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Achieva ShiMian QH270-IPSBS Review

Written By Pinoy Tekkie on Linggo, Setyembre 2, 2012 | 5:47 AM


Hello guys, for those of you who are looking for a quality 27″ IPS monitor that has a native resolution of 2560×1440 – but are not willing to dish out Php 37,000 or more for the premium models, then this review of the Achieva ShiMian IPS monitor is for you!

Above is a glamour shot of my Achieva ShiMian QH270-IPSBS.

Pardon the length of this review. This review will also serve as a monitor guide and will explain some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about monitor specifications.


Here’s what the box of the ShiMian looks like:






Simple Box (the Yamakasi Box is a lot flashier), it was shipped to me without bubble wrap, couldn’t complain much since the package arrived without any damage.

Here’s a picture of all the contents:



 This box contains:
the monitor itself, the stand and two screws, a power brick, a DVI-D cord, and an audio jack.

The specifications for this particular model (IPSBS) of the ShiMian are as follows:
It’s a 27-inch monitor (diagonal)
It’s an In-Plane Switching (IPS) panel (revered for their ability to display colors accurately)
It uses LED as backlight (most IPS use CCFL as backlight)
It has a native resolution of 2560×1440 (WQHD)
It’s a 16:9 aspect ratio monitor
It has a refresh rate of 60hz (standard)
It’s an 8-bit Display Panel (8-bit means that for red(r), green(g), and blue(b) colors, the values 0 to 255 can be represented)
It’s has a glossy finish (compared to Anti-Glare Coating, which shall be referred to as “AG Coating” from this point onwards)
It has a Contrast Ratio of 1000:1 (DCR 1,000,000:1)
It has a response time of 6ms (fast enough for gaming)
It has 178-degree viewing angles (even when viewing from extreme angles, the screen won’t lose clarity, good if you have a lot of people viewing the monitor at the same time)
It comes with two 5 watt speakers at the back (does its job, but will definitely NOT satisfy audiophiles).

Here’s a picture of the my ShiMian up close:




Looks like a giant iPad

Screen Size

There are tons of monitor sizes to choose from, so what size is the “best”? For 1920×1080 native resolution monitors, the ideal screen size would be 23-inches. “Why?” you may ask, this is because a 23-inch monitor has 96 pixels-per-inch (PPI) and a Dot Pitch of 0.2652, a perfect balance of PPI and Dot Pitch to produce the absolute sharpest image (for this screen size).

Dot Pitch means the distance between pixels on the monitor. The space between pixels is small enough to make images sharper but not too close to each other so as to incur blurring on images.
What this means is that as you go higher up the scale of screen size (while retaining 1080p resolution) the sharpness of the image displayed by your monitor decreases.

A 32-inch LED/LCD TV, such as the KTC would have a PPI count of only 68 and a dot pitch of 0.369. A 42-inch would have a PPI count of only 52 and a dot pitch of 0.4843. A 50-inch would have a PPI count of 44 and a dot pitch of 0.5765. As the screen size gets bigger, without the resolution scaling up as well, will result in blurring and image quality reduction, not to mention obvious pixelation of text and images.

The difference between 1080p and 1440p is dramatic, to say the least, here’s a sample:



A 1080p image only occupies 2/3 of the screen.

On to the Achieva ShiMian, as already stated in the specifications, this monitor is a 27-inch monitor with a resolution of 2560×1440 or Wide Quad High Definition (WQHD). This monitor has a PPI of 109 and a dot pitch of only .2335, resulting in very vivid and detailed images displayed by the monitor.

