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Auria EQ276W 27" IPS Monitor Review: QHD For $400

Auria EQ276W 27" IPS Monitor Review: QHD For $400
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Although QHD screens are nothing new, they remain atop the desktop monitor price ladder. Auria broke the $400 barrier with its new EQ276W 27” IPS panel. Today, we run it through our display benchmarks to see how it compares to far pricier competition.

While we’re all used to the prices on our favorite technology dropping as new and better products hit the market, what you pay for an LCD panel falls a little more slowly than most other components. QHD (2560x1440) is one of the highest resolutions available on the desktop. And even though QHD monitors have been available for several years, their prices remain grossly higher than equally-sized FHD (1920x1080) screens.

With most QHD screens priced around the $800 mark, Auria offers its EQ276W at a paltry-by-comparison $399. Recalling the old adage, “you get what you pay for,” we wanted to track one down, run a full battery of tests, and determine whether the company compromises anything in its quest to enable 2560x1440 for less than $400.

IPS (in-plane switching) panels are currently manufactured by LG and Samsung. The latter calls its technology PLS (plane-line switching), but the principle is the same; individual sub-pixels are aligned parallel to the screen instead of perpendicular. The benefit is increased color accuracy, more efficient light transmission, and lower power consumption. The problem of reduced contrast seen in early IPS panels has been mostly eliminated. In fact, many IPS monitors available now boast significantly higher contrast than their TN-based counterparts.

Auria uses LG’s IPS panel as the basis for its EQ276W. At the time of writing, the only place to buy this display is Micro Center, where it can be purchased online or in-store. While there are occasional group buys for the EQ276W on various forums, purchasing this way means that you risk accepting the product as-is, with no support. Fortunately, Micro Center honors the one-year manufacturer’s warranty and replaces monitors with dead pixels.

Our sample arrived in a sturdy box, with medium-density flex foam protecting the panel and base. The power supply is a large brick with a detachable power cord. For connectivity, dual-link DVI and DisplayPort cables are included. In addition to those inputs, you also get an HDMI port and a headphone output jack. There is no separate audio input (apart from the signal carried through an HDMI connection) or USB ports. All of the connectors face downward, and are clustered near the center of the panel. The vertical support makes it a bit difficult to plug cables in; you'll have an easier time if you remove the stand hardware first.

The base snaps to the panel’s back support and adjusts for tilt and swivel. The screen sits very low on the desktop (less than two inches off the surface). So, unless your desk is unusually tall, you’ll have to tilt the screen upward to achieve the proper angle. It’s unfortunate that the stand has no height adjustment. On the plus side, all the hardware is removable so you can use a standard 75 mm VESA mount if you want to attach the EQ276W to a swing arm or wall bracket.

The bezel is fairly wide, at 28 mm across the top and sides and 41 mm on the bottom. Instead of the now-typical touch-sensitive controls, Auria includes buttons along the bottom-right of the panel. From here, you can control menu navigation, input selection, and speaker/headphone volume. The buttons feel cheap, and require a firm push to activate. In fact, they’re so firm that the entire panel moves upward when you press them. A softer touch would have been an improvement. The screen itself has no anti-glare properties whatsoever, so you’ll need to place this monitor carefully in order to avoid reflections.

Brand
Auria
Model
EQ276W
Price
$399.99 at Micro Center
Panel Type
In-Plane Switching (IPS)
Backlight
LED
Screen Size
27"
Max Resolution
2560x1440
Aspect Ratio
16:9
Response Time (GTG)
6.5 ms
Brightness (cd/m^2)
350
Speakers
Yes
VGA
1
DVI
1
DisplayPort
1
HDMI
1
Headphone
1
Refresh Rate
60 Hz
Dimensions w/base
WxHxD
17.8 x 25.7 x 8.6 inches
452 x 653 x 218 mm
Panel Thickness
2.2 in, 56 mm
Warranty
1 year
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  • 0 Hide
    patrick47018 , April 3, 2013 9:44 PM
    I'm planning on picking one up very soon
  • 0 Hide
    techbaddie , April 3, 2013 9:53 PM
    I love My Auria, I also did buy a another stand for it. It was $29.99 on Amazon, and once I got everything set up, IT IS AMAZING!!!!! If you want a great product for the right price, DO IT!
  • 1 Hide
    jupiter optimus maximus , April 3, 2013 10:23 PM
    BigMack70One important thing to mention that you guys didn't that I believe still holds true (haven't checked the competition in a couple months - someone correct me if I'm wrong here): this is the only model of this panel (as opposed to the Catleaps/Crossovers/Overloards/Achievas/etc) to have HDCP support. If you want one of these panels and you want to use HDCP protected content (a games console or a Blu-ray player, for example), you NEED to purchase this Auria and not one of the other versions of the panel.

