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Those budget 27" IPS displays from Korea are for real (techreport.com)
289 points by geoffgasior on July 25, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 155 comments

Hmmm, LG panels...

These panels were available since a few years ago on Taobao.com (China's eBay if that helps) in small quantities, and there were lots of excitement to make your own “Cinema Display” at 1/3 the price. As a big screen lover, I was also intrigued. So I did some research.

Here's the background story I heard a year or two ago from an anonymous guy claiming he's working in LG's factories in China. I didn't verify if it's true (unless I saw LG's contract with Apple, which means impossible), but it makes a lot of sense to me anyway. You have to judge by yourselves.

These 27" S-IPS (yes, not e-IPS) panels were indeed manufactured for Apple's iMacs and Cinema/Thunderbolt Displays. Apparently Apple has pretty high and tight standard (which they do, if you've ever used authentic ones) about these panels. Once in a while a production run will not meet Apple's expectation for some reason (e.g. color/brightness/contrast uniformity). So Apple rejects the faulty batch, and LG has to find some creative ways to deal with the rejects without losing too much (these are expensive panels) AND not breaking the contract with Apple.

Turned out Apple forbids LG to resell rejected 27" panels to any well-known brands in meaningful quantity. The restriction makes a lot of business sense: you don't want a major brand suddenly floods the market with comparable displays but at less than half of the price of iMacs and Cinema/Thunderbolt Displays. Especially so when you had spent a lot of money to secure the supply of such giant panels.

So what does LG do in the end? They first sort the faulty batch into two categories: the better ones that can be salvaged by LG itself, and the worse ones that have to go somewhere else. LG re-cuts the slightly better ones into smaller panels (24" and below), and re-sells these to its partners as high grade IPS panels, as this is not forbidden by the contract with Apple (only 27" ones are forbidden). And worse ones? They go to various unknown brands in small quantities (again, this is not forbidden by the contract).

My bet is that these Korean panels are from the second category.

>LG re-cuts the slightly better ones into smaller panels (24" and below)

This is news to me, my father sell LCD inspection equipment that is part of the assembly line, if a screen doesn't meet the yield, it's rejected. Panels can't be tested until much later in the assembly line process so you can't just re-cut the glass like wood into smaller bits.

Apple probably doesn't inspect the panel until it's completely put together, which is too late. So there is no way they can just take back a bad batch and re-cut the screen. Most likely, Apple receives a shipment, tests a few panels, if it doesn't meet their yield, they reject the shipment and LG will sell the panels to a 3rd party that has lower standards and the 3rd party will rebrand them.

What Apple forbids and LG does are two completely different things. How would Apple even check? Also, once a shipment is rejected, Apple doesn't have any say, they didn't buy it, so why do they have the power to forbid reselling? Even if Apple does find out, it's not like they can kill the contract, there are only 2-3 players in the LCD business that can meet Apple's standards. AFAIK Apple mainly sources their panels from LG and Samsung. Apple would be at a huge disadvantage in getting a competitive price if they ended their relationship with LG.

Are these still available on Taobao? Do you know which brands to look for?

Sure, Search 27 IPS on any b2c c2c site in China. You can find plenty of them.

The cheapest I can find is about 1599 RMB on 360buy.com

Not sure about it now. My conclusion from that research was that the risk of getting into trouble is too high and I don't want to waste my time worrying about a giant box of plastic.

We bought a bunch of them at DISQUS, our current failure rate is about 20-30% failed within the first three months of use. Would not buy again.

If they're less than half the price of a comparable Dell, a 30% failure rate seems acceptable. Just buy some spares, right?

It's 30% failure in 3 months. How high can that go in 6 months, in 12 months, or in the expected life span of a Dell monitor?

Manufactured products tend to have two spikes in their failure rate: soon after being put into service (manufacturing defects showing up when the product has been used a bit) and near end of life (parts are wearing out due to long usage). In the middle, the failure rate is pretty flat.

Monitors failing within 3 months suggests that you're seeing the infant mortality part of the curve. If a particular monitor lasts 3 months, it will likely last for many years.

It's more of two slopes rather than two spikes:


Tangentially related, but still interesting: most people think hard drives have a bathtub curve when failure rate is plotted against time. Turns out this isn't true.

Schroeder and Gibson: "Contrary to common and proposed models, hard drive failure rates don’t enter steady state after the first year of operation. Instead failure rates seem to steadily increase over time."


It depends on how much you value the extra time and effort it takes to replace them. If you buy spares ahead of time to negate that time and effort, then have you really saved money?

The point is that a 30% failure rate is less than the 50% discount so you only end up saving 20%, with the spares included in the purchase.

But if 20-30% failed in the first few months of an expected 5+ year life cycle, that's indicative of a >50% failure rate in the medium to long term. You'll probably come out a loser in monitor-years/dollar.

That does not necessarily follow. See the "bathtub curve".

