A 27-inch 2560×1440 display with a high-quality panel can set you back almost $1000. It doesn’t have to, though: The QNIX QX2710 can be found on eBay from South Korea for a fraction of that price, at around $320-$350. What sort of screen do you get for that money? Let’s find out.
The full model name of this South Korean monitor is QX2710LED Evolution II SE. The no-name brand company is a bit of a ghost, but they do use 27-inch Samsung-made WQHD PLS panels in their products. Very briefly, let’s go over some of the QX2710’s key features: it accepts Dual-link DVI input, has a viewing angle of 178 degrees, consumes 45W while operational and 0.5W in standby. It also boasts a contrast ratio of 1000:1, brightness of 300cd/m2, a 6 millisecond response time, and a native 60Hz refresh rate, although it can be overclocked to support 120Hz.
To understand just how cheap the QX2710 is, let’s look at some of the top-selling 27-inch monitors you can find on Amazon today. All have the same panel size, and all support the same 2560×1440 resolution.
The Apple Thunderbolt Display MC914LL/B has an LED-backlit IPS panel, comes with 3 USB 2.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, a FireWire 800 port, and a Thunderbolt port, too. It costs $950.
The Dell UltraSharp U2713H boasts “stunning color performance” as well as a host of ports (USB 3.0, DisplayPort 1.2, mini-DisplayPort, DVI-DL, HDMI). It can be had for $799.
Finally, the CROSSOVER 27QW seems like an exact duplicate of the very screen I am reviewing. Just like the QNIX QX2710, the Crossover ships from South Korea by Fedex or EMS, doesn’t have any fancy ports, and accepts Dual-link DVI. It costs $314, and mainly serves to show that there’s nothing special about the QNIX QX2710 specifically. This is just a review of a generic inexpensive South Korean monitor that can be had under many different names and brands for similar prices.
What You Get
You get pixels. Lots and lots of pixels. But before we get to those, let’s talk about packaging and exterior trim.
The monitor came well-packed, in two nested boxes. It made the trip from South Korea and arrived unscathed, with even the inner retail box looking in good condition. In the box, I found the monitor itself, as well as a power cable, a Dual-link DVI cable (which later proved instrumental), and an audio cable for the screen’s tiny 5W built-in speakers.
These buttons work, but don’t expect an on-screen display to show you what you’re doing.
Trim is where the monitor’s price really shows: It feels like a high-quality display panel crammed into the absolute cheapest plastic casing that could be made. It’s not just a matter of taste, but has practical ramifications, too. The monitor comes with VESA mounting holes, but it also comes with a protruding plastic stem that plugs into an included base.
That’s what the stem looks like, removed from the monitor
If you want to mount the monitor using the VESA holes, you’re not going to want that stem peeking out the bottom. Unfortunately, removing that stem is a comical ordeal. You have to unscrew the front panel, pop it off the monitor (yes, really), then release the latches holding the display panel in place, and finally, unscrew the mounting stem from inside. Needless to say, any sort of warrant you had on the screen would be null and void by the time you’re done with this. Still, I went ahead and did this, capturing most of the exciting process on video as you can see above. I didn’t break the screen, thank you for asking.
Mounting the screen served to remind me again of its cheap quality: The VESA mounting holes are so shallow, the screws that came with my LX Dual monitor arm from Ergotron wouldn’t fit all the way in. Even screwed in as much as they’d go, so much thread remained outside of the hole, that the screen was shaky. I solved this by using nuts as thick washers.
With the stem removed and the monitor securely mounted on my workstation, it was time to plug it in. This is where I discovered one of the pitfalls of a Dual-DVI link: It is very sensitive to noise. I first tried connecting the monitor to my computer using a 10-meter cable (due to the structure of my workstation, I wanted a long cable). This resulted in lots of noise and image artifacts on the monitor, making it basically unusable.
I then switched to a shorter cable (Dual-link DVI as well, of course), and the issue became even worse: It was so bad, no image displayed on the screen, but only geometric color patterns strangely reminiscent of modern art. Fun, but not so useful.
The Dual-link DVI cable that came with the monitor saved the day: I plugged it into my monitor and my GeForce 660’s Dual-link DVI port, turned the screen on, and presto. I got a crystal-clear, sharp view of my desktop at 2560×1440. It was a glorious moment.
Here is what truly matters: This display is very, very good. Colors pop; the screen is fast and responsive. Everything is pin-sharp, and there’s more than room enough for two or three windows on the screen at any given time.
Watching movies on the QNIX QX2710 is an immersive experience. Color reproduction is very good, blacks are indeed black, and nothing feels overly blown out. Text is smooth and crisp, and images show graduated tones I hadn’t noticed on a previous monitor.
Yes, getting it to work was an adventure, but in the end, what I am left with is a killer 27-inch monitor that cost far less than anything I would get locally. When you buy a monitor like this, you know there are going to be some trade-offs. Fortunately, all of the trade-offs with the QNIX were in getting it to work. Mounted and plugged in, this monitor feels like a killer bargain.
MakeUseOf recommends: Buy it.
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