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Dark Matter by Monoprice 27-Inch Monitor Review: Gaming on an IGZO Panel

An IGZO panel delivers big color at a low price

Dark Matter by Monoprice 27-Inch Gaming Monitor
(Image: © Monoprice)

The Dark Matter 42892 has seven picture modes which offer different color, gamma and grayscale profiles meant to suit different applications or game types. There’s also an sRGB mode if you want to use the smaller gamut. For gaming and calibration, we used the default Standard preset.

Grayscale and Gamma Tracking

Our grayscale and gamma tests use Calman calibration software from Portrait Displays. We describe our grayscale and gamma tests in detail here.

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Monoprice Dark Matter 27

(Image credit: Portrait Displays Calman)
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Monoprice Dark Matter 27

(Image credit: Portrait Displays Calman)
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Monoprice Dark Matter 27

(Image credit: Portrait Displays Calman)

In Standard mode, you’ll only see a slight purple tint in the brightest parts of the image. In real-world content, the issue was hard to spot. A rise in gamma from 60-90% brightness means some highlight detail will be muted, reducing image depth. This typically indicates a contrast slider that’s set too high.

Tweaking the RGB sliders and lowering contrast one click fixed both issues neatly. There are no visible errors in grayscale tracking and highlight detail is now visibly brighter. Though the gain in accuracy is small, it had a visible impact on picture quality.

If you prefer to use sRGB for SDR content, grayscale tracking is locked and cannot be adjusted. But it only shows a slight purple tint in the 90 and 100% brightness steps. Gamma is as before with a slight reduction in highlight areas of the image. Some shadow detail is also a bit harder to see, thanks to a small gamma bump at the bottom end of the scale. Overall, these are minor errors. We consider the 42892’s sRGB mode to be completely usable.

Comparisons

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Monoprice Dark Matter 27

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
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Monoprice Dark Matter 27

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
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Monoprice Dark Matter 27

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
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Monoprice Dark Matter 27

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The 42892 compares well against the other screens with a low 2.04 Delta E (dE) average grayscale error out of the box. Aside from the tiny errors we noted earlier, there is little to complain about. After calibration, all the screens hit a high standard, so the Monoprice’s fourth place finish is not a negative. Any score below 1dE is pro-level quality.

With a tight 0.12 range of gamma values, you won’t see any issues if you dial in our recommended settings. Highlight detail pops better when you lower the contrast slider from 50 to 49. With an actual average value of 2.19, the 42892 wins the gamma deviation test.

Color Gamut Accuracy

Our color gamut and volume testing use Portrait Displays’ Calman software. For details on our color gamut testing and volume calculations, click here.

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Monoprice Dark Matter 27

(Image credit: Portrait Displays Calman)
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Monoprice Dark Matter 27

(Image credit: Portrait Displays Calman)
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Monoprice Dark Matter 27

(Image credit: Portrait Displays Calman)

The 42892 shows some unusual color gamut response. Most extended color screens hit their marks for red and blue and come up short in green. The Monoprice comes up a little short in red and overachieves in green and blue. This made things like sky and grass look very vibrant, and warmer tones had a little less impact. We’re talking subtleties here; the overall error is still low enough that you won’t see a significant difference in actual content.

Our calibration (see page 1) tightens up the chart a little but didn’t visibly change the image much. Color looked about the same, but our grayscale and contrast adjustments do make highlights stand out better. The sRGB chart looks very good with an even lower average error of 1.89dE. All color points are on or near their targets.

Comparisons

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Monoprice Dark Matter 27

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
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Monoprice Dark Matter 27

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Though the 42892’s red primary is a little undersaturated, overall numbers are excellent. It places third in our group for average color error and sports a healthy 94% coverage of DCI-P3. This is higher than average; most extended color screens clock in around 88-90%. You can thank the bonus green and blue for this. Since the red primary is undersaturated, we wouldn’t recommend the 42892 for color-critical applications.

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Christian Eberle
Christian Eberle is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He's a veteran reviewer of A/V equipment, specializing in monitors.
  • sadsteve
    Um, that first picture of the monitor appears to be a picture of a 21x9 monitor not a 16x9 monitor like the one you're reviewing.
    Reply
  • mrv_co
    'No Speakers' should be listed under 'Pros'.
    Reply
  • closs.sebastien
    a screen doesn't need speaker. this is an advantage.

    27' and no 4k, so I will classify it as a 'screen for old people' or for public display (train station etc....)... = 1px 1cm wide...
    Reply
  • Hairless_Ape
    Great review - love the comparisons and tests against competing products. Made me pull the trigger and give this one a try since my previous QHD 144hz 27" Monoprice was damaged in a move.
    Reply