ViewSonic VP2780-4K 27-inch Ultra HD Monitor Review

We've got ViewSonic's VP2780-4K in the lab today. Is this 27-inch, Ultra HD, IPS-based monitor worth your hard-earned money? Let's find out!

When it comes to new technology, if you want the bleeding edge you have to buy in at the premium level. This is definitely true with Ultra HD. The first screens were all 32 inches (based on IGZO parts from Sharp), and cost around $3000.

Last year we had a major price breakthrough thanks to 28-inch TN displays based on parts from Innolux. Those monitors are selling for $400-600 as of this writing. At the same time, various companies introduced 24-inch Ultra HD monitors using IPS panels from Innolux and LG. We’ve reviewed examples from Dell and NEC and found them to be extremely accurate with their factory calibrations and wide-gamut options.

Today we’re reviewing our first example of the fourth Ultra HD option: 27-inch IPS. Parts are available from AU Optronics, LG and Samsung, but the sample we’re looking at today is ViewSonic’s VP2780-4K.

Specifications

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We haven’t had a ViewSonic display in the labs for quite a while but its reputation for a solid build and good quality control is still intact. The VP2780-4K impresses right off the bat with a factory data sheet that covers all major calibration parameters: grayscale tracking, gamma and color gamut over multiple saturations. All the errors are reported to be under two Delta E and our tests confirmed every number.

There is no doubt this monitor is designed for professional use, yet its price tag is a little lower than expected. With NEC’s superb EA244UHD still selling for around $1000, we expected a 27-inch IPS screen to exceed that. Luckily, we were wrong. This new ViewSonic comes in at a very reasonable $890 MSRP, with street prices a bit lower still.

The obvious question has to be: what’s missing? Well, first there is no wide-gamut option. Many pros work in the sRGB color space, especially in the film and broadcast industry, so that isn’t a huge deal. You do, however, get an EBU option — something we don’t see very often. EBU is the high-definition color space used in European broadcasts. Basically there is slightly greater saturation in green, slightly less in red and blue remaining nearly the same. In our opinion, this solidifies the VP2780-4K’s design goal as a studio monitor.

Other features include 10-bit color courtesy of an 8-bit native panel with frame-rate conversion. The backlight is a white LED, which keeps costs down yet excludes an Adobe RGB gamut. There is also a built-in input matrix that allows simultaneous viewing of up to four sources — just the thing for multi-camera monitoring.

At a price of less than $900, the VP2780-4K bears serious consideration. Can it live up to its factory calibration and professional aspirations? Let’s take a look.

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  • Daniel Ladishew
    I keep seeing prices quoted in your reviews that are lower than the links provided in the same article. This is very misleading and frankly confusing when trying to align your evaluation with the prospect of a purchase. Maybe it's time to review your system of automatic price linking and/or including how much a product costs in the text of your articles? While I don't expect it to match on the penny every time, several hundred dollar swings makes for a hard sell when you claim "a very reasonable $890 MSRP" for a product showing for over $1000.
  • tomc100
    4K displays should start at 40" to really take advantage of the increased resolution. 27" doesn't make any sense.
  • Walter Smith
    And yet be sure we will soon be seeing 4k resolution being common in our 5" or 6" screen smartphones. As an all purpose, everyday main monitor, at this price point, this screen bears some serious consideration.
  • FritzEiv
    Quote:
    I keep seeing prices quoted in your reviews that are lower than the links provided in the same article. This is very misleading and frankly confusing when trying to align your evaluation with the prospect of a purchase. Maybe it's time to review your system of automatic price linking and/or including how much a product costs in the text of your articles? While I don't expect it to match on the penny every time, several hundred dollar swings makes for a hard sell when you claim "a very reasonable $890 MSRP" for a product showing for over $1000.


    Thanks for the input. In many articles we do call out the fact that the prices in the article are based on the writing time frame. I'll make a note about getting better and more consistent at that. The "buy buttons" we place into the articles, which are linked from e-tailers/merchants are typically dynamically linked using APIs. So the prices in those buttons are supposed to represent real time pricing, which, as you know, fluctuate madly depending on the category. The upside is that we'll always have the latest pricing. The downside is that it's different than what we put into our written text, and sometimes how we determine our "value" analysis, where applicable. Another downside is that sometimes the API implementations are a little wonky, a situation our development and commerce teams are continually trying to address.

    - Fritz Nelson, Editor-in-chief
  • Eggz
    Good to see View Sonic based on the map with a quality product like this.
  • zcat
    Do all of these 4k monitors do decent 1080p upscaling? That's my only real concern, since nobody's going to be gaming @ 4k native for quite a while, so the upscaling should look good and have negligible impact.
  • Brian_R170
    I really like this monitor, but fear Viewsonic's reliability. In 2008-2009, my work group bought a few hundred value-priced 27-inch Viewsonic monitors and 23-inch Viewsonic TVs. The failure rate was unbelievably high, easily surpassing 50% in the first year for the 27-inch model. The 23-inch TVs fared better, but surpassed 50% failure within 3 years. Viewsonic replaced the ones that failed under warranty with refurbs, and they failed, too.

    I personally bought one of the same 27-inch models from Costco for home use after using one at work, it failed in less than 3 months. Thank goodness for Costco's warranty.

    Maybe just really bad quality control on a couple of low-end models, but it scares me when the author writes "The obvious question has to be: what’s missing?", because in my past experience, what was missing was quality control.
  • InvalidError
    Anonymous said:
    4K displays should start at 40" to really take advantage of the increased resolution. 27" doesn't make any sense.