See also "time value of money" - if you don't have to buy the spares until they fail, all that extra money is worth something to you.

There is a reason Toyota and co don't have 6months of parts on hand - and it isn't due to shortage of shelf space

If that's true, the HP ZR2740w is a much better choice. Got mine for ~$650 few months ago, so it'll be < 2x of these prices but no need to worry if they will fail or not.

How do you like the anti-glare on the ZR2740w?

I've found it to be rather intrusive and annoying, especially compared to the ZR2440w's coating.

I think it actually helps reduce eyes strain. I have it setup in a standing desk like setup so it's ~15" in front of me, so distance is just few inches apart than a standard distance to a laptop screen. My eyes don't get tired at all, where as looking at my laptop screen does, but that's probably due to the pixel density in addition to the reflectiveness.

All the same brand, or from multiple Korean sources?

Which model did you buy? (make, etc)

How did warranty claims / returns work for you?

Did the seller honor them properly?

These monitors a great deal. One thing that always bugs me on forums (or deal websites) where these are discussed is that people are quick to point out that these monitors have A- panels -- the rejects from the Apple and Dell supply.

While this is true for a few of the companies, it is not true for all of them. "Korean monitors" isn't one entity. There's a lot of companies selling these things, and a lot of them are A quality panels. (So the lesson is to not just repeat things you hear without finding a primary source first).

I believe most rumors point to Apple releasing a 27 or 30 inch super resolution display within the next year. I'll be waiting for these Korean companies to release their own version and then snatch it up for a cheap price.

There's also a subtext that makes me a bit nervous. The OEM did not build these monitors as an act of charity. They were ordered by someone, with the intent of selling them at a much higher price.

When you see a deal like this -- especially if the monitors are actually of better quality than represented in the ad -- it means that someone at a major PC manufacturer ordered a metric assload too many monitors. Why/how did that happen? Does it signal a larger market collapse?

Or, you know, the panels just weren't up to the PC manufacturer's standards. Happens all the time.

Probably signals a market collapse in the last 2years. Dell and co either ordered, or suppliers thought they would order lots of new big screen monitors, so fab lines were setup, components were bought, screens were made.

... and then the world (or at least those who still had jobs ) ... bought tablets.

Yeah, I'm hoping to pick up a generic version of whatever high-res monitor they introduce, if they don't clamp down supply too hard. Windows isn't quite ready for that kind of scaling, though...

re: windows - nonsense. GDI+ has been capable of doing resolution-independent rendering since 2000-ish. I think since vista there have been DPI-settings within easy reach. More recent UI platforms like WPF and silverlight are vector-based and resolution-independent. My primary monitor is 2560x1440 and it looks beautiful.

You missed the part where almost every Windows app breaks at high DPI.

Indeed. Windows apps are resolution-independent in theory, but not in practice. Even the OS itself has a bunch of tie-ins to ancient dialog boxes that have only been incrementally improved and break when you change the DPI.

So when you said "Windows isn't quite ready for that kind of scaling" you meant "some windows apps" or "most windows apps"?

... low price.

I don't always nitpick, but when I do, I go after "cheap prices".

Then that explains the hesitation I felt when I typed that.

I'm curious, why is "low price" wrong?

Low price is correct, cheap price is wrong. Price is implied in the word cheap.

I don't regard that as correct. Cheap can mean multiple things. I can say this fabric has a cheap feel to it. This is a reference to quality. The shirt may have cost me $400, but the workmanship and materials that went into it were of low value. When you say you'll give me a full refund for the shirt but then only give me store credit, I could tell you that your words were cheap.

Yes, this relates back to price in the end, but having a cheap price means you paid a small amount for it. Having a cheap quality means it's worth a small amount, but you might have paid much more for it. Clarifying with the word price gives a very specific meaning. Cheap doesn't always imply price.

"Redundant" is not the same as "wrong".

(To pick a nit on a nit.)

So is there any way to figure out if you're getting an A or an A-?

Ask the group selling the monitors. They'll normally tell you.

As an owner of one I'll toss in my 0.02.

I purchased the Achieva Shimian 27" off of eBay for $290 a few weeks ago. It arrived within 5 days of purchase from Korea. There are no dead pixels or other defects. I hook it up to my macbook pro using: http://www.amazon.com/Monoprice-DisplayPort-Thunderbolt-Dual...

This monitor only accepts dual-DVI input. You can buy the HDMI version for $350 if you want.

Other variations include "pixel perfect" displays. Pixel perfect means they opened the box and there were no dead pixels. 80% of people on hardocp reported no dead pixels.

The stand is definitely a bit wobbly.

For $290--it can't be beat.

To clarify--80% of people who did not order pixel perfect displays received displays with no dead pixels.

"Pixel perfect" displays are ~$50 more.

I was just thinking about what I'd need for a MBA to do this, so thanks for the link!

Annoyingly they are 16:9 which means you lose some vertical resolution versus 16:10. I'm pretty sure I bought the last two displays with 16:10 in this area.

