Today I’ll be taking a look at one of BenQ’s mid-range monitors for the home and office, the BenQ GW2750HM. While the monitor is LED powered and hence very thin, its big selling points is its VA (vertical alignment) panel, an alternative to both IPS and TN that sits somewhere in the middle of the two technologies. Let’s see how this 27″ 1080p monitor compares to others in its price range, as well as top of the line models elsewhere.
- Screen size: 27″
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Resolution: 1920 x 1080p
- Pixel Pitch: 0.311 mm
- Brightness: 300 cd/m^2
- Native Contrast: 5000:1
- Dynamic Contrast Ratio: 20M:1
- Panel Type: VA
- Viewing Angle (L-R/U-D): 178/178
- Response Time: 12 ms, 4 ms GTG
- Display Colours: 16.7 million
- Colour Gamut: 72%
- Video connectors: D-sub (VGA) / DVI-D / HDMI
- Audio connectors: 3.5 headphone mm / 3.5 mm line in
- Speakers: 2 x 2 W
- Power Consumption (Energy Star): 30 W
- Standby: < 0.3 W
- Dimensions (including stand): 489 x 655 x 191 mm
- Dimensions (wall-mount): 397 x 654 x 65
- Net Weight: 5.6 kg
Before we can get into the real meat of the review it’s time to unpack. As you can see in the photograph, the box provided is quite standard for a monitor, made out of brown cardboard infused with the BenQ logo. While the box isn’t as fancy as the coloured glossy cardboard we typically see on smaller items, it costs less to produce and is less ecologically damaging. This makes it typical for larger items such as monitors.
Taking the monitor out of the box, we can see that the unit is in three pieces: the actual panel, the stand, and the base. These are readily assembled by inserting the stand into the panel, then tightening a screw. The same is done with the base into the stand. Once secured, we’re ready to start testing out this monitor.
Besides the monitor itself, there is only a power lead and a VGA cable in the box – no DVI or HDMI, presumably to save on costs, particularly in offices where these connectors exist already. There is also the standard arrangement of driver CD and printed manual.
This is a fairly nondescript monitor, completely in black and with glossy plastic used for the base. At 27″ it’s a good size for gamers, and as it’s LED lit it’s also quite light, making it good for taking to remote LAN parties. The stand is quite standard in its operation, with just tilt options available – no raising or lowering here. The range of tilt motion is 20 degrees, from negative 5 to positive 15. While the base isn’t massive, it feels sturdy enough.
The display itself is flanked by a number of logos, which are all quite small but together contribute toward a bit of a crowded look.
On the back we’ve got our inputs. As it mentions in the specifications above, we’ve got three video connectors – VGA, DVI and HDMI – as well as 3.5 mm line in and headphones out. These latter two ports are useful to have if you want to use headphones, but the cord isn’t quite long enough to stretch to the back of your PC.
The controls are on the right hand side of the monitor. These are clearly labelled and fairly easy to find with your fingers.
That’s pretty much it for the physical features – there are no real extras to speak of; e.g. no USB ports, card reader or the like. Of course, that’s to be expected on what is a fairly inexpensive monitor.
Lacking any fancy equipment, the best way to test a monitor is to use it! As XSReviews is primarily geared towards gamers, we’ll be looking at how this monitor works for playing games, as well as normal desktop use in writing and light graphical editing.
These are the games that I tried on the BenQ monitor:
- Call of Duty: Black Ops II
- Sid Meier’s Civilization V
- StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm
- Mass Effect III
- SimCity (when the servers are up)
To begin – I honestly think that 1920 x 1080 is too low a resolution for a good 27″ panel. While it produces large (and therefore perhaps more readable) text and it suits 1080p resolution films, once you’ve tried a 2560 x 1440 panel it’s hard to go back to 1080p. Particularly during desktop use, you’ll notice that text isn’t particularly crisp and the pixels are quite noticeable. While I accept this is a fairly low end monitor, it’s still worth keeping in mind that the resolution is not ideal if your computer is capable of gaming at 1440p.
I found the colours to be a little off on this panel, with a little too much saturation. I’m guessing this is largely down to the VA panel used, which does offer improvements over low-end TN options but isn’t quite as good as IPS in this area.
Out of the box, the panel’s colour accuracy is pretty poor and the screen is much brighter than you’d ever want unless you were working outside, somehow. Turning down the brightness and adjusting the colours makes this screen a lot better, although even fully configured it still felt a little short of ideal.
The silver lining was that I had a fair few occasions to use the OSD, and I found it nicely comprehensive and the buttons easy to use.
On the other hand, the panel did display excellent contrast, with really dark blacks. This was particularly noticeably in games like Mass Effect III and StarCraft II, which looked noticeably better than other 1080p panels I’ve used in the past. Brightness was also not a concern. These characteristics were also favourable for movies, which looked pretty good at the monitor’s native 1080p resolution.
Viewing angles were only okay. Outside of about 45 degrees left and right I found the panel got quite yellow, and this was even more extreme going up and down. It is therefore quite important to get this monitor positioned in front of you, as the monitor appears much worse than it actually is if it is vertically or horizontally misaligned.
The monitor is listing as having a grey to grey response time of 4 ms, which would be satisfactory for gaming if accurate. I found that to eliminate ghosting, it was best to use the monitor’s AMA mode in ‘Premium’. On lower settings, there was a bit more ghosting than most I think will find comfortable. However, once configured I didn’t notice any blurring or ghosting during play, even during relatively fast-paced games like Call of Duty.
One thing that did annoy me when playing was the few seconds of blackness when switching between a game running full screen and the desktop. I do this quite commonly when gaming, whether it’s to consult a wiki for Mass Effect 3 or to look up a StarCraft II build, so to introduce perhaps four seconds of delay into what is normally a ten or fifteen second process is quite frustrating. The alt-tab blackout was also accompanied by a bit of an electrical hum as well, which is something I haven’t experienced on other monitors. I believe this is just a problem for this particular review unit, as I haven’t seen this problem mentioned elsewhere online, but it’s definitely something you should check.
Overall, the BenQ was a moderately good monitor compared to other 27″ 1080p models that I’ve used. While out of the box it seemed poorly configured, after some tweaking it achieved excellent contrast ratios, decent colour accuracy and acceptable response times. If your computer isn’t powerful enough to drive a 1440p panel for gaming or your budget doesn’t extend that far, then this 1080p BenQ monitor is a good, high-value choice.
- Good value
- Excellent contrast ratio
- Decent response times
- Long delay switching video modes
- Poorly configured out of the box
- Subpar viewing angles