The Monoprice 27-inch Premium Series IPS WQHD Monitor ($279.99) is an In-Plane Switching (IPS) monitor that delivers a sharp WQHD picture with wide viewing angles. It’s an attractive display with an equally attractive price, but it didn’t fare well in our color and grayscale performance tests, and features are scarce. For $20 more, the Philips Brilliance Full HD Curved LCD Monitor (279X6QJSW), our top pick, is a much better choice.
Design and Features
With its thin, brushed-aluminum bezels, silver cabinet, and brushed-aluminum stand, the 27-inch Premium’s sleek aesthetic belies its affordable price tag. The cabinet is home to a 27-inch IPS panel with a WQHD (2,560-by-1,440) resolution, a 16:9 aspect ratio, a 250 cd/m2 peak brightness, a 60Hz refresh rate, a 6-millisecond (gray-to-gray) pixel response, and a 1,000:1 native contrast ratio. The screen’s glossy, tempered-glass coating is highly reflective. You can tilt the panel forward and backward, but there are no height, swivel, or pivot adjustments.
All of the monitor’s I/O ports are located at the back of the cabinet and are positioned to face outward and to the left. They include an HDMI input, a DisplayPort input, and a DVI input. As with other affordable monitors, such as the Acer H276HL and the Philips 279X6QJSW, you won’t find any USB ports on this display, nor are there any speakers.
Also around back, on the right side, is a small joystick function button used to access and navigate the settings menu. I found the button to be overly sensitive and prone to accidental settings selections. Settings are limited to Brightness, Contrast, Dynamic Contrast Ratio, Color Temperature, and Low Blue Light, and there are six Image Modes (picture presets), including Standard, User (user defined), Photo, Movie, and two game modes (FPS and RTS).
You get a one-year warranty on parts, labor, and backlight with the 27-inch Premium. Included in the box are a DisplayPort cable and a User Guide. You’ll have to supply your own DVI and HDMI cables.
The 27-inch Premium’s out-of-the-box color accuracy was sketchy. On the chromaticity chart below, my color measurements are represented by the colored dots, and the ideal CIE color coordinates are represented by the boxes. As illustrated, red is relatively close to its ideal coordinates, but both green and blue are misaligned. Oversaturated colors were not an issue, but there was obvious green tinting in the middle of the grayscale and a hint of blue tinting in my test images.
Dark-grayscale performance was similarly weak. The panel couldn’t reproduce the five darkest shades of gray in the DisplayMate 64-Step Grayscale test, resulting in crushed blacks (all five shades appeared black) and slightly muddy shadow detail. On the plus side, light grayscale and viewing-angle performance were good. You wouldn’t want to use this monitor for color-matching or photo-editing tasks, but it’s more than adequate for basic web surfing and home-entertainment use.
While not considered a gaming monitor, the 27-inch Premium can handle casual gaming. Granted, there was minor motion blur in my Crysis 3 (PC) and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (Sony PlayStation 4) tests, but not to the point where gameplay was not enjoyable. However, an input lag of 33.9 milliseconds, as measured with a Leo Bodnar Video Lag Tester, means you may notice some latency during the heat of battle. Our leader, the BenQ SW2700PT, measured a scant 9.5 milliseconds.
The 27-inch Premium consumed 34 watts of power while operating in Standard mode (it doesn’t offer any power-saving modes). That’s a good deal more than the Philips 279X6QJSW, which used 24 watts in Standard mode and just 15 watts in Economy mode. The HP Envy 27 consumed 37 watts of power when set to its Neutral Color Temperature mode, which is similar to a Standard preset.
With the Monoprice 27-inch Premium Series IPS WQHD Monitor, you get a stylish IPS display for less than $300, but there are sacrifices to be made. Its color and grayscale performance was less than ideal in our tests, and it lacks features such as USB ports, height and swivel adjustability, and speakers. Our Editors’ Choice for affordable big-screen monitors, the Philips Brilliance Full HD Curved LCD Monitor (279X6QJSW), also lacks USB ports and an ergonomic stand, but its curved Multi-Domain Vertical Alignment (MVA) panel delivered solid color and grayscale performance in testing, and it supports AMD’s FreeSync technology, all for only $20 more than the Monoprice display.