Editors' note: MAG mistakenly sent CNET a preproduction unit of the MAG GML2427. This review was changed to reflect the differences between the preproduction unit and the release model.
The Mag GML2427 is a 24-inch monitor with a dim screen, muted colors, and both VGA and HDMI ports, although it's packaged only with the VGA cable. That said, its MSRP is only $250; a low price for a monitor that includes HDMI. In the end, the monitor's low price doesn't make up for its disappointing performance. For a better overall monitor in this price range, check out the Gateway FHD2402.
Design and features
The 24-inch Mag GML2427 has a glossy, black chassis. Despite its 0.8-inch panel depth, it has a somewhat boxy look. The panel width measures 22 inches, and the surface of the screen is a slightly frosted and smooth matte; its bezel measures 0.75 inch long on all sides. The distance from the bottom of the bezel to the desktop is 2 inches. The panel tilts back about 25 degrees, but unfortunately, there's no pivot, swivel, or screen height adjustment.
On its back sits a 7-inch-by-7-inch panel that protrudes about 0.5 inch from the display and houses the connection options: VGA and HDMI, but no DVI port. Accessing these connections was easy, since they face directly back, and not down as on most monitors. The panel has four screw holes for mounting the display (VESA style) on the wall. The circular footstand measures about 8.75 inches in diameter. When knocked from the side, wobbling proved prevalent; however, thanks to the screen's low and fixed height, it never felt in danger of toppling.
The onscreen display follows a simple design that takes some getting used to. The OSD array consists of a Menu button, an Up and Down button, and an Auto button, with each button located on the bottom right-hand side of the bezel. With no "back" button, it's necessary to navigate to "Exit" to leave a menu screen, a process that proved more and more tedious each time it was needed. Its picture options consist of brightness and contrast, and you can set the color tone to Cool, Native, Warm, or SRGB. We found the Warm setting by far the best of the bunch, as Cool--the default setting--had a much too bluish tint.
Also included are settings letting you change the red, green, and blue attributes individually. There are four presets, including Night, Scenery, Theater, Game, in addition to a Dynamic Contrast setting that works independently of the current preset. Each preset changes the color temperature and brightness of the display to be appropriate to the task.
The Mag GML2427's 16:9 aspect ratio has a 1,920x1,080-pixel native resolution. The 16:9 aspect ratio trend currently sweeping the monitor market has given many smaller displays higher resolutions than they were capable of at 16:10 aspect ratio. A 22-inch monitor with a 16:9 aspect ratio now has a potential high-definition, native resolution of 1,920x1,080 pixels (1080p) as opposed to 1,680x1,050 pixels.
Pixel-response rate: 5ms, 2ms (GTG)
Contrast ratio: 1,000:1
Brightness: 300 cd/m2
Connectivity: HDMI, VGA
HDCP compliant? Yes
Included video cables? VGA
Backlight type: LED
Panel type: TN
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
We tested the Mag GML2427 with its HDMI connection in the Warm color temperature preset, via a HDMI to DVI cable; however, the display only includes a single VGA cable. The display posted a composite score of 85 on CNET Labs' DisplayMate-based performance tests. While this number may seem fairly high, it doesn't tell the whole story of the GML2427's overall performance. The default color temperature on the display is Cool. At this setting, the screen delivered a very blue tint that muted the colors and gave the screen a drab look. The most glaring imperfection we noticed was that the black level was, at best, a dark gray and closer to medium or dark gray. In other words, the black level was high, which likely adversely affected the display's color accuracy. The Mag GML2427 achieved a brightness score of 221 candelas per square meter (cd/m2)--lower than the XL2370's 344 cd/m2 rating and lower than Mag Innovision's claimed maximum brightness rating of 300 cd/m2.
We looked at "Kill Bill, Vol. 1" on DVD and a number of 1080p movie files from Microsoft's WMV HD Showcase. Movies on the GML2427 had an overall cloudy look to them and their color was muted, especially compared with watching the content on the XL2370.