An excellent, 165Hz, 1ms, IPS, 27in gaming monitor
Gigabyte Aorus FI27Q review
The Gigabyte Aorus Fi27Q is one of the latest additions to the new wave of 27inch, high refresh rate IPS gaming monitors. Just as with the LG 27GL850 and Viewsonic XG270QG, its appeal centres around three main features.
Gigabyte Aorus FI27Q specs
Screen size: 27inch
Resolution: 2560 x 1440
Panel type: IPS
Maximum refresh rate: 165Hz
Response time: 1ms
Inputs: DisplayPort 1.4, 2 x HDMI 2.0
Stand adjustability: Height, Pivot, Rotation, Tilt
Adaptive sync: Freesync and G-Sync
Extras: VESA mount
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Gigabyte Aorus FI27Q video review
Firstly, it uses an IPS type of LCD panel, which makes for good viewing angles, accurate colours and just generally an image that’s much nicer on the eye than typical TN gaming screens.
Second, there’s the fact it has a minimum response time of just 1ms, which compares to 4 or 5ms for older IPS gaming screens. Combined with a high 144Hz refresh rate that’s overclockable to 165Hz, this makes for a snappy, responsive feel when gaming.
Thirdly, there’s the inclusion of adaptive sync support that works with both Freesync and GSync, so you no longer have to pay a premium for a monitor with a proper GSync module and don’t lose adaptive sync if you swap graphics card brands.
So, those are the general plus points of this screen, but how does it compare to the competition?
Well, when it comes to design, the FI27Q is one of the most premium screens in its class. A very sturdy metal stand with an integrated carry handle is joined by three RGB lighting zones on the back. The lighting zones can be controlled either via the onscreen display or Gigabyte’s RGB Fusion App. Now, RGB is a somewhat divisive feature and, unlike the downlighting that you get on some screens, which can serve a slight practical purpose by illuminating your desk, there’s no practicality to the lighting here but, hey, if you like RGB, this screen certainly has it.
Elsewhere, you get the slim, low-profile bezels you’d expect of a modern premium display and the design is otherwise simple and smart, with no offputting extras, aside from the RGB.
What’s more, unlike the LG 27GL850, the stand can turn left and right as well as move up and down and pivot. And, thanks to the sturdiness of the stand, these movements can all be done easily with one hand without having to hold on to the base. The stand can also be removed to reveal a VESA mount for use with a monitor arm.
Video connections consist of one DisplayPort 1.2 and two HDMI 2.0 and you get a USB hub with two USB 3.0 ports. There are also ports for your headphone and microphone, but no in-built speakers. The power supply is in-built, though, so there’s no annoying power brick. It’s a shame Gigabyte didn’t include a headphone stand like on the Viewsonic XG270QG, as that would’ve meant this display ticked just about every box when it comes to features.
On the underside off the screen is the single mini joystick control for navigating the onscreen display. Its movement is firm but precise, making it quick and easy to navigate the menus. A tap in goes to the main menu while left, right, forward and back bring up quick menus for volume, display input, picture mode and black equalizer respectively. The latter is a common setting on gaming screens for boosting the brightness of dark parts of the image, making it easier to see enemies hiding in the shadows.
In the main menu, you get all the settings you should need including a 1:1 screen mode option, which is useful for running games at strange resolutions without everything getting stretched to the full width of the screen. There are also picture in picture and picture by picture options, which aren’t common on gaming screens. You also get the obligatory crosshair overlay, though there’s only one style and colour of crosshair available.
Getting to the screen itself, then, and the FI17Q is generally excellent. Its 2560 x 1440 resolution is typical for a 27inch display and makes for a nice sharp image. Meanwhile the IPS panel provides as nice stable image that changes very little when viewed at an angle. What’s more, this panel produces an impressive contrast ratio of nearly 1200:1. That compares to around 800:1 for the LG 27GL850 and 900:1 for the Viewsonic XG270QG, making for a noticeably deeper, richer looking image from this screen.
Colour balance and other image quality factors such as gamma correction are decent too, in the screen’s default Standard picture mode. As such, this is a screen that’s pretty much good to go right out of the box, once you’ve turned the brightness down. The uniformity of the image across the span of the screen isn’t perfect, with up to an 18 per cent drop in brightness in its top left corner, but this is fairly typical of screens of its class.
Also typical is that this display also has an extended colour gamut covering 95% of the DCI-P3 colour space, or 140% of the sRGB colour space. And what does that mean? Well, colours are brighter, more vivid and thanks to a 10-bit colour depth they can be very accurate too, when compared to none extended colour gamut displays. This is particularly good for if you feed an HDR signal into this screen. You still don’t get the ultra-high contrast levels that are crucial for true HDR, but colours will have that extra vibrancy.
However, the downside to this extended gamut is that you can’t turn it off. Why would you want to turn it off? Well, because for the vast majority of what we do with computers, both for now and the foreseeable future, we don’t use an extended colour gamut. Unless it’s being fed an HDR signal, a screen should produce 100% of the sRGB colour space, not 140%.
This has been a problem for several of these new screens, including the 27GL850 and XG270QG. And like those screens, the only way to get this Gigabyte display to produce a normal sRGB image is to opt for the sRGB picture mode. This works as described, pulling down the colour gamut to around 100%, but it also locks out all the other image quality options in the menus, including brightness, which is fixed at 180nits. This means the screen is a bit too bright for my liking, so I’d only want to use it in this mode in a well lit room. However, crucially, this mode is otherwise all but perfect when it comes to image quality, which is unlike the LG and Viewsonic screens, that suffered from poor colour balance in their sRGB modes.
Finally, then, we come to gaming and here this is where these new 1ms IPS panels really come into their own. They’re noticeably snappier than older IPS gaming screens and combined with its 165Hz refresh rate, this monitor feels great. Set next to a 240Hz, TN screen, there’s still a big gap in responsiveness but the FI27Q is still good enough for competitive first person shooters, and of course you get the much better image quality of an IPS screen. Freesync and G-Sync both worked fine in my testing as well. For this type of high refresh rate IPS screen, only the Asus VG27AQ, with its extremely low motion blur setting produces noticeably better gaming responsiveness.
All told then, the Gigabyte Aorus FI27Q is an excellent all-rounder of a screen. It just about perfectly balances features, image quality and gaming performance, and with it costing around £500 here in the UK, it’s competitively priced too. If only it had adjustable brightness in sRGB mode it would be near perfect.