For those who care about colour checkout http://www.hughski.com for a device and http://lwn.net/Articles/499231/ for details. It turns out that manufacturers do ship displays with completely wrong colour calibration (yes I'm looking at you Lenovo).

The dearth of 16:10 monitors available bothers me, but if you're going from 1920x1200 (or less) to 2560x1440, you're still gaining vertical space - you're just gaining more horizontal space. I replaced my 24" 1920x1200 with a Crossover 27Q 27" 2560x1400 and absolutely love it.

Note that you only gain physical vertical space if you also increase the monitor size. eg replacing a 24" with another 24" will lose 11% vertical space even if there are more pixels. Consequently you have to significantly increase the diagonal size in order to get the same (or more) vertical.

You pay another $300 for the 160 pixels (but I guess they are larger pixels!).


But I agree, I much prefer 16:10 and am frustrated they are so much pricier and in shorter supply.

Right on. I think the proximity to φ says it all:

φ = 1.618 16:10 = 1.6 16:9 = 1.777

I'm always amazed by the number of intelligent people who believes in the Golden Ratio Myth. As if some mix between magic and mathematics could explain æsthetics.

You should google : Golden Ratio Myth.

Or if you're lazy : http://goldenratiomyth.weebly.com/index.html http://www.maa.org/devlin/devlin_05_07.html

(Maybe you were just being ironical and funny... but you know.. Poe's axiom and all. Hard to tell apart what's irony and what's misinformation without a smiley ;-) )

It was meant to be a little tongue-in-cheek, I like to poke fun at the mystical math connections as well. I will remember the smiley next time :)

I do prefer the 16:10 monitors though. I recently tried to get a warranty replacement on a 16:10 8-bit IPS monitor from dell, but they kept sending me a monitor with a 16:9 6-bit AFRC panel. Seems that everything Dell offers in the 22" range is a 16:9 now :(

Hmm, I currently have 3 x 24" Samsung monitors and I've been considering the Samsung MD230X6 (6 x 23", 1920 x 1080) but the cost (around $4,000) vs. the $1000 cost of getting 3 x 27" (2560 x 1440) means I'm tempted to try out these "korean" monitors.

My main concern is why are they so cheap. The article mentions that they're displays that companies didn't deem fit to sell, does that mean these are displays that were due to be destroyed and someone is just selling them on, or are they purchased in bulk at a big discount and then being resold? I figure all that matters is if they work and is only $1,000 but I would be much more comfortable purchasing if I knew exactly what their story was.

My understanding is with these 'B stock' parts the big guys will reject an entire batch / production run when the quality drops below a certain threshold. So these companies are probably salvaging the parts and either testing them or just passing the risk onto the consumer.

Some of these are also extremely barebones setups. On one of the models I've read about there's no on screen display, and only 1 input. There's sometimes buttons on the frame but they don't do anything besides power.

That's true of almost every big computer monitor. My HP ZR30w has a couple display port inputs, and the 30" Dells around here have a single DVI connector. Neither have OSDs or support any resolution other than their native.

Dell U2711 has every kind of input known to man (well, the currently popular ones, anyway), has a decent OSD, and supports every common resolution starting from 640x840. The 30" from the same line is no different.

It's probably just your particular Dell models.

That is quite strange, since I've never seen a 30" monitor with any "extra" features, nor have I read a review of one. I assumed it simply wasn't done.

I was very surprised when I got a 30" monitor with more than one input.

the 30" dells you see are the 3007, it just has a dual link DVI input and no OSD. All the newer models 3008 and 3011 have a plethora of inputs: 2x DVI 1x DP 1x HDMI 1x VGA etc

That's interesting.

My 27" Dell is covered in ports (5 inputs of all kinds, USB, CFCard, SDCard, you name it...) and has a pretty fancy OSD to go with the 5 physical buttons and 6 LEDs.

Granted, I don't actually use any of the ports other than DVI and USB, so it has always seemed a bit overkill to me.

If you would have read the article you're commenting on, you would know that the buttons do work. It was just a case of Jeff Atwood (unintentionally) spreading lies.

Some do; some don't. Source: both of my flatmates have bought these screens; the buttons don't work on any of them (and nor do any but the DVI inputs). It's not like it really matters (after seeing these things I'm saving my pennies to grab a couple myself :)!), but the quality and functionality does differ from manufacturer to manufacturer (and from batch to batch internally - 2 of the 3 can overclock to a 120Hz refresh rate, the other can't).

They're being sold at a price which guarantees a (probably good) profit. To compete on that market you basically need a name. Rather than trying to invest lots of money in marketing and try to "compete" with LG/Samsung/etc those guys prefer to sell them "cheaper" for a profit.

You may like the Asus PA248Q. IPS, 24" 1920 x 1200, for $339.

