A couple of months ago our resident smartphone guru, Brian Klug, told me about a super affordable, Korean made 27-inch 2560 x 1440 display that used the same panel as Apple's 27-inch Cinema and Thunderbolt Displays. Brian first heard about the displays in the comments to our review of HP's ZR2740w. You lose nearly all of the frills (no USB, no Thunderbolt, no inputs other than DL-DVI) but what you get is a great looking, high-resolution display for around $300. A good friend of mine, Manveer, ordered one of these displays and brought it over the other day. I ran a few quick tests on it and decided to toss up some data and shots here.

Manveer picked up the Achieva Shimian QH270. It features an LG made S-IPS panel with LED backlight, the same hardware used in Apple's 27-inch displays. The panels used in these displays often have dead pixels, although the eBay seller that Manveer bought from offered a guarantee of 0 dead pixels for an extra $30. With his total (including shipping from Korea) at $334, the display was a steal.

Brightness tops out at 400 nits, and black levels are just as good at below 0.4 nits for a total contrast ratio of over 1100:1. You'll note that this is actually better than the first Cinema and Thunderbolt Displays I reviewed, but it's also likely that the panels have improved over the past year.

White Level -  XR Pro, Xrite i1D2 and XR i1DPro

Black Level - XR Pro, Xrite i1D2 and XR i1DPro

Contrast Ratio -  XR Pro, Xrite i1D2 and XR i1DPro

Color accuracy is spot on with the Apple displays, and color gamut is pretty good at 74.8% coverage of the Adobe 1998 color space:

Color Tracking -  XR Pro, Xrite i1D2 and XR i1DPro

LCD Color Quality

The monitor performs extremely well, and this particular model had no issues with backlight bleeding although your mileage may vary there. As I mentioned earlier, you only get a dual-link DVI input which is unfortunate but something I'd be willing to overlook given the price. The cheapest models also don't have any integrated scaling hardware, you have to instead rely on your video card for all scaling duties. You also need to make sure that you buy one with the right power supply for your region. Many of these panels sold on eBay ship with a 240V-only power brick.

There's also no on-screen display, leaving you with just the brightness controls on the back of the monitor and your PC for calibration work. There are placeholder buttons on the back of the display but they do nothing here.

The Achieva's build quality isn't all that great, and doesn't ship with any top glass (which may not be a problem for many users). The display looks pretty good and for the amount you save you could actually buy a ridiculously fast video card to drive it (or multiple displays). I don't usually touch my monitor a lot so I wasn't overly bothered by the build quality. The Achieva's stand isn't height adjustable, and doesn't tilt all that smoothly either. From what Brian tells me, the more expensive Catleap's stand isn't really worth the extra money either. I'm a big proponent of having a height adjustable chair and desk for ergonomics, in which case having a fixed height display isn't an issue.

Although it's often problematic with non-Apple displays, Apple's mini-DP to dual-link DVI adapter actually worked perfectly with the Achieva display.

If you're looking for an affordable, bare bones 2560 x 1440 display, definitely give the Achieva Shimian QH270 some thought. Just keep in mind the caveats associated with these displays (potential for dead pixels, unimpressive build quality, limited input choices, no easily serviceable warranty, etc...).

Source: Overclock.net

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  • Ryan Smith - Sunday, June 03, 2012 - link

    You get nothing. Because it lacks scaling hardware it can only show a 2560x1440 image. Reply
  • Impulses - Sunday, June 03, 2012 - link

    Doesn't the PS3 upscale everything to 1080p anyway? You'd still have a problem regardless, it's not a useful display for consoles. Reply
  • eXces - Sunday, June 03, 2012 - link

    This guys have the Extreme 2B Overclock Edition 120hz capable ofCatleap Q270
    http://www.120hz.net/
    Reply
  • hechacker1 - Monday, June 04, 2012 - link

    Yeah, the caveat being that you need a GTX 680 to overclock it to 120Hz.

    I think only a few 7970s get to 100Hz, most to 85Hz.

    Which is still really nice for a display of that size. I'm buying one after I save a bit for both the 680 and monitor.
    Reply
  • Oxford Guy - Monday, June 04, 2012 - link

    1. No mention that it's only available in glossy. Some of us just won't use glossy displays. The semi-gloss of the BenQ VA screens is as reflective as I can tolerate.

    2. No mention once again as to whether these use PWM or constant control backlighting. The expensive HP uses constant control so there is no fatiguing flicker. This is EXTREMELY important for buyers like me who can't tolerate flickering LED backlighting. I have had to quit using my EW2420 because of the flicker. I can literally see an afterimage composed of horizontal lines when I close my eyes after using it.

    I am in the market for a new display with constant control backlighting and a non-reflective screen.
    Reply
  • JNo - Monday, June 04, 2012 - link

    Hi,

    Have a question for any who own this. I understand it doesn't have a scaling chip but I *presume* that the power and abilities of decent discreet graphics cards should allow most configurations. For instance, I would be worried that my 5850 is good for 2D but would struggle at 2560x1440 on most modern games. So....

    a) If you set the graphics card to, say, 1920x1200, will this monitor show it centred it with large black bars around or not at all?
    b) Is this monitor ok if you *render* at 1920x1080 but have your gpu *scale up* the output to 2560x1440 to use the full screen real estate?
    c) If you're ok to scale up an image rendered at 1920x1080, does it look fine at such high resolution/low pixel pitch? Or does it look blurred or jaggy? i.e. how acceptable and noticeable is the fact that it is scaling?

    Thanks for any help
    Reply
  • pm - Tuesday, June 05, 2012 - link

    I just bought one of these QH270's last week.

    For game rendering, I have an ATI Radeon 6850 and my video card scaled everything automagically for me, and the scaling looks pretty good. There are no black bars.

    I had it rendering 1920x1200 for Skyrim today as a demo and it looked great and filled the whole screen. It was not as crisp as at the native 2560x1440, but it looked good enough that we actually weren't sure what resolution it was running at. I didn't think it looked super blurry, but I had to say that when we switched to 2560x1440, it was obvious that it had been scaled. But like I said, I was showing the monitor to co-workers and we weren't sure what res it was at, so that's a pretty good thing.
    Reply
  • phemark - Wednesday, June 06, 2012 - link

    Hi,

    I was looking into buying a cheap IPS display (Dell 2412m was on the top), but after reading this, Im very interested. The only thing Im not sure about, if I would be able to use dualDVI converted to connect to HDMI? Is that possible? (I would be connecting it to my laptop running ATI Mobility 5870)

    Thanks!

    P.S. What about Catleap Q270?
    Reply
  • maximumGPU - Wednesday, June 06, 2012 - link

    for those that used it for gaming, any noticeable input lag? Reply
  • Throckmorton - Wednesday, June 06, 2012 - link

    DVI only is not a drawback. It means there's less hardware between the computer and the display, which means less input lag. Reply

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