    I have the Achieva Shimian that was purchased three months ago. I checked on Nvidia Settings and it states that "This display supports HDCP."

    Happy that this article was posted and I been very happy with my purchase.

    As for lag, i heard from "razetheworld" that when the monitor has one connector (usually DVI) the input lag can be as low as 6ms on these IPS screens. When there are multiple connectors like the monitor being reviewed here, higher lags are expected because the monitor takes time to process which connection is in use. I may be wrong, so correct me if i am wrong.
  • 0 Hide
    chumly , April 3, 2013 11:33 PM
    There are 3 models available from an American company based in California called Overlord Computer, one of these models can be overclocked to 120 Hz. I would like to see these monitors tested. One of them is priced under $400.
  • 0 Hide
    patrick47018 , April 3, 2013 11:53 PM
    chumlyThere are 3 models available from an American company based in California called Overlord Computer, one of these models can be overclocked to 120 Hz. I would like to see these monitors tested. One of them is priced under $400.


    While this is true, MicroCenter has a great return policy, I'm not sure about Overlord, but I do know the one that is under 400, its 384, only has DVI, while this has HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI, headphon jack, and VGA. So if you just want DVI, getting an Achieva Shimian is cheaper off of ebay, but then also you have to deal with possible shoddy return system. Good luck to all and I will comment once I have my Auria, I'm going from my 40" Auria 1080P HDTV to a Auria 27" 1440P IPS monitor, good trade I think.
  • 0 Hide
    chumly , April 4, 2013 12:21 AM
    patrick47018While this is true, MicroCenter has a great return policy, I'm not sure about Overlord, but I do know the one that is under 400, its 384, only has DVI, while this has HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI, headphon jack, and VGA. So if you just want DVI, getting an Achieva Shimian is cheaper off of ebay, but then also you have to deal with possible shoddy return system. Good luck to all and I will comment once I have my Auria, I'm going from my 40" Auria 1080P HDTV to a Auria 27" 1440P IPS monitor, good trade I think.


    Most video cards have Dual link DVI so this isn't really an issue unless yours does not. I use a Catleap Q270 monitor right now (let me tell you, there is NO going back for me after getting one of these, 1080p monitors are as good as yesterday's trash to me). This was a B grade panel and it ended up having no visable defects or bad pixels (I only paid $245 for it off of ebay new from Korea, they've gone up $100 since). The reason I ended up going with the panel I did was from a quite extensive post on hardforum detailing how the DVI-only monitors were having incredibly low input lag compared to any of the other 1440p IPS panels available. I'm getting incredible framerates with my 670 and my games are streak/ghost/stutter/tearing free.

    Maybe this Auria monitor just can't hack it vs. its' Korean counterparts.

    Also it's good to know you can always take apart these monitors and replace the PCB so that you can overclock them to 120Hz, but Overlord is the only place selling the part and it's $200 :( 
  • 0 Hide
    slomo4sho , April 4, 2013 12:22 AM
    WTB thinner bezle...
  • 0 Hide
    sanilmahambre , April 4, 2013 1:52 AM
    Is there any IPS monitor without frame?
  • 0 Hide
    cats_Paw , April 4, 2013 3:01 AM
    Minimum contrast ratio in samsung 4003.3. Maximum Contrast Ratio in Samsung 1483.83.

    Is it me or thats not normal?
  • 0 Hide
    ceberle , April 4, 2013 5:07 AM
    Quote:
    Minimum contrast ratio in samsung 4003.3. Maximum Contrast Ratio in Samsung 1483.83.

    Is it me or thats not normal?


    Minimum and maximum refer to the brightness setting. It's not unusual for the contrast ratio to go up when the brightness is lowered. In the case of the Samsung S27B970D, the black level dropped by a greater percentage than the peak white level; hence the higher contrast ratio.

    Christian
  • 0 Hide
    RetiredChief , April 4, 2013 5:53 AM
    Hard choice, Replacing my current 32” Samsung LED HDTV. My choice has narrowed to the Asus 27” PB278Q (Uses the same IPS panel as the Samsung) and the Auria EQ276W. Resolution and connectivity are the same.
    Asus PB278Q: $660 w/3yr manuf warrantee
    Auria EQ276W: $400 Plus $90 for additional 2 Yr warrantee (To take it to 3 Yrs), Plus $20->$24 for tax, Plus approx. $60 for gas. Would want to see before purchase – Verify pixels and back light.
    Comments on the very fine article. The model evaluated is most likely not the model you will now find at microcenter. Apparently they have switched from a LED backlight to the traditional tube, also the screen type is now AG and not the glossy as reviewed.
  • 2 Hide
    Onus , April 4, 2013 5:58 AM
    Something like this is tempting to me, but it's not a $400 purchase; it's a $400 purchase for the monitor, and another $375-$425 for a GTX670 or HD7970 to run it.
  • 1 Hide
    DEY123 , April 4, 2013 6:18 AM
    I have this monitor and it has been great so far (about 2 months).

