An International Affair
While I, after much deliberation, ordered the Achieva Shimian QH270-Lite monitor, it is by no means the most popular of these Korean displays.
Here's some common information about all of these displays
- All of these seem to be using the same LG LM270WQ1 27" panel
- Base models will only feature a single Dual-Link DVI input, and power. Higher end models are available with things such as DisplayPort or HDMI, but they may introduce more input lag
- Only models with multiple display inputs will feature an On-Screen Display for adjusting things like Contrast and Color.
- My display successfully displayed resolutions under 2560×1440 from my MacBook and a Windows 7 Machine, although the image was stretched to fill the entire display. However your mileage may vary, especially with things like HDMI to DVI adapters and noncomputer devices.
- These monitors use an external power brick with a Korean plug. Some eBay sellers include power adapters to cope with this, but you can just replace the wall cable with a standard American cable (such as the ones found on power supplies and other monitors.)
While all of these variants have these features in common, there are differences between each brand:
Far and away, the most popular brand for these monitors is the Yamakasi Catleap Q270.
The main reason for the initial excitement about this monitor is because of an ability to "overclock" some models to accept an input above 60 Hz, however we'll get to that later.
Other than overclocking, the differences I have found between monitors from different manufacturers in this segment has been the housing. The Catleap comes with a swivel and tilt monitor stand, however the popular opinion on forums seems to be that the stand is wobbly at times and leaves a lot to be desired. The stand on the Catleap can be removed to reveal a VESA mount, however you actually have to take off the back panel of the monitor to accomplish this.
There are 5 different versions of this monitor currently being sold. Buyers have the choice of models with or without speakers, and with or without tempered glass covering the face of the monitor. There is also a higher end model, which starts at about $400, with DVI, HDMI, and VGA inputs (also includes speakers, but not glass.)
The Crossover 27Q LED is what most people would probably consider to be the third most popular of these Korean displays.
The Crossover is most similar to the Shimian, but it is said that the build quality of the monitor itself and the stand are significantly better than it's siblings. However you pay for this build quality increase, as the Crossover is generally found to be about $50 more expensive than the Shimian.
There is also another really interesting product available from Crossover, the 27Q-P LED. The main difference with this monitor is that it has a stand which allows the display to be rotated into portrait mode. This seems to be the only model of these 1440p monitors that does this, and can be found for a $20 premium over the base Crossover 27Q.
If you are weary of things like eBay and international shipping, there are a couple of alternatives that we have found so far that are sold directly in the US:
1. HP ZR2740w
Earlier this year, HP released a new SIPS monitor lineup, including what was the first "value" 27" high resolution display we had seen.
The ZR2740W seems to use the same LG panel as the Korean monitors, but includes a DisplayPort input along with the Dual-Link DVI connection. As this monitor costs more, with a street price of around $650, you can expect things like better build quality over the Korean monitors. Other perks of the HP include a built-in 4 Port USB 2.0 Hub, a 3 year limited warranty, and a standard US power connection.
As is consistent with the other displays we have mentioned so far, the HP also does not include a OSD for things like tuning color settings directly from the monitor itself.
2. Auria EQ276W
For those of you who are still interested in the price of the Korean displays, but don't want to try to import one from eBay, there is the Auria EQ276W.
A commenter in a previous news post linked us to this item description at Micro Center, depicting a 27" 1440p monitor being sold in the states for $400. Googling this display brings up a few forum posts with people having successfully purchased this monitor, however I have been watching the page for several weeks and have not seen it in stock.
This display seems to be the closest to the Crossover out of the options I have seen, and is said to feature VGA, DVI, and HDMI inputs.
It is possible that Micro Center imported a small batch of these monitors as a test, and are waiting for feedback about carrying it as a regular item. Regardless, if these monitors DO come back into stock, they will be a in-store item only, so those without a local Micro Center need not apply.