Lenovo Y27G Curved Monitor review

Great design that isn’t matched by image quality

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Our Verdict

The Y27G is an attractive monitor with some great features, but cumbersome menus and ghosting cloud its vision.

For

  • Aggressive design
  • G-Sync
  • High refresh rate

Against

  • Clunky menus
  • Only FHD
  • Expensive
  • Overdrive mode is terrible

Lenovo's Y27G monitor is a high-end offering into the world of gaming monitors. The Y27 series makes good on gamer's desires with a 144hz refresh rate, frame rate smoothing tech and a big, angular design that cuts sharp lines. If you really want to go wild, Lenovo even offers a version with Razer's Chroma lighting technology.

Pricing and availability

Available with either NVIDIA G-Sync or AMD FreeSync anti-screen tearing technology and plenty of inputs, the 27-inch Y27 is a worthy gaming monitor, but technical shortcomings keep it from reaching its full potential. 

If you run with AMD graphics, the FreeSync Y27f will set you back $399 (£349, about AU$520). The NVIDIA G-Sync enabled Y27G, which Lenovo sent us for review, carries an MSRP of $599 (£599, about AU$785), and the Chroma-enabled Y27G RE comes in at $649 (£649, AU$1,299).

Other than the anti-screen tearing tech and 144Hz refresh rate, the rest of the specs aren't nearly as exciting. It’s rated for a 3,000:1 contrast ratio, response rate of 4ms, and max resolution is a standard 1,920 x 1,080 for Full HD gaming. For $599, those specs should be better. At the very least, a 1440p option would help justify the huge price tag.

Design

The Y27 follows the same design cues as the rest of Lenovo's gaming line, such as the IdeaCentre Y900 desktop computer. Sharp angles with deep red highlights are the name of the design game here. The boomerang-shaped base shoots outward, keeping the monitor stable and allowing it to swivel.

Hash marks etched along the circumference of the stand, as well as the tilting hinge, give it the look of a precision instrument. Turning the Y27G is practically effortless and it just as easy to adjust the display’s height, as well. The monitor can move up and down with a feather touch, and once it's in place, it stays in place. There's no "slop" to it at all.

Tilt isn't as easy to adjust, requiring a firm grip in the base. It's not a difficult adjustment to make, but the monitor feels like it might tip over when angling the screen back. 

The mechanical pieces involved in the swivel, height, and tilt adjustments operate smoothly and easily, while maintaining a reassuring heft. All the adjustments are really generous, too. Swivel goes 30 degrees in either direction while you can tilt the monitor from -5 degrees to 30 degrees. Height adjustment offers around 4 inches to stretch.

Features

There aren't any speakers in the Y27G, a weird omission for a monitor of this caliber and price point. Even though most monitor speakers sound like glorified iPhone speakers, it's nice to at least have the option.

Lenovo almost makes up to the lack of built-in speakers with a pair of USB ports and headset jack on the left side. Further sweetening the deal is a fold-out hanger for storing your headset. When not in use, it folds up and disappears from view entirely. It's a handy touch and one of the side USB ports is always-on, too. It's the perfect place to hang a wireless headset and charge it in one convenient location. 

There are two more USB ports on the back of the Y27G, grouped in with the HDMI, DisplayPort, and power ports. The USB ports on the back aren't easy to get to, even with the monitor turned completely to its side. All the ports face down, rather than out, which saves on room, but the Y27G is such a beast of a monitor anyway, it's more annoying than it is space-saving.

The box includes a DisplayPort cable and an install disc for Lenovo Artery software, along with a power cable and USB cable. Artery lets you make adjustments to the monitor without needing to navigate Window's Display and Appearance options. Settings like refresh rate and resolution can also be changed quickly and painlessly with the Artery software.

Not so painless are the on screen menus. The buttons are front-facing, and labeled, which is helpful, but the menu structure is labyrinthine in nature. We found ourselves accidentally pressing the wrong buttons and undoing display changes, or entering the wrong sub-menus, or going back when we meant to go forward.

Shortcuts assigned to the buttons, like accessing the Y27G gaming presets with one button should be helpful. Unfortunately, trying to use any of these presets drops you back into Lenovo’s messy menus. Instead of accessing the sub-menu, the button would work better if it cycled through the presets.

Not that the presets are great. The Gaming modes make pre-programmed adjustments to color, overdrive, brightness and contrast. We found the best picture came from turning the presets off. The FPS1 preset makes everything too blue and the FPS2 preset makes everything too red. The Racing preset turns overdrive to its highest setting, and that's where the monitor runs into big problems.

There are three overdrive options in the menu: Off, Normal, and Extreme. Both Normal and Extreme introduce unacceptable levels of ghosting. Playing Dirt Rally, the fans on the sides of the road smeared the screen with a glowing ghost.

Everything else looked doubled, like watching a 3D movie without 3D glasses. It wasn't just a fast game like Dirt Rally, either. Walking around in Hitman brought out the same awful ghosting. The best option is to turn the overdrive off completely.

G-Sync and 144Hz makes for some really smooth gaming. It's easy to overlook the shortcomings of a monitor when games flow like waves on the sea. Getting the monitor adjusted in the on-screen display is cumbersome and prone to mistake, and the overdrive option should never be turned on for any reason. 

Final verdict

Ultimately, the Y27G succeeds in its industrial design, with smooth, easy adjustments to height, tilt, and swivel, USB ports and a smart headset hanger built into the screen. Where it falters is its lack of high resolution options, cumbersome menu design and low contrast and response time. 

It's heartbreaking to see a monitor do so well in some categories yet fail to excite in others. As a result, the Lenovo Y27G balances out to a disappointingly average monitor.