RCA Evolution Premium (M27PG135F) review: One of the oldest electronics brands in the world made a gaming monitor, but HP did it better

RCA's 27-inch gaming monitor is decent, but HP's alternative is just better (lucky this monitor just lowered its prices).

Image of the RCA Evolution Premium.
(Image: © Windows Central | Zachary Boddy)

Windows Central Verdict

This mid-range, 27-inch gaming monitor bearing the RCA brand is a solid first attempt with its great color accuracy and decent set of gaming-centric features, but there's already a perfect competitor to this monitor that fills the same void at the same price, but does it better. Unless this monitor is enjoying a major sale, it's not the best option.


  • +

    Solid picture quality with above-average color accuracy in the segment

  • +

    Great gaming performance with a fast response time, high refresh rate

  • +

    USB Type-C port with Power Delivery and KVM support help this monitor stand out

  • +

    Lowered price makes this monitor a better deal


  • -

    Contrast is below average and HDR support is negligible at best (and detrimental at worst)

  • -

    The HP OMEN 27qs is everything this monitor is but better in almost every way

  • -

    USB ports are limited to KVM support, and the necessary cable isn't included in the box

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RCA is one of the oldest and influential electronics companies in the world — or at least it was. Established in 1919, RCA helped mold the technological world we currently live in, but nowadays RCA only really exists as a brand licensed out to different companies. One such company has taken that brand to create the "M Series" of gaming monitors. It's less of a series and more of a pair at this point, but it could be the start of something bigger.

I got a chance to test and review the RCA Evolution Premium, a mid-range, 27-inch gaming monitor with a QHD resolution and a 240Hz refresh rate. For just $429 (now lowered to $379), it's a tempting blend of features and quality, but the Evolution Premium has one major roadblock in its way: the fact that another company has already made this exact monitor, but did it better. The Evolution Premium isn't a bad gaming monitor by any means, but HP did it better (fortunately, RCA has lowered the price on its monitor to make it a more appealing alternative). Read on for my full review.

Disclaimer: This review was made possible by a review unit provided by RCA. The company did not see the contents of the review before publishing.

RCA Evolution Premium: Pricing and specifications

You can still find the RCA brand on all manner of electronics, but different companies are licensing that name. (Image credit: Windows Central | Zachary Boddy)

Pricing highlights

  • The Evolution Premium is priced identically to its major competitor, the HP OMEN 27qs.
  • For the same price, the OMEN 27qs gives you better overall picture quality and a much more quality and refined design, and a data cable is included in the box.
  • The Evolution Premium is more color accurate, though, features a USB Type-C port to support more devices, and supports KVM.
  • Value rating: 4/5

RCA Evolution Premium

Price: $379 at Walmart (was $429)
Display type: 27-inch IPS LCD
Display resolution: 16:9, QHD 1440p
Display features: 240Hz refresh rate, 1ms grey-to-grey (GtG) response time, 350 nits max brightness, HDR10 compatible, On-Screen Display (OSD) with joystick controls
Weight: 8.3kg (18.31lbs)

At its original retail price of $429, the RCA Evolution Premium represented an alright value for the gaming experience you can expect. 240Hz refresh rates still aren't extremely common, and most more affordable monitors boasting such low-latency panels are 1080p and often suffer from ghosting issues. A 27-inch, QHD gaming monitor with excellent performance is highly desirable, but the Evolution Premium has one major issue: the HP OMEN 27qs exists.

For the same price, you can get a very similarly configured monitor with superior overall picture quality and gaming performance, a much more refined design, and more value adds like more cables and a VESA bracket in the box. The OMEN 27qs is simply the better monitor for most people, with the Evolution Premium only standing apart thanks to higher color accuracy, a USB Type-C port to connect to more devices, and KVM support.

However, RCA did inform me after this review went live that the RCA Evolution Premium is going to be priced at a more affordable $379 for the foreseeable future, which is a much more compelling price that lets the Evolution Premium undercut the HP OMEN 27qs in price.

In the box, all you get is the RCA Evolution Premium gaming monitor and its detachable two-piece stand (which requires a tool to construct), a DisplayPort 1.4 cable, and a power cable.

