Today we're taking an in-depth look at the new 165Hz version of the Razer Raptor 27 and (spoiler alert) this is definitely not a monitor we can recommend. It is possible that many of you don't want to read the full review with this kind of opening up, so let's be clear from the start that you shouldn't be buying this product.
Now that you've been warned, we can thoroughly tear this ridiculously overpriced display to pieces.
What is the Razer Raptor 27? Well, for starters, it's a monitor with a simple product name, so that's at least a positive. Well, maybe not entirely positive as there is a new and an old version.
The one we are testing today at a refresh rate of 165 Hz was released in 2021, while the older Raptor 27 from 2019 has a refresh rate of 144 Hz – we never checked this one. I really hate it when companies release new versions of products with the same name as the old one, but that's the least of the problem with this monitor.
The Raptor 27 is a 27-inch, 1440p, 165 Hz IPS gaming monitor that is appealing to gamers in general. We get adaptive sync support through Nvidia G-Sync Compatible and AMD FreeSync Premium, and it's even THX certified, ostensibly "to make sure the image displayed is as true to the original as possible".
Razer claims this is the first monitor in the world to receive this certification. 95% DCI-P3 coverage and “HDR 400” are also included.
Design and form factor
One of the more startling aspects of the Raptor 27 is its $ 800 (or ~ $ 710 on Amazon) price tag. For some reason, Razer thinks they can justify selling a 1440p 165Hz monitor in 2021 for $ 800, the kind of price tag typically occupied by 240Hz displays or 4K high refresh rate monitors . The Raptor would have to be exceptional to justify that kind of price tag which I think if you've seen the title of this review you know how that's going to play out.
The first red flag in the analysis of the Raptor 27 is at the top of the product page with the first hero shot of the display. Nice big screen with very narrow bezels that almost stretch from edge to edge, scrolling a little further down and the same, super slim bezels.
The reality? This is what the Raptor 27 actually looks like (below), and it has regular bezels, not the super slim ones seen on the Razer website. In my opinion, this is false advertising. If you buy the Raptor specifically because it has narrow bezels, you will no doubt be disappointed when the final product arrives.
And that's a shame because it's not necessary to sell the Raptor 27 because of its design. One of the positive aspects of this monitor is the general design and build quality. It's not often that I can call a monitor “unique”, but in this case that is perfectly true.
We get this wide metal stand with an RGB LED light bar around the base, a unique cable management system that runs along the back of the stand with a number of Razer's supplied acid green cables, and a back panel with a fabric surface than the usual plastic.
It's a great looking monitor that could easily make a statement to complete your gaming setup.
In fact, I would far prefer this type of gaming monitor design over what companies like Asus and Gigabyte have for their ROG and Aorus products, respectively. It's simple, it uses quality materials, it has some really nice splashes of color, and the light bar around the base is one of the most impressive RGB inclusions on a monitor in my opinion – most of the time it's useless, but I think the design works.
To my great surprise, the monitor is still adjustable in height, the stand is connected to two sliding mechanisms on the back and thus offers a certain freedom of movement. The maximum height is still too low for my taste, but better than nothing.
The monitor also has an insane tilt range, including the ability to tilt flat horizontally for easier access to the ports for cable management. This is another unique design element that I have never seen before. Unfortunately, however, the tilt and swivel support has been sacrificed, and the VESA mount isn't included – you'll have to buy a separate adapter, which is a bit crazy when the display is $ 800.
Included ports are HDMI 2.0b, DisplayPort 1.4 and USB-C that support DP Alt mode. There are also a couple of USB ports that you can use as a hub. As for the OSD, the direction switch on the back, and the navigation system used by Razer, it's pretty good, quick and easy to use. However, the feature set is lacking, if you want things like cheat crosshairs or low blue light modes, you won't find here that most of the controls are limited to basic functions like color controls and overdrive settings.
Next up is response time performance, and this is where the Raptor 27 fails. I'm a little surprised that Razer shipped this monitor for these tests. It's a bit like sending something straight to firing squad, but they did, so we're going to test it.
First overdrive the power. Not a good start with slow response times, but it's overdrive so we can't read too much into it. But next we have weak overdrive and … well, that's not a huge improvement. The cumulative variance has decreased, which is a good thing, but the response times only improved by 1.5 ms, so this isn't a big change. There are distinct ghost trails following moving objects in this mode, and keeping the 0% refresh rate is obviously terrible.
