BenQ EW2775ZH review: jack of all trades

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After looking at a compact office monitor from BenQ last week, this week we’re looking at something a little more high-end: the EW2775ZH. This 27-inch monitor boasts an AMVA panel at 1080p resolution, a fancier stand and a host of helpful features. There are low blue light modes, flicker-free operation and something called ‘brightness intelligence technology’. Let’s find out if there’s a solid monitor behind all the jargon.

Pros

  • Stylish construction with minimal bezels
  • Great contrast & colour accuracy
  • Comfortable Low Blue Light mode
Cons

  • Poor colour uniformity
  • Doesn’t hit 100% sRGB
  • 1080p/60 not ideal for gaming
  • Stand lacks adjustability

score7Summary and score

The EW2775ZH is a beautiful monitor, with a stylish thin-bezel design and a well calibrated IPS screen. This is backed with a host of eye-comfort features, including a Low Blue Light mode that obviates the need for F.Lux or similar software.

The only real issue is our review unit’s poor colour uniformity. Not hitting 100% sRGB is also a little surprising for an higher-end IPS-style display.

This leaves the EW2775ZH in an awkward position – it’s a good monitor for sure, but these flaws preclude it from a wholehearted recommendation for full-time photo and video professionals. Its contrast and colour make it nice for playing beautiful games, but its 1080p display and 60Hz refresh rate are a bit limiting. Ultimately, that makes the EW2775ZH a jack of all trades, master of none.

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Features & specifications

  • 27-inch 1920 x 1080 (Full HD) monitor
  • 8-bit AMVA panel (IPS-like)
  • 12ms response time, 4ms GtG
  • TUV Rheinland Certification for Flicker-free
    and Low Blue Light
  • Low Blue Light Plus mode
  • 3000:1 Native Contrast Ratio
  • Brightness Intelligence Technology

If you’re wondering what the heck ‘brightness intelligence technology’ is, BenQ have got you covered with this weird video… which features a suspiciously defeatist police detective (with a no-name monitor) and a persistent subordinate (with a BenQ monitor featuring Brightness Intelligence Technology™) who saves the day.

Basically, it’s similar to the ‘Black eQualizer’ technology that BenQ use in their gaming monitors. It brightens dark areas of the screen, making them more easily visible but diminishing dynamic range. It’s good for spotting enemy soldiers hiding on de_dust2, and it’s good for highlighting dim areas in photos and video too. Fair enough.

 

Design

The EW2775ZH is a thoroughly more modern-looking monitor than most of BenQ’s lineup; not surprising given it’s one of their most recent releases. That’s largely down to the extremely slim bezels around three sides of the panel, with a thicker bezel at the bottom to house the logo, lights and buttons.

The small and circular physical buttons are found on the right underside of the bottom bezel, making them relatively easy to find without looking and operate without confusion.

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The monitor is quite thin as well, thanks to a white LED backlight and an external power supply. From the side the monitor is fairly impressive, although it’s not the absolute thinnest we’ve seen (ViewSonic’s VX2776 is a nice example).

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The monitor’s ports are vertically centred and face directly out; there are a pair of HDMI ports, VGA, a 3.5mm jack and the AC input. The monitor’s speakers are embedded on the rear as well, on either side of the ports.d2

The monitor features a two part stand; the top part is screwed into the back of the monitor with a flat head screwdriver, and the wide bottom part is attached using a hand screw. This stand offers far fewer angles of adjustment than BenQ’s BL-series and XL-series stands, with only the ability to tilt back and forth, but the IPS panel should allow for sufficiently good viewing angles that this shouldn’t be a massive issue. The monitor isn’t VESA compatible, so there’s no possibility of choosing an aftermarket mount.d3

You can get a better shot of the OSD buttons in this shot, taken from the bottom with the stand removed. The white circle to the left of the buttons is the monitor’s power LED.d4

That brings our tour to the monitor’s design to an end, so let’s move onto the testing.

 

Benchmarks

We’re using a Spyder4Elite colourimeter to perform these tests, as usual. We’ll start with an evaluation of the monitor’s gamut, with the monitor set to sRGB mode and as neutral settings as we can manage. We see that the monitor hits 99% of sRGB, making it largely fine for professional work, if not quite at the 100% we’d like. For occasional image-makers and video editors this will be sufficient, as long as the other tests come back okay. The monitor also hits 75% of the lesser-used AdobeRGB standard, and 71% of the basically useless NTSC standard.

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Here are our initial readings from the monitor, showing the brightness, white point, primaries, Delta-E values and gamma before and after calibration. The calibration is almost perfect, and there’s very low Delta-E values for white point and 50% gray. Hopefully this trend will continue in our later tests, as we begin the advanced analysis.

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Next we have a look at the display gamma, which is set to 2.0 as its default setting. The gray ramp is a bit irregular, though this isn’t a massive concern.s3

Now we’re looking at the brightness, contrast and white point at a range of brightness settings.

