I don't consider myself a hardware expert by any means, but when I get a chance to look at anything that enhances the gaming experience, I like to take it. That's why I accepted an offer to borrow an x270W 27-inch gaming monitor for manufacturer Sceptre. Retailing for about $300, the main selling point of this monitor is obvious - it's huge, and not too spendy. Is it worth the money or a bargain-basement product? Get my take below.
First, some features:
Active Screen Size 27″
Aspect Ratio 16:9 Wide Screen
Brightness 400 cd/m2
Contrast ratio 1000:1 (Native) / 60,000:1 (DCR)
Resolution 1920 x 1080
Response Time 2 ms (OD)
16.7 million colors
50,000 hours lamp life
Built-in. 3 watts per channel
First off, obviously the screen real estate is huge. I remember when I bought my first 27-inch TV, thinking it was the biggest screen I'd ever seen. To get that much screen space in a computer monitor seemed almost obsessive at first, but now that I have to send the review unit back, my normal 15-inch monitor seems mighty dinky in comparison.
I put the monitor through its paces in a variety of situations, including hooking it up to an Xbox 360 at a friend's house for some split-screen Halo: Reach at a gaming party.* Both myself and my split-screen partner agreed that the action stayed crisp and clear, and the screen was easily big enough for split-screen action. However, this test did expose the monitor's biggest weakness: The built-in speakers are a bit tinny and muffled. To change the volume, it takes about five button presses to navigate through an on-screen menu. Obviously, this won't be an issue for most PC users with external speakers, but it's definitely something to keep in mind if you're primarily going to use the monitor's handy HDMI input to hook up a console.
Console-specific sound issues aside, the Sceptre monitor performs like a champ. The blacks are nice and dark, although the colors seem a touch muted. The variety of inputs is lovely, the viewing angles are solid, and I can't stress enough how much it rocks to have a screen this large. I haven't tested it against any other monitors in the same size class, so I can't say that it's definitively the best monitor around. What I can say is that if I had purchased this monitor at the roughly $300 - $3330 price, I'd be perfectly happy with my purchase. I'm pretty bummed that it's time to return my loaner unit, and I consider it a high compliment whenever I'm loathe to return a piece of tech.
This review is based on a product temporarily loaned from the manufacturer.
*Yep, a bunch of adults got together and system-linked a bunch of consoles for some classic LAN party-style gaming. Hey, sometimes you gotta go old school.