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Lenovo ThinkVision P27h-20 monitor (2 months later)

I write this review after 2 months of using the Lenovo ThinkVision P27h-20. Usually, I’d like to wait longer before reviewing a product on thelongestreviews.com, but since I have not found any reviews of this monitor on the internet, I hope that my advice can help other users.

I will update this review in the next months if I will experience some changes.

Why I chose the P27h-20

I make a premise: I use the monitor mainly to work (Excel, PowerPoint, Chrome, Edge), but since I am an amateur photographer, I use it also for photo editing (Adobe Lightroom), and occasionally I also edit videos (Adobe Premiere).

I am not a gamer, so I wasn’t interested in gaming performance.

I generally use a Thinkpad X1 Carbon (6th generation) with USB-C input (I’ll explain later why this is important).

After getting informed, I was looking for a monitor with these features:

  • 27-inch screen
  • USB-C input
  • 2K or 4K screen
  • S-RGB = 100%
  • Black color and narrow base

I go into detail to explain my needs:

27-inch screen

I was tempted to buy a 32-inch monitor, which today is the most popular in the high range. However I have a low depth desk (50cm or 19.7 inches), and I have to stay quite close to the screen.

The problem with having a too large monitor too close is that you have to constantly move your head to see the corners of the screen and this is not comfortable if you have to be in front of the computer for 8-12 hours a day.

Personally, I’d recommend the 32-inch screen only if you have a desk with a depth of 80 cm or more (31.5 inches).

USB-C input

This aspect is very important if you still have a laptop with USB-C.

If you connect your notebook to the monitor with the USB-C:

  • You connect the two devices for image sharing (of course)
  • The monitor will automatically recharge your laptop

This means you only have one cable on your desk!

However, pay attention to 2 aspects:

  1. The power that the USB-C cable provides varies from monitor to monitor, but the maximum is 100W. Generally, 100W is sufficient for almost all laptops except gaming laptops and workstations. 
  2. If you use a desktop PC, USB-C is not so important because you must always connect your desktop PC to an electrical network. So, in that case, the HDMI input is enough.
Thanks to USB-C, the desk is free from cables.
The p27h-20 can charge the laptop up to 90W, on my Thinkpad X1 the charging stops at 65W (the maximum for this model).

2K or 4K screen

A 4K screen is definitely better.

However, keep in mind that if your PC is old or entry-level, it may have difficulty handling 4k resolution on certain programs.

100% s-RGB resolution

I won’t go into too much detail, because it’s a bit technical (if you’re interested there is a lot of literature on the internet).

In short, it means how many colors a screen can reproduce. This aspect is very important for photographers and to all people who are interested in working with images.

What you need to keep in mind is the distinction between sRGB and Adobe RGB.

In short words:

sRGB = 100% are great screens, above average (= expensive)

Adobe RGB = 100% are screens for professionals (= very expensive).

The ThinkVision P27h-20 is sRGB = 100%, so it is very good, but not for professionals.

Black color and narrow base

If you have a low depth desk (like mine) pay attention to the size and shape of the monitor base. 

For example, some circular ones are too large and decrease further the available space on the desk

Nothing to add about black color: it looks better in my house!

Speaking about pricing, the most important discriminant is the USB-C input. It is relatively recent the adoption of USB-C on monitors and only the newer ones have it. So, it will be difficult to find high discounted monitors with USB-C.  

At the end of my research I was undecided on 3 monitors (prices in Italy with tax included):

  • Lenovo ThinkVision P27h-20 (€ 449)
  • Lenovo ThinkVision P27u-10 (€ 689)
  • HP Z27 4K (€ 582)

I finally bought the P27h-20 because it was the newest and with the design that I prefer.

I would have taken the P27u-10 except that the round base was too bulky for my desk.

Construction and Design

The ThinkVision P27h-20 looks great.

I really like the fact that Lenovo has made a 4 sides borderless monitor.

This is a great advantage because the monitor is more compact than other 27-inch monitors and I think it would be a great solution for who is looking for a multi-display setup.

The build quality is excellent, like all the ThinkPad notebooks. In particular, the support base is very solid and heavy and the rotational movements are very fluid and safe (does not wobble). 

There are so many ports available and perhaps this is one of the biggest selling points of this monitor, especially if you use it with a laptop.

This monitor is not only a display, it is a hub to connect your laptop and all the devices that you need. It is a merge of a monitor and a docking station. 

In detail there are:

1 x USB -C

1 x HDMI 1.4

1 x DP 1.2

1 x DP 1.2 (Out)

4 x USB 3.1 (2 on the back and 2 on the left side): enough to connect your keyboard, mouse, and external speakers.

1 x Ethernet (you can connect the monitor directly to the internet and so your PC)

1 x AUX for headphones (it is not in the best position, because it is on the left side and too high, headphone wire tends to get tangled on the lower-left edge).

Unfortunately when you connect the laptop to the monitor, you can use only the monitor AUX input, which is located too high.

The P27h-20 has also the universal VESA mount, so you can connect it to almost all the third party monitor stands.