Note that the Spyder4Elite is known to have issues with these brightness and contrast tests; contrast values are consistently under-reported. That means the actual numbers should be taken with a grain of salt, but the trends are still valid. (If there are any PRs reading that represent a colourimeter company, please get in touch as we’d love to source a replacement that doesn’t have these problems). 

At 0% the monitor becomes as-near-as totally black, resulting in a crazy-high contrast value. The contrast ratio is maintained at over 1000:1 throughout, increasing slightly at the higher brightness settings. This is one of the best results with this colourimeter that we’ve seen, which backs up this monitor’s higher-than-average stated 3000:1 contrast ratio.s4

Now we’re back to tests that our colourimeter won’t let us down! It’s the colour uniformity test next, and here’s where our first surprise emerges. At 100% brightness, the colour uniformity is quite bad, with a DeltaE value of 5.9 in the lower right quadrant. This becomes less noticeable as brightness decreases, but it’s an unfortunate result for a monitor that would otherwise be a reliable choice for graphics and video work. Other panels may not exhibit these issues, but our panel is certainly below par.s5

Luminance results are far better, with the top and bottom right quadrants reporting the largest variance. They’re all a fair bit dimmer than the centre, a difference of 121.2 cd/m2 to 102, 104.6 and 103.9 cd/m2. This difference is maintained throughout the brightness settings tested. This isn’t an ideal result, but it’s not awful either.s6

Now we come to another important test: colour accuracy. Overall the result here is excellent, with an average error value of only 1.2. Most of the colours tested are well below 1.0, with only a pair of grays and teal showing a higher error. This is to be expected for a 99% sRGB monitor, and means the vast majority of colours will appear accurately (not withstanding the colour uniformity issues highlighted earlier).s7

Overall, the EW2775ZH impresses; only the gray ramp and colour uniformity are liabilities.

 

Impressions

Work & Media

This is intended to be an office monitor, so let’s examine its performance here first. Generally the most demanding tasks for monitors are ones where colour accuracy and contrast are important: colour grading and other video production, Photoshop, 3D modelling.

Here the EW2775ZH is a mixed bag, with good contrast and colour accuracy, but that disappointing colour uniformity we saw in the Benchmarks section. That means the monitor was largely well-suited for photo and video editing, but content on the lower right appeared a slightly different colour on our review unit. Every panel is different, so hopefully ours was an outlier in this regard. Not hitting 100% sRGB is also a small disappointment, although again 99% will usually be good enough.

For other kinds of work, the EW2775ZH is quite good. The 1080p resolution isn’t the most expansive, but it ensures that no scaling is needed on the 27 inch span of the monitor. The EW2775ZH’s high contrast (and its ‘Brightness Intelligence Technology’) ensure that darker areas of photos and videos are still easily visible. The Low Blue Light modes are great for avoiding eye-strain and seems to minimise disruption to your sleep schedule as well. These traits also make watching films or TV on the EW2775ZH a pretty solid proposition, although you’ll have to sit pretty close to the 27-inch screen; this is no full-size TV.

Compared to other office monitors, the EW2775ZH is a pretty strong choice — although it lacks the flexibility of BenQ’s BL-series monitors, which have much more adjusable stands including the option for portrait-mode usage.

Gaming

When it comes to gaming monitors, right now there are three desirable traits at any price point. First is resolution – the better your PC, the higher resolution you can run at a given fps, and the better the game will look as a result. 1920 x 1080 is the minimum acceptable resolution, and the EW2775ZH meets it. Next is refresh rate, with 60Hz being standard and 120Hz or higher being the premium option. Again, the EW2775ZH is right at the minimum, 60Hz. Finally we have the presence of G-Sync or FreeSync, technologies that eliminate screen tearing without introducing input lag. The EW2775ZH doesn’t have either — not surprising for an office machine.

Of course, gamers have been playing since way before higher resolutions, higher refresh rates and G-Sync. The EW2775ZH is still a perfectly fine monitor, it just lacks these modern amenities. Games still look great on this monitor, particularly colourful titles like Overwatch or Doom, and I didn’t notice any problems with input lag. I played StarCraft II, Fallout 4 and Dark Souls III as well, and was fairly impressed with how good everything looks. The EW2775ZH isn’t a gaming monitor, but it’s still fine for playing games on occasion.

 

Wrapping up

The EW2775ZH is a good-looking monitor in every sense of the word; it’s stylish and provides a clear, bright picture. While the monitor’s colour uniformity is sub-par and its sRGB coverage doesn’t hit 100%, its excellent colour accuracy and contrast make it a viable option for occasional Photoshop or video work. It’s also great for viewing HD films and TV shows, where the high contrast ratio makes light and dark scenes equally watchable. The EW2775ZH’s extras are up to par too, with a good selection of ports, accessible OSD buttons and a range of modes suitable for a range of activities, from reading and editing to watching videos or playing games. 7 / 10.

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About William Judd

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

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