The next mode is Strong, which is an improvement in many areas. The average response time has improved to 8.33 ms and the cumulative deviation is also much better now, all with no overshoot at the maximum refresh rate. However, as you can see, the performance is a bit strange as some responses are relatively quick and others let up a bit in the end, especially those darker transitions in that area. I tripled these results, including looking at the raw response curves, and basically some transitions are fine-tuned but others are not. This is not uncommon for some panel types, but it is also not ideal, as these slower transitions can still result in blurring marks.
Overall, this performance is not that good either. An update rate compliance of 59% is not what we would expect from modern high-end IPS panels at 165 Hz. However, it gets worse at lower frame rates. When we drop to 120 Hz we start to see noticeable inverse ghosting, then these traces become very clear at 100 Hz in Strong mode. Not only do we see an inverse ghosting rate of 52% here, but sometimes the amount of overshoot is in the range of 30%, which is very noticeable. The cumulative deviation suffers from this, although the response times are okay. Then when we get down to 60 Hz this overdrive setting is practically useless as the overshoot is way too high and leads to strong inverse ghost trails.
The other option for games with adaptive sync is to use weak mode, but this mode is way too slow for games in the upper update range. It's better at 100Hz and lower where there is no overshoot so you don't get inverse ghost trails, but those tracks are simply replaced with fuzzy ghost trails as the response times themselves are too slow.
So we found the first problem with the Raptor's responsiveness and that is the lack of a single Overdrive mode experience. This isn't even a "not quite there" moment, this is a full blown moment that cannot perform well over the entire update range with a single mode. Weak is way too slow at 165 Hz but has no overshoot at lower frame rates, while Strong has way too much overshoot at lower frame rates but performs better at 165 Hz. You'll have to constantly toggle between these settings depending on the refresh rates you're playing at to avoid unsightly artifacts on either end of the scale.
This isn't good enough for a $ 800 monitor. This is a high-end product that is way above the competition so I expect a single overdrive mode experience. If the Raptor 27's panel can't do this natively, Razer should have implemented variable overdrive, be it through its own method or through a full G-Sync module. Getting this variable refresh rate experience at this price point is pretty shameful as I could list about 10 monitors in 20 seconds that can do a better job.
But it gets worse when you compare the Raptor to other monitors as not only is the variable refresh rate bad, but a slow monitor compared to others even in the best of conditions. It performs similarly to the Pixio PX277 Prime and Gigabyte M27Q, both of which are around $ 350 – again, the Raptor is an $ 800 product. The MSI MAG274QRF-QD is 34% faster at 165Hz, and this gets worse with products like the LG 27GP850 that offer almost 80% faster transition times. Ouch.
And this is illustrated really well when you look at UFO tests using the BlurBusters utility. Even in the best case with strong overdrive, the Raptor 27 has clear ghost tracks behind the UFO, in contrast to the models from MSI and LG (which, by the way, are both significantly cheaper). This is how the numbers in the graphic are translated into real visual effects: The monitors from MSI and LG are faster in the charts and clearer in the test.
To make matters worse, for $ 800 you can easily buy 1440p 240 Hz monitors like the Gigabyte FI27Q-X or Samsung Odyssey G7. This is what these faster monitors look like, there is a massive difference in the clarity of movement that is achieved not only through faster response times, but also through a higher refresh rate.
The Raptor 27's performance across the update range is pretty poor and frankly a little embarrassing. I chose Strong Overdrive mode to show here, but Weak mode is worse on average. Basically, not only are you getting 21% slower response performance than LG's two-year-old, $ 300 cheaper 27GL850, but the LG model does so with less than a third of the inverse ghosting.
This shows off well in the cumulative variance numbers, which represent the balance of overshoot and response times in a single number, while also telling us how close a monitor is to ideal instant response time. The Razer Raptor 27 is surprisingly poor on this metric for a $ 800 product, only par with the entry-level Pixio PX277 Prime, and is used by most modern IPS gaming monitors including the $ 330-gigabyte M27Q and basically everything else butchered. A good score for an IPS is around 520, 65% better than what the Raptor 27 offers.
This leads me to conclude that the Raptor 27 uses either a last-gen panel or an entry-level panel, or maybe even both. This type of performance was the norm (at a lower price, mind you) from 2018 to 2019, but it just won't undercut it in 2021.
At a fixed refresh rate of 120 Hz, the Raptor does poorly, with a slow response time and a lot of overshoot. It's no better at 60Hz, where ideally you should reduce the Overdrive setting to Low for the best performance. Here the Razer monitor is even slower than Gigabyte's entry-level and inexpensive M27Q, which is ridiculous for a high-end product.
