Planar IX2850 28-Inch Ultra HD Monitor Review: Affordable 4K

Thanks to a new 28-inch TN panel part, inexpensive Ultra HD screens are practically falling out of the sky at this point. Buying one is a great way to increase your desktop's resolution for well under $1000. Today we check out Planar’s IX2850 in our lab...

If there’s one inevitability in the evolution of display technology, it’s that the pixel count will continue to increase. Even though 1920x1080 dominates the desktop, we’ve been looking at Quad HD and now Ultra HD screens for nearly two years. Dell even announced a 5K screen shipping in December. And you can bet we’ll be testing it!

Stepping up to 4K does require a hefty investment. But prices, as they eventually do, are dropping. The first 32-inch screens debuted beyond a $3000 price point, well outside of most enthusiasts' budgets. Then came the 24-inch models for around $1300. Now we have a fairly new panel part from Chi Mei Optoelectronics that makes a sub-$800 Ultra HD monitor possible.

We already looked at the Asus PB287Q and Dell P2815Q. We’ll also be following this review with a story about Phillips' 288P6LJEB. But today our focus is on Planar’s new entry, the IX2850.

Brand & Model
Planar IX2850
Street Price
$500
Panel Type & Backlight
TN / W-LED, edge array
Screen Size & Aspect Ratio
28-in / 16:9
Max Resolution & Refresh Rate
3840x2160 @ 60Hz
Native Color Depth & Gamut
10-bit (8-bit w/FRC) / sRGB
Response Time (GTG)
5ms
Brightness
300cd/m2
Speakers
2 x 3W
Video Inputs
2 x DisplayPort, 2 x HDMI,
1 x DVI, 1 x VGA
Audio
1 x 3.5mm, 1 x headphone
USB
v3.0 - 1 x up, 2 x down
Panel Dimensions
WxHxD
26.1 x 18.2 x 9.4in
658 x 459 x 237mm
Panel Thickness
2.4in / 60mm
Bezel Width
.8in / 19mm
Weight
13lbs / 5.9kg
Warranty
Three years with two-day advance replacement

Chi Mei Optoelectronics (now Chimei Innolux) currently lists two 28-inch 4K TN-based parts in its catalog. They have the same specs and seem to differ only in model year. Monitors based on these parts are currently manufactured by Planar, Phillips, Samsung, Asus and Dell.

The tech is straightforward – a W-LED backlight and a TN panel of 3840x2160 resolution run at a maximum refresh rate of 60Hz over DisplayPort 1.2. Every model we’ve seen so far meets these specs except the Dell, which tops out at 30Hz.

Even though HDMI 2.0 has been available for about a year now, it has not yet found its way into computer monitors. Video cards are only just showing up with support. That means 60Hz operation requires DisplayPort 1.2. You can have the full native resolution over HDMI, but it’s limited to 30Hz. That might not seem like a big deal on paper. However, it makes a significant difference when you're sitting in front of the screen. We can tell immediately when a monitor is running at 30Hz just by moving the mouse cursor at a normal speed. There is far more judder since the panel cannot draw frames fast enough to create the illusion of smooth motion. This was a real downer on the P2815Q.

To separate itself from the crowd, Planar includes a superb PBP feature called FlexFour that supports up to four simultaneous sources. You can input two or three as well, or place a traditional PIP window in the corner of the screen. It’s pretty cool to see and with the extra pixel density available, the images are tack-sharp.

Last year, we were impressed by our benchmark results from Planar's QHD screen, the PXL2790MW. Will this new 4K kid-on-the-block measure up to that excellent display? Let’s take a look.

Create a new thread in the US Reviews comments forum about this subject
This thread is closed for comments
32 comments
    Your comment
  • JWoody
    T&N+Film? Yuk, ill pass... been using an IPS variant since 2005 and ill never go back. "Ultra-HD" or not. Ill take accuarcy and viewing angle over speed anyday, as long as its fast enough....
    1
  • yumri
    I welcome the advance in technology just i am waiting for an IPS 4k monitor myself is all
    1
  • ralanahm
    the more then one input makes for interesting possiblities on an older work setup where you can get all work screens on one screen
    0
  • redgarl
    After going 4k, you are not coming back. A pair of 970 GTX are enough for good performances.

