Today we’re looking at not a designer monitor, but a monitor for designers: the PD2700Q. It comes with a 27-inch 10-bit IPS panel with a 2560 by 1440 resolution, at a reasonable £330 price point. Let’s put it to the test and see how it performs!
The PD2700Q is a simple but stylish monitor wrought from matte black plastic, with moderately sized bezels. The rectangular stand is slightly textured, but the monitor otherwise lacks stylistic adornment. The on-screen display is controlled by buttons on the rear; their position is indicated by small white markings on the bottom-right side of the bezel.
Turning the monitor around, you can see the stand that gives this monitor its excellent adjustability. The monitor can be adjusted 130 millimetres up or down, you can tilt 5 degrees back or 20 degrees forward, swivel 45 degrees in either direction or rotate 90 degrees for portrait use (you’ll need the maximum height setting for this, of course). The monitor stand has blue trim in two areas: the hole for cable routing and the headphone hanger near the top. It’s the same stand that BenQ uses on its ZOWIE gaming monitors, and it works just as well for sensible spreadsheets as it does mad fragging.
The PD2700Q is well-equipped when it comes to ports, with mini and full-sized DisplayPort, HDMI and three USB ports (two for peripherals, one to connect to your PC). There’s also a 3.5mm audio input if you’d prefer to use headphones over the the tiny 1W speakers built into this model.
That just about covers the design, so let’s move onto testing.
We used the PD2700Q for a week’s time, mostly comparing its performance to the PD2710Qc that we reviewed earlier. The two models are neighbours in terms of their model numbers, but use different panels: the 2710Qc has an 8-bit AH-IPS panel from LG, while the 2700Q uses a 10-bit AHVA IPS panel from AU Optronics. Will that make a big difference? Let’s find out.
In order to give the monitor a fair shake, we’ll be examining its performance using our normal suite of benchmarks using the Spyder4Elite colourimeter. To begin, we calibrated the monitor to 120 nits brightness, which corresponded to a brightness setting of 30, contrast of 50 and gamma setting 3 (default). Rec 709 mode was enabled, and all other settings were left at their defaults.
You can download the ICC / ICM file below, although each monitor is different and this may not produce a better result than the factory settings.
The monitor was calibrated using the Spyder4Elite colourimeter, which has some flaws but is the most advanced testing equipment we have at present — an upgrade to a X-Rite i1Display Pro is planned.
Initial calibration results
After our initial calibration, we’re pretty much on target — a little brighter than the 120 nits we’re shooting for, but white points are perfect and ΔE (error) values are insanely low as well. The gamma is a little bit off, at 2.25 instead of 2.2, but it is at least improved from its 2.47 starting position. These are strong initial findings, so hopefully that’s a sign of things to come.
The PD2700Q manages to hit 100% of the sRGB gamut, as predicted, and does decently well in the less-used AdobeRGB and NTSC gamuts as well.
Brightness and contrast at different brightness settings
In terms of brightness, the PD2710Qc manages to hit nearly 300 nits at 100% brightness. However, it’s unlikely you’ll need anywhere near this amount of brightness unless you’re in a very well lit environment; we found settings below 50% to be much more comfortable.
The Spyder4Elite consistently overstates black levels and thereby understates contrast ratios, but based on past results*, I’m happy to state that the monitor is capable of reaching its promised 1000:1 static contrast ratio.
This is a standard figure for an IPS panel, and should be enough for image editing purposes (although movie watchers or gamers might prefer a VA panel which can offer double or triple the level of contrast.
*Normally the contrast ratio is underestimated by a factor of between 2.75:1 and 3:1. For example, the Predator Z1 monitor we tested earlier has a stated contrast ratio of 3000:1, and our tests showed 1060:1 on average. This is a known issue with the Spyder4Elite colourimeter we’re using; we’re currently raising funds to replace this with a better but more expensive model.
Gamma, tone response and grey ramp
The gamma is read at 2.5 on gamma setting 3, a little off the 2.2 ideal that we were aiming for! The grey ramp looks quite normal, with reasonable temperature throughout the range.
Colour accuracy is always an important test, and that goes double for a monitor that is intended for use by photographers, image editors and other colour-sensitive workers. Here the PD2710Qc shows excellent results throughout, with an average ΔE value of below 1.00 — impressive. Teal 1F again is the troublemaker at nearly 4.00, but most most other shades are sitting well below that 1.0 target.
Colour uniformity is also important, and the PD2700Q impresses here as well. We see ΔE values of around 2.0 at most, and this improves considerably to 1.3 as brightness is reduced to more realistic levels.
Luminance uniformity is reasonable, showing the highest brightness in the centre and lower figures on the left and right sides. That’s a little odd, but nothing too worrying.
Finally, we have our monitor rating, as determined by the Spyder4Elite software. I generally put more stock in colour uniformity, but otherwise tend to agree with these, and that holds true for today’s BenQ monitor. We have good results in gamut, contrast, colour uniformity and colour accuracy, with the lower points coming in tone response and luminance uniformity.
Overall, it’s a strong result that indicates this monitor should be fine for image-sensitive work. It’s even better than the PD2710Qc, although there’s not much in it.
We’ll divide our impressions into two categories: professional use (the intended target market) and gaming (our personal favourite computer-based activity). Let’s get started.
The PD2700Q is designed for professional use, and in our testing (and in our benchmarks), the monitor was more than up to the task. The monitor’s excellent colour accuracy and uniformity ensures that photos will look as intended, as will support for full sRGB and Rec.709 (high-definition TV) gamuts.
Pictures on the monitor appeared crisp and natural, with the 1440p resolution making it easier to colour-grade 1080p footage with room for controls. That same resolution also doesn’t require any scaling in Windows or Mac, which ensures the monitor will look good with a wide range of applications, web pages and assets.
The monitor also comes with a number of helpful modes, including a CAD/CAM mode, an animation mode and a darkroom mode. These all seemed relatively helpful, although if you are used to working without these modes you may find it preferable to continue with what you’re comfortable with. In any case, it’s nice to have the option — a sentiment shared with the inclusion of the low blue light mode, which removes the need for warming modes in flux and recent versions of Windows 10.
In terms of adjustability, the PD2700Q also appeals. Height adjustment is particularly welcomed, given the differing statures of the human race, but you can also tilt, swivel and rotate to your heart’s desire. Each adjustment you make is maintained as well, with no shake or play to be found.
We tested the monitor in a number of games, including Call of Duty: World War II and American Truck Simulator. The 60Hz refresh rate and 4ms response time means this monitor isn’t an ideal choice for fast-paced games like Call of Duty, Counter-Strike or PUBG. (For a more balanced pick, we’d recommend trying a 144Hz IPS monitor.) However, slower-paced games like Divinity: Original Sin 2 and American Truck Simulator aren’t hampered by a standard 60Hz refresh rate. That gives you a nice chance to enjoy the rolling landscapes with vibrant colours and the added detail of 1440p. This isn’t a gaming monitor, but that doesn’t make it a bad choice for some games!
The PD2700Q is a sensible monitor for creative workers, combining a solid colour-accurate IPS panel with stand-out adjustability and helpful specialist modes. If you’d prefer a similar monitor (albeit with an 8-bit panel) but with a USB-C docking station built in, check out the BenQ PD2710Qc.
You can purchase the BenQ PD2700Q via the link(s) below: