There was a time, not so long ago, when a large screen monitor (bigger than 20in) with a resolution higher than full HD would cost you more than a decent family car and might even have required a remortgage. The ViewSonic VP2290b, for example, cost around £5,000.
Then since the beginning of last year, the number of affordable large size monitors that that can sport a resolution higher than 1,920 x 1,080 shot up significantly, a rise fuelled by little known brands from South Korea and China. And a common denominator across almost all these brands is that they use IPS panels for their displays.
Earlier last year, a popular low-cost display brand Digimate (or DGM), introduced a new monitor, the DGM IPS-2701WPH, one which is currently available the company’s online eBay shop for as little as £320 including delivery. One massive advantage Digimate is that after sale support is based in the UK and therefore covered by UK and European laws.
As for the monitor itself, it offers some pretty impressive features for a 2,560 x 1,440 display that cheap. Conveniently located at the back of the monitor facing the left hand side of it (when looking at the back of the display) are one HDMI port, one dual-link DVI-D, Displayport, an audio-in and D-Sub.
You will only be able to reach the maximum resolution using either the dual-link DVD-D port or Displayport which excludes a big chunk of the desktop and laptop markets although Displayport on business laptops (HP ProBook, Lenovo Thinkpad, Toshiba Tecra, Samsung Series 7) are rapidly becoming the norm.
You will be able to connect more than one device to the display although the monitor doesn’t have any picture-in-picture option which means no simultaneous viewing. We were slightly disappointed by the lack of USB ports and card reader as well as the orientation of the speakers (at the back rather than forward-facing).
Outwardly, the monitor is imposing, positively massive especially if you are sit around two feet in front of it. When switched off, the panel is essentially a very reflective black surface with all the inconveniences that come with it. Any speckle of dust or fingerprint tends to be visible especially in dark areas and with substantial overhead lighting.
The same can be said for the bezel (21mm at its thinnest and 37mm at its thickest) and the plastic stand connects to the monitor panel via a Plexiglas neck and a screw. You can only tilt the television by about 10 degrees or so and to remove the stand (should you want to fix it on the wall) requires that you unscrew four screws.
There are seven buttons lined up on the bottom edge of the screen on the right hand side which allow the user to control the OSD, which is a basic, straightforward menu.
Viewing angles were well above average for an IPS panel with little bleeding and excellent colour rendition, helped perhaps by the fact that DGM chose to use a glossy panel coating rather than a glass panel. Note that the monitor consumes a whopping 120W when in use which requires an external 24V 6A brick adaptor, which explains the air vents at the top of its chassis.
In conclusion, the Digimate IPS-2701WPH is possibly the best value for money, large screen display capable of showing 3.69 megapixels. There are a few niggles but none of them are significant enough to take away the fact that it is a genuine bargain. Other rivals include the Dell U2711, the Hazro HZ27 and the Samsung S27A50D, all of which cost significantly more than Digimate's model.