GIGABYTE reached out to me to review two of their latest gaming monitors, with the first being the GIGABYTE G32QC -- a 32-inch 1440p 165Hz monitor that I reviewed here. I loved it, the size of the monitor and refresh rate -- but the sub $400 price is the clincher.
But the second monitor the company sent me is the flagship AORUS FI27Q-P gaming monitor, which boasts a 27-inch IPS-based panel with a native 2560 x 1440 resolution, 165Hz refresh rate, and 10-bit color. It supports DisplayPort High Bit Rate 3 (HBR3) which handles a huge 32.4Gbps of bandwidth.
HBR3 provides the ability to drive 1440p, 165Hz and 10 bits of color all at the same time. This means the monitor panel spec (2560 x 1440, 165Hz, and 10-bit color) without any compromises. Will you notice the difference? Maybe. Is there a difference? Hell yes. Should you buy it? Read on.
I will also add that AORUS went all-out with the style and energy of this monitor, something that unfortunately is all on the back of the display. It looks absolutely awesome from the back, but there is no RGB goodness on the front of the the monitor.
You can find the AORUS FI27Q-P on Amazon for $800.
Will You Notice the Difference Between 8-Bit and 10-Bit Color?
I don't think most people would notice the differences between 8-bit and 10-bit color if it wasn't directly obvious, but there is quite a bit of difference between the two.
When you see it on a chart like this (thanks, B&H) you can see how 10-bit color can make a difference. Instead of the banding that you get across different shares of a color -- as you can see between all the colors here, you get a very smooth spread of colors without the banding.
Lifewire has a fantastic article on the difference between bit color depth, check it out here.
The 'P' is Strong Here: FI27Q-P vs FI27Q Explained
There is a big difference between the AORUS FI27Q, and the one we have here today with the AORUS FI27Q-P gaming monitor. The non-P display has a native 2560 x 1440 resolution with 144Hz refresh rate, but can be overclocked to 165Hz with 8-bit color.
The AORUS FI27Q-P on the other hand, can do it all: 1440p + 165Hz + 10-bit color all at the same time.
About the AORUS FI27Q-P
We've got a great ergonomic design that allows the AORUS FI27Q-P to be moved in any direction you want, including a 90-degree pivot if you want some portrait gaming action (triple-monitor portrait is awesome).
There's a USB charger on the monitor as well, which has 5V/1.5A support, with a power board built in -- no gigantic adapter is required.
GIGABYTE has used a mean style for its AORUS FI27Q-P gaming monitor, with the stand being nice and sturdy but also looking great too. There's no RGB lighting blasting down, but there's some RGB lighting in the background which look great.
Here we have AORUS FI27Q-P from the front, with its thin bezel on show.
I love the style of the back of the AORUS FI27Q-P monitor, and that's without the RGB lighting enabled. Once that's enabled, the back of the AORUS FI27Q-P monitor looks even better.
Here we have the monitor stand and its cable management, where you can route your power and display cables.
The AORUS FI27Q-P gaming monitor has 2 x HDMI ports, 1 x DP port, 1 x USB 3.0 hub and 2 x USB 3.0 ports. We also have a headphone and microphone jack on the back of the display, as well as of course: a power connector.
The stand connects to a base on the back of the display, with two prongs at the top (in this photo) and then the metal connection at the bottom which clicks it into place.
This is what you'll be connecting it into.
And once again from the other side.
Connectivity, Specs & Marketing
GIGABYTE has put everything into the AORUS FI27Q-P gaming monitor, with a native 1440p resolution, super-smooth 165Hz refresh rate, and beautiful 10-bit color all on the single cable. We have a 1ms response time so it is ultra-fast for gaming, which I did copious amounts of on the AORUS FI27Q-P.
Being the world's first HBR 3 monitor definitely gives them bragging rights here -- but the beautiful digital LED work on the back of the monitor is my favorite part here. You might not look at the back of your display often, but when you do it'll knock your socks off.
