While Aldi Australia is renowned for selling high-quality bargains in its food department, its electronics offerings can be hit and miss. Alongside the upcoming Medion Erazer X67127 gaming PC (on sale from Saturday, October 19), Aldi's also offering this 27-inch 1440p gaming monitor for $379, which packs a 144Hz refresh rate and Adaptive Sync (aka FreeSync) support. So, should you grab one before they’re gone, or give it a wide berth?
Like many of Aldi's PC products, the Erazer X52773 (which, confusingly, also goes by the moniker 'MD21473') is brought to you by Medion. This is a German brand that Aldi has exclusive distribution rights for in Australia and the US. We were relatively impressed by the Erazer gaming PC that this monitor is being sold alongside of: that PC is well-built, well-specified, well-designed, well-supported and great value at $1,999. But that wasn’t quite a giveaway price, despite a value proposition that saw its sum worth more than the cost of its parts. It’s a bit different with monitors, as the product isn’t a skilful integration of other manufacturers’ components – this is a rebadged OEM unit. So, is it any good?
Panel size: 27-inch
Native resolution: 2,560 x 1,440
Maximum refresh: 144Hz
Response time: 1ms (10ms G2G with overdrive)
Native contrast: 3,000:1
Display inputs: 1 x HDMI, 1 x DisplayPort, 1 x HDMI
Connectivity: 3.5mm audio passthrough only
VESA mount: 100mm
Speakers: 2 x 2W
Warranty: 12 months
Design, features and general performance
The screen itself doesn’t look cheap. Despite having 1cm of dead space around the sides and top, the very thin bezel keeps everything looking sharp and sophisticated. The curved stand doesn’t take up too much space, but if you’re on an unstable table it will wobble your monitor with every movement. Being a budget model, there aren’t too many additional features: there’s no USB hub or physical screen adjustments like pivot or swivel. It tilts only slightly above horizontal too, so taller people will likely have to raise it up – and for that, they’ll have to use a wide stand to accommodate the monitor’s wide footprint.
DVI, DisplayPort and HDMI ports are all embedded in the back, but Medion doesn't provide any information on which versions they support. There’s also a 3.5mm audio jack which can function with two built-in 2-watt speakers. These are useable, but you wouldn’t want them to be your primary source of audio – there’s no bass, they sound muddy and they distort with some treble-rich frequencies. They do get reasonably loud though.
However, the Samsung-made PLS panel immediately impressed us with its 2,560 x 1,440-pixel resolution producing a crisp, sharp and evenly-lit Windows Desktop. For general, work-related PC tasks it’s comfortable to use for long periods of time, which is good considering that some monitors’ gaming technologies make the appearance of day-to-day work hard on the eyes.
The OSD is controlled by a mini joystick on the rear and is fast and intuitive to use. There are limited options beyond the norm, but you can at least adjust blue light levels in order to address eye fatigue. Game and Movie modes up the brightness significantly (the latter looks slightly warmer) but they also blow out many details in bright areas. The brightness rating is a bog-standard 250cd/m2, but we were keen to check on gaming usability as we approached that figure...
Gaming and movie performance
An overdrive setting dictates pixel performance. There’s a typical 1ms Moving Picture Response Time with grey-to-grey response hitting 10ms when overdrive is engaged in the settings. So how does all this work when it comes to gaming?
We started with Metro Exodus, which is a punishing test for any monitor. The first thing we noticed was that in Game Mode the bright areas blew out and lost detail quite quickly. When we returned to PC Mode, the darker screen restored the detail in bright areas but all too quickly dropped details in the shadows. We played around with brightness and contrast settings to find an acceptable balance, but came to the realisation that the Erazer wasn’t going to excel at handling both bright and dark areas at the same time – which wasn’t completely surprising, considering it’s not HDR compatible.
While there wasn’t much in it, we did slightly prefer having Overdrive turned on: some fine details did seem to slightly smear when it wasn’t, but not to a heinous degree. In many respects, we’re nit-picking as these are only real issues at the extreme poles of display performance, but there are certainly better monitors out there.
We fired up Borderlands 3 for some fast and frantic shooting in an environment that’s more forgiving in terms of contrast performance. Here, the 144Hz panel came into its own with crisp and clear visuals being exhibited in the most furious shoot-outs. It must be said, however, that in some areas of more uniform colour we did perceive a slight flyscreen effect. It wasn’t constant or too distracting, but it was there.
We also tried watching some movies to see how it fared. While colours were generally bright and vibrant, banding was frequently visible within colour transitions and gradients. However, when it came to scenes set in space we were very disappointed, with details getting lost in much of the screen: it was very hard to see what was going on.
It’s worth noting that while the slight curve is easy on the eyes, if more than one person is looking at the screen the viewing angles aren’t great. Colours start to noticeably change when you lean to the left or right. This happens vertically too, which can be an issue with such limited upward screen tilt. However, if you’re on your lonesome looking at the screen, this won’t be much of an issue.
Is it worth it?
Ultimately, the Erazer X52773 is a usable gaming monitor if you want to be able to play well-lit games (at 144Hz) most of the time and work the rest. However, its contrast performance is mediocre at best and while games with especially dark (and very bright) areas are affected the most, movies in particular look poor.
So, it basically comes down to price. At $379 it represents OK but not standout value, a situation which isn’t improved greatly by the short 12 month (with Class II dead pixel) warranty. Indeed, much better (if slightly older) competitors from Acer, AOC and Asus can be found around this same price. Ultimately then, it’s not very good and not very cheap: very un-Aldi.