Dark Matter by Monoprice 27-inch Gaming Monitor review: IGZO never looked so good for $350

For those on a budget, it's hard not to take the new 27-inch Dark Matter IGZO gaming display seriously.

Monoprice Darkmatter Display
(Image: © Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

27-inch gaming displays are some of the most common and sought-after accessories in the PC market. And while Monoprice is not new — the company is well known for its affordable but reasonable quality cables and accessories — its entry into desktop monitors is a welcomed move.

Monoprice is now introducing the 27-inch Dark Matter display powered by Sharp IGZO (instead of traditional IPS). With a price of just $350, a solid 180Hz refresh rate, and excellent color accuracy, there's a lot to like with this Dark Matter.

Of course, nothing is free, and Monoprice had to cut some corners too, which is why we still like Razer's Raptor 27 for a premium alternative. But for those who want the basics without breaking the bank, you'll want to give this monitor serious consideration.

Dark Matter by Monoprice 27: Price and availability

Monoprice Darkmatter Display

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

The Dark Matter by Monoprice 27-inch Gaming Monitor is now available directly from Monoprice for $349.99 with free shipping for the US.

Monoprice also sells a non-IGZO version of this display with a 165Hz refresh rate for $230.

The Dark Matter by Monoprice 27-inch Gaming Monitor is not available through Amazon. However, it is likely to appear there as many of Monoprice's goods are sold through the retailer.

Monoprice offers a 30-day, money-back guarantee and a one-year "PixelPerfect" guarantee.

Dark Matter by Monoprice 27: What's good

Monoprice Darkmatter Display Close

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

Out of the box, the Dark Matter display is matte black plastic with a matte 27-inch display. Two LEDs flank the front and two more on the rear to add some of that "gamer" pizzaz. The display has thin bezels on all three sides, with the bottom being slightly thicker. It's a good look only made better by the single, all-black logo that is barely noticeable.

It's not a heavy setup, either, coming in at just 18.6 pounds (8.4kg) with the all-metal stand (the monitor is just 11 pounds (5kg) without the stand). That last number is suitable for using a VESA mount to put this display on a swivel mount.

The main attraction to this Dark Matter display is the use of a 2560x1440 Sharp IGZO (Indium Gallium Zinc Oxide) instead of Amorphous Silicon (a‑Si) found in most screens. Companies like Dell and Razer use IGZO panels in their premium laptops because it sort of blends the high contrast of AMOLED with the more natural look of IPS. As Monoprice notes:

IGZO semiconductors are significantly more energy-efficient and respond much faster than a‑Si semiconductors, resulting in lower power consumption, less heat, more accurate and vibrant colors, and faster response times.

And at least those claims hold up in my testing. While I didn't get 100% across the board for the color accuracy, it came close enough with 100% sRGB, 97% AdobeRGB, and 93% DCI-P3 (Monoprice claims 100% for both sRGB and AdobeRGB but makes no claims on DCI-P3). Those are all excellent numbers for a $350 display.

For brightness, Monoprice claims 400 nits, and I measured 380 nits, which is quite close. There is support for HDR 400, which is the lowest level of HDR, but still nice to see here.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
CategoryDark Matter monitor from Monoprice
Screen size27-inchMatte, anti-reflective
PanelSharp IGZO LQ270T1JG06, 8-bit
Refresh rate180Hz
Aspect ratio16:9
Brightness400 cd/m²
Response time1ms
Adaptive SyncYes
VESAYes, 75x75 mount
PortsDisplayPort 1.4a3x HDMI 2.0USB-C
Contrast ratio1000:1
Color100% sRGB, 100% Adobe RGB

The ports are in the rear, and they have an excellent big white label on them, making it easy to see which you are plugging into during setup. These ports include one DisplayPort 1.4a, three HDMI 2.0, and one USB-C. That USB-C port can be used for display input purposes and supports charging, though it falls well below the standard 65-watt charging most laptops would need.

Monoprice Darkmatter Display Ports

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

A 180Hz refresh rate is unusual, but it's at least something more than the typical 165Hz we see in many gaming monitors. The display does support Adaptive-Sync (VESA), but lacks the proper certifications from NVIDIA or AMD for branding (another area to save costs), but operates much like AMD FreeSync.

Dark Matter by Monoprice 27: What's not good

Monoprice Darkmatter Display Rear Led

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

Most of the complaints about this display return to that $350 price. For instance, you need a screwdriver (and some tiny fingers) to put the base and stand tighter. Sure, it's just four screws, but the instructions were rather vague (they use different screws for each part). Many more premium monitors come with a stand that clicks together, by comparison.

That stand also doesn't do much for cable management, the Razer Raptor's bread and butter. Your cables will flow wildly unless you grab some accessories.

Another bummer is that stand is fixed for height. While it tips slightly up and down, there is no way to adjust it for height, which will limit multi-monitor configurations. Luckily, there is a VESA mount, so you can just put it on a swivel mount.

IGZO, while looking great, can experience some gradient effects while scrolling, etc. I don't think you'll see this when gaming, but you may notice it for everyday use. There is a 1ms response time for this monitor, so it's still good for gaming and not the same as motion blur.

Dark Matter by Monoprice 27: Competition

Doubling the price of the Dark Matter is the Razer Raptor 27 — one of our favorite overall displays. There is a lot of similarities between the two with HDR400. But the Raptor adds more ports, including two Type-A, NVIDIA G-Sync, a ridiculous stand with superb cable management, high-quality materials, and fancy Chroma RGB lighting. The latest version is also THX Certified, adds a VESA mount, and bumps the refresh to 165Hz.

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

Dell has the well-received S-Series 27-inch LED monitor with the exact 2560x1440 resolution, up to 155GHz refresh, and skinny bezels. It's a great-looking display but comes in at $90 higher with its $440 price.

The HP X27I 2K Gaming monitor is just $280 with a similar 2560x1440 resolution, AMD FreeSync, but a lower 144Hz refresh rate and 4ms response time while slightly dimmer (350 nits).

LG has the 27UK650-W with a 4K resolution, HDR10, AMD FreeSync for $380, but is limited to just 60Hz with a slow 5ms response time.

The MSI Optix (OPTIXMAG321CQR) is larger at 31.5 inches with a 2560x1440 resolution, slower 144Hz refresh, slightly dimmer (350 nits), and a height-adjustable stand. It features an excellent 1ms response, better finishing, AMD FreeSync, and super thin bezels for around $330.

You can get more ideas from our best PC gaming monitors guide.

Dark Matter by Monoprice 27: Should you buy it?

Monoprice Darkmatter Display Tilt

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

You should buy this if ...

  • You're on a budget
  • You want the highest refresh rate for $350
  • You like Sharp IGZO technology

You shouldn't buy this if ...

  • You need a height-adjustable stand to match your other displays
  • You need a Type-C port that can maximally charge your laptop
  • You prefer some bells and whistles

The Dark Matter by Monoprice 27 Gaming Monitor succeeds where it needs to in offering an outstanding 27-inch panel that gives good color accuracy, HDR400, and a simple design with some LED flair.

While the stand is not my favorite, it is clear this is where you are saving some money instead of going with HP, Dell, Lenovo, or MSI, which offer similar displays but often at slightly higher prices.

But for those looking for an excellent, do-it-all 27-inch monitor, there's a lot to like with this Dark Matter. I personally like Sharp IGZO, and I think this one looks fantastic. The 1ms refresh, VESA mount, Adaptive Sync, and unique 180Hz refresh seal the deal, especially for $350.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.