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Monoprice CrystalPro 28-Inch 4K Monitor Review

Nearly every monitor manufacturer has a 28-inch TN Ultra HD monitor in its line-up. Today we’re looking at Monoprice’s CrystalPro 4K. Even though it’s based on the same part as its competitors, you get quality that matches or exceeds those displays.

Results: Brightness And Contrast

To read about our monitor tests in-depth, please check out Display Testing Explained: How We Test Monitors and TVs. Brightness and Contrast testing is covered on page two.

Uncalibrated – Maximum Backlight Level

The monitors in today’s comparison group are based on either the 2013 or 2014 version of Innolux’s UHD/TN 28-inch panel part. We know of no difference in spec between them, and our test results suggest no major changes were made from one year to the next.

Represented here are Samsung’s UD590, Asus’ PB287Q, Planar’s IX2850, Philips’ 288P6LJEB and Dell’s P2815Q.

Samsung is the only company to rate its monitor at 370cd/m2 – a spec it nearly reaches. All of the others claim 300cd/m2. Monoprice doesn't quite reach that level, but it comes close. Turning on the Dynamic Contrast gets you a little more light (312.6731cd/m2, to be exact). However, that exacts a toll on gamma tracking and overall image quality.

None of these Ultra HD displays sport great black levels. Monoprice comes close to the top position, though. Until VA panels make the jump to 4K resolution, we will likely see similar results for most high-res screens.

A result of 852.1 is middling in this group. Fortunately, thanks to clarity that’s a cut above, the image looks more contrasty to the naked eye. It’s a bit subjective, we realize. But using a clear front layer really enhances the CrystalPro 4K's look.

Uncalibrated – Minimum Backlight Level

The backlight doesn’t go down far enough in our opinion. Many users prefer a dark-room setting of 80cd/m2 and we like 50cd/m2. With a 100-step backlight control, that means each click is worth about 1.6cd/m2. Planar comes closest to our preferred minimum brightness level.

Due to the high brightness at Monoprice’s minimum setting, you can’t get a super-low black level.

We like lower output settings like this for gaming and movie-watching. Low levels mean that the black bars in cinemascope movies disappear, and games will look more three-dimensional.

Contrast is at least consistent through the backlight control's entire range. Even though that range is smaller than we’d like, you still see the same image depth no matter what your brightness preference is.

After Calibration to 200cd/m2

Calibration can often shuffle the field depending on how the white balance controls work. In Monoprice’s case, adjustment improves its black-level standing to a close second.

Contrast is reduced by only three percent after calibration. Few monitors can match that performance. There is essentially no penalty for adjusting the Monoprice to a high standard of color accuracy. All it takes are a few small tweaks of the RGB sliders.

ANSI Contrast Ratio

ANSI contrast remains solid at only a 1.5-percent reduction from the on/off number. It doesn’t get much better than this, folks. Excellent screen uniformity is partly responsible for such an excellent result. You’ll see just how good that is on page seven.

  • cats_Paw
    4k, 3d... next they will make a 5 something.
    THe market is not ready yet for that resolution, and the price is too high.
    Reply
  • milkod2001
    Looking at Amazon link with price:$749 and other Amazon links for monitors from well established brands(cheaper) ,this Monoprice TN looks like bad attempt for joke.



    Reply
  • milkod2001
    Amazon link for Asus monitor brings me to AOC
    Reply
  • de5_Roy
    i wish it was IPS too!
    i also wish it was a 22-24" display. IMO woulda helped with viewing angle issues that plague TN-based monitors i.e. smaller size leads to less need for eye movement, sharper image from higher PPI.
    Reply
  • Karsten75
    Your links are FUBAR. The link for the Asus PB287Q links to an AOC monitor. In any event, the price for the Asus PB287Q on Amazon is $612, NOT $399.
    Reply
  • aberkae
    The price is $429 for this 4k monoprice monitor, thanks for the review you guys listen to requests much appreciated.
    Reply
  • DisplayJunkie
    Wow, Monoprice FINALLY managed to produce a display which isn't completely useless like their previous products with no backlight/brightness control.

    Seems well built and the factory calibration is decent but $575 for TN, 60Hz...and most importantly and not surprisingly, only 850:1 contrast ratio (which Tom's calls "Good contrast" LOL).... as with all 4K TNs, all it has going for it is the high resolution. No other compelling reason to buy it, many other compelling reasons for other displays.
    Reply
  • aberkae
    15320841 said:
    Wow, Monoprice FINALLY managed to produce a display which isn't completely useless like their previous products with no backlight/brightness control.

    Seems well built and the factory calibration is decent but $575 for TN, 60Hz...and most importantly and not surprisingly, only 850:1 contrast ratio (which Tom's calls "Good contrast" LOL).... as with all 4K TNs, all it has going for it is the high resolution. No other compelling reason to buy it, many other compelling reasons for other displays.
    they just had a sale that ended it was $429 I have the promo in my email, I'm expecting the price to fall again to that price

    Reply
  • beshonk
    Where's the Benq XL2420G review? I'm debating on 4k, but whatever i buy will be G-sync for sure.
    Reply
  • Chris Droste
    right now; today, 2/18 on AMAZON; this monitor is $750
    Dell P2815Q = $409
    Samsung U28D590D = $529
    both are UHD, HUNDREDs of dollars cheaper from brands with better reputations, and based on what Tom's knows about the panel it's all from the same Manufacturer, so...why get the Monoprice one again? adjustable stand for an extra $200 maybe? i don't get it...
    Reply