KTC M27T20 Review: 1440p 165Hz Mini LED HDR Gaming Monitor

The KTC M27T20 is a 27" 1440p 165Hz gaming monitor based on a VA panel with a high contrast ratio, VRR support and 576-zone mini LED FALD.

Bottom Line

The KTC M27T20, along with the Cooler Master Tempest GP27Q, is one of the best gaming monitors you can get for under 500 USD. The choice between the two will mainly come down to your personal preference.

Design:
(5.0)
Display:
(4.9)
Performance:
(4.8)
Price/Value:
(5.0)
4.9

Update: The new v3.0.4A firmware update adds simultaneous VRR + local dimming support.

The KTC M27T20 is an affordable mini LED gaming monitor with a 576-zone FALD (full-array local dimming) solution, allowing you to enjoy proper HDR image quality.

Unlike the Cooler Master Tempest GP27Q with an IPS panel, the KTC M27T20 uses VA technology; let’s see what advantages and disadvantages that brings.

Image Quality

Based on a VA panel, the KTC M27T20 has a high native contrast ratio of 4,000:1, which along with the 576-zone mini LED FALD backlight allows for deep and inky blacks.

These zones can dim parts of the image that are supposed to be dark without greatly affecting areas of the screen that are supposed to remain bright, thus significantly boosting the contrast ratio.

This means that you can simultaneously have deep blacks and bright highlights as the monitor can reach up to 1200-nits in HDR. The monitor also has VESA’s DisplayHDR 1000 certification. After enabling HDR in Windows, make sure to set ‘HDR’ to ‘Auto’ and ‘Local Dimming’ to ‘High’ in the OSD (On-Screen Display) menu.

Since there are ‘only’ 576 zones and over 3 million pixels across the screen, in some scenes, the light from small illuminated objects will bleed into the surrounding dimmed zones and create blooming or the ‘halo effect.’ However, this is mainly visible in particularly demanding scenes, such as fireworks, stars in the night sky, etc.

Because the KTC M27T20 has a higher native contrast ratio than the Cooler Master Tempest GP27Q, the blooming will actually be less noticeable.

Another advantage of VA technology is that there’s no IPS glow, but you won’t get as consistent colors due to the VA gamma/saturation shifts. For everyday use and basic content creation, this is not an issue, but for professional color-critical work, IPS is the way to go.

Related:What Is VA Glow, Gamma Shift, And Black Crush?

Moving on, thanks to its quantum dot enhanced film layer, the monitor has an exceptional color gamut with 99% Adobe RGB and 93% DCI-P3 coverage, which is equivalent to around 150% sRGB gamut size.

There’s also an sRGB emulation mode that can restrict the native gamut down to ~100% sRGB in order to prevent over-saturation of SDR content. You’ll also find dedicated DCI-P3, Adobe RGB and BT. 2020 presets under ‘Professional Modes.’

Additionally, the KTC M27T20 monitor has a high peak brightness of 500-nits in the SDR mode meaning that the screen can get more than bright enough even in well-lit rooms.

You can use local dimming in the SDR mode, but we recommend against it when it comes to regular desktop use. When playing SDR games or watching videos, the local dimming solution can improve the viewing experience, but you’ll get a skewed gamma, so it’s up to your personal preference whether to use it or not.

For the best results, we recommend using the ‘Native’ mode and changing the gamma to 1.8 when using local dimming in SDR mode.

The 1440p resolution suits the 27″ sized screen of the monitor very well. You get a decent pixel density of 108.79 PPI (pixels per inch), which results in sharp details and text without any scaling necessary. On top of that, 1440p is significantly less demanding on GPUs than 4K UHD.

Performance

amd freesync logo

The KTC M27T20 has a 3ms (GtG) pixel response time speed. It’s not quite as fast as the fastest VA panels, such as the Odyssey G7, but you won’t see any black smearing associated with slow VA technology.

For optimal performance, we recommend using the Advanced overdrive mode.

Further, the monitor supports a variable refresh rate (VRR) with a 48-165Hz range for tear-free gameplay. While it doesn’t have official G-SYNC Compatible certification by NVIDIA, VRR does work with supported GeForce GPUs over DisplayPort.

Surprisingly, there’s no VRR brightness flickering that’s common for high refresh rate VA panels. However, enabling VRR increases input lag by ~10ms (from around 4ms to 14ms). We assume KTC is using a similar method as Samsung’s ‘VRR Control’ option that prevents brightness flickering at a cost of increased lag or micro-stuttering, but there’s no option to disable it.

On top of that, VRR cannot be enabled at the same time as local dimming. This was also the case with Cooler Master’s Tempest monitors, which they later fixed via a firmware update. KTC also claims they’ll release a firmware update to address this.

Update: The new v3.0.4A firmware update adds simultaneous VRR + local dimming support, though flickering issues are possible in certain games/scenes.