RCA Evolution Premium (M27PG135F)

RCA Evolution Premium (M27PG135F)

The Evolution Premium is a solid gaming monitor, truly, but unless you need the very specific features it offers over its competitor (or it's on sale), the HP OMEN 27qs is simply better for the same price in every other regard.

Buy at: Walmart | Amazon

RCA Evolution Premium: Design and build quality

This is definitely a gaming monitor, but it's far from my favorite design (and the RGB lights are far too subtle). (Image credit: Windows Central | Zachary Boddy)

Design highlights

  • The monitor is constructed primarily of matte black plastic with a gamer-esque aesthetic and a two-piece metal stand.
  • With subtle customizable RGB lighting on the back and narrow bezels, the monitor does look pretty modern.
  • However, the stand takes up a lot of space and requires tools to assemble, and the ports are a little hard to access (some have limited use, too).
  • Design rating: 3.5/5

Design overview

• Dimensions: 292.1 x 615.95 x 524.51mm (11.5 x 24.25 x 20.65in)
• Weight: 8.3kg (18.31lbs)
• Adjustment:
VESA mount support (100 x 100mm, no bracket included), tilt, pivot, swivel, & height adjustment
• Ports:
1x USB Type-C j3.2 Gen 1 w/ 90W Power Delivery & DisplayPort 1.4, 1x DisplayPort 1.4, 2x HDMI 2.0, 1x USB Type-B 3.2 Gen 1 (upstream), 2x USB Type-A 3.2 Gen 1 (downstream), 1x 3.5mm audio jack
• Other details:
2x integrated speakers, On-Screen Display (OSD) with joystick control, rear customizable RGB lighting

From the front, the RCA Evolution Premium gaming monitor looks very much like most other 27-inch monitors, with suitably thin bezels on three sides and a thicker chin displaying the RCA logo. From the rear, the Evolution Premium follows the "gamer" aesthetic of other gaming monitors, with aggressive lines and indents. It's an acquired taste, but it's functional. There are two customizable RGB lights on the rear that you can control with the OSD, but they're quite dim and subtle, so you're unlikely to notice them.

When setting up the monitor, you will need to use a tool (included in the box) to attach the two stand pieces before connecting it to the monitor via your usual clip system. Considering many of the best gaming monitors use toolless designs, it is a small downside that you're forced to use a tool (and keep track of that tool) to put this monitor together or take it apart. Once it is installed, the stand takes up a rather substantial amount of space on your desk, more than any other 27-inch monitor I've tested. At least there is the expected gap for cable management in the stand.

The port selection is decent, but they are deeply recessed and annoying to access once the monitor is set up. Regardless, you get your typical array of DisplayPort and HDMI ports, but you also get a full-featured USB Type-C port with 90W of Power Delivery, capable of video, audio, data, and charging for a connected device. This is one of this monitor's only (and biggest) advantages over the competition, and it is nice to have if you can make use of it.

These ports are hard to reach, but it's mostly good news here. (Image credit: Windows Central | Zachary Boddy)

There are also two USB Type-A ports and a Type-B upstream port, but this is not a USB hub for data transfers or peripherals — these ports are only useful for KVM (Keyboard, Video, Mouse), which lets you connect your keyboard and mouse to the monitor and control two connected devices with it (one connected to the HDMI/DisplayPort and the USB Type-B port, and the other connected to USB Type-C). Having KVM support can be invaluable to those who may regularly switch between two devices (say, a gaming PC for personal use and a laptop for work), but those who don't need it are left with a couple USB ports they can't use. On top of that, RCA does not include the USB Type-B port you need to take advantage of KVM on most computers in the box, so you'll have to buy it separately.

Overall, the visual design of the monitor is solid, but build quality isn't the best in the price class. The gap between the display bezels and monitor chassis is thick enough to build up debris, there's noticeable creaking throughout the body, and the monitor in general doesn't exude a feeling of quality. To be fair, it is perfectly acceptable for a budget to mid-range monitor, but the RCA Evolution Premium just isn't built or designed as well as its closest competitor.

