January 14, 2013

Apple Quality but Not the Premium? $400 Gets You the Same 27-Inch Panel Used in Their Displays

There is a good chance the computer or mobile device screen you're looking at right now was not actually manufactured by the same company who made the device. This is normally the way Apple and most other computer companies make their products, buying screens from third parties rather than making their own. While Apple normally has first dibs on most of these screens, at a certain point they are also sold to anyone and everyone, and that's exactly where you, the consumer, can benefit from lower prices while still getting high quality. Click through to find out how you can get a monitor with the same exact LG panel that Apple uses in their 27" displays for only $390.

Here is The Wirecutter on the Monoprice 27" IPS LED CrystalPro Monitor WQHD 2560x1440:

For months, people who know what’s up have been buying Cheap Korean 27-inch monitors because they’re made from the same panels as high end monitors. But for a third of the cost. Monoprice is selling 2560×1440 IPS monitors for $390, in that same spirit. They use the same LG panels as the 27-inch iMac (except Apple only takes the best; these are the rest), but Monoprice is offering a 1 year warranty and they check every panel for dead pixels–most Korean monitors, which are imported or sold on ebay, don’t do that by default.

They'll have a higher priced version with video scaling and more inputs (this is DVI only) in a few months, but I've never run a monitor at non native res, so I wouldn't worry about it.

The monitor won't be available until March, but if you've been in the market for a good display, and you're not interested in paying more than double for the same panel, the Monoprice looks like an extremely good deal. The best part is that the company actually supports the product, so even though Apple hand-picks the best monitors, you're not likely to get a dud. Here is their support policy:

As you've come to expect from Monoprice, we stand behind our products and offer a full 1 year warranty, which is at least 3-4 times what is offered by other monitor manufacturers. Additionally, we are so confident of the quality of these displays that we are guaranteeing these monitor will have less than 5 dead pixels. If you can count 5 dead pixels anywhere on the screen, we'll give you a new one. By comparison, the industry standard, even for industry leaders like Apple and LG, is 10 dead pixels or even more.

You can also take a look at the Crossover 27q monitor, which uses the same panel as the Monoprice, but it typically sells for more money and you're not really getting any support for it (unlike the Monoprice).

What do you guys think? Have you ordered any monitors with the same panels as other high-end products, like those from Apple? What has been your experience with these?

Link: Monoprice 27" IPS LED CrystalPro Monitor WQHD 2560x1440

[via The Wirecutter]

Your Comment

31 Comments

The question is of course: how much manufacture variance?

January 14, 2013

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brett

I'm a little confused by the "Apple only takes the best, these are the rest" statement... HMMM...

-- Ron Parida Automotive Commercial Director

January 14, 2013

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...just remember, if there are bad pixels, you can't take it back to the Apple Store. ;)

January 14, 2013

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trackofalljades

These are identical to the Yamakasi Catleap q270 2560x1440 monitors that are exactly the same price and from Korea. Although you can get a Yamakasi one for 300$, but the 400$ version they inspect first.

I own one and its great, only problems:

1. You need more than 5 dead pixels to get a refund. So its a risk, although 98% of people buying them havent had issues. Mine came perfect. I assume the inspected version for an extra 100$ guarantees it comes without dead pixels

2. No control for contrast, saturation, etc. Only brightness and volume, but it looks pretty well balanced anyway. Not something Id use for fancy coloring, but it does the job.

January 15, 2013

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Well, there's the downside. To calibrate it as good as possible, a monitor should at least have RGB controls.

So these 300 bucks ebay monitors are just like any other 300 bucks monitor: okay for gaming or watching a movie, but when you do serious work, you will need something better.

January 17, 2013

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Heiko

Payed 300 for a no dead pixel 27 2560×1440 monitor on ebay. Havent had any problems with it.

January 14, 2013

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setg

Link? Model?

January 15, 2013

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Yamakasi Catleap q270, I own one and its great!

January 16, 2013

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Just purchased the Auria 27" from micro center. I have to say, not too bad at all (2560x1440) no dead pixels and good support from an American vender. These look nice but Ive heard some horror stories trying to return items on eBay. Buyer beware, electronics are a funny business but is nice to see them driving the competition.

Microcenter $399 - http://www.microcenter.com Auria 27"
Amazon $464.99 - http://www.amazon.com Nixeus

January 14, 2013

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Anthony Marino

Purchased an Achieva Shimian 27" IPS (2560x1440) from eBay last summer and so far, so good. There are less than 5 dead pixels that I could find, but only by putting my face about 2 inches from the monitor searching for them. I don't see any in day-to-day use. A little bit of light bleed in the lower right when on black backgrounds but again, unnoticeable in daily use and what monitor doesn't have a little bleed? I purchased mine for $285 shipped and it arrived in less than 3 days. I definitely recommend anybody who's cheap and likes to gamble to buy one. The prices are only going up as more people get on board. It's an excellent monitor once you calibrate it and I would buy another in a heart beat! If you want anything over 24" you have to go for more than 1080p.

January 14, 2013

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Jared

Have the very same monitor and totally happy with it. Use it with my Mac Pro.

Wanna buy one more like this.

January 15, 2013

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Andrey Valentsov

monoprice rocks. The Dell Ultrasharp with PremierColor isn't a bargain panel, but I've had a 20" and a 24" and they are amazing -- lots of inputs, rotatable, fabulous consistency in color edge-to-edge and corner-to-corner, sharp, holds a calibration...