Another issue is that when HDR is enabled, the monitor is limited to 144Hz, down from the maximum 165Hz. Since the difference between 144Hz and 165Hz is not noticeable in real use, we recommend just running the monitor at 144Hz.

For competitive gaming, we recommend disabling VRR for the lowest input lag, but if you’re a serious player, there are better eSports gaming monitors in this price range anyway.

Features

At the rear of the monitor, there’s a directional joystick for quick and easy navigation through the OSD menu.

Useful gaming features include Black Equalize (improves visibility in dark scenes by altering the gamma curvature), various picture presets, crosshair overlays, on-screen timers, a refresh rate tracker and MPRT.

Besides the standard image adjustment tools (brightness, contrast, color temperature, input source, etc.), the KTC M27T20 also offers aspect ratio control, sharpness and a built-in KVM switch.

The backlight of the monitor is flicker-free (unless local dimming or MPRT are enabled) and there’s an integrated low-blue light filter.

Design & Connectivity

KTC M27T20 Design

The stand of the monitor is quite sturdy and offers a good range of ergonomics, including up to 130mm height adjustment, -5°/20° tilt, +/- 45° swivel, 90° pivot and 100x100mm VESA mount compatibility.

Connectivity options include DisplayPort 1.4 with DSC, two HDMI 2.0 ports (limited to 144Hz), USB-C with DP Alt Mode and 90W Power Delivery, a headphone jack, dual 2W integrated speakers and a dual-USB 3.0 hub.

The screen has a light (25% haze) matte anti-glare coating that prevents reflections without making the image too grainy and there’s RGB lighting at the rear of the monitor with customizable lighting patterns and colors.

Price & Similar Monitors

The KTC M27T20 goes for ~$450.

Now, the Cooler Master Tempest GP27Q with an IPS panel also goes for $500, so which one should you choose?

The IPS panel has wider viewing angles and more vibrant colors with ~170% sRGB gamut size, so it’s more suited for color-critical work, while the M27T20 has less blooming thanks to its higher native contrast ratio.

These are the biggest differences between the two models, so you can pick according to your preference.

KTC also offers the KTC M27P20 Pro model with a 27″ 4K 160Hz IPS panel and 576-zone mini LED FALD. However, if you want a 4K UHD model, you should also check out the Innocn 27M2V with an 1152-zone mini LED FALD backlight for $800 or the Acer XV275K P3 with 576 zones for $550.

If you’re looking for something similar but cheaper, the AOC Q27G3XMN 27″ 1440p 165Hz model with 336 dimming zones can be found for ~$250.

Also, note that you can find a 1440p 240Hz OLED gaming monitor on sale for just $600.

If you want a 32″ 4K high refresh rate gaming monitor with proper HDR support, check out the Dell Alienware AW3225QF, the Samsung Neo G7, the Acer Predator X32FP and the Innocn 32M2V.

Check out our best HDR monitors buyer’s guide for more deals and information.

Conclusion

All in all, the KTC M27T20 is an excellent monitor for gaming and HDR content consumption. Thanks to its high native contrast ratio and 576-zone mini LED FALD, it delivers inky blacks and vivid highlights with less blooming than its IPS counterparts.

On top of that, it has an exceptional pixel response time speed considering it uses a VA panel and we’re glad to finally see this in other VA monitors than Samsung’s Odyssey models.

It also has a fully ergonomic design with rich connectivity options, including a KVM functionality and a USB-C port with 90W PD, making for an overall amazing value for money.

Specifications

Screen Size27-inch
Resolution2560×1440 (WQHD)
Panel TypeVA
Aspect Ratio16:9 (Widescreen)
Refresh Rate165Hz
Response Time3ms (GtG)
Response Time (MPRT)1ms (MPRT)
Speakers2x2W
Adaptive-SyncFreeSync (48-165Hz)
PortsDisplayPort 1.4, 2x HDMI 2.0,
USB-C (DP Alt Mode, 90W PD)
Other PortsHeadphone Jack, 2x USB 3.0
Brightness500 cd/m²
Brightness (HDR)1200 cd/m²
Contrast Ratio4000:1 (static)
Colors1.07 billion (8-bit + FRC)
93% DCI-P3, 99% Adobe RGB
HDRVESA DisplayHDR 1000
Local Dimming576-zone mini LED FALD
VESAYes (100x100mm)

The Pros:

  • High peak brightness, decent pixel density, wide color gamut
  • 576-zone mini LED FALD
  • Quick response time, low input lag
  • Plenty of features, including VRR and MBR up to 165FPS
  • Fully ergonomic stand and rich connectivity options, including KVM and USB-C with 90W PD

The Cons:

  • Minor blooming/haloing noticeable in certain scenes
  • Occasional flickering issues when using VRR and local dimming simultaneously

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Rob Shafer

Rob is a software engineer with a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Denver. He now works full-time managing DisplayNinja while coding his own projects on the side.