Having this resolution also enables the monitor to display more content on your screen. An excellent example would be the ability to fully display 2 word documents on my screen without the need to scroll sideways when reviewing Complaints and other pleadings filed in courts. Here’s picture of what I just explained:


 Increasing Screen Size while native resolution remains Static

To give you a concrete example of what up-scaling is then try this method: Take a 800×600 size image and set it as your wallpeper (assuming that you have a monitor with 1080p resolution) then set it to stretch to screen size. Notice that parts of the images distort and fine lines begin to pixelate, This is what happens when your screen size increases without the native resolution scaling up as well. (The negative effects of up scaling will only be noticeable if you sit 2-4 feet away (which is normally how far you are from your monitor when sitting in your desk).

Here’s a sample 1920×1080 picture stretched to 2560×1440:
<click here for link>

Notice that the text blurs and the fine lines of the Maserati pixelate terribly. Also draw your attention to the clouds above the mountains, the colors dilute and become less detailed.

In-Plane Switching vs. Twisted Nematic Panels (TN Panel)

TN Panels are the mass produced panels which most people use for daily usage. They are mostly known for their fast response times, (as low as 2ms).

As the technology stands today, only TN Panels are capable of rendering images in 3D. TN Panels are also the only panels capable of running @ True 120hz (great for fast-paced games because of the fluidity of the display).

However, TN Panels are notorious for displaying colors inaccurately. It displays black as slightly grayish and whites appears yellowish. Another con TN Panels are notorious for is backlight bleeding, here is a concrete example:
<click here for link>


 Lastly, TN Panels are only capable of resolutions up to 1920×1080 regardless of screen size. Why should I pay Php 100,000 for a 50-inch TV @ 1080pwhen I can get the same resolution for only Php 7,000. The 23-inch monitor would display sharper than the 50-inch because as I said, the PPI is very low and the Dot Pitch is very high on a 50-inch TV @ 1080p.

IPS panels, on the other hand, are well-known for their ability to accurately reproduce colors. Blacks will be displayed as Black, and whites will be displayed as White. They have wider viewing angles and are capable of higher native resolutions (2560×1440 for 27-inch and 2560×1600 on 30-inch monitors).

IPS Panels do not suffer from backlight bleeding. Nor do they suffer from screen-wide color tinting. In addition, IPS panels can be calibrated to increase color accuracy even further with the use of external devices, such as the Spyder 3.

WQHD Resolution

This monitor has a native resolution of 2560×1440, giving you more monitor real estate (4x more, in fact) than a 1920x1080p monitor. As already stated earlier, monitors with higher resolutions means more PPI which then translates to seeing vivid images.

Gaming

There are primarily 2 preferences in connection with monitors when it comes to gaming: Response times or Eye-Candy, ask yourself what you want more then decide which monitor to buy. If you want fluidity (meaning no screen tearing and jittering) in your games then go for a 120hz monitor. If you want eye-candy and like taking beautiful screenshots then get an IPS monitor.

My experience with the ShiMian

I ran Skyrim, BF3, MW3, SCII, Fallout NV, and Metro 2033 on this monitor, the scenery look stunning, the colors are vibrant, and the images are very detailed. Describing its impressiveness is not enough, you have to see it for yourself.

Aside from that, I get wider viewing angles in FPS Games (if they support this resolution). I also get wider viewing angles in the jet fighter sequence of MW3, I can see more of the cockpit and I get a wider view of the landscape.

I did experience minor screen-tearing when playing FPS Games since these are fast-paced games, BUT, I am willing to have some screen-tearing and seeing beautiful scenery than getting no screen-tearing at all with mediocre images. But, that is MY preference.