I bought a PA238Q a while back, and I use it now as my second monitor. It has incredibly bad persistence... like 20 to 30 seconds of afterimage when I move a window full of text out of the way. Plus the backlight bleed on a black screen is pretty bad.

The PA248Q is a completely different monitor from the PA238Q.

Also, try adjusting the Trace Free function.

Yeah, you wouldn't think so though, given the one-digit difference in name and the way they place it right next to the PA248Q in their marketing materials. That's marketing departments for you, I guess.

Thanks for the tip on Trace Free. It does something for sure.

You are not the only person to get confused by ASUS names, so I quite sympathize.

Someone I know nearly bought what they thought was a great deal on an IPS screen only to be off by a single character.

It was VS228H-P vs VS229H-P

Who names these things?

>why are they so cheap

Maybe they are made by slaves in North Korea underthe work exchange program they have...

EDIT: downvoted, but I was being serious... Maybe they are using labor such as that to make these. I dont know I cant think of another reason they are so cheap - unless they see an opportunity to steal the market by dropping margins and getting these to go in high volume ove rthe next months/year...

Kaesong Industrial Region area is run by Hyundai Asan (Hyundai is a big group of companies and Asan is not really connected to the Motors side). Kaesong mostly produces low-end, low-tech manufactured goods (think toothbrushes and plastic toys). Hyundai Asan is not run by idiots and there is no way they would put anything in North Korea that would allow North Korea to mass produce high-end, techncial goods like IPS displays. Some manufacturing is done by Chinese companies near the northern DPRK border but it is mainly stuff that requires human machines (labour is cheaper in North Korea than China!). Think, textiles and basket weaving. Power is even imported from China there and North Korea provides almost nothing to businesses except access to a limited labour supply.

Your post is conspiratorial and wrong. I know people who have worked at Kaesong (note that Kaesong has also been mostly closed for the last 3 years). Wages may be extremely low but anything that gets more food and money into North Korea while remaining outside the control of the government is a good thing. People can't fight tyranny when they are fighting to not starve to death.

It's not a question to be tossed aside, but I don't think the evidence would bear it. For one thing, nothing made in DPRK is going to be sold through South Korea. They're at war still, not trading and communicating with each other.

Secondly, while DPRK has a lot of people in labor camps, they're starving and their education level is comparable to 4th grade. I don't think you can get exacting standards of quality out of starved forced laborers, but even if you could, you'd still be dealing with the complete lack of a supply chain in North Korea. There are plenty of countries in the area with established supply chains and populations experienced at making these kinds of things, but DPRK isn't one of them.

Third, there just isn't a lot coming out of DPRK in the first place. I've heard of paper flowers made in their labor camps being exported to China and Japan, but in general the trade situation is pretty much a trickle.

It's possible, and there are certainly people around better informed than me, but it doesn't sound like the best or most plausible explanation to me.

Quite a number of South Korean companies have set up shop in Kaesong Industrial Park, right over the DMZ in North Korea. There's 100+ factories employing more than 40,000 workers. There's buses going across to South Korea every day, though obviously they get cut off in times of tension. I don't think LG does anything directly at Kaesong, but there's certainly other electronics manufacturing going on there: 13 firms in total produced $59 million of electronics at Kaesong in 2010. Of some relevance to this discussion, Magic Micro has been making lamp assemblies for LCD monitors there since 2006. In short, it's not just canvas sacks and artificial flowers coming out of labour camps. http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/RL34093.pdf

No doubt, in any supply chain, the highest value-added steps are not occuring in Kaesong. As pointed out by others, labour costs can't explain the difference of hundreds of dollars on these monitors and so samstave's guess is likely wrong (though I don't think he deserves to be downvoted into oblivion). But companies don't decide to locate at Kaesong for cost reasons anyway; rather, they're there for nationalistic reasons about promoting reunification. The factories there apparently don't even break even in the absence of South Korean government subsidies, and the future of those subsidies is uncertain: http://koreajoongangdaily.joinsmsn.com/news/article/article....

(Another slightly more complex point is that companies manufacturing products at Kaesong likely have to accept lower margins on them --- exporting them runs into sanctions issues in many countries, meaning they have to be sold in the domestic market --- but I doubt that's what's going on here to make these monitors so cheap either).

For those who are interested in this kind of stuff, the blog http://www.nkeconwatch.com/ makes good reading

Absolutely fantastic info, thanks!

NK is doing some textiles work for South Korea. Textiles is always one of the first things industrialising countries do, because it's only labor intensive.

How likely is it that low skilled manual labor is the highest cost factor in high tech manufacturing of things like monitors.

Well, look at it this way: Where are such things generally made, and why are they generally made there?

> Compared to the cost of buying chips or making sure that you have a plant that can turn out thousands of these things a day or being able to get strengthened glass cut exactly right within, you know, two days of this thing being due, that’s what’s important. Labor is almost insignificant. What is really important are supply chains and flexibility of factories. You want to be able to be located right next to the plant that makes the screws so that when you need a small change to that screw factory, you can go next door and say, “Give it to me in six hours,” and they can say, “Here you go.” Because if that factory was in another state or on another continent, it would take two weeks. It’s the flexibility within the Chinese manufacturing system, that’s what you can do in Asia that you can’t do in the United States.