RCA Evolution Premium: Display and picture quality

This is an accurate, good-looking panel, but the contrast levels really bring it down. (Image credit: Windows Central | Zachary Boddy)

Display highlights

  • The Evolution Premium scores good points for color accuracy, and its display does look nice in regular usage.
  • However, contrast levels are sorely lacking, its brightness is middling at best, and HDR support is negligible to detrimental in quality.
  • Picture quality is still good enough for most people, though, with a variety of presets to change the overall feel of the display.
  • Display rating: 3.5/5

Display overview

• Display specs: 27-inch IPS LCD, 16:9 aspect ratio, QHD (2560 x 1440) resolution, 240Hz refresh rate, 1ms GtG response time, 350 nits max brightness
• Display features: HDR10 compatible, anti-glare coating, OSD with built-in controls, NVIDIA G-Sync and AMD FreeSync support
• Other details:
95% DCI-P3 color gamut

It's surprisingly difficult to track down exact specs for the RCA Evolution Premium monitor, but I've pieced together as much as I could to match with my personal experiences. On paper, this display seems practically identical to the HP OMEN 27qs, but in practice there are some differences. To start, though, this is a standard 27-inch, QHD, IPS LCD panel with a blazingly fast 240Hz refresh rate and 1ms GtG response time (with overclocking).

Picture quality-wise, this is a rather cool display that leans more toward blue hues. White balance still seems fine, but there definitely is a slight blueish tint when you look for it. Overall, the display looks pretty good in regular use, and is more than capable enough for media consumption and gaming. Let's look at the numbers, though.

True to its word, this monitor scores 95% of the DCI-P3 color gamut. (Image credit: Windows Central)

Color accuracy is one of the few areas in which the RCA Evolution Premium actually bests the HP OMEN 27qs. The Standard preset is more color accurate overall than the OMEN 27q's most accurate preset, and actually clears the 95% of the DCI-P3 color gamut that RCA promises. This isn't studio-grade accuracy, but it's a cut above other monitors in the same league, so there's that at least.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
RCA Evolution Premium
SettingBrightnessBlackContrastWhite point
0%21.20.03780:17500 (0.302, 0.305)
25%1120.14820:17700 (0.299, 0.306)
50%198.60.25810:17800 (0.297, 0.306)
75%280.10.36790:18000 (0.295, 0.306)
100%355.70.45790:18000 (0.294, 0.306)

Things aren't as positive here. The RCA Evolution Premium fails to surpass the 400 nits of brightness necessary for the minimum VESA DisplayHDR 400 standard (hence the "HDR10 compatibility"). It still gets bright enough for the average office, but you may notice the limitation if you regularly have lots of sunlight in the room. Contrast-wise, this monitor is actually below average for a modern IPS LCD display. Blacks look particularly gray and shadow details in darker scenes are crushed. The backlight is at least mostly consistent across the board with minimal bleeding, but it is one single backlight.

The lack of brightness, poor contrast, and a single backlight for the entire display means that the HDR10 support this monitor boasts is... Basically useless. Consuming HDR content or playing HDR games comes with negligible benefits at best, but it often results in worse picture quality than the same content in SDR. The HP OMEN 27qs' was already pretty useless for HDR content, but the Evolution Premium is a step below that, even.

I tested the monitor's other presets and found that most of the changes tend to be in the white balance. Color accuracy and contrast are more or less the same for each preset, so you can pick the one that suits you best. For me, just sticking with Standard was the way to go. Be warned, though, that there's zero way to change the brightness or edit other image settings for any preset — that control is restricted just to the User custom preset, which I found odd and disappointing.

RCA Evolution Premium: Gaming performance

(Image credit: Windows Central | Zachary Boddy)

Gaming highlights

  • When it comes to gaming, the Evolution Premium is a very capable gaming monitor.
  • 1440p is the sweet spot for most gamers, and a 1ms response time is more than fast enough for competitive gaming.
  • A 240Hz refresh rate headlines the gaming features, although v-sync technologies from AMD and NVIDIA aren't officially supported apparently (but still work fine, as far as I can tell).
  • Gaming rating: 4/5

The RCA Evolution Premium does nail the gaming experience. It's fast, smooth, and responsive, with an excellent blend of specs and gaming features. The only area where it falls behind the HP OMEN 27qs is in contrast levels, which can make a difference in games for spotting minute details in dim environments. In every other respect, the Evolution Premium does feel like a match performance-wise for its biggest competitor.

