We’ve reviewed quite a few gaming monitors lately, and all but one were based on old-school twisted-nematic (TN) technology. While these panels offer all of the contrast, color accuracy and brightness of more contemporary in-plane switching (IPS) parts, they suffer from poor off-axis image quality. And in the 27-inch form factor, it gets harder to find that perfect sweet spot where the picture looks uniform from edge to edge.
IPS panels improve upon competing technologies in every area but one – speed. It seems that running one at refresh rates over 60Hz is something of an engineering challenge. Until recently, Overlord Computer was the only company stepping up to build a true IPS-based gaming monitor. Its Tempest X270OC fared extremely well in our tests last summer. We thought it would compel other vendors to join the IPS/gaming category, but sadly that didn't come to pass. Only Acer has joined in with its 27-inch XG270HU, a monitor we expect to have in our labs very soon.
When Monoprice announced its 120Hz G-Pro IPS 30-inch display, we were quick to request a sample. Not only does it offer extra speed, but you get a large 16:10 screen based on a well-engineered LG panel part with LED backlighting.
|Panel Type & Backlight||AH-IPS / GB-r-LED, edge array|
|Screen Size & Aspect Ratio||30in / 16:10|
|Max Resolution & Refresh||2560x1600 @ 120Hz|
|Native Color Depth & Gamut||10-bit / Adobe RGB|
|Response Time (GTG)||6ms|
|Video Inputs||1 x DisplayPort, 1 x HDMI, 1 x DVI, 1 x VGA|
|Audio||1 x 3.5mm stereo in/out, 1 x Optical Digital output|
|Panel DimensionsWxHxD w/base||27.25 x 24 x 8.5in687 x 605 x 214mm|
|Panel Thickness||1.9in / 48mm|
|Bezel WidthTop/Side/Bottom||.7 / 1 / 1.2in18 / 25 / 30mm|
It’s interesting to note that Monoprice markets the G-Pro solely as a gaming monitor. If you look at the specs, however, it almost carries professional display cred. The GB-r-LED backlight enables wide-gamut operation. which Monoprice doesn’t advertise on its website. Then again, the extra gamut volume is unnecessary for gaming or typical computing tasks. We only wish there was an sRGB option in the OSD. You may have also noticed the 10-bit color depth. LG's panel is indeed natively 10-bit, though you need a full 10-bit signal path from your graphics card to take advantage.
That's not to draw attention away from the main reason we're here today: the G-Pro’s 120Hz refresh rate. Monoprice describes the screen as “overclockable” rather than simply rating it like other companies. What this means, as we quickly realized, is that you have to create your own resolution presets to enable refresh rates higher than 60Hz. And you can only use the DVI interface. DisplayPort has the necessary bandwidth, but it wouldn’t work for us at 120Hz.
We’ll lay our findings out over the next seven pages. In short though, while the G-Pro does work as advertised, it isn’t quite plug-and-play. What you do get is a wide-gamut display with reasonably fast panel response and low input lag. If that is your primary gaming requirement, and you want a large 16:10-aspect screen, this is the only game in town for now. Let’s take a look.