With the Dough Spectrum 4K 144Hz we have another candidate looking for a place on our lists of the best 4K monitors and the best gaming monitors – and that it qualifies for both of those buying guides tells you we're dealing with a top-tier, premium-level monitor in this case.
What makes the Spectrum 4K special is that Dough – previously known as Eve – has 'crowd-designed' the device, taking input from backers when it comes to the monitor's looks and so on. It also means the monitor isn't widely available right now.
Our detailed Dough Spectrum 4K review should give you everything you need to know to decide whether or not this is the monitor upgrade you're looking for. If it isn't, maybe check out our guides to the best ultrawide monitors and the best curved gaming monitors.
Dough Spectrum 4K 144Hz: price and availability
As we mentioned above, the Dough Spectrum 4K monitor (previously the Eve Spectrum 4K monitor) came out of an enthusiast community effort. Currently the only place to pick up the model is the Dough website (opens in new tab), where at the time of writing it costs $799, with the stand an additional $99. The company do ship to the UK and elsewhere, but you'll need to do a quick currency conversion and factor shipping into the costs (and tax and probably bank charges too), meaning this review is mostly for our American readers!
Dough Spectrum 4K 144Hz review: design and setup
The Dough Spectrum 4K is straightforward to setup, and you're not even going to need a screwdriver – which we like. The base slots into the stand and the stand slots into the screen and it's all very simple, even if we're a bit confused as to why the stand is sold separately (we're assuming it's so you can save some money if you want to mount the monitor on a wall, but it's still somewhat unusual).
As far as the looks of the Dough Spectrum 4K are concerned, the theme is simple and angular and black, and we're pretty happy with it. It's in no way flashy, but the curve of the stand and the finish of the metal add a certain air of quality. You can't swivel the screen, but you can tilt it, adjust the height of it, and rotate it through 90 degrees if you want to use it in portrait mode. That's a decent level of flexibility.
The bezels around the 27-inch screen are some of the thinnest you're going to come across, which allows the display panel to dominate the device. If you're measuring the amount of room available on your desk, the overall dimensions of the monitor in landscape mode at its tallest are 607 x 571 x 227mm, and it weighs in at 6.7kg. You can set it up and move it without any assistance... just about.
Just behind the screen at the front you've got a small power button and a joystick for controlling the on-screen menus, and there are plenty of options to work through if you need them (including brightness, contrast, sharpness and colour temperature). You can also save three settings presets if you need to get back to them later. Operating the joystick does take some getting used to, but after a few minutes it's easy enough.
Dough Spectrum 4K 144Hz review: features and picture
The 27-inch Nano IPS LCD of the Dough Spectrum 4K offers a 4K resolution, as you've probably guessed by the name. There are 3840 x 2160 pixels here, a maximum refresh rate of 144Hz, and a minimum grey-to-grey response time of 1ms. Those are appealing specs for gamers, and when you add in support for Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync it gets even more interesting. Creatives are well catered for here too with 98 per cent DCI-P3 factory-calibrated accurate colours.
Add in a peak brightness level of 750 nits and 1,000:1 typical contrast ratio, and its a superb package. You can pick up the monitor with a matte or glossy finish – ours had the latter and it makes for a really bright, vibrant screen. Details are crisp, colours are rich, and we didn't notice anything in the way of motion blur or ghosting. High dynamic range (HDR) is covered with a DisplayHDR 600 certification, and again its effective in use, with both darker and lighter areas remaining visible.
Port selection is top tier as well: two HDMI 2.1 ports, one DisplayPort 1.4 port, and one USB-C port with DisplayPort 1.4 support. There's also an integrated USB hub here for peripherals, offering one USB-C port, two USB-A ports, and one USB-B port. You're well covered for pretty much everything, with perhaps the only missing features here a touchscreen option and integrated speakers (though you do get a 3.5mm headphone jack).
We also like the gaming-centric bonus features, which include the option to show frame rates and aiming crosshairs on the display, if you need them. From gaming to movies to web browsing to office work, the monitor leaves an excellent impression, and those who can get their hands on the Dough Spectrum 4K are unlikely to be disappointed. It's great for the latest generation of video consoles too.
Dough Spectrum 4K 144Hz review: verdict
There's clearly a lot to like about the Dough Spectrum 4K, from the first time you glance at the specs list to the experience you get from sitting in front of it. The monitor stakes a strong claim to being one of the best gaming monitors around and one of the best 4K monitors around, and it's not every model that we can say that about – with plenty of ports, an understated but appealing design, and a picture quality that impresses, it's definitely worth putting on your shopping shortlist... if, that is, you can get hold of one.
There are a few drawbacks in terms of what the monitor doesn't have – a touchscreen option, integrated speakers, any RGB lighting – but these are hardly deal-breakers and many people will be able to do without them. Oh, and the stand costs extra which we find rather peculiar. Still, even with that quirk, the Dough Spectrum 4K excels right across the board.
Bear in mind that there's also a QHD version of this monitor (model ES07D03), complete with a 280Hz maximum refresh rate, if the 4K resolution 144Hz refresh model isn't for you.
If you want a 27-inch monitor for gaming but don't have the GPU power to be able to run a 4K screen, perhaps consider the full HD (and curved) Dell S2721HGF: it sticks to a 1080p resolution and is very competitively priced, as well as coming with the solid build quality and reliability that you would expect from something made by Dell.
On the other hand, perhaps you want to go bigger in terms of physical size and yet keep the 4K resolution – if that's the case, then we can direct you towards the Samsung M8 Smart Monitor. Not only does it measure 32-inches from corner to corner, it comes with some on-board tricks and features that mean it can double-up as a smart TV option.