Crossover 27Q 27-inch 2560×1440 HD Monitor [Review]


I was in the market for a new monitor to replace my 5-year old Dell LCD and while visiting forums on Overclock.net (link) and RedFlagDeals.com (link), I discovered a really long thread on 27″ IPS displays from eBay sellers based out of South Korea. This naturally intrigued me, why would anybody buy a display from an unknown brand overseas? Turns out, the reason why is because these displays use the same LG-manufactured panel found in the Apple Cinema line of monitors but housed in a different case. But the real selling point is the price, these monitors can range from $300-$400, much less than the ~$1000 the Apple-branded one usually demands (link).

There are many different manufacturers to choose from with the big players being Achieva, Catleap, and Crossover. After some careful consideration, I decided to take the risk and ordered the Crossover 27Q off eBay.

So is the risk of buying these monitors worth it? My quick impressions after the break.

There are many sellers on eBay selling these type of monitors. A quick search of ’2560×1440′ (the resolution of these displays) on eBay will yield hundreds of results (link). After reading many user review, I decided on the Crossover 27Q because of its all-metal housing and easily removable stand if you wish to wall mount it in the future. I decided to go with the eBay seller ‘dream-seller’ as he offered a 1-year warranty, had mainly favorable reviews, and was among one of the lowest prices.

I purchased my monitor for $360 which included shipping. When it arrived, I was dinged $60 duties to Canada resulting in a grand total of $420, a pretty high price but still less than any other comparable speced product in North America. It arrived in 3 business days via FedEx which was quite impressive.

What I wasn’t impressed was the packaging. The seller would physically inspect the monitor to ensure it powers on and isn’t physically damaged before taping it back. When my monitor arrived, the box was quite damaged. All the corners of the packaging had some sort of ding on them. And worst of all, one side had a major slit, as if somebody was trying to cut the box with a knife.

Fortunately the inside the monitor was covered in bubble wrap by the seller protecting the screen. If it had not been there, I am sure that cut on the side would have physically damaged the screen.

Inside you get the display, power brick, Dual-Link DVI cable, and instruction manual written in Korean. My seller also left a note indicating that it was inspected prior to shipping. One thing you may notice is that the plug on the power brick has 2 cylindrical prongs used in South Korea. You will have to replace this with the standard 3-prong cable used here. I used a spare power cable from an old computer.

The ports on the unit are bare bones, there is one power and one for the Dual-Link DVI cable. More expensive units have additional ports and audio speakers but at a higher cost.

Buttons are also sparse as there is only buttons for power, brightness up, and brightness down. There is also no on-screen menu.

With the display finally connected and powered, I can say that the picture quality is phenomenal. Great viewing angles, contrast, brightness, and crisp images thanks to the 2560×1440 resolution. I ran a few quick skims and only noticed one stuck green pixel, it didn’t bother me much since its only visible when it was displaying pure black.

Overall I am satisfied with my purchase. It arrived poorly packaged but was fortunately undamaged. The image quality if great and I love the extra screen space. Would I suggest others to go out and get one? It’s a gamble, you’re paying a lot of money for a monitor that essentially comes with a flakey warranty. Users have reported getting units with many dead/stuck pixels, dust trapped inside the tampered glass, or simply dying on them after a few months.  Sure you can send it back if something goes wrong but the cost of round-shipping will most likely be your responsibility. So if you do get a bad unit, having it repaired will be a nightmare.

I guess the only true benefit is cost savings as there is nothing that comes close to that price point here in North America. It’s a gamble some are willing to take and if it does work out, its much worth it.

Pros:

  • Apple Cinema Display quality as it uses the same LCD panel.
  • Amazing image quality thanks to the 2560×1440 resolution, contrast, brightness, and viewing angles.
  • Fraction of the cost of something similar here in North America.
  • Removable stand, back is VESA compliant so you can wall mount it.
  • 27-inch screen provides much more screen real estate.
  • All metal housing feels sturdy compared to other models.

Cons:

  • Warranty covered by eBay seller not always honoured. If it isn’t you have nobody to go to.
  • Possibility of multiple dead or stuck pixels.
  • Build quality of casing not as good as Apple.
  • Glossy screen, this may annoy some.
  • No height adjustment or rotation. You can only tilt forward or back.
  • Lack of inputs.
  • No on-screen menu.
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