January 15, 2013

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Hand picked? I'm not so sure I believe some of the statements in this post. How can Apple hand pick every single monitor they sell?

January 15, 2013

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Trouser Slacksman

That's because that's some bullshit story made up by an Apple fan. ;) These panels have been discussed multiple times on Tweakers.net (A huge and Dutch tech-site) for almost a year: http://gathering.tweakers.net/forum/list_messages/1503346/last (Dutch)

January 15, 2013

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Pieterjan DF

Nothing anyone manufactures is perfect - there are tolerances - and depending on those tolerances, they may still be able to sell them because they technically work. LG has quality control in whatever factory they use, and based on the flaws in the manufacturing process, each panel would get a rating, and the bigger companies will likely select only those with the highest rating - but they pay a premium for this.

Here's the description from The Wirecutter, who is the one recommending these panels in the first place:

How could it be that cheap? Well, a bunch of eBay sellers have set up shop exporting budget monitors from South Korea. There are two reasons they can sell these monitors so cheaply:

1. Apple and Dell's high prices make for high standards, so they only accept A+ quality (basically flawless) panels. The A or A- quality panels get handed off to other companies, who use them for these cheap monitors.

2. They're barebones. The stands are usually cheap and wobbly (but are VESA compatible), they usually have a single DVI input, and there are no extras inside. No resolution scaling, no USB ports, no webcam, and so on.

January 15, 2013

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

Old news. Here you have some image quality tests on a similar ebay model:
http://www.anandtech.com/show/5885/the-achieva-shimian-qh270-a-350-27inc...

January 15, 2013

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Its only old news if you heard about it when ;-)

Mater of fact I remember reading that on Anand but completely forgot about it - now I'm looking on ebay with Achieva's going for only $340 and free delivery. Really tempted to roll the dice and just order one for the heck of it.

Mmmmmmm 27 inches of 2560 x 1440 goodness arghghghghghghg....

January 15, 2013

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Peter

I was waiting for the LG EA83, a very color accurate 28 inch new display. Though no pricing or release dates have been confirmed, march and around 800$ have been rumoured.

This display seems to get you like 80% of the way for half the price...

January 15, 2013

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I have a comment that has nothing to do with the article, but I think it's cool. Maybe you already posted it here, it's a site that has the information about the cameras used in films:

http://shotonwhat.com

January 15, 2013

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maghoxfre

They have been around for some time and I've only read good stuff about themso far
There's. There are different models and brands, but mostly they're the same.
There's also a dedicated thread at personal-view.com about them with links to sellers and recommendations.

January 15, 2013

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hansd

Any time I can save a few bucks and still get great results is a blessing in production. Not really happy with the DVI-only standard model, but it's headed in the right direction.

January 15, 2013

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DIYFilmSchool.net

I own a Shimian, Its awesome! Better than my 24" iMac, frankly at least in terms of backlight bleed. The only problem is that gaming is so sweet at 2560 lines that you want to run another video card to keep the settings maxed... so budget for it if you game on the same rig. Some problems are not problems lol.

January 15, 2013

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I. A. M. Touchi...

Hi, thanks for the article. Important question, what is the refresh rate on this monitors? Refresh rate makes a big difference on quality.

January 15, 2013

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Jaime

ok IPS panel = good. How well is the color technology? Let's be real here: Can we use one for Davinci and Photoshop? (I'm not going to spend Thousands on external waveforms and Flanders monitors when I don't even make money yet doing color correction!)

January 15, 2013

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I have an Apple 27" cinema display at work and I know that at the time it was bought there was a Dell Ultrasharp 27" with exactly the same panel, only with a non-reflective surface and for 200 Euros less.
Unfortunately it wasn't my decision to make at the time, so I got the Cinema Display... I would have taken the Dell instantly because I am using an older Dell 27" at home and I like it a lot.

I would not be so sure with some Korean or Chinese product that uses the same panel - the monitor does not only need a panel, it also needs a driver and firmware and whatnot. I wouldn't be so sure to get decent quality from some no-name company.
Before I buy a monitor, I make sure I can calibrate it correctly - I need to rely on professional tests that can tell me if a monitor is good for photo editing. I don't get these tests for some no-name thing from ebay that might or might not be okay.

January 17, 2013

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Heiko

hmmm...I would not trust these monitors if you do professional work. I got Dell Utrasharp 27' and I love it. 700$ and you get it, it is more expensive than this Korean thingy, but I can rely on it. It is probably a better idea to save money on something else (transport, new gadget etc), but not the equipment...

January 18, 2013

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I have a Monoprice WQHD 27" and it is just fantastic. Calibrated with the Datacolor Spyder, it displays exact color calibrated to a known source. No dead pixels that I can find... and the company stands behind their products; they shipped me a replacement when mine died soon after receipt, no questions asked. They paid for shipping both ways as well. They are fantastic as a company. Highly recommended. The screen is gorgeous.

October 13, 2013

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They don't test every monitor.

December 28, 2013

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Dude

Hi,

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http://www.bestgamingmonitorshq.com

January 8, 2014

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Everything I've ever gotten form Monoprice is awesome haha. I do rock a 27" iMac though so can't say much for the monitor, but I always thought it was crazy to pay the price Apple is asking for their monitors, screw that!

February 20, 2014

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Except, you can do color correction with your operating system's display settings instead, so that's not really needed.

August 11, 2014

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Invertex