The input latency is okay as the processing delay on the monitor side is less than 1 ms. However, slow response times contribute to a slower overall input latency value because the monitor takes longer to reach its final output than others on the market. At this price, too, you can buy 240 Hz 1440p monitors like the PG279QM, which offer far better input latency due to their higher refresh rate, which is largely the limiting factor in modern displays.
Power consumption is good. Even when the RGB LED light bar is activated, the Raptor 27 consumes the same amount of power as other monitors with 27-inch screen sizes and similar specifications. So luckily this is not a problem.
The Raptor 27 supports backlight strobing, although it cannot be activated at the same time as adaptive synchronization. This feature is poor with significant strobe crosstalk and no settings to control strobe length or timing. While motion sharpness is a bit improved compared to not using the mode, you will end up seeing a lot of double or triple images in motion, which isn't great. Simply put, the panel is too slow to properly support backlight strobing at this type of refresh rate.
So at this point we know that the Raptor 27 has very poor motion performance for a $ 800 monitor, more like a $ 300 entry-level monitor, and it lacks the features that should be on high-end displays. So to justify the price tag, Razer paid a lot of attention to color performance, right? I mean is it THX certified? Doesn't that mean it's good? Not correct. It is not.
Color space: Razer Raptor 27 – D65-P3
For starters, the color space is fine. 95% DCI-P3 is listed on the packaging and we receive 95% DCI-P3. We almost completely cover two color spaces: sRGB / Rec. 709 and P3. However, it doesn't meaningfully support Adobe RGB, which some of the best high-end IPS monitors today can, even in gaming displays like the MSI MAG274QRF-QD. As we look at Rec. In 2020, the Raptor 27 hits 70% coverage, which is fine, but it's these 80 %+ monitors that are best for content creation as they have 100% Adobe RGB support. With that in mind, the Raptor 27 is still not quite as capable as I would like a super expensive flagship product to be.
Standard color performance
Although the datasheet says the monitor is factory calibrated, the actual results say the factory calibration is mediocre. Grayscale results do not meet the requirements of a gaming monitor. The white point is wrong and my device was tinted slightly red from the factory, and while gamma compliance is okay, this only gives average deltaE results for grayscale, not what I would call perfect. It's also oversaturated by default as the monitor's wide color gamut is unconstrained, although the vast majority of SDR content today requires sRGB or Rec. 709 color space.
Now when I saw the datasheet and all the claims about calibration and accuracy, I thought … so is there another mode that is factory calibrated? Out of the box, the monitor for the D65-P3 is more accurate, but not really accurate, and certainly not “factory-calibrated” with accurate level.
Then there is the Rec. 709 mode which is included in the OSD. Is that correct with Rec. 709? Not really, Razer failed to calibrate the gamma to BT. In 1886 and while the color space is clamped to a more reasonable level, certain colors like red remain oversaturated in the mid-range of colors.
What about the DCI-P3 mode? This mode is the most accurate and Razer has at least tried to get the correct 2.6 gamma, but the white point is still wrong, for DCI-P3 it should be 6300K greenish. So if you want to edit videos in the DCI-P3 color space with this monitor, you have to calibrate it yourself.
There are some THX modes included as well, but they seem like a variation on the Rec. 709 mode and all of these modes with the exception of the standard limiting features like gamma and white point control, which, as we've said many times, are unnecessary and prevent fine-tuning. Some even limit the brightness. There really isn't a good sRGB mode or even Rec. 709 mode as a result.
How does this happen? How does a monitor from “factory calibrated” and THX certified with “rigorous testing procedures” get to “ensure that the displayed image is as true to the original as possible” … up to and including not that well calibrated at all? Doesn't an external body certify this monitor?
Well I don't know exactly how the THX certification process works so I can't tell if the monitor actually meets its standards or not. But my speculative guess here is that Razer submitted an ideal sample to THX for certification and passed it with a good calibration. However, it is fairly common practice for the factory calibration to be performed on just one monitor sample and then applied to all production models. This process doesn't really produce properly calibrated results on every display as there is always variance between panels. However, companies can claim that the “factory calibration” was performed without calibrating each individual device.
This type of practice is misleading and the type of weasel words I hate in marketing. Again, I'm not sure if that's why we're seeing the results we're seeing, it's just my best guess. What is clear, however, is that Razer either doesn't factory calibrate each monitor individually, which would be a much time-consuming and expensive process, or that they calibrate individually but get it wrong. Really for $ 800 they should properly calibrate each display individually, but according to my tests, they don't.