-- Charles Duhigg, the NYT reporter who wrote the iEconomy piece on Apple’s supply chain and the reason the tech giant doesn’t produce its devices in the U.S.

I'm familiar with this line of reasoning, but I find it unsatisfying and I suspect it's really more of an apologia for American corporate power than a sound history.

Manufacturing was absolutely galloping into China before this sort of tight inter-company integration was even a gleam in anyone's eye, and there's no obvious reason such integration couldn't have developed elsewhere -- except for the labor issues.

The integration that's now heralded as the reason for moving manufacturing to China seems self-evidently a product of such movements to me.

It doesn't seem far-fetched to imagine that manufacturing initially moved to China because of the cheap labor, but that it's stayed there because of the supply chain advantages. Labor in China isn't cheap as it once was, scrutiny of conditions is heightened, and domestic labor isn't as expensive as it once was either.

> why are they generally made there?

Because every dollar counts, especially in massive quantities. But don't kid yourself, the difference between manufacturing in volume in China vs US is just a few dollars per unit. Certainly not enough to explain a difference in price of hundreds of dollars.

That's not really pertinent. The point is that the difference between using slave labor or using the abundant low-skilled cheap labor force is minimal. It might possibly swing the price of the product by tens of dollars, but there's no way it would swing the price by hundreds. Labor is already one of the cheapest expenses in manufacturing, going to slavery isn't going to change it that much if at all.

How much labor is involved in making a monitor? The expensive part is the panel, and they are buying those from Samsung or LG.

Apple and Dell probably sell 27" and 30" monitors at a premium because they don't move many units, and the people that need them have the money to buy them. Some Korean company realized they could sell the same panels on eBay for $300 and still make a profit, so they did.

I'm not the downvoter, but since we can't know either way, is it of significance when making a purchasing decision?

No, but the question by the OP was "how" are they doing this... I was speculating.

A friend of mine bought one recently, and it arrived yesterday... his comments were along the lines of 'Build quality is not as good as Dell, but passable, and it's a third of the price'. He found a calibration file and seems very happy with the purchase.

The common brands to search for are the Yamakasi Catleap and (to a lesser extent) the Shimian QH270.

I haven't seen the Yamakasi's or the Achieva Shimian's in person, but I have a Crossover 27Q and the monitor housing is sturdy metal and the stand is sturdy as well. Still overall very lightweight.

I wish that they were still making 4:3 LCDs. I like having 3 side by side, and I currently have that setup with 3 20" 1600x1200 monitors, but at some point I'll want to upgrade to something with higher pixel density. My concern is that with new wide screen displays, things will span too wide horizontally to be usable.

Put three screens in portrait and never look back.

It would be nice if sizes could be standardized in some way that I could have one large landscape monitor flanked by a couple of smaller ones in portrait, without looking lame.

    |     |            |     |
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A series paper size inspired aspect ratios would be amazing.

For those of you who don't know, the ratio of sides on A-series paper (A4, etc) is 1:sqrt(2), which means that if you put together 2 sheets of A4 with the long edges touching, you get the next size up, which would be A3.

Two rotated 19" 1600x900s flanking a 2560x1600 30" monitor looks like your diagram.

I have 2x 17" 1280x1024 and 1x 1920x1080. It's not perfect, but it's a pretty good match to your diagram.

Doesn't it bother you that the color and brightness change from one side of the screen to the other? I've had that problem with every LCD I've tried.

Stop buying TN panels then.

Me too - I'm buying ex-lease high end Dell 1600x1200 IPS screens because using 3x24" 16:9 is like watching a tennis match - you are constantly twisting your neck from left to right

I've heard some great things about the Yamasaki Catleap, another cheap 27".

I might be ordering one of them soon.

The vast majority of the receivers have received perfect screens and been really happy with their purchase it seems, check out the reports in the table here: http://www.overclock.net/t/1225919/yamakasi-catleap-monitor-...

I've been loving mine! My co-worker also enjoys this same monitor as well.

The guy in the article mentions having trouble figuring out how to change the brightness using the non-OSD controls.

As great as LCD monitors are, the one thing I miss about CRT's is having an analogue brightness control. It made it really convenient to adjust the monitor at night.

(Also, I miss not having blue LED's and touch-sensitive controls. They really need to force designers to read Don Norman's book).

Blue LEDs are an evil scourge upon electronics. Most especially on alarm clocks.

I got the Auria EQ276W from Microcenter for 400+tax last week. Fantastic purchase. Includes Displayport, HDMI, DVI-D, and VGA ports. Colors are vivid, and I don't believe I have any dead/stuck pixels. Mine has minor backlight bleed, but probably not more than the $700+ Apple and Dell displays.

