BenQ SW2700T: Do You See What I See?

 

BenQ may be a surprise entrant in the world of photographer-targetted monitors, but the SW2700T largely delivers on its promises. Raj Lalwani puts it on the test bench.

The BenQ SW2700PT is a 27-inch monitor that directly targets the discerning professional photographer. A relatively new entrant to this specialised product category, the BenQ seemed like a promising prospect on paper, as it has a great deal of functionality that you would otherwise find only in far more expensive screens like Eizos. With a price of merely USD 690 (approx. Rs. 48,000), the SW2700T seemed to be the least expensive monitor amongst those that cover an impressive 99% of the Adobe RGB colour space. However, when we received this exciting product for review, we had to reevaluate our expectations, considering the stark difference in the monitor’s Indian pricing—a hefty Rs. 75,000!

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The Adobe RGB gamut is significantly larger than sRGB. Very few monitors can even show 80% of the Adobe RGB gamut, and the fact that the BenQ comes close to displaying 99% is fantastic.

Promises a Lot
A QHD display and a ppi setting of 109, the SW2700PT has a true 10-bit display. The differences betwene 8-bit and 10-bit are subtle, but 10-bit ensures that the tonal gradations are way smoother and colour transition is also relatively smooth. I was particularly impressed by the low reflectance of the screen. Unlike some of the other monitors in the market, the anti-reflectance coating does not affect the amount of detail that is perceptible, and this is an area where the BenQ does quite well. Coupling with the included lens shade can help ensure that ambient light does not adversely affect the user experience.

Impressively Accurate

The ergonomics of the monitor are a bit of a mixed bag. The connectors are placed in a very cumbersome position. Setting up is simple, but the stand feels a little flimsy. The Palette Master Element proprietary software is efficient enough, but a dedicated hardware calibrater gives significantly better results.

Like all high-end screens, the SW2700PT is a hardware calibration equipped screen, and also comes precalibrated out of the box. Personally, I have never regarded precalibration as something that must be trusted for serious use, but a quick calibration process with the X-Rite i1 helped set up the screen. In terms of accuracy of colour reproduction and tonal range, the BenQ performs rather well. The standard deviation from the norm, or Delta-E, is impressively low.

An interesting feature of the BenQ is a set of preset buttons that can shuffle between Adobe RGB, sRGB and B&W views. While a purist may find a feature like this amateurish, it can actually be of great value. A quick switch to sRGB view helps proof your images for the web, and a one-touch B&W conversion can only help you previsualise whether a certain frame works in monochrome, before you actually set out to postprocess it with precision.

Value for Money, or Is It?

With Delta-Es below 2 being extremely difficult for most human eyes to discern, two other factors become very crucial while choosing a monitor. One, value, and two, consistency. Almost always, these are two factors that tend to be inversely proportional to each other, as reliability comes at a price. The BenQ SW2700PT is one of the most exciting products at its US price, but considering an INR cost of Rs. 75,000, it starts getting some stiff competition. The Apple monitor is only slightly more expensive, and while the BenQ holds its own, it would be difficult for the company to challenge the brand perception that the Apple monitor gives. More so, while the holy grails of Eizos are much more expensive, a significant price premium in India means that a slightly smaller Eizo monitor is not much more expensive. The SW2700PT gets a thumbs up for what it delivers, but the company really ought to reconsider their pricing

FINAL RATINGS
Features
Preset buttons, 99% Adobe RGB display
17/20
Performance
Quite accurate, minimal reflectance
32/35
Build Quality
Reasonably well built, flimsy stand
22/25
Ergonomics
Cumbersome connector placement
11/15
Warranty & Support
Two-year warranty, wide service networks            
4/5
MRP Rs. 75,000
OVERALL 86%
VALUE FOR MONEY 2.5/5
Who should buy it? Discerning photographers whowish to make a lot of prints.
Why? The BenQ is an excellent monitor that delivers on accuracy, but wait for its prices to stabilise.

 

Tags: BenQ, BenQ SW2700PT, better photography, Monitor, Raj Lalwani, Reviews