The PX276 by Pixio: Affordable 1440p gaming
My review of the PX276 has been a long time coming. Pixio popped up on my radar maybe a year ago, seemingly out of left field. They are a company of gaming enthusiast producing hardware for gaming enthusiasts. They aim to offer affordable gaming-class monitors without sacrificing quality for cost. My experience with them so far reflects that, from the quality of the product down to the customer service.
The PX276 uses a TN panel that lacks some of the color reproduction abilities of more expensive IPS and VA panels, but is able to keep response times down. In the case of the PX276 this means response times are as low as 1 ms when boosted or 5 ms with OverDrive disabled. This is an ideal gaming and productivity display coming in between $309 and $349 at the time of writing this.
The PX276 is a 27-inch display with a native resolution of 2560×1440, 144 Hz frequency range and supports FreeSync™. 27 inches at 1440p… I cannot put into words just how fantastic that is. It is so much better than 1080p. The lower resolution monitors look mundane, pixelated, and “fuzzy” by contrast. 27 inches seems to be the sweet spot for 1440p as well, in that things are crystal clear with no need for adjustments to scaling in Windows.
The PX276 comes with a plethora of inputs:
- Dual Link DVI,
- an HDMI 2.0 and HDMI 1.4
- a single DisplayPort 1.2
- a 3.5 mm audio in
- 3.5 mm audio out
If you want to have access to the full gamut of refresh rates and adaptive sync technology, be sure to use either the DisplayPort 1.2 or HDMI 2.0. They are the only two ports with enough bandwidth to carry that gorgeous resolution at a full 144 Hz with FreeSync.
How does it look on the desk?
(Sexy AF) The Pixio PX276 comes housed in a near bezel-less chassis with a single side (the bottom) having the only bezel. It houses the display controls and built-in speakers. While the speakers are nothing groundbreaking, they are surprisingly crisp even at higher volume levels. A sharp looking angled aluminum stand holds the monitor in place, being both sleek and maintaining a small footprint on your desk. If mounting the display is your goal the back of the monitor has support for 75×75 VESA mounting options. Do be aware, though, that the VESA mount is off centered vertically so take in to account your VESA mount’s range of mobility if you plan to mount it.
There are a bunch of neat features in the PX276’s OSD (On Screen Display). There are options to toggle inputs, pick/set color temperature profiles, and enable/disable FreeSync and OverDrive. It includes LoS (Line of Sight), which adds a cross hair to the display for FPS games, and also a game timer. Then there’s one of my favorite features, “Low Blue.” This feature lowers the amount of blue light emitted, which seems to help with color balance.
Shortcomings of the PX276
If I had one complaint, it would be for a higher quality DisplayPort cable. When I first received the monitor the screen would randomly cut out. Thinking it was the display, I worked with the Pixio customer service team checking cable connections (their included DisplayPort cable, as well as a few I had around the studio) and running through driver removal and re-installation. We couldn’t figure it out, so they sent me a new monitor, hoping an RMA would fix the issue.
Unlike HDMI cables, not all DisplayPort cables are created equal. A friend, Joe, @iwalkingcorpse suggested I go and buy an ACCEL brand DisplayPort cable.
Problem solved! As it turns out, DisplayPort has a couple of 5-volt pins that are used for signalling. Not all DisplayPort cables have a diode installed on those pins. That diode acts like a gate, only allowing current to travel in one direction. Sure enough, that was the problem – though after months of testing, the issue has not returned
So let that be an idea for anyone using any display via DisplayPort and having a similar issue. Cables – yours, theirs or otherwise – are sometimes fussy and not every cable is created equal.
With a TN panel you expect to give up some color accuracy compared to something like an IPS panel. The PX276 is no exception to that rule. While I do not have professional color calibration tests, I can say it does lack. For instance: when working on some web design and logo work with a friend, he shared a logo designed in periwinkle (blue), which I though was “Twitch Purple.” As I stated, this is somewhat expected form a TN panel. I just didn’t realize to what degree. You can adjust color settings in the OSD (on screen display), though it will only get you so far. Which brings me to another issue…
I picked up a second one of these Pixio PX276 displays, and the second one is not like the first one. The stock stand sits about a half-inch lower on the second display than it did on the first display. The panel on the second display gets detected as a 10-bit panel, whereas the first is always detected as an 8-bit panel. When being detected as a 10-bit display, there is not HDR functionality like you would find on the PX276h. Color reproduction is also slightly different between my first and second panel. Try as I might, I could not get both displays colors to reflect quite the same.
The customer service department at Pixio is among the best I’ve worked with in tech or otherwise. They are always prompt when answering or asking questions to help guide customers in the right direction. They were willing to test out multiple RMA options when helping me troubleshoot my DisplayPort cable issue. Even now, months later, their social media team checks in every so often to see how things are – and not just with the display. They ask about my streaming and we just generally share our love for technology.
My Takeaway on the PX276
The Pixio PX276 is hands down the best display I have used. Its super-fast 1440p display is coupled with a gorgeous thin/bezel-less design. I can’t imagine ever going back to 1080p displays again. The TN panel has really decent color accuracy and a blazing fast response and refresh rate. FreeSync has opened up my gaming experience to a new realm of realism, ensuring that I never experience screen tearing when my frame rate fluctuates. 144Hz makes fast movements so concise and clear, without the ghosting effect that can occur on displays with lower frame rates. All this for under $350 on Amazon with Prime™ shipping. Do it. You won’t be sorry for adding a Pixio monitor to your battle station.