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.

Most of our monitor coverage at Tom’s Hardware encompasses mainstream brands. But occasionally we venture off the beaten path and review products you won’t find at the big-box stores.

Monoprice began in 2002 by selling low-priced HDMI cables. At a time when companies like Monster were charging $100 for a six-foot cable, Monoprice would sell you one just as good for $9.95. A few years ago, it branched out into other peripheral products, and in 2013 started selling a line of monitors. Today, there are seven displays for sale, ranging from 24 to 30 inches with resolutions between 1080p and Ultra HD.

Recently we reviewed the 30-inch IPS LED model and found it useful, if a little dated technologically. The screen performs well compared to monitors from two and three years ago, and offers solid build quality. But since today’s review subject, the CrystalPro 4K, is priced much nearer to its competition, Monoprice will have to up the performance ante.

We know that only four companies actually manufacture LCD panels: Samsung, LG, AU Optronix and Innolux. And only the last one makes a 3840x2160 part in a 28-inch TN form. Innolux lists a 2013 and 2014 version of the same panel, so every 28-inch UHD monitor sold today is made from one of those.

This is the likely reason why Monoprice’s version isn’t significantly cheaper than the competition, though it does sell for less than most on a given day. It seems that the prices of these screens fluctuate like the stock market, so they take turns playing the role of best value choice. Still at $500, the CrystalPro is hard to beat at any time.

To refresh our memories, we’re talking about a 28-inch TN panel with 8-bit+FRC color depth, an sRGB gamut, five millisecond-rated response and 300 cd/m2 brightness. To this, Monoprice adds a slick aluminum bezel, four-source picture-by-picture, a fully adjustable stand and five video inputs.

Just from that description it seems pretty evident that Monoprice doesn't cut corners with the CrystalPro 4K. But how does it perform? As you’ll quickly see from our test results, it runs with the best in class and delivers the sharpest image to boot.

We realize that many users are waiting for an IPS solution at this price point. Truth be told, so are we. But the TN panel from Innolux has proven to be a good performer in other monitors, and the CrystalPro 4K appears to be no different. Let’s take a look.

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  • 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.
  • 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.
  • milkod2001
    Amazon link for Asus monitor brings me to AOC
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • aberkae
    The price is $429 for this 4k monoprice monitor, thanks for the review you guys listen to requests much appreciated.
  • 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.
  • aberkae
    1602123 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
  • beshonk
    Where's the Benq XL2420G review? I'm debating on 4k, but whatever i buy will be G-sync for sure.
  • 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...
  • Grognak
    @Chris - The input lag on those monitors is outrageous, considering they're TN.
  • ceberle
    506869 said:
    Where's the Benq XL2420G review? I'm debating on 4k, but whatever i buy will be G-sync for sure.


    The BenQ XL2420G is in the lab right now. The review should be up early next month.

    -Christian-
  • MarcV
    Please review the LG 31MU97 - it's IPS too :-)
  • renosablast
    For those citing the $749 price from Amazon: Why would you not by a Monoprice product direct from Monprice at the much lower price?
  • jase240
    As of 2015/02/18 this monitor just dropped in price to $521.31 USD.
  • RedJaron
    1329169 said:
    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...

    Well first, you can get the Monoprice model at Monoprice for only $575, so $50 for the adjustable stand and extra inputs can be justified. Second, the Dell display is only 30 Hz.
  • Jon Wolf
    The price is $575 over at Monoprice.com. The Amazon price doesn't count a bit.
  • geok1ng
    "Until VA panels make the jump to 4K resolution". I didn't get this part. 39-40 inches 4K VA panels are on market since the last 2 years. The Philips 40" monitor is capable of true 60Hz operation and the Seiki 39" works at 30Hz, but displays 1080p content at 120Hz and has near perfect sRGB coverage.
  • rpgplayer
    I just got a 32" HP Envy from Newegg for just under $500. 60Hz 1440p gaming is awesome.
  • soldier44
    After using a 30 inch 2560 x 1600 the last 5 years, 28 inches and 4K is just too small. Waiting for Phillips to bring their 40 inch 4K monitor out this year for less and a grand.
  • redgarl
    For people saying 4k is not affordable, two 970GTX are about 700$ and offer good performances around 60fps maxed out without AA and filtering.

    Another thing, you don't need any AA or filtering at that resolution so you gain 25% of more performance.

    Metal Gear SOlid ground zeroes run at max with a single 290x at 45fps-60fps average outdoor and 60fps in cinematics. The only game not able to run at 4k with my system is Watch DOgs... and I don't care.
  • 10tacle
    I'll keep waiting for an IPS to come within the price range of this. It will happen. With that said, does anyone have any experience running a 4K monitor at a lower resolution like say 1440p? I'd like to know what it looks like compared to my native 27" Dell 1440p. I know it won't look better and might even look worse, but if it looks the same I'd really like to know.
  • Ninjawithagun
    The problem with previous AHVA 4K panels was not the refresh rate, but rather the limitation that was caused by using only an HDMI 1.4b port (30Hz limit @ 4K). DisplayPort 1.3 will resolve the refresh rate limit issue as it fully supports 120Hz @ 4K.