Monoprice IPS-Glass Panel Pro review: Poor design trumped by great screen, low price

Design and feature highlights
Connectivity: VGA, HDMI, DVI, DisplayPort, Audio port
Ergonomic options: 20-degree back tilt, 5-degree front tilt
Resolution: 2,560x1,440 pixels
Aspect ratio: 16:9
Audio: Built-in speakers
VESA wall-mount support: Yes
Included video cables: DVI
Backlight: LED
Panel type: H-IPS
Screen film: Glossy
Number of presets: 4
Overdrive: N/A
Picture options: Brightness and Contrast
Color controls: Color temperature and RGB
Gamma control: N/A
Additional features: N/A

Performance
We tested the Monoprice IPS-Glass Panel Pro through its DVI input, connected to a Windows 7 system with the included dual-link DVI cable. The display posted a composite score of 97 on CNET Labs' DisplayMate-based performance tests.

DisplayMate: The Monoprice IPS-Glass Panel Pro displayed light gray up to level 254. Level 255 is considered white, and every level between it and 1 is a variation of gray. The IPS-Glass Panel Pro's performance here indicates that the display will likely not be prone to washing out light colors and provided you're using the right preset. This proved true in real-world tests, but more on that later. As for dark gray, the IPS-Glass Panel Pro displayed down to level 2 while maintaining a convincingly deep black when using the Movie preset, accurately indicating that the display is fit for movie-watching.

The monitor excelled in nearly all of our color-scaling tests, which evaluate how smoothly it displays different shades of various colors with the Monoprice IPS-Glass Panel Pro yielding very few color abnormalities. That is, as long as you're using the appropriate preset.

Movies: I tested the Monoprice IPS-Glass Panel Pro using the Blu-ray version of "The Three Musketeers. Watching movies on the Monoprice IPS-Glass Panel Pro essentially requires that you use the movie preset. While the standard preset coats the screen in a sickly greenish hue, the movie preset delivers deep blacks, high contrast, and accurate colors.

Josh Miller/CNET
Games: When evaluating the look of games on a monitor, the two most important features to consider are vibrancy and color. If the monitor can display games with a bright and vibrant cleanness, this goes a long way. If colors also pop with fullness and depth, games will usually look great.

Under the games preset images look a bit too dark, and I much preferred going with the standard preset with the following settings:

Red: 100
Green: 88
Blue: 96

Viewing angle
The optimal viewing angle for a monitor is usually from directly in front, about a quarter of the screen's distance down from the top. At this angle, you're viewing colors as the manufacturer intended. Most monitors aren't designed to be viewed at any other angle. Depending on the monitor's panel type, picture quality at suboptimal angles varies. Most monitors use Twisted Nematic (TN) panels, which get overly bright or overly dark in parts of the screen when not viewed from optimal angles.

Josh Miller/CNET
The Monoprice IPS-Glass Panel Pro uses an H-IPS panel and features a wide viewing angle.

The merits of antiglare (AG) screen coating are much debated these days. Some viewers prefer that the coating not be applied at all; others favor only a limited amount. And others are completely indifferent. AG coating doesn't adversely affect a monitor's quality, and its benefits or lack thereof are strictly a matter of preference.

Monoprice went with a moderately glossy screen that isn't as reflective as some extremely reflective monitors like the HP, you can still clearly see reflections in iit. As most glossy screens do, the Monoprice feels like it has a higher contrast than normal; however this difference is usually only negligible.

Service and support
The Monoprice IPS-Glass Panel Pro comes with solid coverage, including a limited three-year repair warranty that covers parts and labor. There's also a one-year coverage called the dead-pixel warranty, but which actually covers all defects including those on the backlight.

Monoprice offers over-the-phone tech support Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. PT, and Saturday and Sunday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT. There's also site-based Web chat support. I didn't see any options to download instructions or drivers, but they could simply be well hidden.

Conclusion
If you're looking for a cheap, extreme definition 27-inch monitor with performance befitting a native resolution of 2,560x1,440, you've found one. The Monoprice IPS-Glass Panel Pro delivers in performance and screen customization options and if your needs stop there, the IPS-Glass will certainly satisfy them. However, the Asus PB278Q features even more customization options, performance at least as good, a few things the IPS-Glass lacks, including an easily navigable OSD and both pivot and height adjustment. The Asus is about $75 more, but if you demand a smooth user experience in addition to great performance, its higher price will be worth the reduced headaches.

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Monoprice IPS-Glass Panel Pro LED

Part Number: MPLE27QPM
Low Price: $473.44 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Interface DisplayPort
  • Diagonal Size 27 in
  • Pixel Pitch 0.2331 mm
  • Display Type LED-backlit LCD monitor / TFT active matrix