Monoprice Brings Affordable IGZO Displays To Market With Their Dark Matter Series

Manufacturer: Monoprice Monoprice Brings Affordable IGZO Displays To Market With Their Dark Matter Series

Monoprice offered us the chance to gaze deeply into their new 27″ Adaptive Sync Dark Matter IGZO display.  They sourced the panel from Sharp, overclocked it to 180Hz and found ways to make this one of the least expensive IGZO-TFT displays you can buy today.

This Dark Matter display is a good choice for professional work as well as gaming thanks to a high refresh rate, 1ms response rate and an impressively wide colour gamut.  It should also appeal to the environmentally conscious as IGZO uses significantly less power than the original TFT displays and the depositing of the indium gallium zinc oxide mix on a substrate like glass or plastic is more effective which results in less waste.  It can also be deposited via Pulsed Laser Deposition which is somewhat less impactful than older methods and more flexible in the substrate materials that can be used as well.

Product Specifications
  • Model Number: Dark Matter 27″ IGZO Monitor (42892)
  • Dimensions: 24.4″ x 18.8″ x 9.3″, 619 x 478 x 237 mm (including stand)
  • Overall Weight: 18.6 lbs, 8.4 kg (including stand)
  • Video Inputs: 1x DisplayPort 1.4a, 3x HDMI 2.0, 1x USB‑C
  • Resolution: 2560 x 1440
  • Maximum Refresh Rate: 180Hz, Adaptive Sync
  • Panel Type: IGZO
  • Panel Model: Sharp LQ270T1JG06
  • Colour depth: 10bit
  • Panel Finish: Matte
  • Maximum Brightness: 400 cd/m2
  • Default Colour Temperature: 6500K
  • Contrast Ratio: 1000:1
  • Number of Colours: More than 16.7 million
  • View Angles: (H/V) 178°/178°
  • Response Time: 1ms (OD)
  • VESA Mounting Pattern” 75 x 75mm
  • Input Power 19 VDC, 3.42A
    • Typical Power Consumption: 37 watts
    • Standby Power Consumption: 0.5 watts
  • Stand Tilt Range: N/A
  • Stand Height Adjustment: N/A
  • Stand Swivel Range: N/A
Manufacturer Description

“The 2560x1440p (QHD) resolution of the Dark Matter 27″ Gaming Monitor provides stunning detail, while IGZO panel technology ensures rich, accurate color reproduction and an ultrafast 1ms response time. The 180Hz refresh rate drives precise and fluid gaming performance, while Adaptive Sync technology eliminates choppy gameplay and broken frames. This monitor also features HDR 400, the display industry’s standard for true 8‑bit image quality, peak luminance of 400cd/m2, higher contrast ratio, and a wider color gamut. Our Dark Matter 27″ Gaming Monitor features an A+ grade panel and, as with all our monitors, is backed by our 1 Year PixelPerfect™ guarantee.”

The Hardware Reveal

The monitor arrived unharmed after the gentle ministrations of Canada Customs thanks to the serious amount of protection Monoprice included inside.  Inside, along with the display, are several bundles of accessories including the power adapter, mounting screws for the included stand or a VESA mount, HDMI and a USB-C cable, which can be used as an input or to charge compatible devices.

The mount is solid metal and is one of the first areas you get a look at how Monoprice kept the costs of the Dark Matter 27″ IGZO display.  Instead of clip together plastic you are provided with screws to attach the stand to the display and it lacks any swivel, vertical or tilt adjustments.  If that proves uncomfortable for you, the VESA mount will work with a separately purchased stand.  As far as a cost reduction choice, the stand is solid and does exactly what it needs to do.

There is also no audio incorporated into the display, again a great way to lower cost without impacting the quality of the monitor.  The cut outs you can see on the back do glow bright red with the default settings, proving not even Monoprice is immune to RGB-itis.

Everyone Needs An OSD

The OSD controller is another example of the choices Monoprice did to make the 27″ Dark Matter IGZO display affordable, and it is locate on the back of the display, it is also the only button on the display.  The circular controller can be depressed to turn the monitor off and on and pressed on the sides to activate and navigate the OSD.  Pressing the right, bottom, left or top sides once brings up the OSD guide on the lower right, pressing one of the directions again will toggle you through the options; pressing to the right again brings up an interface covering all the options.

IZGO OSD

Smash That Button

Clicking down twice on the OSD button toggles you through the seven presets, with the usual suspects such as movie, RTS, sRGB and Standard.  Standard was the setting used in this review, as calibrating it in other modes seems to reduce the available colour gamut.  To the left you will find a way to toggle your RGB between full and limited, if you prefer what is hidden in the dark to be more mysterious.  Press upwards to toggle through red and green crosshairs, press to the left to turn them off.  If you dare to press right then you will be presented with the full power of the Monoprice Dark Matter OSD.

