Gigabyte has proven a reliable gaming monitor manufacturer, delivering high-refresh-rate QHD monitors at affordable prices. The company delivers again with the Gigabyte M27Q X ($529.99), a 1440p monitor that, like the Gigabyte Aorus FI32Q before it, comes equipped with just about everything you want and need from a gaming monitor. It may not be a 4K panel, but it more than makes up for its lower resolution in performance, bringing a whopping 240Hz refresh rate and a host of unusual features, including an onboard KVM and plenty of ports. It’s a great performer, though low brightness levels and a so-so contrast ratio keep it short of top marks.
Design: With Gaming Monitors, Sometimes Simple Is Better
Simplicity is always a plus when it comes to tech that makes PC gaming enjoyable, and the Gigabyte M27Q X delivers just that. The 27-inch monitor sports thin bezels on three sides of the screen, while the Gigabyte logo takes up the bottom strip, giving the monitor a utilitarian design. That’s not to say it’s ugly. Rather, it’s family friendly. The display is connected to an adjustable (albeit noisy when in motion) stand that rises and drops about 5 inches. The V-shaped base offers ample support, though there’s no tilt or swivel to speak of.
Size-wise, the monitor measures in at 21 by 24.2 by 7.6 inches (HWD), about the same size as most other 27-inch monitors we’ve reviewed, like the MSI Optix MAG274QRF-QD. It’s also only 11.6 pounds, much lighter than the ViewSonic Elite XG270QG or Sony Inzone M9. That’s with the stand, of course. If you choose to ditch the base and fasten your monitor to a VESA mount or arm, the panel alone is a mere 7.7 pounds.
Taking a look at the display itself, the 27-inch “Super Speed” IPS panel technology promises a 1,000:1 contrast ratio, in addition to a VESA DisplayHDR 400 rating—both claims we’ll run tests against later. Fast IPS displays, known under various marketing names, claim to deliver response times four times faster than normal IPS displays, thanks to a thinner liquid-crystal layer and higher driving voltage. The screen supports AMD FreeSync Premium, and is rated for a 1ms gray-to-gray (GTG) response time.
Behind the monitor, you’ll find two top-firing 2-watt speakers and an analog stick for controlling the onscreen display (OSD). Above the stick, you’ll find a button for the built-in keyboard/video/mouse (KVM) feature, which allows you to control multiple attached devices with a single mouse and keyboard. To take advantage, you have to plug your mouse and keyboard into the monitor and then tether a compatible second PC or other device using a USB-C cord. (The device must support DisplayPort over USB-C.) Press the KVM button, and voila: You’ve switched which computer shows on the display, and shifted the input devices to it.
The KVM might steal the show in terms of unusual features, but the I/O hub in the back has plenty worth mentioning. All the essentials are here: one DisplayPort jack, two HDMI 2.0 ports, one earphone jack, three USB 3.0 ports (two downstream, one upstream), and one USB-C port. There is no HDMI 2.1 port, but the high-bit-rate 3 (HBR3) DisplayPort jack offers plenty of bandwidth to hit the monitor’s peak refresh rate, full color depth, and HDR at the same time.
Perhaps the best part of all of this is that the Gigabyte M27Q X often can be found at well less than its list price—we’ve seen it, at times, down closer to $400 than $500—placing it in budget monitor territory for its kind, if only just barely.
Testing the Gigabyte M27Q X: Refresh Rate Highs, Contrast Ratio Lows
The Gigabyte M27Q X proves itself a real contender for gamers who appreciate seeing the fruit onscreen of their video card’s high frame rates. But to really understand how it compares with other monitors on the market, we’ll run it through our standard gaming monitor tests using Datacolor’s SpyderX Elite tool and its companion software. First, we test the display in its default picture mode with an SDR signal. Here, the Gigabyte M27Q X reached a brightness of just 210 nits and a black level of 0.93, which yields a contrast ratio of just 230:1. That’s well under the promised 1,000:1 rating.
The higher the contrast ratio, the deeper the blacks and the brighter the whites a monitor can produce. It makes a huge difference in picture quality, especially during dark scenes in gameplay. Since 1,000:1 (the standard for IPS panels) is the lowest contrast-ratio rung among gaming monitors, the 230:1 ratio is that much harder to swallow.
Keep in mind that we test all of our monitors fresh out of the box at factory settings, so that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to improve the brightness level. For example, switching over to the monitor’s Movie mode made a significant difference, measuring 430 nits of brightness in SDR mode. Your viewing environment is also important to consider, as a lower brightness reading might benefit a user who is in a well-lit room, for example.
Switching to HDR mode provided better results, but not by much. The brightness more than doubled from the default SDR setting, to 408 nits, nailing the promised DisplayHDR 400, working out to a contrast ratio of 600:1.
On the flip side, while the contrast was low, the color gamut results were pretty good, as Gigabyte M27Q X registered 100% of sRGB coverage, 96% of Adobe RGB, and 93% of DCI-P3. These are better results than some other QHD monitors we’ve looked at, like the Razer Raptor 27.
Color accuracy also fared pretty well, with an average Delta E result of 1.66. When parsing color accuracy, a higher Delta E number means common colors tend to stray from the “purest form” of a color—a rating of under 1 is the sweet spot for true color. This is likely more important to those who work with content creation tools and will be less important to your typical gamer. Those who put that factor first are better off checking out a monitor better suited for photo editing.
Media and Gaming Performance
If you’ve read our monitor reviews before, then you’ll be familiar with this next part: Response time is not the same thing as input lag. Input lag is the amount of time it takes for the monitor to display a signal, while response time is the time it takes for pixels to change from one color to the next.
Gray-to-gray or GTG measures how long it takes for a pixel to transition from one gray level to the next. It’s not a standardized measure, though, because vendors measure levels differently. The same applies to other measurements like black-white-black (BWB) and white-black-white (WBW).
Instead of testing for response time, we test for input lag using the HDFury Diva Matrix. In this case, the Gigabyte M27Q X measured a very good input lag of 1.6 milliseconds. You might’ve already guessed, but when it comes to input lag, the smaller that number, the better. While other monitors like the Corsair Xeneon 32QHD165 do measure under 1 millisecond, the difference here will be unnoticeable except, perhaps, in edge cases at the far extremes of competitive esports.
Non-gaming viewing was great, with no glare detected no matter the viewing angle. And of course, the games looked great, too; I detected no noticeable ghosting when playing Halo Infinite or Guardians of the Galaxy.
Refresh Rate and Resolution Find a Middle Ground
The Gigabyte M27Q X provides itself a sweet-spot monitor, thanks to its 240Hz refresh rate and QHD resolution. Its contrast and brightness, especially compared with the Gigabyte Aorus FI32Q, hold it back from earning top honors, but gamers looking to reach blazing-high frame rates—without their wallet bursting into flames—will find a value-priced 1440p monitor here worthy of praise.