The design of the monitor and its 'Wings of Excellence' are great, the design choice AORUS used here was perfect. The OSD sidekick is another great touch, although it's not something I personally use.
Test System Specs
I've got a new upgrade inside of my GPU test bed before my change to a next-gen test bed, where I will be preparing for NVIDIA's next-gen Ampere graphics cards (you can read more on that here) and AMD's next-gen RDNA 2 graphics cards (more on those here).
Sabrent helped out with some new storage for my GPU test beds, sending over a slew of crazy-fast Rocket NVMe PCIe M.2 2280 SSDs. I've got this installed into my GPU test bed as the new Games Storage drive, since games are so damn big now. Thanks to Sabrent, I've got 2TB of super-fast M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD storage now.
Anthony's Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: GIGABYTE Z370 AORUS Gaming 7 (buy from Amazon)
- CPU: Intel Core i7-8700K @ 5GHz (buy from Amazon)
- Cooler: Corsair Hydro Series H115i PRO (buy from Amazon)
- Memory: 16GB (2x8GB) HyperX Predator DDR4-2933 (buy from Amazon)
- SSD: Sabrent Rocket Q 2TB NVMe PCIe M.2 2280 (buy from Amazon)
- Power Supply: InWin 1065W
- Case: InWin X-Frame
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64-bit (buy from Amazon)
Workstation & Gaming Use
AORUS FI27Q-P: Workstation Use
As with all of my monitor reviews, I used the AORUS FI27Q-P gaming monitor for around 40-50 hours of my traditional working week. I spread this out two weeks or so, using the monitor 4-5 hours a day across two weeks.
My initial thoughts were 'wow, the colors are so beautiful... everything is so sharp', and you will notice that right out of the box.
GIGABYTE has a big selling point here with their AORUS FI27Q-P being the world's first monitor with HBR3, meaning it is squeezing all the available bandwidth over DisplayPort -- 32.4Gbps of bandwidth, to provide you with 2560 x 1440 @ 165Hz with 10-bit color... all at the same time.
There's no curve here on the AORUS FI27Q-P, which for a 27-inch panel I definitely prefer over a curved 27-inch panel. The last monitor I reviewed -- the GIGABYTE G32QC, which you can read about here -- featured a curved 32-inch panel.
The curved 32-inch panel feels more natural versus than a curved 27-inch panel, so the perfectly straight 27-inch panel on the FI27Q-P is beautiful. I found that I had it closer to my eyes than the G32QC because of its smaller size, too (versus being pushed all the way to the back of my desk).
I sit at my desk for anywhere between 70-80 hours a week minimum, sometimes up towards the 90-100 hours a week for the most part. In all of my time with the AORUS FI27Q-P, I never had any issues with my eyes getting sore or feeling overly tired as I would sitting in front of other monitors.
The height adjustable stand is a nice touch, as there are times when I would have it on a particular desk and that position wasn't good for the monitor at that particular height. Adjusting it is easy, but I think I really need to get myself a monitor stand for some next level testing.
Video Quality Tests
Gemini Man (4K 60FPS)
AORUS FI27Q-P: Gaming Use
It wouldn't be a gaming monitor without some serious time pumped into games now, would it?
I spent more time gaming on the AORUS FI27Q-P than I did as a workstation monitor, putting 50+ hours into various games over a two-week span. This included many, many late nights of playing Call of Duty: Warzone and Apex Legends.
Running games at 2560 x 1440 isn't too hard on your graphics card, but it is once you reach 165FPS. I used my current gaming PC (which is in the process of being upgraded) which is powered by an Intel Core i9-9900K processor at 5GHz, and MSI's flagship GeForce RTX 2080 Ti LIGHTNING Z graphics card.
Everything from Minecraft, Control, Death Stranding and Apex Legends through to Call of Duty: Warzone looks magnificent on the AORUS FI27Q-P.
Colors pop, buildings and structures in games look perfect -- shadows and lighting seem more realistic than ever in Warzone on the AORUS FI27Q-P.
