X= XRGB27WQ 27" 165Hz 1440P Monitor Review
Buying a monitor seems to be one of the hardest things there is in the PC world. We all know what we want it for, perhaps photo editing, perhaps gaming, and we generally want one that is better than the one we currently own. The market, however, seems to be split right down the middle between monitors that are good for photo work and cost the earth, monitors that are designed for gaming and also cost the earth, and ones that combine colour accuracy with high gaming ability and those don't seem to exist. That's before we've got into the difference between IPS panels and VA ones.
One thing that doesn't help the purchasing decision is the very nature of user reviews. Most of us don't bother to review something if it is exactly what we were expecting, leaving the reviews you can read either being those people who give it a 5 star review within the first 5 minutes because "ooh shiny", or those who had a bad experience with delivery or similar and give it a 1 star review because they brought a 200Hz monitor and their integrated graphics doesn't hit those heights.
Many sites dedicate their testing to complex colour charts or things which are going to be of great interest to professionals, yet 99% of us aren't professionals who edit their photographs for colour accuracy in magazines and billboards. We therefore go by our eyes and experience, which might seem like a subjective test, but when you spend the same amount of time as we do looking at our displays - 15+ hours a day - and have been doing it for decades, it's easy to spot if something looks the same on this new display as it does on our daily driver.
AWD-It have flexed their muscles and brought to market a display of their own, under their X= sub brand. Apart from seeming to be named specifically to fox boolean search engines and many file systems, the X= brand promises to deliver high feature monitors at affordable prices the specifications of the XRGB27WQ certainly tick the former box, whilst the £270 price tag does the latter. On paper is one thing, but can you really get a quality 165Hz 1440P 27" panel for less than three hundred spondulicks from a manufacturer with no history?
One thing that we find refreshing with the XRGB27WQ is the simplicity of the design. So many monitors we look at come with tech to lighten the dark areas, or 7 different types of movement smoothing, or a dozen such things most people just turn off. The X= might not have the insane peak brightness of some high end displays, and the HDR mode is very much a box ticked rather than something usable, but the underlying panel has a lot to recommend it. It's IPS, which greatly helps the viewing angles and use as a display for creation as well as games. You have multiple inputs, audio pass through, high refresh rate and a good response time. Let's take a quick look at it in the flesh.