The base is compact and nice.
There is space to put the smartphone, but in my opinion, it is completely useless (there is enough space on a desk for a telephone).
By the way, it is just a cavity, it does not charge the wireless phones.

The only negative note concerns the buttons. They are hidden behind the monitor on the right (which is good), but they are objectively ugly and I feel a lower construction quality compared to the other parts of the monitor.

Furthermore, I do not like that to increase/decrease the brightness of the screen it is necessary to enter the monitor menu. I would have preferred to have two dedicated physical buttons to adjust the brightness.

The buttons are hidden on the back of the monitor, I do not like the built quality.

Screen quality

The P27h-20 screen has a resolution of 2560 x 1440 (2K or QHD, they are synonyms).

The question is: do you see the difference between a 2K and a 4K on a 27-inch screen?

Yes, the difference compared to a 4K is noticeable and, of course, the 4K is better. Only if you keep the monitor at a distance of 90cm (35.4 inches) or more, probably you won’t notice much difference between a 2K and a 4K.

I compared the monitor of P27h-20 to 4 other notebooks that I have in my house.

  • Thinkpad X1 Carbon (6th): 2560 x 1440 pixels
  • Thinkpad T470S: 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Lenovo Yoga Pro 2 gen: 3200 × 1800 pixels
  • Thinkpad X220: 1366×768 pixels

It is difficult to perceive the difference in terms of quality in the photos, but the visual impression is that the display of P27h-20 is more similar to the T470S one. They are both anti-glare.

In order from the left: Lenovo Yoga Pro 2, ThinkPad X1 Carbon, Thinkpad T470S and ThinkPad X220
The black color is better on the X1 Carbon, thanT470S and so the P27h-20.

However, the quality of the P27h-20 display is sensibly lower compared to the ThinkPad X1 Carbon. 

Keep in consideration that the screen of the ThinkPad Carbon X1 (6th) with the 2560 x 1440 HDR panel is considered one of the best laptop screens ever. It is better than the 4K displays of the last generations of P73 and X1 Carbon (I compared it personally because some friends of mine have it).

Indeed, it will be a problem for me to replace my 6th generation X1 Carbon because I have not yet found screens of equal performance on the market. Only recent Macbooks have comparable colors.

A very positive aspect of the P27h-20 is anti-glare, it is very effective.

The peak brightness is 350 cd/m2: it is absolutely adequate for indoor use, even if you work next to a window.

I must say that I am not fully satisfied with the panel: on the one hand, I recognize that it is a good panel, on the other hand since I’m often using it in combination with the Thinkpad X1 Carbon, I see that the P27h-20 has a lower quality. Probably with the 99% of the Windows notebook you won’t notice that problem.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a colorimeter to measure color coverage and color delta. So I can’t say anything besides the factory declared data.

Lenovo has recently opened a flagship store in Milan and I’ve been there some days ago; there was a Thinkvision P27u-10 (4K and 100% Adobe RGB – 689 €) in exposition and the salesman were very kind and allowed me to make a comparison with my Thinkpad X1 Carbon that I had in my backpack. I must admit that the panel of the P27u-10 is certainly better than P27h-20. If it hadn’t had the round base, I probably would have bought the P27u-10.

Audio

This monitor also has built-in speakers, there are 2, each with 1W of power.

As you can imagine they are quite bad. Probably your laptop sounds better. 

From this point of view, Lenovo should have inserted speakers of at least 3W, or not inserted them at all. Because by connecting the notebook to the monitor the audio is automatically switched from the laptop to the monitor and this is quite annoying.

Personally, I would recommend buying external speakers that have a USB connection, because the AUX port is in an uncomfortable position on the monitor.

The thing I don’t like most about the ThinkVision P27h-20

There is one thing that I really do not like about the P27h-20.

The command menu!

At the moment the problems I have encountered are these:

  1. To adjust the brightness it is necessary to enter the menu. I wish I had dedicated physical buttons.
  2. The menu is not very intuitive. There are very few buttons and settings, but in everyday use, it is incredible that I am often pressing the wrong ones… I’m quite used to try new tech devices, to use different software for work, but I’m still surprised how is possible that I feel so uncomfortable using the menu of that monitor!
  3. It is not possible to manually adjust brightness and contrast if you select the screen color mode on RGB (the most used if you work with images) or if you activate the Active Dynamic Contrast.

Usually, I don’t read the instruction book, but I did with this monitor. There is no mention of why manual brightness adjustment is blocking when these parameters are selected. I can understand the contrast locked, but why the brightness?

The brightness and contrast locked at 75… I have no idea why that’s happen!

At the time of writing (November 2020), the latest firmware release dates back to February 2020 and Lenovo has not yet released updates, I hope this problem will be solved in the future.

Do I recommend the ThinkVision P27h-20?

I absolutely recommend the monitor to all people who are looking for a monitor to use together with a laptop. Thanks to a large number of ports, if you buy this monitor you will not need to purchase a docking station and you will have a clean desk with no cables scattered around.