    Also, you don't need AA at 4k.
    2
  • jasonelmore
    The next gen games are not running well on 4K. Assassin's Creed: unity gets 24 FPS with SLI GTX 980's. FC4 gets around 28 FPS.

    We still have a long way to go. Probably 2 more generations of graphics cards, before it becomes affordable and with good performance. SLI needs to not be a requirement.
    -1
  • jasonelmore
    and that's with AA off completely.
    0
  • aberkae
    Please review the 4k monoprice monitor just fell to $517 60hz tn display.
    0
  • cypeq
    4k isn't by any means affordable deal.
    0
  • makaveli316
    You can't play any game that is coming right now on a 4k monitor. Sure, if you don't mind playing with 30-40 fps.... Sorry, but i'm not spending that money for 4k monitor, just to say "hey look, i have a 4k monitor". I want performance as well and that isn't coming any time soon. It costs 500$, but you're forced to go SLI and i see people are struggling even on 1080p with SLI. So in the end, you spend like 1000$ and you still can't max out a game and have decent fps.
    -2
  • bob hays
    Anonymous said:
    You can't play any game that is coming right now on a 4k monitor. Sure, if you don't mind playing with 30-40 fps.... Sorry, but i'm not spending that money for 4k monitor, just to say "hey look, i have a 4k monitor". I want performance as well and that isn't coming any time soon. It costs 500$, but you're forced to go SLI and i see people are struggling even on 1080p with SLI. So in the end, you spend like 1000$ and you still can't max out a game and have decent fps.


    Unless its an older generation or very cheap setup, no one struggles at 1080p with SLI.
    2
  • soldier45
    28 inches just too small after using a 30 inch 2560 x 1600 display since 2009. Next upgrade is a Phillips 40" 4K monitor which is coming in December for $800. My 2 x 980 classifieds won't have a problem running it either. Do your research before spouting off at the mouth about things you clearly know nothing about some of you.
    0
  • belzoth
    In the title it says "Affordable 4k." Maybe the monitor is affordable, but 4k gaming is not affordable because the expense involve in building a PC that plays AAA games at a high quality on 4k is by no means affordable yet.
    -1
  • Steveymoo
    I see a one or two people complaining about this being a TN 4k panel. There are 4k IPS panels out there, but obviously you will be paying a steep premium. So, just realize that this is targeted at enthusiasts on a stringent budget. Can't live without 4k IPS? Get your wallet out, and cough up $1500+
    1
  • cknobman
    Since I dont make a habit of using my computer monitor at off angles this monitor will fit the bill quite nicely. Finally something affordable I'm willing to purchase.
    0
  • kiniku
    Pass. Too soon. I'd also have to buy more video hardware for it. Stupid. I'm not going to pay to be an early adopter so to finance cheaper models for those that smartly wait. My 27" LG Quad HD IPS is amazing.
    1
  • Doug Lord
    Nvidea and AMD are rumored to have new cards ready for us soon that will output 50% more then 980 GTX. They will be brutally pricey because they are 550 and will need massive cooling on 28nm. But when 20nm hits they will shrink them, drop the price and max out the clock speeds. By next Xmas we should be able to get good 4k gaming at 60 fps from sli setups. But yeah 980 sli for sub 30 fps and no AA. No thanks.
    1
  • Doug Lord
    Also you can't do real 4k without at least 8 GB of RAM. And with real 4k textures your gonna need BANDWIDTH. Stacked ram could be HUGE for 4k.
    0
  • steve4king
    4k isn't all about gaming. 1080p is not enough for me when it comes to text. In regards to gaming however, 1080p is great. 2160p is a sweet spot for resolution allowing you to run 2160p at the desktop and 1080p for games without any pixel sharing/splitting. I'm still waiting for someone to make a 2160p@60hz that can also do 1080p@120hz with adaptive refresh. ..I'm getting so very impatient haha.
    1
  • crowland104
    "Affordable"
    0
  • Zeroplanetz
    When a good non TN panel of 4k with a high refresh rate hits at 1080p price points then I'll look into 4k. Until then my 1080p with dsr on works perfectly well. This dsr stuff gives my current monitors new life. :).
    0