Joseph Bradford Posted: Jul 25, 2022 5:30 PM
Category: Hardware Reviews 0
Budget monitors come in seemingly all shapes and sizes, with various brands competing to see how many features they can put into their lower-end options. With brands like Viotek and Pixio pushing out quality panels on the cheap, some of the more recognizable brands are looking for ways to set themselves apart, especially since they often carry a higher price tag.
Enter the Gigabyte M27FA 1080p Gaming Monitor. This budget option from the gaming giant offers a bevy of features in its package, including high refresh rates, FreeSync Premium, Black Equalizer, and much more. However, at $260, is it a good bargain for what you’re getting?
I’ve unboxed many a monitor recently, and I have to say the M27FA has been one of the best-packed pieces of kit I’ve come across in a long time. The monitor itself was packaged in Styrofoam with the stand already attached to the monitor. All I needed to do was unbox, attach the stand feet, pull out a wedge meant to keep the monitor in place during shipping and I was good to go effectively. The whole ordeal took about 5 minutes to do and most of that was taking the monitor out of the cardboard outerbox it shipped in.
The monitor itself doesn’t really scream anything flashy – it’s a nondescript monitor that looks like it would be comfortable either in an office or in a gaming setup. And indeed, some of the features of the M27FA fit that, especially its touted KVM feature (more on that in a bit). The monitor itself is 27”, basically right at that sweet spot before 1080p can start to show a bit of a screen door effect. Thankfully, the M27FA doesn’t do that, though for $260 1440p might be something purchasers are starting to expect, especially as the resolution becomes more and more common.
Thankfully, gaming features on the Gigabyte M27FA make up for the lack in pixel count. From a high refresh rate of 165Hz to the inclusion of FreeSync Premium (which is also GSync Compatible), there is a lot for gamers to love, even before we go under the hood. It’s got the features many gaming monitors tout: crosshair, aim-stabilization and more, but the monitor also features black equalization, making it easier to see details and more in shadowy, dark scenes without the need to boost the brightness up.
Speaking of brightness, the M27FA is also HDR-ready thanks to a peak brightness of 400 nits. This is on the low side for HDR gaming, but for under $300 it’s a nice addition, especially for those who want to give it a whirl with Auto-HDR on Windows 11 for instance.
What good are all these features if they don’t perform, though? Thankfully, the M27FA is, but all accounts, a great little monitor. The panel specifically excels thanks to both its size as well as the makeup as an IPS screen versus the cheaper TN or VA panels. As a result, color accuracy is rather good, which helps those who are looking to do a little bit of digital art as well with the monitor. Thankfully, too, the issue of ghosting that plagues my Gigabyte G32WQC Widescreen monitor is completely absent. This means motion on games such as Genshin Impact or the new multiplayer brawler Multiversus looked as smooth as it felt.
The fact that the monitor natively supports framerates up to 165Hz without having to go under the hood to overclock the panel as well is a nice touch. This means, basically, out of the box you’re able to set it up and go, ramping up the responsiveness in esports titles like Valorant or League of Legends. In fact, this is where this screen feels most at home: for players who are looking for high refresh rates and low response time (1ms is a dream) while not completely breaking the bank.
The onscreen display hosts a bevy of gaming features as well, including adding a crosshair to the screen, helping with aim stabilization, and much more. It even allows you to plug your monitor into your PC and, with a little setup, see real-time statistics of your PC’s health such as CPU temperature, mouse DPI, speeds, and more. It’s a nice touch, though if you’re worried about those statistics, you’re likely running software such as GeForce Experience or MSI Afterburner. Then again, Gigabyte touts their in-monitor solution won’t be blocked by some games, so there’s that.
The on-screen display is easy enough to navigate, especially with OSD Sidekick installed on your PC. This makes it possible to control the OSD with your mouse and keyboard, allowing you to make even more fine-tune adjustments to your picture and more. Being able to connect your mouse and keyboard directly to the monitor itself as well gives you just more open USB ports on the PC too – and it comes in handy with one of the defining features of the G27F series: KVM.
KVM effectively allows you to hot swap between to PCs with the press of a button and control both with the same mouse and keyboard. This is something that makes this monitor feel both at home in a gaming setup and an office, especially for those who have made the shift to a remote work model and only have space for one setup.
Being able to hot swap at the press of a button on the monitor is a godsend, and it makes me wonder why more high-end monitors don’t offer the feature. Normally I work between two PCs, one mainly for gaming while another is strictly a work and writing machine. As a result, I have two desks next to each other, meaning when I need to sit down and play a game for work I’m moving to the gaming rig. If I’m writing, I’m on the other. It’s not much effort to walk back and forth, sure, and for me, I thankfully have enough space to do so. But space is at a premium for those with two rigs, two sets of mice and keyboards, and more, the clutter would be real if you had to go that route.
Instead, KVM lets you simply push a button, wait for the link and carry on with your day. It’s an awesome feature that seriously can change how someone works and games in their space. And assuming I had a Steam Deck dock that worked with the KVM (I couldn’t get my current USB-C dock to work with KVM and the Steam Deck), I might find myself pouring over Linux files and finally getting FFXIV to play on the Deck.
At the end of the day, though, the question remains: is the M27FA monitor a good value? At $260 MSRP, it’s on the upper end of what some would consider “budget.” At 1080p too the price might put some users off as for that money 1440p is an option with other monitors.
The bevy of features the M27FA offers can justify the cost, if you’re going to use them. If you’re looking for a solidly great monitor that can offer the flexibility of both a gaming and office display, the M27FA Monitor fits that brief perfectly.
For pure performance, the Gigabyte monitor is stellar, seeing the panel display vivid colors, keep up with the high refresh rate without any of the ghosting on other panels in the same price range (or more expensive as I noted above with the Gigabyte widescreen I use), and provide some awesome gaming benefits such as variable refresh rate. Thanks to Nvidia also supporting FreeSync panels, the M27FA works like a charm. This also helps keeps the price down more as you’re not paying the Nvidia tax for a GSync-native panel.
But for $260, for a 1080p resolution monitor, I can’t help but feel it’s a bit too high for my own purposes. Viotek’s next nearest option is a bit more money (about $40 more on Amazon) but doesn’t have nearly the bevy of features that the Gigabyte offers. And the IPS panel versus a VA panel might swing some in Gigabyte’s direction, knowing features such as Super Resolution are an option to play at higher resolutions on this display.
At the end of the day, though the Gigabyte M27FA is a great monitor for someone looking for a solid budget-level monitor. It’s a bit more expensive than I would like myself, but when you consider all the M27FA has on offer, especially the KVM which should be a standard feature on monitors more expensive moving forward in my opinion, for many it might justify the cost. The IPS panel goes a long way towards that higher-cost being justified as well.
That said, for those looking for high refresh rate gaming while also potentially having a small office footprint for those work-from-home days, the Gigabyte M27FA monitor should be on your list to check out.
Full Disclosure: The product described in this review was provided by PR for the purposes of this review.
Joseph has been writing or podcasting about games in some form since about 2012. Having written for multiple major outlets such as IGN, Playboy, and more, Joseph started writing for MMORPG in 2015. When he’s not writing or talking about games, you can typically find him hanging out with his 10-year old or playing Magic: The Gathering with his family. Also, don’t get him started on why Balrogs *don’t* have wings. You can find him on Twitter @LotrLore
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