~ Achieva ShiMIan IPSB and CrossOver LED impressions: ~
I've owned 2 Achieva ShiMians now and tested a CrossOver 27Q LED so far.
My first monitor was a ShiMian IPSB (external tempered glass), which I got for price and aesthetical reasons, despite possible dust warnings. I also felt that it would be a more reliable kind, as back when I started my research, CrossOvers had some issues (like blue tint), PCBanks had reports of noticeable yellow tinting and some other problems (although PCBank was my top choice for some time), and I did not want to deal with CatLeap stands. In my first Achieva glass monitor, no dust is visible at normal sitting distance except one piece that's about 2mm long and appears like a small black streak. Otherwise, the monitor has minimal-to-nonexistent backlight bleed, barely perceptable yellow tinting at the bottom, no buzzing (although a very faint high pitched "whistle"-like tone is common in all these monitors near the power button, but my Achievas have it very minimally). Basically it has no problems whatsoever beyond that one dust spec.
My second monitor was a gift for my fiance, and I went for a CrossOver, having read all the bias concerning its good looks and build quality, so I figured it would be good for a present. In person, the monitor turned out to actually [subjectively] not look as good as my flush glass ShiMian - the metal casing looked like black plastic at the front. I actually thought it was plastic. Only the white back parts of the bezel looked like painted metal to my eyes. The non-pivot version sits very close to desk surface, which is a plus for some people but was a minus for me. The stand looks cheap - shiny black with a [subjectively] tacky shiny white plastic trim. Overall, I would say it looks good in photos, but for personal use, I'd invest into the Pivot model, for a more elegant stand and higher elevation over desk surface. Other than that, my particular monitor had a fair amount of yellow tint, louder high-pitched tone comng from the power button area, and other issues, which prompted me to return it.
Which brings me to my final Achieva ShiMian that I got as a replacement for the CrossOver. I was going to go for a Lite version or the new IPSM but decided that I like IPSB too much, so finally I just got another IPSB, consulting with my seller to find a unit without noticeable dust. My newest Achieva indeed has pretty much no noticeable dust (although it does have stuck pixels, but since all of these monitors can have them, I leave them out of this review). The newer Achieva also has better picture than my first - even less yellow tint (I can't even see any actually) and also no backlight bleed from my tests in a dark room. It looks perfect, no color variation from one area to another, very crisp, and I didn't feel any need to calibrate it (or my first Achieva, though I did play with some profiles for testing purposes).
Overall, IPSB looks very classy in person. The glass over the bezel makes the bezel a deep black color. It is still reflective, but in a different way from plastic/painted metal - more like a dark mirrored finish at some angles, but at most angles it's a matte true deep black, which makes it much less noticeable when in use.
One negative that I have noticed with both models, newer one to greater extent, is that the tempered glass is not flush with the monitor at the very bottom in the center. It comes outside the bounds of the white trim by under a millimeter. Thus if you look at the monitor at a diagonal top-down angle, you'll see the glass stick out over the trim (the white trim line will appear thinner). On my first monitor, the dip is maybe 2" long in appearance, but my latest monitor has a longer portion of the glass detached from the double-sided tape, maybe around 4". I am pretty sure it's still held securely enough for it to not fall out over time (still held at the bottom corners and everywhere else), but maybe someone has read more on this issue in Hazro monitors with the same design and could chime in. I'm not sure what I could do to fix this bowing out at the bottom, if anything. This could be a reason why IPSB is being replaced with IPSI - just a personal guess, or maybe it's simply patent conflicts.
By the way, I can press down on the glass and it bows in at that spot, so I assume it's flexible. I tried removing it from my first monitor to blow some air on the noticeable dust spec, but was not successful. I thought the glass was a rigid sheet, but it does not appear to be such.
I know that my monitor experience is limited to small number statistics, but I feel fairly confident about Achieva ShiMians at this point to recommend them over others (based on reading and personal use) to my friends. If you worry about the glass issue, you could always go with Lite models. If anyone has questions about IPSB or wants more photos, let me know!
P.S.: I have not noticed more glare between glass versions and CrossOver without tempered glass. Both seemed equally "glary".
Edited by ElevenEleven - 6/27/12 at 1:10pm