I never noticed any ghosting or detail smearing while gaming, which is always a risk with high refresh rate / low-cost gaming monitors. There's very little to complain about here, other than the weak contrast ratio. For response times, there are three "Overdrive" levels that increase how quickly individual pixels are able to change color, which can give you an advantage in competitive games. I never encountered any issues here, either, even at the highest or lowest levels. All-in-all, this is a solid monitor for gaming.

It should be noted that the Evolution Premium doesn't officially support either NVIDIA G-Sync or AMD FreeSync technologies to ensure the monitor is tied to your framerates to prevent screen tearing. I stress the word "officially" because v-sync worked fine in every game I tested, but the lack of official support is strange (especially since AMD FreeSync has no licensing fees for OEMs). I'm not sure if there are potential issues with certain games that attribute to this lack of official support, so I'm putting it down as a "soft con." I had no qualms with it, but that doesn't mean there isn't cause for concern.

RCA Evolution Premium: Other features

Can you just barely spy out the blue RGB lighting tucked away inside the upper half of the monitor? (Image credit: Windows Central | Zachary Boddy)

Other features highlights

  • The Evolution Premium boasts a USB Type-C port with Power Delivery and Keyboard, Video, and Mouse (KVM) support, but cables aren't included in the box and the two USB Type-A ports are only useful for KVM.
  • The On-Screen Display (OSD) is decently filled with features and easy to control with the built-in joystick, but there is no dedicated software to download.
  • The integrated speakers not only sound terrible for anything but voice chat and video conferences, they're also extremely quiet.
  • Other features rating: 3.5/5

This is the one category where the RCA Evolution Premium and the HP OMEN 27qs properly trade blows, and it may sway your purchasing decision if you're considering either of these monitors. Let's start with how you control these monitors via the On-Screen Display, or OSD. The RCA Evolution Premium's OSD is pretty well laid out and easy to control with the joystick stashed on the back of the monitor, but HP's OSD has more features and is more intuitive to use. The OMEN 27qs also integrates into the OMEN Gaming Hub for even easier control.

Both monitors boast dual integrated speakers. I criticized the OMEN 27qs for its terrible speakers that seemed barely worth having, but the Evolution Premium somehow manages to be a little worse. The sound quality is similar, but this monitor is significantly quieter (too quiet at times).

Where the Evolution Premium may inch ahead for some, though, is the port selection. A USB Type-C port with 90W Power Delivery can be invaluable to those planning on hooking up a laptop to this monitor, and the OMEN 27qs lacks it. KVM support can also be a boon to anyone with multiple devices they want to control from the same monitor, another feature the Evolution Premium boasts that is missing in the OMEN 27qs. However, the two USB Type-A ports on the OMEN 27qs are useable as extra ports for your PC (for peripherals and accessories), and the necessary USB Type-C upstream cable is included in the box. The Evolution Premium's two Type-A ports can only be used for a keyboard and mouse (to enable KVM, although you can just connect your keyboard and mouse), and the necessary Type-B cable is not included in the box.

RCA Evolution Premium: Competition

The RCA Evolution Premium is a fine monitor... but the HP OMEN 27qs you can see behind it is just better in most ways. (Image credit: Windows Central | Zachary Boddy)

If you couldn't tell from the rest of this review, the RCA Evolution Premium has one major competitor: The HP OMEN 27qs. HP's latest is still my top pick for a 27-inch gaming monitor for under $450, and the Evolution Premium doesn't do much to change my mind. While the USB Type-C port and KVM support are nice to have, the HP OMEN 27qs has a nicer, more refined, and more well-built design, better picture quality (with the exception of pure color accuracy), superior gaming performance with official v-sync support, and a better OSD and software integration. It also includes all the cables you need in the box (the Evolution Premium does not), and all for the same retail price as the Evolution Premium — $430.

Want a higher-end gaming monitor in this same category? The Alienware 27 Gaming Monitor (AW2723DF) is the best 27-inch, QHD, 240Hz, IPS LCD gaming monitor around. It's quite a bit more expensive, but you're getting excellent picture quality and impeccable gaming performance. If you want to spend any more, you can get the ASUS ROG Swift OLED (PG27AQDM) with similar specs but an absolutely gorgeous OLED screen and incredible build quality.