    For the input lag test what connection was used? I have heard Display port has lower lag then DVI but it would be great for Tom's to confirm as I trust their testing methods.
  • 0 Hide
    scannall , April 4, 2013 6:43 AM
    BigMack70One important thing to mention that you guys didn't that I believe still holds true (haven't checked the competition in a couple months - someone correct me if I'm wrong here): this is the only model of this panel (as opposed to the Catleaps/Crossovers/Overloards/Achievas/etc) to have HDCP support. If you want one of these panels and you want to use HDCP protected content (a games console or a Blu-ray player, for example), you NEED to purchase this Auria and not one of the other versions of the panel.


    I purchased a Qnix (South Korean via eBay brand) almost a year ago now. It does indeed have HDCP. Looks and works great. I won't go back to a TN panel, or a lower res.
  • 0 Hide
    ceberle , April 4, 2013 9:34 AM
    Quote:
    Hard choice, Replacing my current 32” Samsung LED HDTV. My choice has narrowed to the Asus 27” PB278Q (Uses the same IPS panel as the Samsung) and the Auria EQ276W. Resolution and connectivity are the same.
    Asus PB278Q: $660 w/3yr manuf warrantee
    Auria EQ276W: $400 Plus $90 for additional 2 Yr warrantee (To take it to 3 Yrs), Plus $20->$24 for tax, Plus approx. $60 for gas. Would want to see before purchase – Verify pixels and back light.
    Comments on the very fine article. The model evaluated is most likely not the model you will now find at microcenter. Apparently they have switched from a LED backlight to the traditional tube, also the screen type is now AG and not the glossy as reviewed.


    The Asus PB278Q is next up in our review queue. In fact, the benchmark tests will be run today. It will appear in a couple of weeks along with the HP ZR2740w.
    Christian
  • 0 Hide
    ceberle , April 4, 2013 9:37 AM
    Quote:
    I have this monitor and it has been great so far (about 2 months).

    For the input lag test what connection was used? I have heard Display port has lower lag then DVI but it would be great for Tom's to confirm as I trust their testing methods.


    We use the HDMI input for input lag and response tests. The signal is fed from our Accupel pattern generator. We do this because input lag can vary between video cards, as well as other computer components. Even the keyboard or mouse can make a difference. The generator lets us feed a signal directly with no other hardware in the chain.
    Christian
  • -1 Hide
    Anton Volkov , April 4, 2013 9:43 AM
    For anyone interested in the effect of a 2560x1440 display on your 3d framerates, simply go to your nvidia driver control panel -> display scaling -> turn on GPU (as opposed to monitor) scaling -> create a custom resolution of 1440p and apply it. Text will be blurry, but your GPU workload will increase to the full 1440p and game framerates will suffer accordingly.
  • 2 Hide
    chumly , April 4, 2013 10:15 AM
    ceberleWe use the HDMI input for input lag and response tests. The signal is fed from our Accupel pattern generator. We do this because input lag can vary between video cards, as well as other computer components. Even the keyboard or mouse can make a difference. The generator lets us feed a signal directly with no other hardware in the chain.Christian


    You shouldn't be using HDMI for 1440p. Everyone knows that. Can we please have these tests re-run on DP and DVI-D please.
  • 1 Hide
    chumly , April 4, 2013 10:31 AM
    From what I'm reading, Apart from the Asus released in Novemeber of least year, most of these 1440p monitors (like the Dell) don't support native resolutions of 1440p via HDMI.

    However, I also cannot find very much information on the subject.
  • -4 Hide
    mikenygmail , April 4, 2013 11:30 AM
    BigMack70Would have been interesting to see a basic ~$150-200 60 Hz TN panel included in the comparison charts for reference as well, since most people who would be in the market for this monitor are likely coming from a lower-end TN screen.


    Wrong, most people who would be in the market for this want a nice LG Panel IPS 2560x1440 monitor. Prices tend to come down on most computer parts, components and related items in time, and monitors have proven to be no exception.

    Most people in general would now choose something like featured monitor at $399 instead of paying $1,000 - not because they are low end TN screen users, but because it simply makes a lot more sense.
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