BenQ BL2205PT review: you clean up well

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Today we’re looking at a compact and (relatively) inexpensive professional monitor, the BenQ BL2205PT. It promises great adjustability, a small TN display and a good selection of ports. Let’s take a closer look, and see whether this 21.5-inch monitor is a tiny triumph or a tiny terror.

Pros

  • 21.5-inch span is perfect for small spaces
  • Easy height, tilt, pivot and swivel adjustments
  • Blue light reduction modes & flicker free operation
  • Good colour accuracy, response time & contrast
Cons

  • Looks washed out out of the box
  • Expensive for a TN monitor
  • Only VGA cable provided
  • Buttons difficult to operate

score6Summary and score

The BL2205PT has a very ‘washed out’ look out of the box, but after calibration things improve considerably. The TN panel compares well with lower-end IPS displays for colour accuracy, and beats them for contrast and response times. When considered with the monitor’s many helpful modes and its superb ergonomic flexibility, the BL2205PT is a solid choice for office use — just make sure you’re able to spend some time calibrating it before use.

Support XSR: Buy for $173.00 from Amazon.com  

Features & specifications

  • 21.5-inch 1920 x 1080 TN panel
  • 1000:1 native contrast
  • 170° / 160°‎ viewing angles
  • 2ms GtG response time
  • 2x 1W speakers
  • DisplayPort, DVI-D, VGA inputs
 

Design

The BenQ BL2205PT is the smallest monitor we’ve reviewed in some time, measuring just 22 inches across the diagonal. That’s ten inches less than its bigger brother, the BL3210PT. The small size is kind of adorable, but it’s also something preferred by some users — particularly those with limited desk space.

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The BL2205PT can be used in landscape or portrait mode. The latter can be helpful for any profession that requires a lot of reading or writing — programmers, writers, academics and so on.

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The monitor has a fairly slim set of bezels, making them okay at forming a multi-monitor setup (although a single larger monitor might be a better idea). You can also see the cable tidy at the bottom quarter of the stand.d2

The back of the monitor has a carbon fibre effect pattern, with a 100 x 100 VESA mount that’s used for the stand. This must be screwed into place, so make sure you have a Phillips head screwdriver handy. The back is quite stylish with its matte black look, and wouldn’t look out of place in an office environment (even if it’s not as stylish as the super-slim ViewSonic VX2776).

There are no ports on either side of the monitor, but this does give you a better look at the stand, which boasts height adjustment, tilt, swivel and pivot. Buttons for controlling the OSD sit on the back right of the monitor, making them hard to find initially.d1

The bottom of the monitor has a vestigial desk mounting place, plus the usual ports. There’s power on the left (as seen below), 3.5mm in and out, then DisplayPort, DVI and VGA. Interestingly, there’s no HDMI port, although HDMI to DisplayPort cables are easy enough to find. Only a VGA cable is provided in the box, though.

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So that’s the BL2205PT, a compact yet capable office monitor. Now let’s see how it compares to other monitors on the market with some benchmarks.

 

Benchmarks

We’ll proceed through the benchmarks, using the Spyder4Elite colourimeter to calibrate and then test the monitor.

First we have the colour gamut of the display, which is listed as 96% of sRGB and 74% of AdobeRGB (all measurements were taken on the monitor’s sRGB setting). That’s good enough for occasional photo and video work, but it’s not sufficiently good for truly professional work where 100% sRGB is really desirable.

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Next we’ll have a look at how brightness, contrast and white point are affected by different brightness settings. The actual contrast ratio is misreported here, an unfortunate issue with the colourimeter used, but the trend is still worth noting. We can see at the 0% setting, the monitor is as near as truly black, and it rises only marginally to provide an excellent contrast ratio that is closely maintained from 25 to 75% brightness, and improves further at 100% brightness.

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Colour accuracy is next, and the results here are excellent — better than I expected from a TN-panel monitor. All except the teal are spot-on, and the results are rather similar to (also 96% sRGB) ViewSonic monitor we looked at previously. 1.22 is a great average Delta-E value, allowing the monitor to boast extremely accurate colours.j6

Colour uniformity is the next point of interest, which examines how each quadrant of the monitor accurately reports colour compared to its neighbours. The upper right and upper centre quadrants of the panel have the highest Delta-E value, a pattern which is maintained from 100 down to 50%. At 50% brightness the Delta-E values are just 1.9, which again is a great result.j4

Luminance uniformity comes next, which examines how much brighter or dimmer each sector is. Again the top centre and top left are the standouts, appearing around 13% and 8% dimmer than their peers, almost invariant of brightness. This is a good but not excellent result.j5

Finally, we see the colourimeter software’s overall rating, which praises the monitor’s 96% sRGB gamut, contrast, uniformity and colour accuracy. Items singled out for disdain are the tone response and white point. Overall, the monitor is rated 4/5, a pretty good score for a TN-panel monitor and comparable to low-end IPS monitors.j7

 

Impressions

We put the BL2205PT to work over a one week review period, and of course we played a few games in that time too. Here’s our review!

Work

While we don’t have an IPS panel to work with here, the BL2205PT still has reasonably accurate colours and hits 96% of the sRGB standard. This makes it fine for amateur Photoshop efforts, or occasional professional work. Photos and video won’t look perfect and it desperately needs calibration out of the box, but afterwards things are pretty decent given its price point.

BL2205PT

The real benefit of the BL2205PT is its adjustability. Being able to adjust the height, pivot and swivel is an ergonomic dream; this BenQ monitor is much more comfortable to use than the average office monitor. Being able to rotate the monitor 90 degrees for reading is also helpful.

BL2420Z

Another advantage are the modes available in the OSD; you’ll find blue light reduction, reading modes and other helpful features.

These aren’t necessary for every monitor — you could reduce blue light through software like Flux, for instance — but they’re nice to have for sure.

Unfortunately, these modes are trickier to activate than on most BenQ monitors, thanks to the placement of the buttons on the back right side.

If you don’t need the better viewing angles and (generally) better colour accuracy of an IPS display, then the ergonomics and software of the BL2205PT make it a strong choice.

Games

The BL2205PT isn’t meant to be a gaming monitor, but we’d be remiss not to test it anyway. The monitor’s 1080p resolution is an easy target for most mid to high-end gaming deskops, and could also work as a bigger screen for a smaller gaming laptop. The small size of the BL2205PT means you can get the entire screen in your field of view, which can be helpful, but you’ll also be straining to make out distant opponents.

Games look decent on the monitor, but felt a bit grainy — even at a much smaller diagonal span, 1080p is recognisably more pixelated than 1440p or 4K. Colours are reasonable and input lag is low, thanks to the well-calibrated TN display.

This probably won’t be anyone’s first choice for a gaming monitor, but it still performs adequately. If you are looking for a gaming monitor, something with G-Sync or Freesync might be a better bet. A high refresh rate (120Hz or higher) is also beneficial, if your favourite game is able to hit an equally high fps count.

 

Wrapping up

The BL2205PT is a nice choice if you’re looking for a compact office monitor, although photo and video professionals should probably consider a 100% sRGB IPS display instead. For everyone else, there’s plenty to enjoy here – a good port selection, excellent adjustability and even decent gaming performance.

Support XSR: Buy for $173.00 from Amazon.com

About William Judd

Editor-in-Chief for XSReviews. Find me @wsjudd or on G+.

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