Knead a high-refresh-rate gaming monitor with the deep colors and incredible response time of OLED? Dough is rising to the occasion. Today, it’s announcing the Dough Spectrum OLED, a 27-inch screen that attempts to beat LG at its very own game.
You see, today — December 12th — is the day that LG is opening preorders for its new $999 LG UltraGear 27GR95QE-B, a 27-inch OLED monitor at 240Hz and 2560 x 1440 resolution shipping this January. But Dough is promising to put the very same LG panel into a glossy monitor with more desirable features — as long as you’re willing to wait until July and trust a company with a spotty track record.
Where LG’s monitor only offers a pair of unspecified HDMI ports, a DisplayPort, and a two-port USB 3.0 hub under its matte finish screen, Dough is upping the ante with HDMI 2.1 with variable refresh rate (VRR) and auto low latency mode (ALLM) to natively support game consoles like the PS5 and Xbox Series X, plus a one-cable USB-C charging, data, and video solution for your laptop. The Spectrum OLED will offer 100W USB-PD charging, DisplayPort 1.4, and a decent 10Gbps USB 3.1 connection over that single USB-C cord.
Happy to see so much USB-C
Plus, Dough says its cast aluminum alloy case will have a built-in KVM switch that’ll let you route your mouse and keyboard to a second computer as well — you can point two USB-A ports and two USB-C ports, all at 10Gbps speeds, to either of two USB-C connected computers you plug into the monitor. Dough’s promising a dedicated KVM switch button and both split-screen and picture-in-picture modes.
That all sounds amazing, particularly for the company’s $649 / €749 starting price — but here are a few reasons I’m not putting my own money down.
First, you should know this isn’t just a glossy screen, which is an intriguing proposition by itself; it might be a rather dim screen, too. Whether you’re buying this panel from LG, Dough, or Asus — yes, Asus may soon have a version as well — it’s rated for a typical brightness of just 150 nits, which isn’t typically sufficient in a brightly lit room. While OLED screens don’t typically get all that bright, 150 nits is dim even for them: 150 nits is roughly how bright a 65-inch LG OLED TV gets when it’s been severely artificially dimmed by LG’s own software to prevent burn-in.
Crowdfunding is a chaotic field by nature: companies looking for funding tend to make big promises. According to a study run by Kickstarter in 2015, roughly 1 in 10 “successful” products that reach their funding goals fail to actually deliver rewards. Of the ones that do deliver, delays, missed deadlines, or overpromised ideas mean that there’s often disappointment in store for those products that do get done.
The best defense is to use your best judgment. Ask yourself: does the product look legitimate? Is the company making outlandish claims? Is there a working prototype? Does the company mention existing plans to manufacture and ship finished products? Has it completed a Kickstarter before? And remember: you’re not necessarily buying a product when you back it on a crowdfunding site.
That said, it sounds like you’ll have some ability to tweak. Dough CEO Konstantinos Karatsevidis tells me the company “will offer settings to unlock max brightness of the panel for a short time (gaming session) and then go back to presets.” Specifically, you’ll be able to turn it up to 400 nits using the monitor’s on-screen display, and I’m eager to see what that looks like in practice. And, Dough says it’ll offer a two-year burn-in warranty, which could give you peace of mind while you’re doing that tweaking — even if two years really isn’t enough time to notice burn-in on most modern OLED panels. (It took four years for my LG TV.)
Second, while Dough is advertising a number of certifications, including VESA DisplayHDR True Black 400, you should know that nothing’s been certified yet — it’s currently a prototype. “We are almost done producing our tooling as well as first motherboard samples. We can already light up our monitor in our final shell, but now it’s time for certifications and debugging,” says Karatsevidis. Dough isn’t even showing us the back of the monitor yet.
Third, it doesn’t come with a monitor stand; it’s an extra $99. You do get a built-in 100 x 100 VESA mounting spot, though, so that’s money in your pocket if you’ve already got a VESA monitor arm.
Buy now and save a lot of dough, I guess!
Lastly, there’s the company’s track record: Dough, nee Eve, has been good about building high-quality products for reviewers but less good about shipping them to customers. Karatsevidis says a July 2023 window gives the company more time to deliver.
Dough is counting on a certain amount of FOMO to get you in the door regardless of your hesitations, and the chief tactic is this: it increases the prices of its products quite a bit before they hit shelves. The early-bird, crowdfunding-esque $649 / €749 price will increase to $1,099 / €1,199 by the time it hits Amazon and co. Here’s the image from the company’s slide deck where it explains that logic:
Is this enough to convince you? I’m genuinely super curious, so please drop a note in the comments below, and hopefully we’ll be able to bring you an early hands-on or even a review before the price jumps too much. I solemnly swear to include WAY more Dough puns.
Again, this won’t be the last monitor with this 27-inch 240Hz QHD OLED panel — if the upcoming Asus is half as intriguing as this one, we’ll be sure to let you know. We expect a whole bunch of awesome new monitors at CES as well, like these giant curved OLED screens from LG and MSI and an 8K ultrawide from Samsung.