Anyone looking for a high-quality review of the panel, check out http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/reviews/dgm_ips-2701wph.htm. The Pro/Con conclusion is at the very bottom of the page. I cannot recommend tftcentral enough as a monitor review site.

I rock the Cinema Display, but would seriously consider one or two of these as secondary displays. Of course, it the mooted third party Thunderbolt breakout boxes actually show up (and work), the economics change for me.

Jeff Atwood got some, doesn't look like it worked out well:

"two of the 27" Korean $350 s-ips monitors arrived. They are amazing panels, but lack of hardware brightness control may be a showstopper." https://twitter.com/codinghorror/status/224213213649190913

"beautiful S-IPS panels but no hardware LED backlight brightness control times 3 is untenable. Oh well, experiment over." https://twitter.com/codinghorror/status/224217599746117632

Article mentions that on 3rd page:


tl;dr; buttons work, just no OSD.

"Armed with a sense of how the buttons worked, I was soon adjusting the display brightness up and down, as well. I was able to dim the display to an acceptable level for the cave-like Damage Labs, and it wasn't even at the lowest possible setting."

I've been researching these lately as well and I've found the Crossover 27Q LED to be the best build quality and the nicest casing.

Quite tempted to snap one of these up before they get popular and drive the price up..

I've got a 27Q and it is excellent. The housing is metal, the stand is solid (if lacking in adjustment, but other models offer more adjustment - I replaced it with an Ergotron MX arm). It's very basic - just a DVI port. Crossover has multiple models offering different stands and different connectivity options. The major unknown at this point is longevity, but other than that I would recommend this without reservation.

I have an Ergotron MX arm (one of the best purchases I ever made) supporting a 23" ViewSonic and I was planning to get one of these 27" monitors. How well do these arms support monitors that big?

I have the Crossover 27Q and the Ergotron MX works perfectly with it.

These require 2 DVI connectors, right? Is there a similar one with HDMI? [E: ok.. it seems like 1 dual-link DVI, so-- can you simply use a basic HDMI-DVI socket converter as used on many video cards if you want to plug in an HDMI source?]

Also appear to be glossy, care to comment on your impressions of that aspect?

The last thing I would compromise on with my set up is the monitor. After all, I'll be staring into this thing every day for at least two years if not more.

No TN-Panel. No glare. I also refuse to buy a 16:9 monitor.

I like my vertical pixels as much as the next guy, but unless you are doing a lot of drawing work (and therefore really need a circle to look like a circle), I have a hard time seeing why one would not give a little on this.

You've got $300. You can either get a 1920x1200 display, or you can get a 2560x1440 display. If somehow there was another choice with a 2560x1600, I'm going to be strongly tempted to go with the 2560x1400 display unless it has some annoying display quality issues.

Even if you have more money, it'd be tempting to consider getting 2 of the 2560x1400 instead of one 2560x1600.

Basing your display decisions by the price is like basing your car buying decisions on the monthly payment. Displays are some of the sturdiest, longest lasting piece of the system, and it's the part of the computer you most interact with, unless you are blind. My single 27" LG is 6 years old and has gone through 3.5 computers in that time.

In that regard, you've got $300 right now for a monitor, in 2 months you'll have $500. If it's possible to get a good monitor right now for $300 then I'd go for it. If I can't find anything that fits me (IPS, 16:10 are critical) I'd rather wait.

> Basing your display decisions by the price is like basing your car buying decisions on the monthly payment.

I'd say it really isn't like that, but to the extent it is... buying a nicer car that gets repossessed in 3 months isn't really a great idea, so that monthly payment is a pretty important factor.

> My single 27" LG is 6 years old and has gone through 3.5 computers in that time.

How much did it cost when you bought it? What would the replacement cost be?

Nevermind the issue of how quickly display interfaces seem to be evolving these days...

> In that regard, you've got $300 right now for a monitor, in 2 months you'll have $500.

So, it's a purchase that lasts for years, but you only save up for it for... 3 months?

> If it's possible to get a good monitor right now for $300 then I'd go for it. If I can't find anything that fits me (IPS, 16:10 are critical) I'd rather wait.

Hey, you should never buy equipment sooner than you need it. The presumption is that you need to buy a monitor now, not later. If you don't need to buy a monitor now, the smart play is pretty much always not to buy one now.

> really need a circle to look like a circle

Why wouldn't a circle look like a circle in both places? All pixels are square these days, yes?

> All pixels are square these days, yes?

I honestly don't know, but I had presumed that since displays had different pixel densities yet were otherwise the same size, and particularly given how multicolor LCD displays are implemented, we still have silliness with rectangular pixels. Am I wrong?

I have long felt similarly to you (minus the "no glare" part), but I bought a Crossover 27Q and have been thrilled by it.

I spent $800 on a high-quality 24" 1920x1200 BenQ about 5 years ago, and now it's playing 2nd fiddle to my 27".

