remaining 5%, things can get a little crazy and distracting. Despite the updates to the “display algorithm,” the slow refresh can really tear you out of the experience.
When looking at the other lighting modes, the HUE 2 Ambient V2 performs flawlessly. Presets include the subtle Breathing, Fading, and Starry Night modes, as well as the more intense RGB-heavy Rainbow Flow, Super Rainbow, and Rainbow Pulse. These work as well as you would expect, though that isn’t necessarily impressive when you consider that there are significantly cheaper alternatives which do the same thing. The main attraction with the HUE 2 Ambient — and the clue is in the name — is the Ambient Mode, which sadly continues to have its flaws.
At $109.99, I feel NZXT still needs to reach perfection to justify the price tag. The HUE 2 Ambient V2 is definitely a step in right direction, and I appreciate the effort that has been made to ensure V1 owners get free upgrade kits, but the product still isn’t quite “there” yet when it comes to using the Ambient Mode for faster-paced scenes. Perhaps this is a technical limitation, with the LEDs unable to refresh at a quick enough pace, as opposed to an error on NZXT’s part, but either way it requires improvement.
If you’re looking to push your viewing experience that bit further, adding a bit of flair to an otherwise uninteresting desktop setup, and you’re okay with dealing with (or turning off) the lights during fast-moving gameplay, then the NZXT Hue 2 Ambient V2 is worth considering, especially if you can get it at a reduced price. Otherwise, I’d hold out for more improvements, as NZXT has at least proven that it is a company that listens and incorporates user feedback, which deserves some kudos.
NZXT Hue 2 Ambient V2 review unit was provided by NZXT.