The Innocn 25C1U is a great entry to the market as a mixed-use 4K HDR Desktop Monitor. It’s not the best in class for gaming due to the 60hz refresh, but your average casual gamer won’t be disappointed. Nor is it an Apple-level of design, but it does have incredible performance for the price and is well made. If you want a great quality 27-inch 4K desktop monitor that will handle anything you throw at it without breaking the bank, this is it. It competes against models twice the price easily, particularly with the USB-C docking function.
- Brand: Innocn
- Resolution: 3840 x 2160
- Refresh Rate: 60 Hz
- Ports: HDMI 2.0 x 2, DisplayPort 1.4, USB-C
- Display Technology: IPS LCD
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Fantastic color reproduction and black levels
- USB-C DP Alt mode makes it a great single-cable docking station for compatible devices
- Picture-in-picture mode supported
- Excellent ergonomics with wide range of rotation, pan, and tilt options
- 60Hz refresh and lack of G-Sync means hardcore gamers will be disappointed
- HDR400 isn’t good enough for serious HDR use
- Controls are fiddly
Need a desktop 4K monitor with fantastic color reproduction, but not much of a gamer? The Innocn 27C1U is for you, and you don’t need to spend thousands. Read on to find out what I thought of the Innocn 27C1U
Thanks to Innocn, we’re also giving away a brand new 27C1U 4K 27″ monitor to one lucky reader. You’ll find the entry form at the end of this review.
Who Is Innocn?
Innocn is possibly not a brand you’ve heard of, so it’s understandable to be wary. After all, a monitor is one of the most expensive bits of tech in the home. And if you’re working from home, the screen you’re staring at all day isn’t something you want to mess up. Thankfully, I can confirm the 27C1U is a great-looking display.
Established in 2014, I suspect that Innocn began life as an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer: a company that makes products for other companies to rebrand as their own). With over 300 patents to their name, Innocn may also be involved heavily in only the research and development side of things. However, having grown its production capabilities in recent years, Innocn is now aiming for the end consumer market, with a range of desktop, portable, ultrawide, and gaming-oriented monitors. It’s a brand you’ll be hearing more of in the coming years if they can keep up this level of quality.
The 27C1U has a simple, somewhat generic boxy design in dark grey. As a result, it won’t stand out on your desk for anything other than picture quality. Along with the stand it measures 24.15 x 21.4 x 7.65 inches (WxHxD) and weighs a scant 12.5lbs (5.66kg).
On the bottom edge of the monitor sit four physical control buttons. With these you can navigate the labyrinthian menu system, swap input sources, and quickly adjust the brightness or volume.
The desktop stand attaches simply via a sturdy clip system on the rear, or you can use the 75mm VESA mounting holes. It offers plenty of ergonomic adjustments features:
- swivel (45-degrees either way),
- height (from 6-18cm of clearance from the desk),
- and full 90-degree rotation in either direction.
Curiously, built into the base of the stand is also a 20cm ruler. I mean… why not? It doesn’t detract from the overall looks in any way and might come in useful for some.
Power is provided by a 150W external power brick. This helps to keep the weight down, but does mean you have a brick sitting on the floor somewhere. On the other hand, it’s also much easier to replace an external power supply than an internal one, so this should help the durability in the long term.
Innocn 27C1U Features and Specifications
The 27C1U is a 4K UHD monitor, which means it has a maximum resolution of 3840 x 2160. It’s capable of 400 nits (candela/m2), and out of the box I found it to be far too bright during the usual dull British days. Reducing this was the only setting I tweaked in the end, leaving the color profiles as default.
The display uses In-Plane Switching (IPS) LCD technology. This is typically associated with great color accuracy and wide viewing angles but has had a bad reputation with gamers due to perceived slower response times. In today’s IPS panels, that’s simply not an issue. Innocn claims a response time of around 10ms, and sure enough, I noticed no lag with twitchy gaming titles.
It is HDR-capable—technically—but only to HDR400 “standard”, which corresponds to the 400 nits brightness, and doesn’t have strictly defined testing criteria anyway. So if you’re serious about HDR, you should look for either DolbyVision or DisplayHDR certifications.
Having said that, I found the colors of HDR test videos to be incredibly vibrant, but just not something I would make use of regularly.
The refresh rate of 60Hz is more than sufficient for desktop use or casual gaming. However, it doesn’t have FreeSync/GSync support, Variable Refresh Rate, or Overdrive mode, so hardcore gamers will find it lacking.
Innocn claims 100% sRGB and 98% DCI-P3 coverage, and includes a printout in the box of the calibration lab results. While I have no reason to doubt the claims, I’m not equipped to measure color reproduction accuracy. However, colors in Final Cut and Lightroom felt accurate, with natural tones across the board and no banding. The 27C1U box phrases it as a “monitor for art”, and I’d have to agree.