    Tell that to people who choose to do most of their reading on 1200-1600p 7-10" tablets due to the more pleasant, crisper, more paper-like fonts. I wouldn't mind having a 24-27" UHD display for reading. I am still a big fan of dead-tree format for reading because crisper fonts and higher contrast reduce eyestrain.
  • tom10167
    except nobody sits 8" away from a 27" monitor.
  • Yuka
    Looks like a solid option. I miss my low latency Viewsonics from old, but Samsung gave fierce competition. I wonder what Samsung will bring to the table now.

    And please make prices go down already. I want one of these puppies at a reasonable 300-ish price, haha.

    Cheers!
  • InvalidError
    Anonymous said:
    except nobody sits 8" away from a 27" monitor.

    I have been laughed at by people here telling me I am sitting "ridiculously far" from my desktop displays at 30-36" so I would not be so sure about there being nobody who sits 8" from a 27" display.

    Still, scrawny text with single pixel wide lines are still scrawny at 30" distance on a 24" display.
  • 10tacle
    Anonymous said:
    Do all of these 4k monitors do decent 1080p upscaling? That's my only real concern, since nobody's going to be gaming @ 4k native for quite a while, so the upscaling should look good and have negligible impact.


    If it is anything like the 1080p upscaling on my 1440p, not likely. And jumping in upscaling from 1080p to 2160p is an even bigger stretch, so to speak. That's why I'm not even thinking about moving up to 4K until I can run games at high/ultra settings in native 4K resolution at a minimum of 60fps matched at V-sync. I'm a long ways from that in most of the current games even with 970 SLI (cards overclocked to 980 speeds).

    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    except nobody sits 8" away from a 27" monitor.

    I have been laughed at by people here telling me I am sitting "ridiculously far" from my desktop displays at 30-36" so I would not be so sure about there being nobody who sits 8" from a 27" display.


    You got my curiosity up. I just did measurements. I sit 22" from my 27" 1440p used for PC gaming, and 30" from my 32" 1080p on the other desk used for PS4 gaming.
  • ceberle
    Anonymous said:
    Do all of these 4k monitors do decent 1080p upscaling? That's my only real concern, since nobody's going to be gaming @ 4k native for quite a while, so the upscaling should look good and have negligible impact.


    Since 3840x2160 is exactly four times the pixels of a 1920x1080 monitor, the scaling is perfect. No interpolation is required as there would be when a 2560x1440 monitor scales the same signal.

    -Christian-
  • Tanquen
    Too fliping small. I can get a free 35" TV with the purchase of a Dell PC but I can't get a 4k 16:10 or 16:9 35-40" monitor for my PC. Just a bunch of supper short 21:9 displays.

    :( Argggg!
  • InvalidError
    Anonymous said:
    Since 3840x2160 is exactly four times the pixels of a 1920x1080 monitor, the scaling is perfect. No interpolation is required as there would be when a 2560x1440 monitor scales the same signal.

    No interpolation is required but if you do that, you end up with larger square pixels. Most UHD displays have upscaling algorithms that will use the extra pixels to either soften or enhance edges and gradients.
  • RedJaron
    Anonymous said:
    except nobody sits 8" away from a 27" monitor.

    Do the math. A 7" screen held 8" from your eyes will appear the same size as a 27" screen at 30.8" away ( assuming identical aspect ratios, of course ). Considering most people hold their devices around 10" - 12" from their face, you've actually got a range of 27" to 38.6" for that same 27" monitor to match a 10" tablet or 7" reader.
  • RedJaron
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    Since 3840x2160 is exactly four times the pixels of a 1920x1080 monitor, the scaling is perfect. No interpolation is required as there would be when a 2560x1440 monitor scales the same signal.

    No interpolation is required but if you do that, you end up with larger square pixels. Most UHD displays have upscaling algorithms that will use the extra pixels to either soften or enhance edges and gradients.

    I think what Christian is saying is that four pixels on a 27" 4K UHD monitor will be the same size as one pixel on a 27" 1080p monitor. So even without image processing, you're getting at least similar picture sharpness. With processing, it's possible to get an even better picture on the 4K ( in theory ).
  • computertech82
    Why in the world recommend a 8-bit monitor? The banding (gamma) is terrible on 8 and 10-bit monitors. EXTREMELY distracting in games and movies/videos of the banding affects of colors. The 12-bit is the best option for eliminate that (TRUE colors and ZERO banding).
  • RedJaron
    Anonymous said:
    Why in the world recommend a 8-bit monitor? The banding (gamma) is terrible on 8 and 10-bit monitors. EXTREMELY distracting in games and movies/videos of the banding affects of colors. The 12-bit is the best option for eliminate that (TRUE colors and ZERO banding).
    Um, first this is a 10-bit display. Second, maybe because the vast majority of humans have difficulty discerning more than the 16.7 million colors that come with 24-bit color. Even tetrachromats would have trouble differentiating 68 billion colors on a 36-bit display.

    Deep color becomes important on professional displays where you're working on static images. For fast-pace games and most movies, it takes a worst-case scenario for banding to become really noticeable at 24-bit.
  • Snookslayer
    Reminds me of Planes, Trains and Automobiles when John Candy displays his watch and says "I have two dollars and... a CASIO!"

    "I have two dollars and a View Sonic!"