If you have a desktop PC, I still recommend the purchase of the P27h-20, especially if you like the design of it. However, you can find monitors with similar characteristics at a lower price (especially if you are not interested in having the USB-C port).

I don’t recommend it for professional photographers, but not even for advanced amateurs ones. If you are looking for color accuracy, contrasts, etc there are much better solutions on the market (but more expensive).

UPDATE

I have received updates about the monitor via email from some readers.

As I wrote, the monitor is a hub that allows you to charge the PC thanks to USB-C. My Thinkpad X1 Carbon loads at 65W, but you can get to charge at 90W.

To do this you need to select the “Super USB-C Charging” option, which however limits the brightness of the monitor.

The screen is opaque and can be seen well even with an average brightness, but I would like to point it out. It can be critical if you have an energy-intensive PC and if you work in a very bright environment. In this case, you will have to buy an external dock station to be able to charge the PC with adequate power and take advantage of the maximum brightness of the screen.

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9 Comments
  1. Reply
    Georges Haddad 22/01/2021 at 01:52

    Hi Magnus,

    Thank you for this well described usability review. It is invaluable as there are very few reviews of Lenovo’s monitors due to their dismal market share and mediocre sales and tech support knowledge.

    I’m looking to either buy the Lenovo P27h-20 or Dell’s U2721DE. After reading all of the available Lenovo published documentation on both the P27h-20 and -10 and then contacting them to validate if the P27h-20 can support HDCP and if the monitor uses PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) to control brightness (monitor screen will Flicker) as there are no reference whatsoever to both these items. No one at Lenovo was able to provide any answer nor were motivated to do so or even reach out to their product team to get answers. Honestly, I’m not a bit surprised as it seems to be the norm across the board these days, Apple being somewhat the exception and the reason they command a premium.

    Seeing that you’ve put allot of effort writing this review and really care about conveying your appreciation and experience with the product, may I ask you if you have any info on the ability of this monitor to support HDCP and if it uses PWM to reduce brightness?

    One way to check if PWM is by opening a white page and opening your mobile phone camera application in the video mode. Once that done if the monitor uses PWM to mange brightness you will see lines/bars scrolling through the screen at a certain rate. If none appear then it is PWM free which is the best one can ask for eyesight safety.

    Thank you in advance for you kind assistance.

    Ciao!

    • Ciao George,

      I tried your method to figure out if the screen uses PWM technology or not.

      It is hard to say. By making a video to a white screen, basically, no lines come out or in general no disturbances are noticed.

      Uneven lines appear only at certain distances (about 30 cm).

      I sent you a photo by email, so you can better evaluate it.

      Magnus

  2. thanks for your review. I think that I will buy the monitor. Guillermo

  3. Hi Magnus, two tips on the monitor.
    You can control the brightness (and all other settings) very nice through the Lenovo Display Control Center (Software)
    and also you change the default audio Device and use the notebook speaker / notebook 3.5mm jack instead of the Monitor ones.

    • Hi Leo,

      Thanks for your tips!

      1) Brightness
      I tried to adjust the brightness from the Lenovo Display Control Center, but it does not work.
      It works only if I change the monitor screen setting (Dynamic contrast “off”, Color mode “Neutral” and Scenario Mode “Panel Native”).
      Unfortunately, I have to use the sRGB color mode, so I cannot adjust the brightness.
      I hope Lenovo will solve it in the future firmware update.

      2) Audio
      You are right. It is a good option to switch to notebook speakers, especially if you have nice speakers (like Macbook Pro 16).
      I bought new external speakers meanwhile to have a proper home workstation!

  4. It would be good if it comes with a built in camera too.

  5. Hi,

    Unless you have ability to limit (simulate color space sRGB/AdobeRGB) on Carbon X1, its wide gamut renders usefulness of a laptop in a content creation to zero. The colors would be always wrong. You can see it clearly in all of your photographs. Carbon X1 has oversaturated image with strong color cast. It might be a good screen for content consuming, but still, many prefer color Accuracy over oversaturated image with color cast.

    Regarding p27h-20 it is a good screen, but again its gamut is much wider then sRGB color space in red department. While it covers sRGB 100% it would require sorrow calibration in order to make prints, for example. Another issue of p27h-20 is strong glowing effect. It is visible very well, especially in the corners. Otherwise good screen. It is well balanced if one ignore two mentioned issues.

  6. Thanks for the review. I bought two of these monitors and i’m not really happy with the result for the reasons below.

    1. These monitors supposed to be factory calibrated. Two monitors side by side with the same settings on both but colors on monitors do not match. As you said it this monitor for not for professionals or advanced amateurs.
    2. Daisy chained two monitors with provided DP cable and connected to Lenovo X1 Yoga laptop with provided USB-C cable. Control software recognizes both monitor but when you try to switch it doesn’t work. So you can only control the first monitor.
    3. I personally turn off my monitors when it’s not in use. Control button location on these monitors really really bad especially when you have two monitors side by side. In order to change the settings on the monitor you need to turn the monitors.

  7. These are not factory calibrated or if they are they are not very accurate. Generally they are a bit bluer than they should be, even in sRGB-mode.

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