OSD Options

Give Me A Home, Where All Options Do Roam

Pressing to the right, twice, reveals all the possible options available to you on this display.  The usual suspects appear, Input Source, Brightness, Contrast, Black Level and Dynamic Contrast Ratio.  Picture Quality includes Gamma, Saturation, Hue, Colour Temp and Blue Light adjustment as well as another way to toggle between the display modes.  The Display section allows you to toggle the red backglow on, off or to flicker while Audio lets you chose the source to pass through to an analogue headset, if you chose to add one.

Next up is a way to split the monitor into multiple displays, either a PIP of varying sizes or a proper PBP window split.  The scaling on PBP is a little interesting but certainly usable.  You can specify the input source of either mode you choose easily, once you’ve enabled multiple displays.   There are also controls to change the position, transparency and timing of the OSD but it is the last option which contains the missing elements.

Under Other you can toggle Adaptive Sync and HDR on and off, enable Type-C functionality and turn on Gravity Induction.  We are not quite sure what that last one does, but we have asked.

Enough With The Details, How Does It Look?

You might think that showing the quality, or lack thereof, of a display is easy, but it is anything but.  The camera doesn’t truly capture a pixel to pixel image and once uploaded and displayed on a different monitor what you see ain’t what you get.  That said, an attempt shall be made to give you a glance at what the Dark Matter IGZO display can do.  First off is a look at the colour gamut the display can handle, once calibrated with a Datacolor SpyderX Pro.  It is quite impressive for a monitor at this price point, noticeably outperforming my main Dell S3220DGF 32″ VA display in all four colour spaces.

Side By Side Comparison

To attempt to give you a better comparison, here is a macro shot of the Dell display on the top, the Monoprice on the bottom.  The two displays were both calibrated with the same SpyderX Pro, but as you can see the IGZO display simply looks brighter than the VA panel.  This is because there is far less obstruction between the pixels and your eyes thanks to how IGZO works.  You also can’t knock that pixel density, it looks great when gaming and when dealing with spreadsheets or Teams meetings.  It is possible that with a little more TLC, those numbers could creep closer to 100%.

VA top, IZGO bottom

Screenshots?  Sure Thing!

Take a peek at some Red Dead Redemption screenshots, especially the edges of light and dark sections as well as the details still visible in the shadows.  There is also an quick video showing a Total War Warhammer III map, which gives a worst case scenario on how text will look when scrolling quickly.  The game still needs a fair amount of optimization, tending to top out barely above 60fps even on a 6800 XT, in other games capable of approaching the 180Hz limit of this display. You can also try pausing the recording which is scrolling through text to see what you think.   Any way you slice it, 1ms response and 180Hz looks rather nice to these eyes.

In Conclusion

You made it to the end … or you skipped straight here in the hopes of getting a score and a definitive recommendation on whether to buy the Monoprice 27″ Dark Matter IGZO display.  Well, the journey here contains all the details, this is merely a summary of what we saw along the way.

The price Monoprice is charging for this monitor is somewhat higher than your average 27″ 1440p display which features Adaptive Sync and a high refresh rate.  If those are your only needs then perhaps it is not worth the extra money to upgrade from an IPS or VA panel to an IGZO-TFT display.  Then again, most of those displays top out around 165Hz at most, whereas this one can hit 180Hz, with the proper hardware driving it, if that is worth an extra $100 or so to you.

If those features above are just part of what you need however, suddenly this Dark Matter becomes a much better deal.  IGZO is rare these days outside of OLED panels and you can easily pay more than twice that for a display with similar specifications.  The visual quality of the display is noticeably superior to the VA panel I usually use, the contrast and overall responsiveness is unquestionable.  There is also the fact that even with this pixel density and brightness, it sips energy at 37 watts under full power, since the majority of display seem to post their power usage at 200 nits not the full 400 nits they are capable of, not to mention this displays lack of a backlight.

The stand might not be sufficient for your needs, but the extra price for a proper VESA arm is not much to ask and provides better adjustment capabilities than even the fancy stands packaged with other gaming displays.  It does add a bit of cost to the $350 you already spent, but will still be far less than you’d spend on other IGZO displays.

For usage mixed between business and pleasure, or for those that take the time to check out the environments in your game, it is honestly hard to beat the Monoprice Dark Matter IGZO 27″ display.  This may change as more companies adopt IGZO-TFT, but for now Monoprice is your best bet.

Review Disclosures

This is what we consider the responsible disclosure of our review policies and procedures.

How Product Was Obtained

The product is on loan from Monoprice for the purpose of this review.

What Happens To Product After Review

The product remains the property of Monoprice but may be on extended loan for future testing and product comparisons.

Company Involvement

Monoprice had no control over the content of the review and was not consulted prior to publication.

PC Perspective Compensation

Neither PC Perspective nor any of its staff were paid or compensated in any way by Monoprice for this review.

Advertising Disclosure

Monoprice has not purchased advertising at PC Perspective during the past twelve months.

Affiliate Links

This article contains affiliate links to online retailers. PC Perspective may receive compensation for purchases through those links.

