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GIGABYTE M27F A Monitor Review: A Feature-Rich 165Hz Experience

Rating: 7/10 ?
  • 1 - Absolute Hot Garbage
  • 2 - Sorta Lukewarm Garbage
  • 3 - Strongly Flawed Design
  • 4 - Some Pros, Lots Of Cons
  • 5 - Acceptably Imperfect
  • 6 - Good Enough to Buy On Sale
  • 7 - Great, But Not Best-In-Class
  • 8 - Fantastic, with Some Footnotes
  • 9 - Shut Up And Take My Money
  • 10 - Absolute Design Nirvana
Price: $180
M27F A monitor set with Windows wallpaper next to powered off Armada 25 and NZXT 27Q
Mark LoProto / Review Geek

Gaming monitors are a dime a dozen, so when one wants to stand out, it needs to hit every mark. GIGABYTE’s M27F A strives to overcome its competition with full user customization and a host of gaming tools. However, the pride of this 27-inch monitor is a built-in KVM switch for multi-device use.

In the past six months, I’ve reviewed three different gaming monitors. The NZXT Canvas 27Q offered a 165Hz refresh rate and a vibrant 1440p display while the HyperX Armada 25 soared in with a 240Hz refresh rate and only a slightly less impressive 1080p screen. When it comes to visuals, I’d put the M27F A somewhere in the middle, as the 1080p, 165Hz IPS, VESA DisplayHDR 400 monitor seemed to have a hard time matching the Armada 25’s clarity. But GIGABYTE’s 27-inch gaming monitor caters to all with a surprising degree of customization that almost makes up for the marginally weaker output.

Maybe the best aspect of the M27F A is the monitor’s built-in keyboard, video, and mouse switch (KVM switch). This function makes it possible to use your keyboard and mouse on multiple devices at one time by routing everything through the monitor. It’s not a function everyone will use, but a KVM is valuable if you frequently multitask across devices or, say, have a laptop you work on alongside a gaming PC.

Here's What We Like

  • KVM switch adds multi-device convenience
  • Ample customization for a personalized visual experience
  • 165Hz delivers smooth gaming
  • Compatible with OSD Sidekick

And What We Don't

  • Overall picture quality could be better
  • Speakers are tinny and hollow
  • VESA DisplayHDR 400 doesn't really enhance the quality
  • Monitor stand is very space-consuming

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Display: Leaves Something to Be Desired

  • Screen Size: 27-inches
  • Panel Type: IPS
  • True Resolution: 1920 x 1080 (FHD)
  • Refresh Rate: 165Hz
  • HDR: VESA DisplayHDR 400

There are plenty of good things to say about the GIGABYTE M27F A, but I have to get the monitor’s most disappointing aspect out of the way first. When set next to my HyperX and NZXT displays, the M27F A is a little on the duller side. Even with the brightness turned up and other settings matching my Canvas 27Q, there’s a dimmer, slightly off-color quality to the image.

I hoped it was just a matter of the picture settings, but none of the presets delivered a fully accurate picture, and toying with the settings still left something to be desired. Considering the monitor features VESA DisplayHDR 400, I expected a more impressive and brighter display.

Unfortunately, this carries over into gaming as well. As good as the M27F A’s picture is, comparatively, it did fall behind my other monitors. I tested all picture modes and toyed with brightness, contrast, black equalizer, warmth, and a few other settings while playing Resident Evil Village, but GIGABYTE’s monitor had a consistent haze and an image that lacked a degree of depth.

Without being compared to other monitors, this one does produce a quality image, and its subtle stumbles are far less noticeable.

No Shortage of Options to Customize

To be fair, the M27F A offers far more customization than either of my other two monitors, so there’s likely a visual sweet spot I just haven’t been able to hit. Along with the more standard settings you can play with, there’s also an option for “6 Axis Color” that offers greater control over reds, yellows, greens, blues, magentas, and cyans, along with a dynamic contrast ratio (DMC), which automatically adjusts the screen’s contrast based on the picture brightness. The latter isn’t a great feature for gaming as it can muddy blacks and make them too deep, but anyone using the M27F A more casually may appreciate having DMC active.

Two of the quirkiest features I didn’t expect to see in a gaming monitor were the picture-in-picture (PIP) and picture-by-picture (PBP) modes. They do exactly as the names describe, allowing you to choose from any of the connected displays to overlay in one of four corners or sit side-by-side with the primary monitor’s image.

I can see the value of PIP for streamers and other professionals, but have a hard time wrapping my head around the use of PBP. It shrinks two screens down to fit horizontally on a 27-inch monitor, so the images are pretty small. It definitely works well, so whoever does need it is in for a treat.

OSD Sidekick Compatibility

If your PC is hooked up to the monitor via a USB-B cable, you’ll have access to the OSD Sidekick software. It takes most of the customization and information (such as refresh rate) and compiles it into an easy-to-consume application.

Not having to cycle through the on-board menu using the rather loud button on the monitor’s back was more than welcome, especially since navigating with a keyboard and mouse is much quicker and more efficient. You can even set hotkeys for a series of different functions through OSD Sidekick.