To save some money, consider the smaller (1080p) 240Hz alternative in the Lenovo Legion Y25-30. The 27-inch, 1080p Alienware 27 Gaming Monitor (AW2724HF) is also a solid choice, with an impressive 360Hz refresh rate. Finally, you can enjoy the KVM support of the Evolution Premium with a higher-quality, 4K panel in the HP OMEN 27k, assuming you're willing to spend a bit more. Again, though, if what you're looking for is an excellent QHD gaming monitor for less than $450, the HP OMEN 27qs is your best bet.

RCA Evolution Premium: Score card

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Value4/5At its original retail price, the HP OMEN 27qs was the far better value, but a newly lowered price of $379 makes this monitor a solid alternative.
Design3.5/5The monitor looks decent and is built solidly, but the two-piece stand is large and requires tools to assemble, and the port situation isn't perfect.
Display3.5/5Overall picture quality and color accuracy are good, but are dragged down by poor contrast and HDR support, and middling max brightness.
Gaming4/5Gaming performance is fantastic, only brought down slightly by those poor contrast levels affecting detail and some mystery surrounding v-sync support.
Other features3.5/5A Type-C port and KVM support is nice to have, but terrible speakers, the lack of some cables in the box, and the limited use of other ports are drawbacks.

RCA Evolution Premium: Final thoughts

There's actually a lot to like about this gaming monitor, but unless it's on sale or you really want the Type-C port or KVM support, it's not the best in its class. (Image credit: Windows Central | Zachary Boddy)

You should buy this if ...

You can find this monitor for a lower price

At its original retail price of $429, most people are honestly much better off going with the HP OMEN 27qs. However, at the RCA Evolution Premium's now-lowered price of $379, this is actually a very solid gaming monitor that could help you save some money if HP's alternative isn't discounted.

The USB Type-C port and KVM support are valuable to you

The Evolution Premium differentiates itself from the competition with two features, which could be very valuable to the right people. A full-featured USB Type-C port with Power Delivery makes this a great fit for many laptops, and KVM support means this monitor can be the centerpiece for controlling multiple PCs.

You should not buy this if ...

You just want the best 27-inch gaming monitor for less than $450

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Overall, the HP OMEN 27qs is the better monitor. It's a better value with a higher-quality build, superior picture quality and performance, and greater ease-of-use. It now costs a bit more than the Evolution Premium, but it's worth it if it fits within your budget.

Good HDR support is important to you

The RCA Evolution Premium technically supports HDR on paper, but it's worse than negligible — it actively makes HDR content look worse. SDR content looks fine, but avoid this monitor if you're looking for good HDR support (unfortunately, you'll likely have to spend a fair bit more for that).

This isn't really an RCA monitor. The RCA that helped pioneer our modern world hasn't existed in its prior form for decades. It is one of many products that now carry the RCA brand, though, and that comes with all the legacy the three-letter name holds. So, is the RCA Evolution Premium (M27PG135F) one of the best gaming monitors you can buy? Well... It is a good gaming monitor. The Evolution Premium doesn't majorly disappoint in any category but HDR support, and is a solid option for work and play.

It's blocked from the list of the best, though, because its biggest competitor just does it better. In my HP OMEN 27qs review, I concluded that "if you have a gaming PC that can handle 1440p gaming at up to 240 FPS, this is the best option you're going to find under $500, bar none," and that conclusion hasn't really changed. At the same price, the Evolution Premium just isn't quite as good as a gaming monitor, but it does make a compelling case for itself as a multipurpose monitor, thanks to the USB Type-C port and KVM support.

If you can find the RCA Evolution Premium on sale (I've seen it go for as low as $379, and RCA has informed me that price is staying at least for the foreseeable future), it's quite a good option — especially if you value the two features this monitor has over the OMEN 27qs. If your budget is $450, though, and you want the best possible 27-inch gaming monitor you can get with that money, the Evolution Premium isn't quite that. It gets pretty close, though.

Zachary Boddy
Staff Writer

Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer for Windows Central, primarily focused on covering the latest news in tech and gaming, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting Windows and Xbox hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life starting with the original Xbox, and started out as a freelancer for Windows Central and its sister sites in 2019. Now a full-fledged Staff Writer, Zachary has expanded from only writing about all things Minecraft to covering practically everything on which Windows Central is an expert, especially when it comes to Microsoft. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.