Xiaomi is finally unleashing its gaming monitors outside of China. It starts with the Mi 2K Gaming Monitor with a starting price of €500, which seems quite competitive for the feature set in the 27-inch segment. But does it have the real-life performance that it takes to take on the big names in the industry? Let's find out!
In most cases, you'd have to compromise image quality when hunting gaming monitors, but Xiaomi is actually looking to deliver a balanced product. Mi 2K Gaming Monitor supports adaptive sync for both Nvidia and AMD GPUs and a high 165Hz refresh rate, but it also offers an IPS panel with good contrast, excellent viewing angles and is VESA DisplayHDR 400-compliant. It has QHD resolution (2560 x 1440 pixels) and comes with a factory-calibrated sRGB mode.
The monitor comes in a fairly big box with all the cables you'd need to set it up. You've got a compatible DisplayPort, power cable, and a USB IN cable to support the 2x USB 3.0 connectors.
The stand will ship disassembled so you have to attach the base, but you also get four screws if you decide to mount it on the wall. Unfortunately, it doesn't get along with a standard VESA mount so you have to look for an adapter.
Of course, the user manuals are at hand along with a handy color correction report giving you some insight on the calibration settings like white point, color accuracy and gamma.
Xiaomi 2K Gaming Monitor's design is nicely modern with thin bezels on three sides, while the chin is a tad thicker. The control keys are positioned near the bottom-right corner with the power button being illuminated. The monitor has a pretty thin profile as well.
Most of the Mi 2K Gaming Monitor body is made out of plastic but the metal stand feels extra premium. The base plate is made of aluminum and can be detached without tools and the stand itself is also made of metal. The finish is smooth and nice to touch.
Additionally, the stand supports pretty much all the adjustements you'd think of. It's versatile enough to fit any desk and height easily, offering vertical adjustment, as well as swivel, tilt, and rotation to portrait mode. However, it's not really a full-fledged VESA-compatible so an additional adapter bracket is needed for easy mounting on a wall.
Xiaomi is particularly proud of its so-called Monolithic back. Since this is a high-performance monitor that can get pretty bright, some advanced heat dissipation design is needed, but the engineers put the grille on the back so it doesn't mess up the sleek looks.
Right under the heat-dissipation plate you will find a magnetic back cover that can be easily attached and detached. It covers the DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2.0, the USB in port and the AC plug. The 3.5mm audio jack along with the 2x USB 3.0 connectors are positioned outside for convenience sake.
Xiaomi also supplied us with the so-called Mi Computer Light Bar that can be easily attached and detached on the top bezel of the monitor. It consists of two parts - a magnetic stand that clasps the monitor itself and the actual light. The acessory is actually compatible with a wide range of monitor depths, so it's not exclusively made for the Mi 2K Gaming Monitor 27".
The LED strip itself attaches to the stand via magnets and draws power via an USB-C to USB-A cable. The stand grips onto the monitor so hard that it causes a slight light bleed in the area. Not something that many people will notice and virtually undetectable during the day, though. Plus it probably doesn't even apply if you plan on using it on a different monitor with a thicker top bezel, but it's still worth mentioning.
Anyway, the lamp can be pretty useful for those of you who don't like LED-illuminated keyboards for some reason or just don't own one. Also those that keep a notepad by their keyboards for scribing notes on paper.
Using the wireless knob that connects to the lamp using wireless 2.4GHz waves, you can adjust the brightness and color temperature. The color temperature ranges between 2700K and 6500K and the LEDs have a high CRI (Color Rendering Index) so it won't ruin the natural appearance of colors. Additionally, the angle of the light is engineered so it won't bounce off of the monitor and cause reflections when you are looking it at a regular angle.
The OSD menu is easy to operate and it's fairly well laid out too. You have a main menu, a quick switch between input sources and a quick toggle of the available presets. You can choose between Standard, which is basically user-defined, ECO, Game, Movie, Low Blue Light and sRGB.
Some modes are locked you can't adjust some of the advanced settings such as hue, saturation,, color temperature and gamma. You can still play with brightness, contrast, black level and dynamic contrast ratio.
Going deeper into the settings menu, we find a setting for the response time. The advertised response time is 4ms, which is pretty much the best you can get out of a high-resolution IPS panel.
Xioami mentions another feature called IMBC (Intelligent Motion Blur Control), which is essentially the same as Nvidia's ULMB implementation. In both cases, the perceived pixel persistence is lowered so your eyes won't be able to detect the transition of one color to another of the pixels and reduce motion blur.
But for IMBC to lower the perceived response time to 1ms, you need to work at 165Hz and have 165fps pumped from the GPU.
Xiaomi has provided four settings - Normal, Fast, Superfast and Ultrafast. And since backlight strobing is used for achieving the perceived response time of 1ms, brightness may vary depending on the situation. We didn't notice this during gameplay but in case you do, you can try different settings or turn it off altogether.
After all, 4ms response time is really fast to begin with and only a handful of experienced gamers in fast-paced titles would notice the minor ghosting that occurs at 4ms.
Lastly, you can switch on and off the Adaptive Sync feature. We tested it on an Nvidia GPU and it seems to play nice with it. The Nvidia control panel did pop a warning that the monitor may not be compatible with the proprietary G-Sync tech, but the performance suggested it's working.