Color Accuracy and Picture Quality
This is hard to describe, a technical description would be, an IPS monitor support 1.07 Billion colors while a standard TN panel (6-bit+FRC) can only support up to 16.7 Million colors. Simply, this means that an IPS monitor can display a lot more colors than your standard run-of-the-mill monitor. Here’s a picture of my ShiMian sitting beside my Sammy 21.5-inch:
<click here for link>


Notice that the crystal formation in the center is a lot more detailed (the picture does not do the ShiMian justice, you have to see it in person to really notice the difference) than in the Sammy. Also take cognizance that the water has a myriad of blue and green shades on the ShiMian. Finally, can you see that my Sammy has a nasty screen-wide blue tint? (all the clouds have a blue hue)
The picture quality on this monitor is amazing, the colors are vibrant and images are crystal clear and sharp, there is no interpolation nor is there blurring on small text (compared to using a 32-inch TV as your monitor @ 1080p). There is little to no backlight bleeding on my ShiMian, nor is there any incessant color tinting, the brightness is evenly distributed. The stand wobbles a bit and feels a little cheap, however, if you don’t plan man-handling the monitor then there’s no reason for it to break.

8-Bit Display
Compared to other premium monitors, the ShiMian is only an 8-Bit Display while other premium brands, such as the Dell u2711, is a 10-Bit Display. The saying more is better does not apply in this instance because 8-Bit display is better. Besides, the 10-Bit display of the u2711 is a farce, a lie, it is actually an 8-Bit display PLUS FRC which effectively makes it 10-bit. The result of this is that the u2711 displays colors inaccurately unless you calibrate it with some external device. Complicating things further, the addition of the FRC translates into over saturated color – resulting in ugly, dirty and grainy images.

Glossy Screen
I’m comparing this to AG Coating since most, if not all premium 27-inch IPS monitors all come with AG Coating. AG Coating is a thin sheet of semi-clear film which dims the display (to eliminate reflections from light coming directly from behind the user), therefore, the monitor’s display darkens and colors lose vibrance, in addition, the screen looks grainy/dirty with AG Coating. Here’s an example of what I am talking about:
<click here for link>

LED Backlight
The ShiMian uses an LED backlight instead of the aging CCFL Backlight technology. LED Backlit monitors last longer than their CCFL counterparts and they don’t leak mercury (hazardous to your health).
Another downside to CCFL Backlit monitors, such as my previous Dell u2711, is that they produce massive amounts of heat. After a couple of hours of use I felt as if my face was a foot away from a toaster and I can feel my room heating up.

Benefits of having no On-Screen Display (OSD) and having only a single DVI-D port
Having no OSD and only one input port reduces input lag significantly. Resulting in a more responsive monitor (by which I mean screen-tearing and jittering is reduced). Think of it this way, the PCB no longer needs to detect which port is being used, resulting in faster response times and refresh rates on the monitor.

There are other brands which are similar to the ShiMian:
1. Crossover 27 LED
2. Yamakasi Catleap Q270
3. 3view PCBank

Differences between the various brands

1. Yamakasi Catleap Q270 – these monitors are the best-selling units among these monitors. Why? because the earlier models, “2B,” can be overclocked to run up to 97hz Refresh rate. All that means is that the monitor renders 97 frames per second on your monitor which results in fluid motion, no jittering and no screen tearing. The stand looks the “coolest” but is also the poorest in build quality.

2. Crossover 27Q – probably the one with the best stand, it’s wide and thick and hardly wobbles. Additionally, this CrossOver comes with a model (27Q LED-P) wherein the monitor can swivel, pivot, tilt, and has height adjustment.

3. 3view PCBank – not much to say, the stand can be wall mounted.

Price

All these Korean monitors use the same panel, the LM270WQ1, which is the same panel used by Apple in its 27-inch Apple Cinema displays as well as the Hazro 27-inch (which is the favorite monitor of photo editors who want absolute color accuracy). So why are these loads cheaper than the premium models?
First, the panels used in these Korean monitors are classified as “A-” panels, which means these are the panels which Dell and Apple did not use for their monitors. (Keep note of “A-” because it will be mentioned again later).

Second, these monitors are what one might call OEM or barebone, the basic models only come with a Dual Link DVI port (DVI-D). If you do not know what a DVI-D is then click this -> <click here for link>
Third, warranty-wise, these monitors come with a 1-year warranty, if it breaks within that period you can RMA the unit and get a new one.(Most premium models come with a 3-year warranty, such as Dell, HP, Hazro, etc.).