And I just want to make it clear that this isn't a magical mythical performance benchmark that no monitor has ever matched. I've tested several high-end monitors that are actually factory-calibrated, or at least factory-calibrated to a very good extent. The Raptor 27 is not one of these displays.
Calibrated color performance
However, this isn't the end of the world as the Raptor can be calibrated to produce great results. The panel is easily able to achieve full sRGB coverage, so a calibration run with Calman provides an essentially perfect rendition of sRGB or Rec. 709, 95% DCI-P3 coverage is also good enough that when calibrated to P3 you can get a largely accurate experience suitable for working in that color space. It's a good monitor for productivity, it's just not factory calibrated to what the Razer website would suggest.
The Raptor 27's maximum SDR brightness is acceptable at 363 nits, although that's below the 380 nits that Razer is promoting. The only way to increase the brightness beyond this value is to run the monitor in HDR mode, which can reach around 450 nits. As a result, the HDR mode looks artificially brighter and subjectively “better”, although this display does not contain any real HDR hardware such as local dimming. The minimum brightness is pretty good at 40 cd / m².
The contrast ratio is okay for an IPS panel at just over 1000: 1, although it's still an IPS-level contrast ratio, so a lot worse than today's VA panels like the Samsung Odyssey G7, and that means it no dark values are great. However, since Razer doesn't appear to be using an LG panel, you don't have to worry about a contrast ratio below 1000: 1 like the 27GP850.
The viewing angles are very good for an IPS panel, as is the text clarity. Uniformity was also mostly above average, my device had limited IPS glow and no noticeable backlight bleeding, and only a small portion of the display was slightly less uniform than the rest (the lower left corner). For content creation, however, these consistency results are acceptable.
What just happened
Hopefully after all these test results you now have a clear understanding of why we cannot recommend the Razer Raptor 27 and why I think this display is an outrageous rip-off for customers. The Raptor 27 works like a $ 300 entry-level monitor in several areas, though Razer has put the price at over $ 700. There's absolutely no way I'd ever consider paying $ 800 for this level of performance, and it's confusing to see Razer asking for it at all.
Response time is standard on monitors like the Pixio PX277 Prime and is sometimes beaten by the $ 330 M27Q released last year. LG's popular 2019 27GL850 is not only noticeably faster, it was also cheaper than it was when it launched for $ 500 two years ago.
So Razer is selling you a monitor that's slower than something released years ago for a higher price. In addition, they didn't bother to integrate high-end monitor functions such as a variable overdrive to even partially compensate for the slow performance by today's standards.
Then this monitor is nothing special for color performance. It has a wide color gamut but not as wide as today's best panels, brightness and contrast are average, and while they are advertised as factory calibrated and THX certified, the actual default calibration is mediocre.
The only positive thing about this display is the great, unique design that looks great as part of a PC gaming setup.
Conversely, it's incredibly difficult to explain that if a manufacturer wants to make a high-end gaming monitor at 1440p, 165Hz in 2021, there are really great panels to choose from. My choice fell on the AU Optronics panel used in the MSI MAG274QRF-QD: it offers excellent response times, would significantly improve the strobing of the backlight and has a much larger color space.
Why Razer didn't use a more modern panel in this update is a mystery to me and shows that it is just a lazy update with a performance in the past. This type of product really pisses me off for taking advantage of customers who don't do research and just look at the shiny marketing page and the Razer logo.
You can literally buy better products at half the price. This MAG274QRF-QD that I was just talking about? A $ 420 display. The Raptor 27 costs $ 700 to $ 800. Crazy.
When you have to spend $ 800 on a monitor, you can get something far more superior. Most 1440p 240Hz monitors are near this price point these days, whether it's the Asus PG279QM or Samsung Odyssey G7 or several others. Not only do these have higher refresh rates, but they are also generally faster and usually have more powerful features. Alternatively, you can buy a 4K 144Hz display like the Gigabyte M28U, which is actually $ 200 cheaper and a better product overall.
How can Razer save the Raptor and make it worth buying? That's a big question as they would have to essentially cut the price down to $ 400, which I can't imagine they're ready. But even at $ 400, I'd have a hard time recommending it, so it should be closer to $ 300. Or, you can just discontinue the product and try again.
But there's good news because Razer could make an $ 800 gaming monitor worth buying if it wanted to. If this were to use a new 1440p 240hz panel, if it included variable overdrive, and if it were better calibrated at the factory, it would be a good buy. That's a lot of ifs, but that's where we're at with gaming monitors today, not what Razer does with the Raptor.