Review: PRISM+ W280 Max 4K HDR10 monitor

PRISM+ is a company based in Singapore that specialises in selling gaming monitors. When they contacted me to ask if I was interested to review their monitors, I say "yeah, sure". At the time of this review, they have 25 monitors in their line-up and I picked the only two non-gaming monitors, the W280 Max and C315 Max, both 4K monitors with good colours made for productivity work. Disclaimer first, the monitors I received are sponsored units that I don't have to return, but this is not a paid review.

My review is from the perspective of a visual content creator, someone who edits photos, videos, does graphic design and digital illustration.

About PRISM+

PRISM+ seems to sell their monitors exclusively through their website and Lazada.sg. They don't actually have any physical stores except for a showroom. Not having physical stores is actually an advantage because they don't have to pay rent, and that translates to extremely competitive pricing for their monitors. At the time of this review, the 28-inch W280 Max is S$449 and the 31.5-inch C315 Max is S$499.

Things included


This included are:

  • Monitor and stand
  • HDMI cable
  • Power brick and cable
  • Screws and screwdriver
  • Quick start guide


The long screws are for VESA mounting and short ones are for connecting the stand.


The metal stand is surprisingly lightweight because it's designed with thin profile for the legs and there's a big cutout hole for the cables to pass through. The stand is sturdy and on the bottom of the three feet are rubber feet to prevent scratching.


The stand only has adjustment for tilt. You can't turn the monitor sideways or adjust the height. PRISM+ do sell monitor arms if you need those adjustment. The height of the monitor is actually a bit lower for my liking and since I can't adjust the stand's height, I have to adjust my chair. No big deal.

The VESA mount dimension is 10 x 10cm.


The cable pass through makes cable management neat.


There's enough space beneath the stand to squeeze in a keyboard without numpad.


Monitor's side profile is quite thin, maybe 1cm and it curves to become thicker in the centre.


One advantage of having feet instead of a flat base for the stand is the stand won't take up much surface area. I was able to push the monitor quite close to the wall behind. Distance from the front of the monitor to the wall is 18cm. It's also easier to clear around the feet.

There are actually built-in speakers on the back. The audio is loud but sounds a bit hollow. I don't really expect much from built in speakers on monitors though.

The build quality of the monitor and stand seems good enough.


Ports from left to right are power, USB type A, 2x full-size HDMI, 1x DisplayPut, 3.5mm audio jack.

There are no ports on the side.


The buttons for the OSD menu are extremely firm. Those buttons do require some effort to press but it's not a big deal because you probably won't be going into the OSD after the initial setup.

The OSD has adjustments for brightness, contrast, sharpness, gamma, hue, saturation, picture mode. For colour temperature, you can only choose between normal, warm, cool and user. There's no specific Kelvin number you can choose.

The display


Design of the monitor looks clean and simple. Bezels are 8mm on the top and sides, 2cm at the bottom.


Colours are vibrant and look great out of the box. I measured 100% sRGB, 77% NTSC, 82% AdobeRGB and 86% P3 with my Spyder5Pro calibrator. PRISM+ claims 115% sRGB support but my colour calibrator is not able to measure beyond 100% sRGB.

This monitor is considered colour accurate enough for creators whose work will appear mostly online. If you want a monitor with good colours, this is a good one to consider.

I work with print so I need AdobeRGB and it's only 82%. S$459 for a sRGB monitor is reasonable. AdobeRGB monitors are significantly more expensive. That doesn't mean you can't use this monitor to create print work. You can, just that when it comes to comparing printed proofs against the display, AdobeRGB display will give you a truer representation of how your art or design will appear in print.

I measured a maximum brightness of 360 nits which is higher than the advertised 300 nits, and there's HDR10 support. At 50% brightness, it's 160 nits. This is a bright monitor.

Colour uniformity across the 28-inch IPS panel looks alright to my eye.

There are no deal pixels with my unit. FYI, the deal pixel return policy is 3 bright/5 dark/total 5.


Viewing angles are terrific. Colours don't shift much even when viewing the monitor from the extreme sides.

The monitor has a matte surface with anti-glare that works well. The anti-glare is able to diffuse reflections but don't affect the contrast and colours much.

4K

Main selling points for this monitor are the colours and 4K resolution.

4K is a significant and noticeable upgrade from 1080P and 1440P.


The combination of 28-inch display and 4K resolution makes everything look sharp. User interface elements like text, icons, palettes will look crisp. When you're editing photos, you will be able to see extra details. Watching 4K videos at 1:1 ratio is extremely satisfying due to all the details you can see.