Seller’s Policy

Since these monitors are classified as “A-” level panels, up to 4 dead pixels is considered acceptable and IS NOT a reason to RMA the unit (if you have 5 or more dead/stuck pixels on your monitor, you can have it RMA-ed. However, if you only have 1 dead/stuck pixel, but the same is located in the central quadrant of the monitor then you can return it and get a new one from the seller. Here’s a photo explaining the dead/stuck pixel policy of the sellers <click here for link>
“A-” Panel

Given the fact that the panels used in these monitors is “A-” you should know a couple of things, as already stated above, you might get 1-4 dead/stuck pixels or none at all. A friend of mine has one of these monitors which I inspected when I visited him in Korea, the dead/stuck pixel is very difficult to notice unless you purposefully look for it.

These monitors may suffer from uneven backlighting when the brightness setting is set to 0-5 clicks (I don’t know anyone who would set the brightness to that low a setting). the screen will look brighter on the left and gets a little darker going to the right, this is fixable though with a help of a little wire switching and basic soldering skills. This is not that big of an issue since hardly anyone sets their brightness level that low. Fortunately, the unit I got doesn’t suffer from any of these problems.

IF you do decide to buy one of these monitors, contact the seller and ask him/her to test the unit first and ensure that there are no dead/stuck pixels before he ships the unit to you (para sigurado din na hindi dead-on-arrival (DOA) ang unit niyo), that’s what I did.

Different Models

Achieva offers different models of the ShiMian:

a) QH270-Lite – the most basic model only has the power jack and one DVI-D Port.

b) QH270-IPSB – same as Lite version but comes with an additional layer of tempered glass (I don’t advise getting this model as you run the risk of having dust particles stuck at the back of the tempered glass which is very difficult to remove).

c) QH270-IPSBS – has a superior panel to the previous two models, it comes with two 5watt speakers at the back (does its job but not all that great) and has no tempered glass.

d) QH270-IPSMS – same as the IPSBS but comes with additional input ports; 1 HDMI port, 1 DVI-D port, Audio In/Out ports, and a VGA (D-Sub) port (I also don’t advise getting this model since additional inputs means more input lag, which is not ideal for gaming).

Comparison to Dell u2711

This monitor is comparable, if not superior to the Dell u2711:

a) The u2711 comes with AG Coating which dims the display and effectively “kills” the color, the ShiMian has a glossy finish which makes the brightness level higher

b) The u2711 also suffers from grainy/dirty screen, the Shimian does not (see the link under glossy screen to review the difference);

c) The u2711 is a power-hungry, energy inefficient monitor, sucking 170 watts of TDP , the ShiMian only consumes 70 watts of power (therefore lowering your monthly electricity bill);

d) The u2711 costs Php 37,000.00 (lowest price I have seen here on TPC) while the Achieva ShiMian cost me approximately Php 20,000++ all-in, if you get the Lite version the cost would only be Php 13,500; and, finally

e) The u2711 comes with a myriad of port connections which increases input lag (bad for gamers), the Shimian only has one DVI-D port.

Conclusion

All-in-all, this is a great monitor, possibly the best Php 15,000 I spent this year.
Basically, this monitor is the OEM version of the Hazro 27-inch IPS monitor (more like Hazro buys these monitors then adds a couple more input ports and then finally slapping their brand name on it).

To reiterate, the ShiMian uses the exact same panel (and the exact same chassis by the looks of it) as the Hazro and Apple iMac 27-inch Cinema display but with all the extra input ports taken out (which is a good thing for gamers since input lag is reduced significantly).

If you’re looking for an excellent quality, 27-inch monitor, then the ShiMian is for you, the Achieva ShiMian QH270-Lite’s price is even lower than a 32″ KTC TV and costs less than 1/3 of the Dell u2711.

