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Our past monitor reviews have shown that in most cases, speed, resolution and price all travel upward in a predictable fashion. If you want more of the first two, you have to spend more money. But smaller companies like Monoprice seek to challenge that axiom.
Looking over our past reviews of Monoprice monitors, we see a clear progression from budget displays with average performance to gaming screens that compete with the best but still don’t cost a lot. The Dark Matter 27 is the best product we’ve seen from them yet.
If you’ve skipped ahead to here, we’ll say it one more time – the Dark Matter 27 is not the same monitor as the Pixio PX279 Prime. Though they appear the same externally, and likely share some hardware, our test results clearly show two different displays. The Monoprice is brighter for both SDR and HDR content, and more color accurate both before and after calibration. Though the differences aren’t huge, they are enough for us to conclude that they are not the same on the inside.
The Dark Matter 27 is a reliable and competent 240 Hz display with a well-engineered overdrive and all the gaming features a competitive player is likely to need. Response and input lag are as low as any of the more expensive 240 Hz displays we’ve reviewed and both kinds of adaptive sync work perfectly. HDR support is also trouble free. The only thing that could make that better is dynamic contrast, but you won’t find that on any budget screens we’re aware of. And it’s a rarity among 240 Hz and faster monitors. The other omission is extended color but that is also something not often found in this category or price class.
If you’re looking to raise your speed quotient, 240 Hz should be considered a starting point. Though many of the displays in this class are limited to FHD resolution, the importance of motion clarity should not be underestimated. QHD is our favorite performance sweet spot and Ultra HD certainly looks great when things don’t move too fast. But the cost of both options is a lot higher than what Monoprice is asking for the Dark Matter 27. At less than $300, it’s a serious performance bargain.
If you want to get more details, just search for product number 40778 on Monoprice’s website. The Dark Matter 27 will certainly appeal to the budget conscious and if that’s you, this is a very good choice.
Christian Eberle is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He's a veteran reviewer of A/V equipment, specializing in monitors. Christian began his obsession with tech when he built his first PC in 1991, a 286 running DOS 3.0 at a blazing 12MHz. In 2006, he undertook training from the Imaging Science Foundation in video calibration and testing and thus started a passion for precise imaging that persists to this day. He is also a professional musician with a degree from the New England Conservatory as a classical bassoonist which he used to good effect as a performer with the West Point Army Band from 1987 to 2013. He enjoys watching movies and listening to high-end audio in his custom-built home theater and can be seen riding trails near his home on a race-ready ICE VTX recumbent trike. Christian enjoys the endless summer in Florida where he lives with his wife and Chihuahua and plays with orchestras around the state.