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I tried this 27-inch 4K desktop monitor — and it's a great deal at $300

If you've ever looked at one of those fancy two-monitor computer setups and thought, "Wow, that person must be so productive," think again. While I agree it's great to have two windows visible at the same time — your web browser and your word processor, for example — there are hassles that come from having two monitors.

A super-versatile monitor that offers full 4K resolution, the Innocn works in both portrait and landscape modes and automatically detects when you rotate between them. It's an excellent choice for business professionals.
$300 at Amazon

First, you need that much more desk space. (I don't know about you, but mine is at a premium. Two monitors consume a lot of desk.) Second, you need a neck that's on a swivel, because you'll constantly be looking back and forth between the two screens. That's an ergonomics fail, if you ask me.

So why not just one big monitor, then? Great idea, smart person! Just one thing: You need to make sure it supports a higher resolution than the standard 1,920 x 1080 (aka 1080p). If it doesn't, your side-by-side windows won't be "full" width, meaning you'll likely have to do horizontal scrolling within each window — and trust me, you don't want that.

The Innocn 27C1U is shown here at the top range of its stand, but it can easily move lower -- or rotate 90 degrees.
Big, versatile, affordable: The Innocn 27C1U makes a great primary or secondary monitor thanks to its 4K resolution and super-versatile stand. (Photo: Amazon)

The Innocn 27C1U is a 27-inch 4K monitor that offers just about every feature imaginable, including a height-adjustable stand and a screen that can rotate 90 degrees for portrait view. I reviewed it and found it an excellent work companion, one I continue to use to this day. The monitor regularly sells for $400, but it's currently marked down to $300.

For starters, the screen sits on a sturdy, versatile stand, with a spring-loaded height-adjustment mechanism. Raise the screen and it stays exactly where you put it. Lower it, same result. You don't have to futz around with any kind of lock-screws or clamps. Similarly, it can swivel 45 degrees left or right, and again it really stays put; there's no unwanted play in the hinge.

As noted above, you can also rotate the screen if you want a workspace that's tall rather than wide. This is a really popular option with some users, as it can be helpful for spreadsheets, image editing and even just "long-view" web browsing. Although a built-in gravity sensor promises to auto-rotate the screen image when the screen itself is rotated, this feature was disabled by default — and then I had trouble getting it to work properly in Windows.

Let's get tall: The Innocn 27C1U can rotate for portrait-view computing. (Photo: Amazon)

The monitor's 3,840 x 2,160-pixel resolution means I can keep multiple windows open with their contents at full width. But it also allows photo- and video-editing professionals to do the kind of ultra-precise work that's more challenging on a 1080p monitor. Just as important for pro users, the 27C1U delivers remarkably high DCI-P3 color-gamut numbers, and even comes with a color-calibration report.

As for inputs, you get two HDMI, one USB-C and one DisplayPort — all fairly standard. The monitor can also serve as a basic USB hub, as it includes a pair of Type-A ports, and that USB-C port can deliver up to 65 watts of power to, say, your laptop. Just one problem: All the ports reside on a down-facing protrusion at the rear of the monitor, which makes them extremely difficult to access. You'll almost certainly have to rotate the screen to get at them.

On the audio front, the 27C1U includes a pair of dinky 5-watt speakers (better than nothing, not great for anything) and a 3.5mm audio-out jack. The latter is great if you want to use headphones, but again a huge hassle to plug and unplug.

One neat, almost inexplicable little touch: There's a 20-centimeter ruler engraved in the front edge of the base. Obviously I'd prefer inches, but I still find it a cool addition.

If you look at the 138 Amazon user reviews for this monitor, you'll mostly positive reactions and a 4.6-star average rating. I didn't test this with a Mac, so I can't speak to the couple of issues cited there. But one reviewer indicated that only a short USB-C cable was included, which isn't the case: The monitor comes with a full-length HDMI cable as well. Meanwhile I had no problems with image color or clarity.

Indeed, my experience was very positive overall. If you're able to get this monitor at this sale price, consider it a big win; most others with this feature set cost considerably more.

A super-versatile monitor that offers full 4K resolution, the Innocn works in both portrait and landscape modes and automatically detects when you rotate between them. It's an excellent choice for business professionals.
$300 at Amazon
Originally published