As a programmer, it really bothers me that 16:10 is all but dead. However, when you go from a 1920x1200 to a 2560x1440 monitor, you're not losing vertical space - you're just gaining more horizontal space than vertical.

My other huge gripe is anti-glare coating. If you are in control of your lighting, AG coating does not benefit you - it just blurs the picture. A screen with no AG coating gives a crystal clear image.

The BenQ FP241W was one of the best rated & reviewed monitors when it was released. I'm thrilled to replace it with a "cheap" Korean monitor, and look forward to replacing it completely by adding a 2nd Crossover next to my current one. The big issue with the new monitor is longevity - my BenQ is still running perfectly, I hope I can say the same for the Crossover in 5+ years.

Sadly, not a good monitor review (from the likes of say Anandtech). If you're going to do a qualitative review, you need to check color accuracy, tracking, gamut, etc.

I think it can already be taken for granted that if you are concerned about color accuracy, gamut, et al, these are not the panels for you.

Plenty of people are concerned about specifics when buying any tech product without buying the most expensive product. I'm concerned about specifications and benchmarks when I buy a graphics card, it doesn't mean I want the best possible, it just means I can judge quality vs. cost.

They could be - lots of monitors, and especially IPS panels, do well when calibrated. The review is somewhat akin to saying a computer "boots Windows quickly" without ever mentioning the CPU clock speed or hard drive, but complaining the glossy front picks up finger prints and it doesn't fit under your desk nicely. Those may be important, but they aren't quantitative. This review falls into the same trap: adjusting color via on monitor controls and saying the color is "good" is not in any way a reasonable way to do a monitor review.

I can't wait for "tablets" to be sold as "portable displays" that we can plug into small, low-power general purpose computers. We'll get the resolution of the Apple iPad butwe can use a real keyboard, a better, open-source kernel and we can do real programming without the Apple-style lockdown nonsense.

The title is a little misleading. The "non-budget" diplays are often made in the same place (Asia, not the U.S.), from the same parts, maybe even the same factories, by the same workers.

Big question is do they use LED or CCFL, and are they the cheaper e-IPS? What is their refresh rate, >10ms ?

Says LED on the panel, and they said refresh rate was just fine. Not sure what type of IPS it is, but given the explosion of IPS panels and demand these days I wouldn't be surprised if it was the real thing. $337 isn't cheap, after all.

The explosion of IPS panels is because LG figured out how to make them really cheaply. And those economic, low-quality variants are called e-IPS and I have absolutely no doubt that we're dealing with one here. (Despite the fact that specs on eBay say S-IPS.)

Also, $337 is not only cheap - it's dirt cheap.

$300 for 24'' IPS is cheap. Courtesy of e-IPS, of course. A Dell U2412M would be an example.

A decent 24'' IPS display, say a Dell U2410, will cost $500.

A high-quality 24'' IPS display, say a NEC PA241W, will cost $1000.

A high-quality 27'' IPS display, say a NEC PA271W, costs $1400.

Welcome to the real world.

I've got my eye on the new NEC P232W: 23", $569 - http://www.necdisplay.com/p/desktop-monitors/p232w-bk

That seems crazy since the HP ZR2740w is only ~$100 more.

Obviously, he cared more about quality than size.

smaller and 16:9

yes, 16:9 are cheaper than 16:10

Nope, they are all S-IPS displays. The reasons they're so cheap is because their panels are sourced from rejected Cinema Display and other top quality display batches.

How about comparing to Dell Outlet prices?

I am under the impression that most monitors these days are LED instead of CFL.

Take a look at this: http://www.danawa.com/product/list.html?defSite=DISPLAY&...

Simply take 3 zeros in the price tag to match dollars. There's even 220 dollar display!

Was interested until I got to: "glossy anti-glare coating". I think I'd have just said it was glossy.

there is alot of good information here on various 27" displays from korea. http://www.overclock.net/f/44/monitors-and-displays

Some more discussion of these monitors here: http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/news_archive/26.htm#korean_ips27

the HDCP complaint he lists seems like a feature, not a bug.

Why? An HDCP capable display can show content without HDCP or with HDCP so in what way is one that only supports non HDCP inputs better?

The only benefit is if only a small minority of people have HDCP displays then it makes no commercial sense to mandate HDCP for content. And in my view it is too late for that.

Edit: Note that it wouldn't be a show stopper for me with a product like this but I would regard HDCP support in a monitor to be a benefit.

Edit2: Added missing word to second sentence.

Just wanted to add another item which is that HDCP is completely broken now anyway. The remaining security is mostly the fact that it is bloody hard to handle the massive datarate of the the uncompressed video without custom hardware.

And why bother; almost everything is available in the compressed form (e.g. Blu-ray) more easily accessible if you are trying to access the content.

Just got it! Dead on Arrival, does not work at all. $337 junk. The only thing that woks on this is the piece of shit built in monitor speakers.

