Our local custom PC and laptop brand, ILLEGEAR, is not new in the gaming peripherals market. Exactly one year ago, we reviewed the ILLEGEAR BOLT series curved gaming monitors. Since then, we have been asking them when are they planning to bring in flat gaming monitors. It took them quite a while, and here they are – the APEX series.
Disclaimer: ILLEGEAR has provided the APEX 27 and 24 for testing purposes. They have no directives and control over our review. The features are objectively tested and, my opinion can be subjective to my personal bias.
Just like the BOLT series, the APEX series gaming monitors also come in two different sizes – 27-inch and 24-inch. The price starts from RM739 for APEX 24 and goes up to RM1199 for APEX 27.
Out of the box, you’ll be getting
- the monitor and the monitor stand
- power adapter
- 1.5m DisplayPort cable
- additional screws for VESA mount
- user manual
Interestingly, the APEX 27 comes with an all-in-one adapter, while the APEX 24 comes with a brick even though the power output is identical.
The APEX 27 has a highly adjustable monitor stand. It has tilt, height, swivel adjustments, and you can even use the monitor in vertical mode. It is an upgrade over the BOLT 27, which only limits to tilt adjustment.
As for the APEX 24, well, tilt adjustment it is.
I would prefer they use a flat base instead of three pointy stands as it takes up a lot of space. If you want to use a monitor arm, ILLEGEAR also provides screws for the VESA mount.
Just keep in mind that the APEX 24 uses a 75x75mm VESA mount.
As for the monitor design, the APEX 27 stands out from the two as it has an RGB strip at the back and an ILLEGEAR logo projector. You can freely adjust the colour of the RGB strip, but you have only Red, Blue, Green or Off for the logo projector.
We have comprehensive IO on both monitors. The APEX 24 has
- 1x VGA port
- 2x HDMI 1.4
- 1x DisplayPort 1.2
- 1x 3.5mm audio output
On the other hand, the APEX 27 has
- 2x HDMI 2.0
- 2x DisplayPort 1.2
- 1x 3.5mm audio output
Additionally, the APEX 27 also has built-in speakers. They’re not the best, but at least you have something as a backup.
The APEX 24 uses a single joystick for the OSD menu control.
Meanwhile, the APEX 27 uses a column of buttons which is not as intuitive as a joystick. The OSD menu on the APEX 27 has more configurations when compared with the APEX 24.
Now, let’s talk about the display quality. ILLEGEAR has decided to step up the refresh rate of both monitors from 144Hz to 165Hz. For gamers, a higher refresh rate monitor is always a welcome feature. However, while the APEX 27 has an IPS panel, the APEX 24 has a 1080p Full HD TN panel.
That results in a poor colour performance for the APEX 24. Based on our colour checker, it only achieves 81% coverage of the sRGB colour gamut.
The colour shift is also very apparent from a different viewing angle other than the front.
Since the APEX 27 uses a higher resolution 1440p IPS panel, we are not experiencing any colour shifting issues, and our colour checker has reported a 99% coverage of the sRGB colour gamut.
In short, the APEX 27 is superior when it comes to panel quality.
That brings us to the conclusion of this review. Since ILLEGEAR has similar pricing for both APEX and BOLT series, some users are facing the dilemma of deciding which monitor to purchase. My number one choice would be the APEX 27 for its flat, 1440p, 165Hz IPS panel. Not to mention you also get a highly adjustable monitor stand. The ranking is followed by BOLT 27 then BOLT 24 and APEX 24.
While the APEX 24 falls short on colour gamut coverage, if you’re solely looking for the fastest monitor for gaming under the RM800 budget. Then the APEX 24 is one of the most affordable 24-inch 165Hz gaming monitors available in the market right now.