I actually took a few minutes during my time in Warzone to just sit back and marvel at how good it looked, as the AORUS FI27Q-P truly is an astonishing monitor. Would you notice the difference between 8-bit color and 10-bit color, probably not -- well, I could almost put good money down that in a blind test 99/100 people wouldn't tell the difference.
But the image quality aside from that is almost second to none, it's a gorgeous monitor -- inside, and out.
What's Hot & What's Not
- AORUS style with RGB Fusion 2.0 lighting: The LED system on the back of the AORUS FI27Q-P gaming monitor looks awesome, it's just a shame you don't get to enjoy it. But from the back, the 'wings' look awesome and the AORUS lion is also lit up which looks great.
- Amazing image quality: The very second you start using the AORUS FI27Q-P your retinas are in love, the colors are deep, everything is nice and crisp, and it just feels nice to use. Thankfully we have a native 2560 x 1440 resolution, or else most of that IQ would be washed away at 1080p.
- Beautiful color depth: Watching 4K videos at 60FPS is just glorious, and seriously -- those videos of Gemini Man at 120FPS are amazingly captivating. Everything looks good on this monitor, but the colors just feel like you can reach in and tap them and it'd leave paint on your finger.
- 1440p resolution: 2560 x 1440 is the maximum resolution that I would personally like on a 27-inch panel, so I'm glad AORUS went with that and not pushed into 4K. It's nice and, I want to use the word 'punchy' at this size and quality.
- 165Hz refresh rate: You will need a pretty beasty graphics card to keep up with the 2560 x 1440 resolution and 165FPS, but it's worth it -- trust me. The image quality is so good that once you let that 1440p resolution sink in the next worry is FPS: but if you can hit 120FPS or over then you're going to love it. It's liquid smooth, and looks oh-so-good.
- 10-bit color, but can you tell the difference? Not really. Technologically it's impressive, but 9 out of 10 people wouldn't be able to tell the difference. In some videos however, the differences are beautiful and the scene just 'pops'.
- Ergonomic design: AORUS provides all the adjustment you need with the FI27Q-P gaming monitor, with adjustments to height, tilt, pivot, stroke, and swivel available for your personal liking.
- It's expensive AF: But you're looking at this monitor for a reason, so you knew you'd be spending this much money on a monitor because you're getting 1440p + 165Hz + 10-bit color. That was never going to be cheap, this is for gamers who want a very high-quality, tech-filled gaming monitor and don't mind spending more on it.
- Small 27-inch panel (32-inch would be better): This is a criticism I have, after using 32-inch and 43-inch monitors it is very hard to go back to 27-inch. On top of that, plonking down close to $1K and only getting a 27-inch panel is a big pill to swallow. I can't wait to see if we get a 32-inch version of this, that would be stellar.
If you are in the market for one of the best 27-inch gaming monitors that money can buy, then the AORUS FI27Q-P should be on your radar. The mix of the 2560 x 1440 native resolution, 165Hz refresh rate, HBR3 support, and 10-bit color is alluring.
You will need to find support for 10-bit content, as it's not just everywhere -- but when you do the 10-bit color on the AORUS FI27Q-P really shines. You won't need to worry about 10-bit color for the most part, and from a pure gaming standpoint the AORUS FI27Q-P kicks ass.
The issue here is price -- the AORUS FI27Q-P is a bloody expensive monitor, where you can get a larger 32-inch 1440p 165Hz monitor that is still a joy to use when gaming. Hell, the monitor I reviewed before this was the GIGABYTE G32QC which offers a 32-inch 1440p 165Hz gaming experience for under $400.
Double that cost, a smaller panel, but better image quality and 10-bit color? It's a hard pill to swallow, but still, the AORUS FI27Q-P is a fantastic monitor not just on paper, but to use. Call of Duty: Warzone was a lot of fun on the AORUS FI27Q-P, so too was my many hours as it as my workstation panel.
The Bottom Line
It's expensive, but it is one of the best on the market. 1440p + 165Hz + 10-bit color = one of the best 27-inch gaming monitor packages you can buy. It's just too expensive.