BenQ GW2270HM review

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The BenQ GW2270HM is designed to be the ideal monitor for professionals, with features that keep your eyes healthy even after extended use. That includes a flicker-free backlight and a low blue light mode to ensure your sleep patterns aren’t disrupted. It’s also a good-looking monitor, with a sleek and minimalist design. Let’s take a closer look!

Pros

  • Helpful eye health features
  • 100% sRGB, good colours
  • Sleek and light design
  • Built-in speakers
Cons

  • Minimal adjustability
  • Luminance uniformity is sub-par

Summary and score

The GW2270HM looks good, thanks to a sleek design and a VA panel with reasonable colour accuracy and good viewing angles. The monitor is definitely on the short side and lacks adjustability, but this can be rectified with a VESA mount. On the whole, a clear step above TN-panel competitors.

score9-200
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Features

Here is the manufacturer’s list of features, with explanations in parentheses when necessary.

  • Everyday enjoyment for leisure and business
  • Designed simply for the ultimate sophistication (sleek design)
  • TUV Rheinland certified for flicker-free and low blue light
  • 3000:1 native contrast ratio (thanks to VA panel)
  • True 8-bit colour performance
  • 178° / 178° wide viewing angles
  • HDMI multimedia interface
  • Windows 10 compatible (!)
  • ecoFACTS label
  • Energy Star Qualified
 

Specifications

Display panel LED-backlit 21.5-inch AMVA+
Resolution 1920 x 1080
Refresh Rate up to 60Hz
Typical Brightness 250 cd/m2
Typical Contrast 3000:1
Viewing Angle 178 / 178
Typical Response Time 18ms, 5ms GtG
Colour Gamut 72% NTSC
Ports HDMI, VGA, 3.5mm
Dimensions 304 x 506 x 50.5 (w/o base)
Net weight 3.6 kilograms
 

Design

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The GW2270HM is a small monitor, with a 21.5-inch AMVA panel mounted within normal-sized bezels. The 1080p resolution is what we’d like to see at this size, and the choice of a VA-type panel should allow for good viewing angles and colour reproduction — we’ll see exactly how good later.

The monitor’s on-screen display is controlled via small circular buttons on the bottom of the monitor. I find these much easier to use than buttons on the side, so I’m glad that BenQ chose this orientation for them.

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There are quite a few textures on the monitor — the base has a hairline texture, there’s a glossy piano black rectangle where the stand joins the base, and plain matte black for the stand itself. The back of the monitor also has a triangular texture on the back. It’s all a bit busy; I wish BenQ would have stuck to one or two textures here.

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The stand can be tilted forward or back, but there’s no option for swivelling, rotation or height adjustment. I find the monitor a little too low for my taste, so you may want to use the GW2270HM on a raised platform or use the VESA mount to switch to a taller and/or more capable stand.

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You’ll find the monitor’s downwards facing ports on the back, just to the right of where the stand connects to the body of the monitor. There’s VGA, DVI and HDMI here, as well as a line-in 3.5mm connection to use the monitor’s two 1W speakers.

These speakers are the only difference that I can find between this monitor, the GW2270HM, and last year’s GW2270H; at the time of writing there is a £15 difference in price between the two models.

 

Benchmarks

As usual, we’re calibrating the monitor and then testing it using the Spyder4Elite colourimeter. Before the tests are performed, the monitor is reset to its normal factory settings, contrast is set to 50, brightness is set to 120 nits (cd/m2).

Upon the initial calibration, we get our first readouts from the Spyder4Elite program. The Delta-E values are pretty poor; 6.5 for white point and 1.6 for grey point.

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However, colour ranges are pretty good — we have full 100% sRGB, 75% of NTSC and 78% of AdobeRGB. The first standard is by far the most important for most users, so it’s a good first step. If colour accuracy and uniformity are also good, this could end up being a strong choice for image or video editing.

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The default gamma setting corresponds to Gamma 2.1. The gray ramp is a little irregular, but this shouldn’t be a massive problem.

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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).

The contrast reading is stable throughout brightness settings which is nice, although as mentioned above the ratio is well below the stated 3000:1 ratio. Compared to the BenQ EW2775ZH which has the same stated ratio, the GW2270HM seems to offer less contrast.

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Colour accuracy is medium to good, with an average Delta-E value of 1.75. This suggests that most image and video editing can be accomplished on this low-cost monitor, although professional productions probably wouldn’t consider this adequate.

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Colour uniformity is about average for a monitor of this class; our highest Delta-E value is only 3.3 at 100% brightness. At more reasonable brightness levels, e.g. 50%, things have improved considerably. 67% seems to offer the most uniformity, so this could be a good setting to aim for.

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Luminance uniformity is poor to moderate, with the centre of the screen offering noticeably higher brightness than the other quadrants. The difference depends on the brightness setting of the monitor, but is typically around 10%. That’s not really noticeable unless you’re looking for it, but it’s more than we’d hope for, particularly for a monitor of this small size.

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Finally, we have the monitor rating as delivered by the Spyder4Elite software. The monitor gets average to good marks across the board, including a perfect score for its 100% sRGB gamut. The weaker points are the luminance uniformity, tone response and white point, while colour uniformity and colour accuracy are praised. Overall, a pretty decent performance that will certainly set this monitor apart from its less expensive competitors.

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Impressions

Gaming on the monitor went just fine; you might struggle to see fine details on a monitor of this size, but you can easily see the whole span without turning your head — an underrated benefit. The response time is listed as 5ms GtG, and this proved adequate for everything we tried, including Civilization VI, Rainbow Six Siege and Overwatch.

We also wrote the majority of this review on the monitor, including the editing of photos in Photoshop. We faced no issues with colour accuracy, as expected from the benchmark results above, and the 1920 x 1080 resolution was sufficient for having one window on each half of the monitor (although this resolution is probably the lowest acceptable minimum these days, and 2560 x 1440 or 1920 x 1200 does feel less restrictive). 1080p looks a little grainy on 27 inch monitors, but at 21.5 inches it looks considerably sharper.

While the monitor looks good and performs well, its bottom-mounted stand lacks adjustability. Ideally the top of your monitor should be at your eye level while you’re looking straight ahead, and the GW2270HM is significantly lower than that for me. I ended up using a stack of textbooks to get it up to a comfortable level, although the 100×100 VESA mount on the back means you could also invest in a taller, more adjustable stand.

 

Wrapping up

The GW2270HM is a good choice if you want a small office monitor, and you don’t want the poor viewing angles and diminished colour accuracy of a TN panel display. The addition of blue light reducing modes is nice too. The monitor’s largest flaw is its lack of adjustability, so I’d recommend picking up a VESA mount for it — whether that’s a taller desk stand, a floating desk mount or a wall mount. Otherwise, there’s little to complain about here; this is a good all-around monitor.

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Alternatives

aoc

AOC’s 21.5-inch 1080p IPS monitor offers similar specifications and looks at a slightly lower price, although it lacks BenQ’s blue light reduction filters. It also comes with an HDMI cable.

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About William Judd

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

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