Unfortunately, OSD Sidekick is only compatible with Windows, so Mac users are out of luck.

Performance: Made With Gamers in Mind

It’s quite evident that GIGABYTE developed the M27F A as a gaming monitor. If you can look past the less impressive picture, you’re still left with a refresh rate of 165Hz that can be overclocked to 175Hz. Movement is very smooth without being as jarring as higher refresh rates tend to be.

If you’re curious about where your games are topping out, you can set an onscreen prompt to display the refresh rate at all times. Enhancing the user experience is the AMD FreeSync compatibility, which synchronizes the display’s refresh rate to your current framerate. When active, it delivers the best performance possible for your setup.

The monitor also has quite a few adjustments and features that could benefit gamers of all kinds. The M27F A has a GameAssist menu with options like a timer, crosshair customization, and Display Alignment. There’s quite a lot to enhance the gaming experience—definitely more than either of my other two monitors offers. You can even set an onscreen dashboard overlay that reads CPU and GPU stats.

Gamers may however run into issues with the included stand. I have a fairly crowded desk, and the spread of the stand’s feet required me to remove my desk’s monitor riser, which was too thin to hold the M27F A. It does offer a good height range, and the monitor can be tilted to the sides and forward or backward, but it may be worth investing in a separate stand or mount for the sake of space.

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Middling Speakers Are Still Welcome

Unfortunately, not all of the monitor’s features are a homerun. The M27F A comes equipped with two speakers, but there’s simply nothing impressive about them. They can get loud, but there’s a noticeable hollowness. If it’s bass you’re looking for, you won’t find it here.

The speakers are good for casual use and gamers are going to want to spring for external speakers or a headset, like Razer’s wireless Kaira Pro.

KVM Is the M27F A’s Shining Function

M27F A monitor hookups on rear of monitor
Mark LoProto / Review Geek

Connections:

  • Displayport 1.2
  • USB Type-C Upstream port
  • USB 3.0 Upstream port
  • Earphone jack
  • 2 x HDMI 2.0
  • 2 X USB 3.0 Downstream ports

Have a gaming PC and an office laptop you work on frequently? By plugging everything into the M27F A monitor, you can hit the KVM switch on the back of the display and bounce between the desktop and laptop without losing keyboard and mouse functionality. Of all the features included with this monitor, I find the KVM switch the most useful.

Setting up the KVM switch took so much longer than I expected. For reasons I couldn’t determine or replicate, my configuration of wires wouldn’t trigger the switch when I activated it.

The monitor would always favor my laptop, which was connected by USB-B and HDMI. I was eventually able to get it to work by upgrading to a 10Gbps USB-C cable, and it’s been something I’ve used daily since. My desktop serves as a gaming hub while the IT 11 is my workstation.

The KVM switch works with more than computers and laptops, too. You can hook up a USB-C compatible device, like a tablet or smartphone, and route it through the monitor. The switch doesn’t instantly bounce to the second connection though, and the delay is noticeable.

Should You Buy the GIGABYTE M27F A Monitor?

Comparison of Gigabyte's M27F A monitor and HyperX's Armada 25 monitor
Mark LoProto / Review Geek

Despite the relatively lower-quality display and poor speakers, I’m surprised the GIGABYTE M27F A is as inexpensive as it is. The 27-inch monitor actually costs less than the Armada 25 and NZXT Canva 27Q, and the quality isn’t that much lower for me to understand why that is. When you consider everything the M27F A does that the other two monitors don’t, the price disparity is unexpected.

I wish the picture quality were a little better out of the box, but OSD Sidekick simplifies altering settings to find the perfect combination. If the monitor weren’t sitting right next to my Armada 25, the picture quality likely never would have stood out as an issue. However, it could use a bit more clarity to remove the haze I experienced in Resident Evil Village.

The shining star of the M27F A is the KVM switch. When you get it working, it makes multi-PC setups much more efficient. No longer will you need multiple keyboards or additional wiring running along your desk to make it work. I couldn’t find any specific reason why I had such a hard time setting it up, and the monitor’s literature is a little lacking in detailed instructions, but a quick Google search should help you figure out how to connect the USB-B, USB-C, and HDMI or DisplayPort cables.

The M27F A may not offer the best-looking image on the market, but that’s offset by a ton of different customization options, the built-in KVM switch, a host of gaming-specific assists, and the ease of use thanks to OSD Sidekick compatibility.

Rating: 7/10
Price: $180

Here’s What We Like

  • KVM switch adds multi-device convenience
  • Ample customization for a personalized visual experience
  • 165Hz delivers smooth gaming
  • Compatible with OSD Sidekick

And What We Don't

  • Overall picture quality could be better
  • Speakers are tinny and hollow
  • VESA DisplayHDR 400 doesn't really enhance the quality
  • Monitor stand is very space-consuming

Mark LoProto Mark LoProto
Mark is a freelance reviewer for How-To Geek and Review Geek, a seasoned freelance writer, and a marketing manager with a strong footing in the gaming and esports industries. He’s been featured across the net on Cultured Vultures, Heavy.com, Bloody Disgusting, and more. Read Full Bio »