Here are some additional photos for your consumption:

Advertisement photos of the ShiMian:

<click here for link>

<click here for link>

<click here for link>


Specifications of different ShiMian models:

<click here for link>

The advantage of this monitor is its IPS, the colors are really really vibrant and “pop-out”, the images are very vivid. Having 1440p resolution doesn’t give much advantage though, the size of the on screen display is the same @1080p (probably implemented so as not to give undue farther viewing advantage when it comes to PVP). Glaring is not a problem on this monitor, you will have some reflections though, not much, but its there.

I paid 15k for this monitor total because I was not charge with customs tax (I personally know the inspector of all incoming FedEx shipments during that time, but he was transferred already) when this came in to the Philippines. As of this moment, the monitor sells on Ebay for 12,500! If you want 120hz as well then head over to 120hz.net, they are selling an IPS monitor with 1440p (27-inch) capable of running @ 120hz. You get the best of both worlds, although, if you do buy one of those, be prepared to dish out some serious cash for a very very powerful graphics card, 1440p @ 120hz will make just about any mid-level GPU cry.
I’m not interested with the 120hz version because I’m not much of a gamer as I only play Diablo 3. 15k for a monitor as good as the Macs and Dells out there is a great deal!

The tempered glass version is the IPSB, my ShiMian is the IPSBS version, no tempered glass but with speakers. In hindsight, the QH270-Lite would have been the better choice since I don’t use the speakers on this monitor because I’m a bit of an audio quality whore.

If you are planning to buy one of these Korean monitors, my advise would be: DON’T have your item shipped via EMS. If it does, your item will pass through the Philippine Postal Service – Port Area, your monitor’s clearance will be delayed SIGNIFICANTLY, and you WILL be charged import taxes amounting to 27% of item’s price. Additionally, they will adjust the price of the item regardless of whether it has a receipt or not (since this is a Flat-Screen 27-inch monitor, they will price it roughly @ around 25,000 to 35,000 depending on your luck, or the hunger of the inspector, only then will they calculate the 27% import tax) AND they will charge you hefty “Handling Fees” (“Lagay”, in short). I had mine shipped via FedEx. If LBC or Air21 is available as shipping options then go for it!

I recommend buying the lite version because there are no significant difference between the IPSBS version. The latter only has speakers which I GUARANTEE that you wont be using since its substandard (what do you expect from a 5watts speakers).

The Yamakasi Catleap is the same as the ShiMian, just with a different Bezel niya. The cheapest I have seen is 13,357 pesos.

If all you’re looking for is a monitor with a screen size of 27″ then I’d advise you to get the Asus  VK278Q since there will be no risk of getting a monitor with dead pixels and/or you will not be exposed of getting taxed when the item arrives in the Philippines plus the Asus comes with a built in camera.

But, if you really want something big with a cheap price-tag then get a KTC 32 inch TV, it sells for 15k at TPC.

Since all consumer grade monitors monitors are rated @ 60hz refresh rate, the experience would be basically the same with your current monitor, the only advantages gained by getting this monitor are: you get 2560×1440 resolution and you get greater color accuracy and very sharp images.

Games look fantastic since colors are accurate, you start noticing fine details in the background (especially for graphics intensive games like Skyrim or Fallout).

For movies, well, your movies should support 1440p resolution otherwise, if its like 1080p it will be stretched to 1440p which may result in pixelation or slight blurring. It’d difficult to find 1440p movies.

This monitor is not recommended for professional photo editors who require absolute color accuracy. You are better off with an S27b970d or u2711, which are color accurate out of the box. But if you’re just a casual photo editor this is good enough because it is 100% more accurate (can display many colors and their various shades) as compared to any TN panel monitor.

If your’re planning to buy, accessorieswhole, dc-samsungmall, red-cap, and TA_Planet have positive ratings, so just take your pick. I’d still recommend TA_Planet though, very accommodating and listens to requests.

*credits to gsv883, TPC
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