OK, so let's bring this hype down to Earth.

For this kind of money this can only be an e-IPS monitor. (The specs on e-bay say S-IPS, but it's certainly a lie.)

For those who don't differentiate between the different variants of IPS, e-IPS is a relatively new thing introduced around 2 years ago (by LG, I believe) and it's a simplified and much cheaper to manufacture version of IPS. Its characteristics are somewhere between TN and IPS.

Apart from the display itself, a monitor's quality is also very much dependent on its electronics. For this kind of money it's obvious they've put the absolute minimum into this thing.

(For a little comparison: I have an old, med-quality 19'' NEC 1990FX monitor and a cheap 23'' HP 2310ti touch monitor. The NEC weighs 9kg, the HP 8kg. How can a smaller monitor be heavier? It's all electronics.)

Same applies to other aspects: you can have no confidence in the monitor's electromagnetic emissions or reliability. And if the power supply fries for some reason in 3 months, don't count on your warranty.

I mean, you didn't believe for a second that a no-name brand that sells in the US purely thru e-bay will honor any kind of warranty, did you?

At least one of the Korean monitors has an identical panel to Apple's Cinema Display, so your claim of e-IPS is false. If you had checked some of the discussions on Overclock.net or HardForum first you would see that this has been proven true by users who have taken the monitors apart.

Secondly, I'm not sure if I agree with your claim that e-IPS is inferior to s-IPS. I read a document before (can't locate it now) implying that e-IPS had similar characteristics. If you can provide a primary source with more information on this, that would be great, and I'll happily agree with you.

And finally, there have been quite a few cases of sellers honoring the warranty. Check the aforementioned forums, or I can provide a direct link if you like.

> if this piece of crap doesn't even have an ability to regulate brightness and contrast

Reread the article. You can adjust brightness just fine, he just wasn't pressing the button down for long enough at first.

Thank you for pointing that out. Corrected.

In your defense, it took the author a few pages to even get to that fact.

Yeah, that was pretty lame. The author is clearly being paid by the word and/or page view, and the quality of the review suffered substantially because of it.

Hastur is being hasty with his FUD, all right, but it's not as if the article was much better.

Yeah, well, I didn't read the review even now and I don't plan to. And the reason is simple:

If something looks waaay too good to be true, it usually is.

$337 for 27'' H-IPS doesn't exist in the real world. They must have cut corners on something - and pretty badly.

...First example already provided in the Disqus guy comment: 30% failure rate in 3 months. I rest my case.

Actually, these are not e-IPS monitors. The panel inside the Catleap variants is a WS LG.Display H-IPS (LM270WQ1). TFT Central has the model number's listed in their database: http://www.tftcentral.co.uk

"The NEC's display must obviously be lighter. So it's all electronics."

It's not always the "electronics", and besides, who says better electronics need to weight more? A few years back, I interviewed with a company that makes high-end blu-ray players. They showed me how they put weights in the cases, so they were heavier, and felt "sturdier" and of higher quality.

There's an old saying that "Americans buy their cars by the pound." I suspect that it is a bit more universal.

Americans buy their cars by cupholders.

And monitors by input ports. ;)

It could also be as simple as the glass on the smaller monitor being marginally thicker.

Using weight as a metric for judging the quality of electronics seems … peculiar.

It's a good metric for power supplies, and not much else.

Not electronics quality but amount.

And from that I drew a (simplified, yes) conclusion that more electronics => more processing => better picture.

But amount tells you nothing, particularly when making comparisons across different generations of electronics. Besides, a lot of electronics can mean shit-ass deinterlacing hardware, or far too complicated OSD functionality, or pointless A/D conversion. None of which has anything to do with build quality or picture quality.

I'd be very surprised if you could tell the difference between a high end GPU processor (for example) which could do all the processing you could imagine without raising a sweat and a DIP AVR package that would have trouble multiplying two floats by weight. Even with those, the majority of the weight is in the ceramic packaging, and not the silicon.

Add in a massive amount of packaging in terms of LCD panel, plastic around it, wiring, screws, and any weight difference you could attribute to electronics horsepower (if there was one to begin with) will be lost in the noise.

These aren't transformers or power supplies, where you want large capacitors and heavy lumps of iron to smooth out ripples in an AC to DC conversion.

How can a smaller monitor be heavier? It's all electronics"

That is so far off it isn't even wrong.

1) Electronics generally become more integrated, reliable and lighter as time passes. This is generally a good thing.

2) On most monitors a significant amount of weight is in the mounting hardware. Some use structured plastic, some use smaller steel parts. One isn't better than the other, but they do weigh different amounts.

I've currently got an e-IPS dell and an IPS catleap from ebay sitting next to each other on my desk, and the catleap is considerably better. Make all the assumptions you want, the fact is that cheap 27" screens from korea can be damn good displays.

Yes lets bring down this hype down to earth without actually having used the product. Classic FUD.

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