When going with 4K resolution, I usually recommend getting a monitor larger than 31-inches. When you view the user interface elements without scaling at 4K, text can look small. In the photo above, the names of software from the Windows start menu are almost the thickness of that 0.7mm pencil lead. Basically, the text is small and some people would consider this tiny.

With Windows 10, you can run 4K and scale the user interface elements to 150% so that everything will look big, but still sharp.


On MacOS, there are scaling options but there are some issues with scaling. I'm using MacOS 10.14.6 by the way.

For MacOS, you can choose "Default for display" for resolution and it will display 4K at 100% scaling, or no scaling in this case. So on a 28-inch display, text can look small.


With "Default for display", a 4K photo will take up the entire screen. Basically you see a 1:1 representation.

Note the anti-glare diffusion at the top right side of the monitor. My window is just beside.


When you choose "Scaled" resolution, the user interface elements will become larger, but 4K files will not display as true 4K files. In the photo above, the zoom level for the photo is shown as 100% but obviously that cannot be true because that 4K photos should fill the whole display. This is the behaviour with Photoshop CC 20202 and Affinity Photo 1.8.4. MacOS's Preview works properly though.

So the dilemma for MacOS users is this. If you choose "Default for display" you will get all the 4K features but text will look small. And you want to scale up the text, you won't get to see true 4K files in certain software. For MacOS users, I recommend getting at least 31-inch or larger displays for 4K.

For Windows users, it doesn't matter which small or large 4K monitor you get because the scaling options work predictably without issues.

Workflow

Having more resolution improves productivity.


In this case here, I can place windows side by side and still able to see the icons on my desktop. With a 1440P display, I can place windows side by side too, but there won't be enough resolution to show the icons on the desktop.


When editing photos and videos, you will be able to see more thumbnails. You can pick your photos and video clips without much scrolling.


When you're using software that uses palettes, you can place many palettes on the display and still have a good amount of canvas to see and work on. Click the picture above for a larger file.

From a productivity standpoint, the more resolution there is, the better. That's why some people get dual monitors or an ultra wide monitor.

Backlight

This is an IPS panel so it will have the typical IPS glow that's noticeable when you look at the monitor in total darkness.


I've edited this video to show how the monitor looks to my eyes. There's some glow at top left and right which is actually not as bad as you think. Taking photos of backlight glow is difficult because you have to make sure the camera is pointing straight on, and every tilt in angle, maybe half degree, can give the illusion that there's more glow than usual.


This photo has been enhanced to show the IPS glow and backlight more clearly. I noticed wavy light pattern at the bottom.

The IPS and backlight glow situation here is alright. It's certainly not the best but it's also not the worst I've seen. Given the price of the monitor, I can live with that. I've reviewed more expensive monitors that have slightly better backlight and evenness but those are not perfect either.

Issues

Since I use MacOS, I have the scaling issues mentioned above.

I'm actually using a 2013 Mac Pro (that cylinder looking computer) and the graphics card is not powerful enough to run 4K smoothly. For example, the animation of just dragging windows around can be choppy and not fluid. Computers from 2-3 years ago, even if they are using integrated graphics card, should run 4K just fine.

Conclusion

The PRISM+ W280 Max has a good design and the colours look great.

4K resolution is ideal for productivity work and just makes visuals look so sharp.

This is monitor is suitable for visual content creation where the work will go online.

S$459 for 4K monitor with good colours is very competitive pricing. And that includes shipping and 3 years warranty.

Just for comparison purposes, Dell monitors do have better build quality but Dell doesn't have monitors with the spec and price combination that comes close to this monitor. PRISM+ is for people who really want to stretch their dollar to the max.

This monitor scores high in terms of value for money.

Anyway, do check out the full specs and more details for W280 Max on their website, and also visit their Lazada page to read more reviews.

Pros and cons at a glance
+ Design looks good
+ Sturdy stand
+ Stand does not take up much space on table
+ Stand allows for neat cable management
+ Good build quality
+ VESA mount support
+ Good size with 4K
+ 100% sRGB support
+ Good viewing angle
+ Matte surface with good anti-glare
+ 360 nits brightness with HDR10 support
+ 2x HDMI and 1x DisplayPort
+ Competitive pricing
+ 3 years warranty
- No swivel and height adjustment for stand
- OSD buttons are almost too firm
- Alright audio quality from built in speakers
- 4K scaling issues with older software, and with MacOS
- DisplayPort cable not included, HDMI cable included
- Backlight evenness not that great but not the worst

http://www.prismplus.sg/parkablogs

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