Picking out the best 27” WQHD (2560 x 1440) monitor for you

So you have decided to take the plunge into the more-than-HD realm, but you haven’t decided which WQHD 27” monitor will fit your work/play style best? You’ve come to the right place!

After researching, here are the very best (only?) options available under $600, with pros and cons for each. All are either IPS or PLS, with viewing angles at 178 degrees vertical and horizontal. In addition, you typically will get a great 8-bit+2-bit frame-rate-control (FRC, used to simulate more colors), 10-bits total color, monitor, with spectacular color reproduction. Not worth it to buy a TN monitor with poor viewing angles at this screen size, and even 24” IPS monitors these days are running e-IPS with 6-bit color + 2 bits of FRC.

Key trade-offs between all the monitors below? Price (of course), stand features and quality, warranty support and length, reliability, and to some extent, color reproduction (which these all do reasonably well).

HP ZR2740w 27″ LED LCD Monitor

hp_zr2740w
A few years old (released in 2011), but this is an oldie-but-a-goodie, considering it can be had as low as $349 refurbished or used, and around $449 new.

Pros: Great 3 year warranty when bought new, from a great company, HP. No OSD (on screen display) which improves response time. Great stand with lots of adjustability, tilt, swivel etc…

Cons: Older IPS technology, lack of controls beyond brightness, only two inputs (displayport and dual-link DVI).  Might be stuck around 60hz. Reliability issues with the power supply, partially offset by the higher quality warranty.

ASUS PB278Q 27-Inch WQHD LED-lit PLS Monitor

asus_pb278q

The Asus is a spectacular newer monitor, utilizing PLS, the Samsung-version of LG’s IPS, with of course all of the great viewing angles of IPS. Lots of inputs including HDMI 1.4 (1.4 is needed to drive 2560×1440), DisplayPort and dual-link DVI. A bit pricier at roughly $549 new, $500 used.

Pros: Great stand, great warranty from a well-known company. Warranty starts when the monitor was originally bought (if you buy used, or from a “Like New” Amazon Warehouse Deal). Less ghosting than the HP ZR2740w above due to newer technology and “overdrive” capabilities (settings from 0-100, I hear 40 is best).

Cons: Pricier, but not overly so like some of the $600+ 27” WQHD monitors available.  Might be stuck around 60hz, uses PWM at 240hz, so may see some visible flicker at lower brightness levels.

Dell U2713HM-IPS-LED CVN85 27-Inch Screen LED-lit Monitor
dell_u2713hm

The pseudo-standard, Dell’s newest IPS 27” ultrasharp is a great choice as well, with an LG IPS screen, and a spectacular warranty via Dell, known for its monitors and great warranty support. Clocking in at nearly $600 is a bit of a tougher pill to swallow however.

Pros: Great stand as well, great warranty from a well-known company.

Cons: On the pricier end for 27” IPS WQHD monitors. Might be stuck around 60hz.

QNIX QX2710 LED Evolution II PLS Monitor

qnix_qx2710_evolution_ii

The QNIX is a Korean monitor, imported into the US via various resellers for your consumption (they sell around $225 in Korea apparently), with a PLS Samsung A “minus” screen.  Similar to screens used in the Apple Cinema Displays, which use A+ grade screens, but at a slightly lower grade. The big plus here is the ability to overclock to at least 96hz, maybe even 120hz. For gamers, that’s a huge win.

Pros: Ability to overclock from 60hz to 90+hz. A bargain at $379 for “pixel perfect” (1 or less dead pixels, not near the center of the screen) or cheaper if you want to take a gamble. External power supply, which can be good if that’s the part that goes bad (easy to replace vs. replacing the whole monitor).

Cons: Only dual-link DVI. Awful cheap stand. Warranty support is questionable at best. Hopefully it arrives in one piece from Korea, without extra customs required (yikes!). Reliability can be questionable, but overall not too bad, and better than the HP above.

Nixeus WQHD 27-Inch H-IPS Ultra High Resolution 2560×1440 Monitor NX-VUE27

nixeus_nx_vue27

The Nixeus is similar to the Korean WQHD monitors, but made by a company here in the US, and carries a 1 year warranty to match. The stand is in-between in quality, with tilt, pivot and height adjustment, although a cheaper feel than a monitor like the Dell 27”.

Pros: Cheaper than a Dell 27”, decent stand, US company with a 1 year warranty. Uses an external power supply like the QNIX above, so replacement is easy if it goes bad. Wide range of inputs vs. the QNIX (could be a Con if you’re interested in lower response times).

Cons: Some reliability issues, but better than the HP above. Stand is better than nothing, but worse than the Dell or HP stand.

Auria EQ276WN from Microcenter (if available in your city)

Similar to the Nixeus, but a worse stand, and you need to have a Microcenter nearby to pick one up. Replacement for the EQ276W, don’t let the higher-than-2560×1440 resolution confuse you, this is a 2560×1440 monitor with weirdness to get a higher, non-native resolution. Why they did this is beyond me, sounds like a weird marketing idea.

Pros: Good price ($399), local pickup can be easy for exchanges or if you need it today (vs. a monitor from Korea that would need to be returned to… Korea!).

Cons: Stand is bad, no-name brand, probably should get an extended warranty to get coverage >1 year.

That gives you a few very enticing choices to look at in the WQHD arena, with prices from $300 at the cheapest with the QNIX coming from Korea, to $600 for a well-known brand like Dell. Let me be clear — these monitors are insanely nice when you see them in person, so you really can’t go wrong with any one of them. There are some reliability issues almost across the board, but for a big monitor taking in up to 100+ watts of power (and subsequent heat) in some cases, reliability issues should be somewhat expected. Luckily there are several options to choose from, so hopefully you’ll find a good 27” WQHD monitor to fit all of your needs.