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Monoprice 30-inch IPS LED Monitor Review

In the land of value-priced peripherals, Monoprice is king. After adding monitors to its many offerings, we decided to check one out in our lab. This 30-inch IPS LED screen definitely qualifies as jumbo. Today we see how it performs.

Decent Value

It seems that only a couple of years ago, 24-inch monitors seemed large and we couldn’t imagine anything larger. Over the last 18 months however, 27 became the new 24, and we’re checking out more and more jumbo screens 30 inches and up. Setting aside the 32-inch 4K displays from Dell, Asus and Sharp though, there just isn’t much to choose from when you want to go really big.

There is no doubt that a 16:10 aspect ratio provides extra utility. The vast majority of productivity-oriented apps are better suited for height rather than extra width. You don’t have to scroll quite as much in word processors or Web browsers, for example. We’re seeing new 21:9 ultra-wide screens from LG and others, but their dimensions are tailored to keeping more windows open. A taller screen like the Monoprice lets you make more of the application you’re actually using.

Resolution-wise, a 30-inch or larger display is a perfect fit for QHD. The sweet spot for pixel density in Windows seems to be between 92 and 109ppi, which gives you the best font rendering quality and size without dpi scaling. We’ve seen many debates on this topic and maintain that Windows font scaling is poor. It improved a bit recently, but continues to lag behind Apple. When it comes to pixel count, MacOS makes better use of the extra resolution than Windows.

We did encounter a few issues when working with the Monoprice. Out-of-box color needs some attention, and if you want to effectively control brightness and contrast, you have to do things a bit differently. The easiest way to get optimal image quality from this display is to use our suggested settings from the bottom of page three.

It appears that the brightness control doesn’t modulate the backlight, but rather changes the low-end gamma, much like an HDTV. Lowering it won’t change the black level, though it does crush shadow detail severely if you’re not careful. The only way to get decent gamma is to set it to 100 and change light output with the contrast slider. Once you do that and set the color preset on Reddish, the picture is pretty good with reasonable depth and color accuracy.

And don’t forget this is a wide-gamut monitor. Monoprice doesn’t specify a color gamut spec on its website, but the 30-inch IPS LED is most definitely an Adobe RGB screen. And since there is no sRGB preset, you have to live with the over-saturated color in movie and gaming content. Only a few folks will take issue with this, however. Once you dial in our suggested settings, the picture should satisfy the majority of users.

  • MxMatrix
    I saw an ASUS UHD PB279Q (ips panel) for roughly the same price.
    So I'm not even going to bother for 30" if its possible to get UHD.
    Reply
  • mitch074
    I really wonder why Tom's never evaluates Iiyama screens - the ProLite XB2776QS is a 27" 2560x1440 IPS screen, available at the time for $450 with a zero pixel defect, 3 years on-site replacement warranty, sRGB factory-calibrated profile that does work... And it came out in 2013. I own one, and although its reliability initially left much to be desired (3 replacements for defects : one light leak, one dead subpixel, one power issue), it was replaced every time in less than 72 hours by Iiyama - and yes, including once when I picked up one dead (black) subpixel. It has since been replaced by a model with the very same specifications and prices, but more reliable electronics.
    Reply
  • nekromobo
    Why wouldn't a 34" 800$ IPS 21:9 (Dell U3415W) compete with this or the other similar displays. Also the external power brick is big nono unfortunely :(
    Reply
  • Karsten75
    It seems Overlord isn't selling any more monitors, so I guess references to Overlord monitors should be removed?
    Reply
  • achoo2
    With all the "though this feature is not described on the website" items and my unfamiliarity with the brand, I'd be reluctant to buy this monitor for fear that my device wouldn't match the review sample.
    Reply
  • DisplayJunkie
    As much as we all love Monoprice for their excellent pricing and quality on things like cables, this display is another catastrophic failure, or more likely an attempt to pander to the uninformed:

    - no backlight control. Right out of the gate, the display is useless. How can they fail so badly at the most basic and crucial aspect of a monitor? This is an exact repeat of the Zero-G by the way.

    - contrast sucks and attempting to control backlight level makes it even worse. Again same as the Zero-G.

    - Adobe RGB accuracy is not even good enough even for amateur photo/print work (and that's *after* calibration with a $250 device!), and no sRGB mode means the display is useless for everyone else / every other usage scenario

    All I see is pandering to the uninformed, trying to sell poorly implemented panels to those who are impressed by the large size and resolution.

    If it had a functional backlight control and cost maybe $500 max then it would be worth considering.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    Something I've always wondered about Monoprice is whether they actually: a) design anything themselves, b) produce specifications and select bids from manufacturers, or c) just import products that (usually Chinese) companies are already making.

    Can someone please clarify?
    Reply
  • DarkSable
    15244178 said:
    I really wonder why Tom's never evaluates Iiyama screens - the ProLite XB2776QS is a 27" 2560x1440 IPS screen, available at the time for $450 with a zero pixel defect, 3 years on-site replacement warranty, sRGB factory-calibrated profile that does work... And it came out in 2013. I own one, and although its reliability initially left much to be desired (3 replacements for defects : one light leak, one dead subpixel, one power issue), it was replaced every time in less than 72 hours by Iiyama - and yes, including once when I picked up one dead (black) subpixel. It has since been replaced by a model with the very same specifications and prices, but more reliable electronics.

    I've got one of those too, but because the model I ordered wasn't available in my region, they've never supported me... instead trying to get me to communicate with a german company that offers no warranty.

    While iiyama monitors are very good, I've noticed that they almost all share two issues:
    1) coil whine from the power subsystem. Every single iiyama I've owned either has cheap caps or just not enough insulation, and has audible coil whine even when off.
    2) Poor support for low brightness. This is actually a really annoying one for me - iiyama monitors are bright and don't have enough support on the low end; even at its lowest brightness setting with contrast down just above where it would drive me crazy, my iiyama is still brighter than any other monitor I've had.
    Reply
  • Tanquen
    "To have truly low input lag, you need a 120 or 144Hz monitor."

    No you do not.
    Reply
  • killerchickens
    You would want two 290x or gtx 980 to run 4k, with extra vram.
    Reply