The 27C1U also features two 5W built-in speakers, but you shouldn’t expect much from them. Sure, it’s better than the speakers built into my Mac Mini, but that wasn’t exactly a lofty goal to beat.
The 27C1U features some standard video connections, and one you might not expect: two HDMI 2.0, one DisplayPort 1.4, and one USB-C. The USB-C port, as well as carrying video signal in, can also provide up to 65W of power to the connected device. This can be a compatible smartphone or laptop, for instance, making it an excellent all-in-one docking station.
There’s also a 3.5mm stereo jack, and two USB-A ports, though these require the use of the included USB-A to USB-B cable. Curiously, every type of cable you could possibly need is included in the box (DisplayPort, USB-C, USB A-B), except HDMI.
Usage and Image Quality
I’ve been using the Innocn 27C1U as a primary desktop monitor for more than 8 hours a day for the past few weeks; both with my work machine, a Mac Mini connected through DisplayPort; and with a Windows 10 gaming PC over HDMI.
For work, I mainly use a mix of text editing, browsing, video editing in Final Cut, and photo processing in Adobe LightRoom. The biggest change for me was the clarity brought from the 4K resolution. I’ve previously been using a Dell QHD resolution monitor (2560 x 1440), which at around 106 pixels-per-inch (PPI), means you can see the individual pixels when sat reasonably close. I also struggle to read some of the smaller Final Cut interface elements, such as clip names on the timeline.
4K resolution for 27″ feels like a sweet spot, resulting in a pixel density of about 163 PPI. Even plain text editing is more satisfying when the text is so crisp.
Another feature worth mentioning is Picture-in-Picture mode, which allows you to view a secondary input overlaid on your main view. This can be a tiny window in the corner, up to 25% of the screen real estate. While I can’t think of a use for this, if you’re a compulsive multitasker you might appreciate it.
Although Mac OS has an HDR mode, it’s not something I need for our channel videos, so outside of watching some Dolby Vision test videos, I disabled HDR for work use.
If you’re working in a bright environment, you might really appreciate the 400 nits of brightness. This isn’t particularly bright when compared to other monitors in this class. However, it’s more than bright enough for most people and everyday tasks. The screen is matt rather than glossy, and you can end up with glares in direct sunlight.
Secondly, I hooked it up to my Windows PC for some casual gaming, but this isn’t strictly designed as a gaming monitor, so your mileage and expectations may vary. The 60Hz refresh rate is sufficient for casual gaming, but it has no G-Sync or FreeSync support. At less than 10ms, input lag shouldn’t be a problem, and it’s not something I noticed.
Cyberpunk 2077 was my main test, and my gaming machine can’t handle more than 2560 x 1440 at 60FPS, so the 60Hz refresh isn’t a concern for me. Enabling HDR really made the game pop with vibrant neon colors while the details felt crystal clear, with no obvious smearing or backlight bleed. However, grimier areas proved to be too dark for my liking, and no amount of tweaking the settings would fix it, so I ended up disabling HDR.
If you have a compatible device, the USB-C port makes the Innocn 27C1U a really convenient docking solution, requiring only a single cable for power and video in DisplayPort Alt Mode (DP Alt). It delivers up to 65 watts of PD power to your connected device and brings the video signal back again. This worked fantastically with my Macbook Pro.
I also tried with a Nintendo Switch. Unfortunately, the Switch isn’t equipped to natively output a video signal over the USB-C port, but it was able to charge effectively. According to reports, the Valve Steam Deck will be able to use this mode to output video over USB-C too, though we aren’t able to test it.
The only part of the innocn 27C1U I felt could use a bit of an upgrade is the display controls. You’ll find four physical buttons on the right of the bottom edge, with which to navigate a fairly in-depth menu system.
Considering how many configurable color profiles and HDR and brightness settings this device has, it could have really benefitted from a joystick or even just a front touch panel rather than physically push buttons. They’re just a bit awkward and annoying, although not something you need to use every day unless you are constantly swapping back and forth between an HDR source and not.
Need a Good 4K Desktop Monitor?
The Innocn 25C1U is a great entry to the market as a mixed-use 4K monitor. It’s not the best in class for gaming due to the 60Hz refresh, but your average casual gamer won’t be disappointed. Nor is it an Apple-level of design, but it does have incredible performance for the price and is well made.
If you want a great quality 27-inch 4K desktop monitor that will handle anything you throw at it without breaking the bank, this is it. It competes against models twice the price easily, particularly with the USB-C docking function.
If, however, you’re after something entirely more gaming-oriented—specifically with G-Sync, Variable Refresh Rate features, or Overdrive modes, you should look elsewhere.
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