Last, but not least, you can toggle HDR but as we already pointed out, the monitor only supports the lowest VESA Display HDR 400 standard and your experience will not only vary depending on the game or video you are playing, but will also be far from what true HDR content should look like.
The monitor employs a 27-inch QHD IPS LCD panel capable of up to 400 nits brightness and 1000:1 static contrast ratio according to its specs sheet. It's also compliant with VESA's DisplayHDR 400 standard.
The device is also TUV certified for low blue light emissions and has a dedicated mode for that if you plan on working after hours.
Color reproduction, contrast, brightness
Color reproduction should also be excellent and promises 132% sRGB color gamut coverage and 95% of the DCI-P3 color space. As expected, the display has 8-bit color reproduction.
More importantly, Xiaomi promises to ship pre-calibrated monitors with an average dE2000 below 1, which is almost perfect color accuracy. That number is conditional, though.
For the purpose of this review, we did our tests on the sRGB preset and the Standard one. The sRGB color preset is supposed to be the most accurate one while the Standard can be customized most extensively.
In sRGB mode, we got about 357 nits of maximum brightness and 848:1 contrast ratio - a bit lower than advertised. The average dE2000 is 3.5, which is still pretty good with the main deviators being the rather blue-ish whites and grays. Those had a less impressive deviation of around 6 dE2000.
Lowering the brightness slider to 200 nits (which is about 50%), brings down the dE2000 even further to 2.9. And in case you have color-sensitive work for actual printing and designing, you get an even better 2.8 average dE2000 at 140 nits.
Using the Standard mode will allow you to adjust not only the gamma curve but also hue and color temperature potentially fixing the blue-ish whites if you are inclined to do so. We also messed around with the contrast and black level sliders and have a few interesting things to say about those.
For instance, the contrast slider doesn't adjust just the contrast, it also seems to control the brightness. At 100% brightness and 50% contrast, we measured merely 197 nits but when we cranked up the contrast to maximum, we got an outstanding 1:1389 contrast ratio (way above the advertised 1000:1) and 382 nits of brightness.
That's a rather strange behavior as we would expect this setting to adjust the contrast without limiting the brightness.
Moreover, the black level slider doesn't just make the blacks deeper, it also adjusts the "black threshold". Going really low would render some dark nuanced colors black and as a result, you get deeper blacks, but also lost detail. Conversely, blacks become gray if you are too generous with the slider.
Despite the discrepancy between the actual results from our review and the advertised numbers, we can still say it's a very well-calibrated monitor with accurate color reproduction that's suitable for color-sensitive work for even most of the professionals. Only the experienced and trained eye would notice the slight blue-ish hues of the whites and grays in sRGB mode.
The HDR, on the other hand, isn't exactly the monitor's strong suit. It's VESA DisplayHDR 400 certified, which is the lowest possible tier in VESA's certification and the requirements are 400 nits peak spot brightness, 100% sRGB color gamut coverage and dimming tech on screen-level. The rest of the certifications ask for wider color gamut coverage and zone-level local dimming at the very least.
We found it even hard to notice the difference in games with HDR enabled. The biggest change is the considerably dimmer screen with it lighting up when more contrasty scenes appear. Honestly we felt on average this HDR implementation makes things worse in terms of image quality so we suggest leaving that off.
The Xiaomi Mi 2K Gaming Monitor 27" may not be the most affordable solution around but it strikes a rather rare balance between performance and picture quality. While this monitor is a no-brainer at its lower price in China, it has to deal with some fierce competition in Europe from more established brands like Acer, Alienware, BenQ and Gigabyte.
The first alternative that spring to mind is Acer's Predator XB273UGSbmiiprzx. It also packs an IPS QHD panel, supports adaptive sync of up to 165Hz and even has you covered with DisplayHDR 400 standard, if you are really dead set on that feature.
The Gigabyte's G27QC-EK is another similarly-priced option with the same refresh rate and the same resolution but with a VA panel. It has a native 1ms response time, but lacks the IPS panels' viewing angles. However at the considerably lower price of €350 it may be the best bang-for-buck in the bunch.
Gigabyte also has a matching rival at €500 called Aorus FI27Q offering the same feature set but with IPS screen instead. It does fall short in terms of ergonomics when put against Xiaomi's contender.
Last, but not least, the Alienware AW2720HFA will impress you with a vibrant IPS panel with an even faster 240Hz refresh rate, but at lower 1080p resolution, which is stretching thin on the 27-inch diagonal. It makes sense if you don't own top-tier PC hardware and mostly play competitive games where a higher refresh rate is key, but it's going to be a compromised experience in terms of image quality.
As you see rhere are quite a few options around the €500 mark, but Xiaomi's solution stands out as the most balanced one. It the resolution, the image quality (in SDR at least), the ergonomics, the refresh rate and it runs on an IPS panel.
Sure, the Mi 2K Gaming Monitor can be topped in this or that metric but its well-balanced performance make it an easy recommendation. The versatile ergonomic stand, the 400 nits maximum brightness and the fact that it offers pre-calibrated, vibrant and fast IPS panel make it a winner in my book.
Another big plus for some might be the elegant, minimalist design. If you plan on doing some work on this monitor and you need to make it blend, instead of standing out with flashy RGB LEDs as most gaming monitors have, the Mi 2K Gaming Monitor has you covered.
There are only a few small annoyances that I feel obligated to address and those are the way the system handles contrast adjustments, the rather poor HDR implementation and slightly colder than usual color temperature in sRGB mode.