In a Nutshell
This winter, Gigabyte has prepared an interesting monitor that offers a lot for a relatively affordable price. Featuring 170 Hz refresh rate, HDR400 certification, 27-inch display size, WQHD resolution, as well as a new Super Speed IPS panel that promises to deliver a response time of only 0.5 ms, the Gigabyte M27Q is quite a feat.
The end of the year is usually the time when new technological marvels appear on the market. Many manufacturers follow this practice in order to grab the attention of many consumers who have been patiently saving their money in order to spend it on Black Friday deals, and New Year’s and Christmas gifts. The end of 2020 will certainly be remembered among gaming fans, partly due to the fact that new gaming consoles have been released, and partly because new PC hardware, such as high-end graphics cards and monitors, have been finally made available for sale.
One such piece of hardware is Gigabyte’s new M27Q gaming monitor that retails for a price of around $350.00, and as such is one of the most affordable gaming monitors currently available on the market. The M27Q features a new 27-inch Super Speed IPS panel, which we haven’t seen before, support for WQHD resolution, 170 Hz refresh rate, VESA HDR400 certification, and some other useful additional features. On paper, the M27Q sound pretty good, now let’s see how it really performs in practice.
Gigabyte M27Q Specifications
|Panel Size (diagonal)||27” SS IPS|
|Color Saturation||92% DCI-P3/140% sRGB|
|True Resolution||2560 x 1440 (QHD)|
|Brightness||350 cd/m2 (TYP)|
|Response Time||0.5ms (MPRT)|
|Signal Input||HDMI 2.0 x 2, Display port 1.2 x 1|
|USB port(s)||USB 3.0 x 2|
USB Type-C x 1
Unlike monitors from AORUS series, which are visually much more extravagant, the M27Q features a much more modest design, as it’s entirely made of black plastic. At first glance, the monitor looks quite simple, however, it doesn’t look cheap, as it features fine details, as well as surfaces with cast metal texture, and smooth and reflective piano black parts that are covered with fine triangular texture. All of these details make this monitor look rather harmonious and interesting, even without any glowing or shiny details.
Like many other gaming monitors, the M27Q comes with thin bezels on its sides and top of the panel, while the panel itself is covered with an anti-reflective layer that doesn’t look very aggressive so as not to affect the contrast and display. The stand is relatively simple, interestingly shaped and supports height adjustment of up to 130 mm, as well as tilting down and up, but interestingly, not the rotation left and right. For those who use the monitor only for gaming or working in a fixed position, this will be quite all right, however, if you often need to turn the monitor to look from another position, you’ll probably miss the rotation. The monitor is lightweight, so you can lift it and rotate it along with the stand, but if you really like this model and need to move it, there is also the option of VESA mounting on one arm or a movable bracket.
At its rear, there is a section with connectors, in which you can find DisplayPort 1.2 connector, two HDMI 2.0 connectors, as well as USB Type-C connector which can be also used as an image source. This monitor also has KVM Switch capabilities, so you can connect a set of peripherals like a mouse and keyboard to the two USB 3.0 ports and use it on a single computer connected to a USB Type-A port, or to another computer or mobile phone connected to a USB Type-C port. This works especially well with Samsung’s DeX, and the great thing is that monitor supports picture in picture mode, which is quite useful.
In addition to the KVM Switch button, there is a mini joystick for menu control that is conveniently shaped, and which offers very efficient control. The OSD menu is very clear and neatly organized into three columns. Since this monitor can be connected to a PC via USB interface, adjusting its settings is also possible via OSD Sidekick software that offers you an easy overview and adjustment of all options. The OSD software also lets you map certain functions to keyboard shortcuts, save profiles for different eSports games, and even perform firmware updates, which is something we rarely see on monitors. For those who like to see detailed system information, there is also a Dashboard option that displays parameters such as CPU and GPU frequencies and temperatures in a specific part of the screen. This option also lets you see monitor’s refresh rate and in-game FPS in real time.
One of the most interesting aspects of this monitor is its Super Speed IPS panel, which we can say it definitely differs from the ordinary IPS panel. According to Gigabyte, it is a panel with a thinner layer of liquid crystal, which works on a higher voltage, and is able to deliver better response times that are up to 4x faster than that of conventional IPS panel. Of course, the refresh rate of 170 Hz also helps with this, which in our opinion is enough for most applications, considering that in current games it is very difficult to achieve a frame rate higher than this figure.
In real use, this is certainly a fairly fast IPS monitor, although we didn’t really get the impression that there is any difference compared to the fastest IPS panels we’ve seen before. At least until you activate the Aim Stabilizer option, which is Gigabyte’s implementation of backlight strobing. This is the part when things get really interesting. With this option, the monitor is able to achieve very fast response times that are very close to one millisecond. What is particularly interesting is that the use of backlight dimming usually causes a significant drop in brightness, which often makes the monitor almost unusable, but this time it is not noticeable to that extent. From the initial 340 nits in one of the modes, by activating this option the brightness drops to 183, which is more than enough for achieving good picture quality. The positive thing is that when using this option, you don’t notice any image flickering, which can often be uncomfortable. Instead of that, at times you may notice something like the rainbow effect on DLP projectors. We don’t know if this is a consequence of a thinner panel or something else, but this option is definitely very useful for those who want to get the fastest response times possible.
If you want to use variable refresh rate instead, which most people will probably prefer, the response times will be a bit slower. In order to fix that you can choose one of the three Overdrive modes: Picture Quality, Balance, and Speed. The Balance mode is probably the best, because Speed causes noticeable overshoot, without any significant difference in response time.
Variable refresh is supported in the form of AMD Freesync Premium in the range of 48-170 Hz with all LFC features (low frame compensation). So, even if the number of frames per second falls below 48, you’ll still experience smooth gameplay, and although the monitor is not officially G-Sync compatible, it will work quite perfectly with all the latest NVIDIA graphics cards. It is also worth praising the input lag of only 8.5 ms, which is in the range of the best gaming monitors currently available on the market.
In terms of image quality, the Gigabyte M27Q offers optimal image sharpness for a 27-inch monitor thanks to WQHD resolution, as well as a higher level of detail compared to playing games in Full HD resolution. We would say this combination of display size and display resolution is perhaps the best choice at the moment when it comes to gaming, because 4K on diagonals smaller than 34 inches makes no sense for gaming.
The color display is very intense and saturated, so much so that you will want to reduce the saturation in the monitor’s options menu. The M27Q is able to display a wide gamut of 92.8% DCI-P3 spectrum, despite the use of an eight-bit panel without FRC. The monitor provides predefined display modes such as those for FPS or RTS/RPG games, movies and reading, and there is also sRGB mode which provides the most natural and accurate display. The maximum brightness of the panel is declared at 400 nits, which is why this model also has basic HDR400 support for displaying HDR content.
In addition to the faster response times, the thinner layer of crystals in this case also has some drawbacks. This is particularly evident in narrower viewing angles compared to the ordinary IPS panels. Also, in the lower left and right corners there is a noticeable penetration of the backlight, which is slightly stronger than is the case with standard IPS monitors.
Overall, for around $350.00, the Gigabyte M27Q offers a lot. Fast response times, 170 Hz refresh rate, extremely usable backlight strobing mode, good color rendering and viewing angles, as well as KVM capabilities make this monitor very usable, both for gaming and for everyday work and multimedia. It seems that soon we will see Super Speed IPS panels on other Gigabyte and AORUS models, with different resolutions and refresh rates, so it will be interesting to see how this type of panel will develop further and what performance gains will it be able to provide.