Planar IX2850 28-Inch Ultra HD Monitor Review
If there’s one inevitability in the evolution of display technology, it’s that the pixel count will continue to increase. Even though 1920x1080 dominates the desktop, we’ve been looking at Quad HD and now Ultra HD screens for nearly two years. Dell even announced a 5K screen shipping in December. And you can bet we’ll be testing it!
Stepping up to 4K does require a hefty investment. But prices, as they eventually do, are dropping. The first 32-inch screens debuted beyond a $3000 price point, well outside of most enthusiasts' budgets. Then came the 24-inch models for around $1300. Now we have a fairly new panel part from Chi Mei Optoelectronics that makes a sub-$800 Ultra HD monitor possible.
We already looked at the Asus PB287Q and Dell P2815Q. We’ll also be following this review with a story about Phillips' 288P6LJEB. But today our focus is on Planar’s new entry, the IX2850.
|Brand & Model||Planar IX2850|
|Panel Type & Backlight||TN / W-LED, edge array|
|Screen Size & Aspect Ratio||28-in / 16:9|
|Max Resolution & Refresh Rate||3840x2160 @ 60Hz|
|Native Color Depth & Gamut||10-bit (8-bit w/FRC) / sRGB|
|Response Time (GTG)||5ms|
|Speakers||2 x 3W|
|Video Inputs||2 x DisplayPort, 2 x HDMI,1 x DVI, 1 x VGA|
|Audio||1 x 3.5mm, 1 x headphone|
|USB||v3.0 - 1 x up, 2 x down|
|Panel DimensionsWxHxD||26.1 x 18.2 x 9.4in658 x 459 x 237mm|
|Panel Thickness||2.4in / 60mm|
|Bezel Width||.8in / 19mm|
|Weight||13lbs / 5.9kg|
|Warranty||Three years with two-day advance replacement|
Chi Mei Optoelectronics (now Chimei Innolux) currently lists two 28-inch 4K TN-based parts in its catalog. They have the same specs and seem to differ only in model year. Monitors based on these parts are currently manufactured by Planar, Phillips, Samsung, Asus and Dell.
The tech is straightforward – a W-LED backlight and a TN panel of 3840x2160 resolution run at a maximum refresh rate of 60Hz over DisplayPort 1.2. Every model we’ve seen so far meets these specs except the Dell, which tops out at 30Hz.
Even though HDMI 2.0 has been available for about a year now, it has not yet found its way into computer monitors. Video cards are only just showing up with support. That means 60Hz operation requires DisplayPort 1.2. You can have the full native resolution over HDMI, but it’s limited to 30Hz. That might not seem like a big deal on paper. However, it makes a significant difference when you're sitting in front of the screen. We can tell immediately when a monitor is running at 30Hz just by moving the mouse cursor at a normal speed. There is far more judder since the panel cannot draw frames fast enough to create the illusion of smooth motion. This was a real downer on the P2815Q.
To separate itself from the crowd, Planar includes a superb PBP feature called FlexFour that supports up to four simultaneous sources. You can input two or three as well, or place a traditional PIP window in the corner of the screen. It’s pretty cool to see and with the extra pixel density available, the images are tack-sharp.
Last year, we were impressed by our benchmark results from Planar's QHD screen, the PXL2790MW. Will this new 4K kid-on-the-block measure up to that excellent display? Let’s take a look.