The versatile OnePlus Monitor X27 misses a ripe chance for a shock price tag

We often complain about the sea of ​​equality that characterizes the smartphone market. This has flown under the radar for a long time, but external displays and PC monitors haven’t started anything exciting for quite some time. Not that display companies needed to rush with urgent renewals — the pandemic had caused 2021 to hit a 9-year high for PC display shipments, according to research firm IDC. There was a need.

Fast forward to the first two quarters of 2022, the consumer market returned to the expected sluggishness. The problem is really simple. New(er) technology does not always seep through the hierarchy of the display product line. Certainly not at the more affordable price points. Affordability itself is a subjective term, with displays defined by size, versatility and usability.

You would know OnePlus as a brand that makes popular Android smartphones. As well as impressive smart TVs, among other things. It’s not entirely a surprise that the company is launching a range of monitors. Could this be the first block of a wider game of computer peripherals and ecosystems?

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The OnePlus Monitor X27 is the premium of the two being launched, the other being the OnePlus Monitor E24. As the name might give away, this brings to your desk a 27-inch screen space. The spec sheet seems mostly well ticked off: an IPS panel (that’s in-plane switching technology), 2560 x 1440 resolution, 10-bit color, up to 165 Hz refresh rate, AMD Freesync Premium compatibility, and DisplayHDR 400 standard .

It’s not exactly cheap, with a price tag of 27,999 and that’s no surprise given the spec sheet and competitive landscape. It sets the OnePlus Monitor X27 in direct competition with BenQ PD2700Q (the color saturation algorithms are impressive), LG 27QN880 (the desktop stand should catch your eye) and Acer Nitro XV27U (dual HDMI ports) – all of these priced very similarly, give or take a provided are from.

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From what we realized while experimenting with use cases and reviewing its performance, the OnePlus Monitor X27’s screen size (and we’re at the risk of stating the very obvious here) is its biggest asset. The footprint also feels large, with the slim bezels playing their part. This is a fantastic PC display, and that would be the bare minimum you’d expect.

That said, before we leave, a bit of tweaking is required with the display settings to get the best out of this panel. Extensive options, and you’ll probably have to press quite a few buttons for a while (these are on the bottom, on the right side). Enabling certain settings, such as HDR, ensures that many other options are not available. That’s the monitor’s software taking charge.

It’s up to you whether you want full control over brightness, contrast, saturation, sharpness and black levels, or choose one of the predefined picture modes. That may even vary from time to time depending on how you connect to this screen.

We used this as a second monitor with an Apple iMac 24 and a Windows 11 laptop (the Lenovo Yoga series to be exact). It just works, especially if you tend to struggle with multiple apps or app windows open in parallel. This seemed easy on the eyes, once you’ve locked in the picture settings to your liking. We preferred colors to look a lot warmer when switching between documents and the web browser.

Your choices in this scenario, depending on the PC you have, are HDMI or USB-C. A second display as large as this is the ideal recipe to relax. Connectivity is where the OnePlus Monitor X27 comes in handy, with two USB 3.0 ports and a 3.5mm jack for headphones or external speakers (the screen doesn’t have one built-in).

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Another very relevant use case is the ability to act as a large screen companion for smartphones and tablets. We connected this to an Apple iPad and a Google Pixel 7 Pro smartphone, both with the USB-C cable. Again, a really handy option to have, if you want to stream a live match on this second screen while you work, and don’t have to struggle with the relatively smaller screen of a phone or tablet.

Adjusting black levels is relevant here, especially when consuming media. When you’re done, you’ll start to admire how deep the blacks get with this panel. That is good for contrast and dynamic range. It also helps the colors come through better (richer is the word we’re looking for).

We’d suggest not going all out with the sharpness, with a tablet or phone plugged in – the screen might look a little too soft at first, but increasing the sharpness will only add visible artifacts around, say, written words. That can, and we will mention just one example here, screw up the scoreboard in a cricket or football match.

Any phone or tablet connected to the OnePlus Monitor X27 will also be charged – this port provides up to 65 watts of charge. Faster charging Android devices will use this faster than some others. But you emerge on the other side, with your phone or tablet’s battery holding more charge than before.

We also used the OnePlus Monitor X27 for gaming, and that’s where the 165Hz refresh rate really comes through. Not to say it’s unique to the computing space, as many gaming laptops now often have 144Hz refresh rate screens. This is truly fluid, tear-free gaming (meaning, in simpler terms, no broken or stuttering frames), something we’ve described with F1 2022 and Forza Horizon 5.

Our connected PC has an Nvidia graphics card, and that would give us only an incomplete commentary on the benefits of the AMD Freesync Premium technology, at least for now. For gamers who do have a compatible AMD graphics chip, that in combination with the high refresh rates is a rather interesting mix.

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The attention to detail extends to the desktop stand of the OnePlus Monitor X27. The display can be rotated sideways, tilted higher or lower, adjusted in height and even tilted for orientation. The stand is made of metal, just like the foot. That exudes premiumness, more than anything else.

There’s also cable management, which is basically a recess in the stem to run the wires through. Nothing too elaborate. It is placed much too low (especially if you leave the screen on the highest position) and you can still see all the cables. Misses the point, by its placement. It is better to route the cables behind the screen itself.

Above all, the OnePlus Monitor X27 does one thing really well: it refreshes an otherwise stagnant, but highly relevant ecosystem within the larger computing space. Working from home and hybrid working has taught us about the importance of each link in the chain. How out of place would a shoddy monitor be in such a situation. OnePlus certainly missed an opportunity to gain a price advantage over the rivals we established earlier. The price tags are all too similar.

What OnePlus is hoping for is the spec sheet and actual quality of this panel to filter through, as it should be. The OnePlus Monitor X27 itself is quite useful. That’s all it can do, to be honest.

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