So If you haven’t heard, there’s a new monitor making a big splash around the net. It’s the Yamakasi Catleap Q270. It’s a beautiful piece of tech, but chances are you’ve never heard of it or the company. In all honesty, we hadn’t heard of Yamakasi either until about 2 weeks ago ourselves. The monitor sounds too good to be true, so we made sure that one got sent to us and put it through the ringer. If you want to give yourself a brief overview, check out our un-boxing video right after the break.
So by this point, you are probably asking why this monitor is causing any kind of commotion. Well, it’s the specs, namely resolution and price. A monitor that measures 27 inches, has a resolution of 2560 x 1440, is LED back-lit, and can be found for somewhere between $340 to $460 is worth checking out. To put this into perspective, any other monitor with these specs is going to cost at least $750 and can go up well past $1300. Even the amazing Apple 27 inch Thuderbolt display is a cool $1000.
The Catleap is a beautiful monitor. All of the surfaces are piano-glossy black except for the base, which is clear with a faux-chrome trim, and a back panel that is a matte silver. While the glossy black does look nice, finger prints will show up very easily, so make to to set it and don’t touch it afterwards.
The bezel is about 3/4 inch wide on the sides and top, while the lower is closer to a full inch in width. The monitor is close to 1/2 inch thick for the most part. That’s because under the silver strip on the back is a raised area with the video and power input along with the VESA mount point. We’ll talk about what’s going on in that panel a little later.
Setting up the Catleap is a breeze, sort of. All that’s really necessary is to attach the base and them plug in the power and video cable. The base attaches with 2 screws that go in from the underside of the base. We can’t say enough how wobbly this stand is. Seriously, it’s like having your monitor attached to a bobble-head. The base also rotates a full 360 degrees. We don’t really understand why, as the cables attached to the Catleap will keep it from ever fully rotating. Even the distance that is can turn, the Catleap is tougher than expected to turn in either direction. The monitor stand base sticks and had us worried that we’ll tip over the screen.
Taking off the stand completely along with the silver rear panel is a bigger challenge that it first looks. We’re not going to give instructions here, but follow this link to see how it’s done. You’ll need 2 screwdrivers (one Phillips and one flat) and about 30 minutes. Trust us, doing this and getting a wall or desk mount will improve your experience with this monitor.
So the most important function of a monitor is to display things, obviously. And does the Catleap deliver. The screen is bright and exceptionally clear. The screen’s color did seem to lean towards the cool side, with whites having a very slight blue tint to them. That didn’t bother us, but we did notice it.
It does, however, bring us to the other big problem for the Catleap Q270: OSC or on-screen controls. Normally, a monitor has button on it that brings up a menu for monitor options and adjustments like brightness, contrast, color balance, etc. Well, the Catleap Q270 is sorely missing these controls. It does have the buttons for the OSC right between the power and volume buttons, but they don’t actually do anything except tease you. Did we mention that there are no speakers in the Catleap either? Just cutouts on the back and buttons to control the speakers, but no actual speakers. Again, more teasing and not much doing.
We did have a one bright pixel, but were literally straining our eyes to see it, as it was only visible in white. Unless the one you buy is a “pixel perfect” version, it’s going to take either more than 5 bright/dead pixels or 1 non-functioning pixel in the center area to merit a defective unit. Anything less and you’ll just have to deal with it. Remember, these are A- panels, not the A+ ones found in the likes of Apple Thunderbolt displays. We did find some sellers that would make sure the units weren’t defective before shipping them out, which is comforting. Most places also offer an extended warranty for about $50, but we weren’t able to discern whether that included shipping. On a box as big as the one the Catleap comes in, we hope it would.
Remember when we said that there’s was something we wanted to talk about on the rear input panel? Well, we thought we should mention the input(s) of the Catleap; DVI-D. That’s it; just one input and it’s a dual-link DVI. There are supposedly other models that have a HDMI and VGA input on them, but we have yet to find one. The Catleaps with those other inputs are most likely going to have speakers built it as well.
The Yamakasi Catleap Q270 is proving itself to be a very solid performing monitor, albeit a very barebones one. The caveats do start to add up, but can’t touch the pro’s on this monitor. If you’re looking for an inexpensive workhorse of a monitor and desktop relestate is your main concern, then the Yamakasi Catleap Q270 will be exactly what you’re looking for.
The Marduk Rating:
Growing up the son of a West Coast Video Manager, Sean-Paul has literally been playing video games for as long as he can remember. Starting as a wee little boy in his room with a 7” black and white TV and his Atari 2600 with Tank Plus, not much has changed, just the room and television have gotten bigger. When not gaming, Sean-Paul is usually cooking, watching anime, or riding his bike around Singapore and dreaming up his next computer build.