With its IPS-Glass Panel Pro, Monoprice abstains from sensible design decisions in favor of a cheap but powerful monitor. For those low on funds and looking for a large, sharp monitor, the sacrifices made here in ergonomic design, sensible button arrangement, and smooth OSD navigation will likely be worth it. At $475, the IPS-Glass is the cheapest extreme definition monitor I’ve yet reviewed and the fact that it boasts accurate color, deep blacks, and high contrast makes its low price all the more impressive.
More than anything however, Monoprice’s perplexing design decisions with the IPS-Glass illustrate just how important a good design is and how easy it is to take for granted. After attempting to tilt the panel, navigate its OSD, or living through its power dongle accidentally disconnecting for the 18th time (fine, it happened to me less than ten times, but still...), it's easy to see where Monoprice cut a few corners.
The sting of those design decisions is felt even more deeply when you consider the Asus PB278Q. It costs only about $75 more, performs just as well or better, and is free of the IPS-Glass's design gaffes.
Still, performance is a monitor's most important attribute and in the case of the IPS-Glass, it delivers on that in satisfying fashion.
The extreme definition of Monoprice's 27-inch monitor (pictures) See full gallery
Design and features
The Monoprice IPS-Glass Panel Pro has some of the most frustrating design issues I've ever encountered on a monitor. First off, getting the screen to tilt back requires much more effort than it should.
While on most other monitors, tilting the screen back is as simple as pushing back on the top bezel or pulling forward on the bottom one, this unfortunately cannot be accomplished on the IPS-Glass without holding the foot stand down with one hand and using your arm and core strength to tilt it back with the other. Or at the very least, using two hands to rotate the screen back, while pushing down on the foot stand for leverage.
Swiveling takes less effort to accomplish, but will depend on how easily the bottom of the foot stand adheres to the surface it's on.
The 27-inch panel is thick, measuring a full 2.2 inches including the rear ventilation system. The panel is also fixed too closely to the neck of the foot stand, making it frustratingly difficult to get unobstructed access to the connections, especially with no pivot or screen height options. Speaking of which, the IPS-Glass embeds DVI, DisplayPort, VGA, and HDMI. There's also an audio port that must be connected for the built-in speakers to function.
Monoprice chose to use an annoyingly bizarre dongle design for its power cord solution. The cord attaches to the monitor's power brick and then connects to a dongle plugged into the monitor. Unfortunately, if there's not enough slack in the cord, it will disconnect quite easily, especially when swiveling the screen.
And with nowhere to hide your cables -- the IPS-Glass has no cable-organizing feature -- well, I just hope you're a fan of permanent eyesores. You probably aren't, but you won't really have a choice here.
The On Screen Display array is located on the bottom-right corner on the underside of the panel and though each of the seven buttons is separated by about a centimeter of space, I still found myself confused as to which button I was pressing.
Worse still is the button function design when attempting to navigate the OSD. Menu, Up, and Down functions make sense, but using the Volume buttons to alter attributes felt like an unnecessary and confusing complication.
That's not to say the IPS-Glass is a design disaster. It's really light for a 27-incher, which means easy portability. Also, the actual OSD options that are included are useful. Individual red, green, and blue can be changed, as well as color temperature. And the four presets are excellently tuned to their respective uses. Wall mounters will be please to note that the stand can be removed and the display mounted, VESA style.