Analysis: Those Korean LCD Monitors

So I guess the internet has been going apeshit since January or so over these 27″ Korean LCD monitors with a native resolution of 2560×1440 and some state of the art LG panel that are selling for $300-400. Since I was in the market to replace a shitty 14″ LCD monitor from like 10 years ago I rolled the dice and it came up “YOU GET A FUCKING KICKASS MONITOR HOLY SHIT.” In other words, let me act as the independent Caltrops Cares verification that these things are great.

I have it set up next to a 6-7 year old 24″ Dell 2405 monitor that is the best monitor I’ve ever owned (cannot overstate how great a built-in USB /SD hub on a monitor is), and this Korean monitor is far and away the better picture. It is bright, unbelievably clear and crisp, the colors are phenomenal (Trine 2 looks incredible), and the tint doesn’t change if you shift your body 3 millimeters off center. Also, the color calibration out of the box appears to be accurate. I don’t know if it’s age or what, but the Dell monitor always skewed slightly yellow and I could never correct it with adjustments because it would always fuck everything else up, but with this one it looks accurate with a plain eyeball test. And holy fuck, Skyrim at 2560×1440 on this thing. Jesus Christ, you have no idea.

The only con is that when I was starting up a lot of games to see what they looked like at max res there was a lot of resolution switching because they were all configured for the old resolution (DID YOU KNOW: Blizzard’s games are the only ones smart enough to automatically override your resolution setting and default to the native resolution if the native resolution changes), as well as temporarily messing with AMD’s Eyefinity settings (DID YOU KNOW: Eyefinity is hilariously worthless on 2 horizontal monitors because the screen is centered in the monitor bezels), and after all that switching the monitor started giving off a faint buzz. I don’t notice it with headphones on or if there’s any other noise in the room, but when it’s quiet it’s annoying enough that I might shoot up the place.

Since nobody loves you like I do, if you’re interested in looking at these monitors here’s a list of assorted brands and models. All of these monitors have the exact same LG panel, they just differ in build quality and features, also you buy them off of eBay. My seller was bigclothcraft, the monitor came with “free” shipping, and, I shit you not, I bought it on a Monday afternoon and it arrived from South Korea first thing Thursday morning that same week. I should also note that if you’re in the US, you don’t pay any customs fees (PDF CTRL+F “8528.59.40”). I don’t know if you foreigners are gonna get shaken down by The Man.

Yamakasi Catleap Q270

This is apparently the lowest of the low end. It has 1 DVI-D input, a power connector, and nothing else. It doesn’t have an on-screen display, just 2 physical brightness buttons. From what I’ve read around the internet, the build quality is kind of shitty, particularly the monitor stand. Lots of people are buying a new stand or just mounting it to a wall.

Shimian Achieva (IPSB / IPSBS)

Anandtech review

A little better build quality than the Catleap, but I think mostly identical.

Shimian Achieva (IPSM / IPSMS)

According to the manufacturer website (warning: Korean), the M and T models are capable of 1.07 billion colors compared to 16.7 million of the B models. This is similar to the Dell Ultrasharp which I think has some custom backlighting that simulates the extra colors. No idea how it works out in practice. Also, the M models have additional HDMI and Display Port connectors.

First FSM-270YG


Similar barebones features, better build quality.

Crossover 27Q

Similar barebones configuration with one input and no OSD. Supposedly these are better build quality.

Crossover 2720MDP

This is the one I picked up, it’s a little more expensive but it had better features. 1 DVI-D, 2 HDMI, 1 Display Port, and 1 Component input, as well as an OSD that can be switched to english. And built in speakers, but who would ever care about that. The monitor and stand itself seem to be pretty solid and sturdy, although the stand is cheaper than the old Dell. There were 0 dead or broken pixels. The screen has a glossy coating which I thought I would hate because of reflections but it turns out it’s a non-issue. And the picture is crisp and gorgeous. It does have that goddamn buzz that started up, though. Does anyone know how to fix something like that? Do I hit it with a crescent wrench? Help me out here.

Anyway, if you’re looking for a new monitor and want one that’s huge and bright and beautiful, I’d definitely consider one of these.

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