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About The Author

Jeremy Hellstrom

Call it K7M.com, AMDMB.com, or PC Perspective, Jeremy has been hanging out and then working with the gang here for years. Apart from the front page you might find him on the BOINC Forums or possibly the Fraggin' Frogs if he has the time.

18 Comments

  1. willmore

    This is a very tempting purchase! I wish I had been aware of it before I bought the Acer EI272UR, but I’ve been pretty happy with it for the $268 I paid for it.

    Great review, Jeremy!

    Reply
    • willmore

      Any idea where you can download a manual for it?

      Reply
      • Jeremy Hellstrom

        If I ever find one, I’ll let you know.

        Reply
        • willmore

          Thanks!

          Reply
  2. psuedonymous

    Has someone been suckered by marketing?
    IGZO just refers the the deposited transparent electrode on one side of the panel, not a particular panel technology (e.g. you could have an IPS panel using IGZO or an IPS panel that uses ZnO or a-Si for one electrode, an MVA panel that uses IGZO or an AMVA panel that uses Zno, etc). Most panels manufactured in the last few years use IGZO for the transparent electrode.

    Reply
    • Jeremy Hellstrom

      I don’t claim omniscience or even much in the way of intelligence, but unless you are including the mobile market, a-Si TFT or IZGO is still rather rare outside of OLED displays.

      What I do know is that this monitor, which I am using at this moment, looks noticeably better to me than my VA or TN monitors. YMMV.

      Reply
    • Sebastian Peak

      You are mistaken if you believe that IGZO panels are not a different technology. The structure has more in common with AMOLED than IPS or VA. Sharp has information on this – and they behind the mass production of this panel type – at this link.

      And here is a look at Sharp’s IGZO structure – as you can see this is not a traditional RGB stripe:

      Sharp IGZO Structure

      Reply
      • willmore

        Sebastian, that image is how the IGZO is formed into a crystal structure vs an amorphous material. It has nothing to do with the RGB emission of the pannels. They just used red, green, and blue to color the atoms by type as they’re usually easily differentiable colors.

        OP is correct in that IGZO is not a type of display in the way that TN, IPS, VA, etc. are display types. It’s a type of display in the sense that it’s how the Thin Film Transistors (TFT) which control the pixels are formed. Traditional TFTs are made with amorphous materials which don’t have particularly good properties. IGZO makes *much* better transistors which allows them to take up less space which allows the pixels to take more of the space. You can see this in the image Jeremy posted entitled comparison.png. There is a noticable screen door look to the traditional pannel which you don’t see in the IGZO pannel.

        OP points out that many modern pannels use IGZO for the transparent conductors, but this pannel uses it for the switching transistors as well.

        All that said, I looked at the monoprice page for this monitor and it claims that it’s an IPS display. The viewing angles seem to bear this out.

        Reply
        • Jeremy Hellstrom

          I was considering mentioning the complete lack of a manual with the full details, but that is par for the course for Monoprice.

          The updated close up isn’t going well. need a better solution

          Reply
          • willmore

            Yeah, I requested a manual from them yesterday, but no reply even though they said they’d reply the next business day.

            Got any scale for that photo?

            Reply
            • Jeremy Hellstrom

              much less than a banana …. it’s the macro camera of an A71 pressed up against the monitor

              Reply
  3. willmore

    FWIW, it’s much cheaper at monoprice.com. Not sure if you have an affiliate link for them, but it’s $280 there.

    Reply
    • Jeremy Hellstrom

      that link is in the price part

      Reply
      • willmore

        Ahh, okay, you labeled it with the list price and not the current sale price. That’s why it didn’t register. I was thinking of the Amazon link near the end of the article.

        Reply
  4. Ignatius J reilly

    Thanks to the podcast review (and the subsequent research it led to) I’ve been using this monitor for two days and couldn’t be happier (at least as far as monitors are concerned). Colors/viewing angles are a revelation coming from a 165Hz TN panel, and while contrast can’t match the LG C8 OLED in my living room it’s a huge leap from the TN panel (and even noticeably better than the 32″ 4k IPS on my workstation). More than impressive enough (I always have some room light on) to show shadow detail and avoid that cloudy haze on dark/night scenes. Very uniform as well with no bleed or hot spots. Showed up in Nvidia settings as G-sync compatible right away, no problems.
    I don’t know how more expensive current monitors compare but I can’t find fault with this one for my use and $279.99 from Monoprice is nuts good.

    Thanks Jeremy and crew!

    Reply
    • Jeremy Hellstrom

      Glad to hear it, I honestly already miss it for working, though I do like my larger 32″ for gaming.

      Reply
  5. Adam

    I figured out what Gravity Induction is! The monitor will autorotate for horizontal and vertical orientations. It seems gravity induction is the system telling the monitor which orientation it is in. Problem is, it’s pretty wonky for vertical, so I just disabled it.

    Reply
    • Jeremy Hellstrom

      LOL, so autorotate with a fancy name.

      Reply

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