BenQ SW2700PT review

BenQ’s SW2700PT is the perfect monitor for photographers

BenQ’s SW2700PT offers an amazing screen with every customization option and feature possible, at a reasonable price.
BenQ’s SW2700PT offers an amazing screen with every customization option and feature possible, at a reasonable price.
BenQ’s SW2700PT offers an amazing screen with every customization option and feature possible, at a reasonable price.

Highs

  • Near-perfect panel and processing
  • No calibration needed
  • Decent price point
  • Sturdy, versatile stand

Lows

  • Not for gamers
  • Only one DisplayPort

While other monitors are content to offer features like one-millisecond response times and adaptive refresh technology, there are users out there with more specific needs for their displays. Media professionals require perfect color accuracy, preset modes for different presentation methods, deep contrast to show defined edges, and they need it all at the push of a button.

The BenQ SW2700PT is a computer monitor built with those people in mind. It claims a color gamut that covers 99 percent of AdobeRGB, high contrast levels, and numerous customization options. The LCD panel features 2,560 x 1,440 resolution in the 27-inch panel, which translates to about 108 pixels per inch.

Priced at $630, this BenQ isn’t particularly cheap, but the set of features it claims to offer are impressive. Can it follow through on those promises, or will the SW2700PT break some hearts?

A refreshing break from the norm

BenQ has managed to avoid a pitfall that most monitors fall into by providing the SW2700PT with a decent stand. The wide base and strong neck means the display doesn’t wobble like crazy when the desk it’s sitting on is bumped. The stand also allows for height adjustment, tilt, pivot, and can rotate up to 90 degrees if you need to use it vertically. There’s even a hole in the support to run all of your cables through so they don’t splay loosely out from the back of the screen.

The monitor feels well-built and weighty. Panels are tight and the textured dark grey plastic is a nice change from the glossy black we’re used to seeing. It also gives the monitor a serious, professional look.

Our review unit proved its professional chops with an included shade. This helps reduce glare on the semi-gloss screen, which keeps colors as accurate as possible. Assembling or disassembling the shade is easy, and it includes a small portal through which a calibration tool can be lowered, making it possible to calibrate with the shade in place.

One of every port

The BenQ SW2700PT offers a selection of inputs and outputs, but is limited by the number of each that it offers. There’s only one DisplayPort input, which means no daisy-chaining multiple monitors. HDMI and DVI are also an option. There are two USB 3.0 ports and an SD card reader on the monitor’s side. We’ve seen alternatives with more connections, but we think the ports provided here will be enough for most potential owners.

TVs have a remote control, so why not a monitor?

The monitor’s on-screen menus have a surprising amount of depth, but the fact that there are five buttons, and none of them are labeled, is a bit confusing at first. While the left three buttons open source, color, and brightness from left to right, all of the other settings are stuffed into the fourth option into three submenus.

Colors are full and vivid, and black levels have a painted, inky quality to them.

The first sub-menu, Display, only has options for Input and Aspect ratio. Color Adjustment has quite a few settings to tweak, and each includes numerous options. Color accuracy can be set to standard, AdobeRGB, sRGB, Black and white, photo, and low blue light mode, plus configurable options for two different calibrations and two manual custom settings. Brightness, contrast, black level, and sharpness are all on numerical sliding scales, while gamma settings include at least 1.8 and 2.2 (with more depending on inputs). Color temperature is definable at 5000K, 6500K, and 9300K, and gamut can be set to AdobeRGB or sRGB. The final sub-menu, System, lets you change OSD language and clock settings, auto power off and pivot settings, remote control presets, and reset the monitor to factory defaults.

BenQ ships the SW2700PT a wired remote control for the monitor’s settings. It might not seem important at first, but after using it for a few minutes it made everything about calibrating and tuning the monitor so much easier. The remote also means there’s no need to hunch over in the monitor’s direction while adjusting settings.

Ready to roar

Of course, the SW2700PT’s real skills are its technical abilities. The 27-inch screen has a resolution of 2,560 x 1,440, for a modest PPI of 108.

BenQ promises to cover 99 percent of the AdobeRGB spectrum, but even in the AdobeRGB color mode, it only reaches 93 percent. That’s still a very high rating, only beaten by a couple of screens, one of which is the quantum dot panel found on Asus’ Zenbook NX500 notebook. In truth, most displays claiming 100 percent AdobeRGB coverage don’t reach it in our tests, so this result, while a bit disappointing, is not out of line with the competition.

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Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Brightness is excellent, reaching 382 lux when turned all the way up. That puts it in the brightest tier of displays we’ve reviewed, and the contrast is equally impressive, boasting a ratio of 780:1 at full brightness.

Color accuracy is perhaps the most impressive stat of all on the BenQ. It’s generally accepted that a difference of one or lower isn’t detectable by the human eye, and the SW2700PT manages an average of .84. That’s just about tied with the Acer Aspire V Nitro’s .83, and only beaten otherwise by the quantum dot display on the Asus Zenbook NX500.

Gamma is slightly off, reporting 2.3 on the 2.2 setting, but it’s not far enough off to make a major difference when viewing images or videos.

BenQ-SW2700PT-monitor-mainfull2
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

The result of the BenQ’s excellent technical performance is a gorgeous panel, even without calibration at all. Colors are full and vivid, and black levels have a painted, inky quality to them, even at full brightness. This is a display that most photographers an digital artists will be happy to use right out of the box.

Leave the calibrating to the pros

In fact, calibrating didn’t do much to improve the display qualities of the monitor. In some cases, the calibration actually weakened some of the strengths of the monitor, although not in a way that would be visible to the naked eye.

This BenQ sets the standard for what a quality display looks like.

This is not to say you can’t change how the image looks. As mentioned already, BenQ provides a long list of image adjustments, making it possible to tune the display however you like. Digital Trends benchmarks against certain ideal results, however, such as low color accuracy and high contrast. Our calibration didn’t improve the monitor in the areas we test.

Fortunately, there’s a nice benefit to proper factory calibration, and that’s price. Some users may not see a need to buy a device to read and calibrate this already premium monitor.

Warranty

BenQ provides a standard three-year warranty on LCD monitors that covers parts, labor, and the LCD back light. BenQ even covers 48-hour shipping both ways, with special exemptions for devices that are DOA within thirty days.

No compromises – not even price

Computer monitors can’t be everything to everyone, despite how hard some of them try. Instead, BenQ leaves gamers and casual web surfers behind with a display that will appeal to professionals and anyone looking for a top-notch experience.

And indeed, the SW2700PT follows through on that promise by shattering our standards for what a quality display looks like. Even with the high-end panel and processing, the BenQ falls right in the middle of the price point for 1440p displays. While some monitors at that resolution, like the Asus PB278Q, are closer to the $400 price point, the gaming-minded and purpose-built screens like the Acer XB270HU break $700 easily.

At $630, the BenQ offers non-gamers an amazing screen with every customization option and feature possible at a reasonable price point. The SW2700PT doesn’t compromise on what real users need, and excels in every benchmark we have for displays.

If you’re looking for a gaming monitor, or the cheapest 1440p option, then keep moving. If you’re looking for a display that offers impeccable color reproduction, sturdy build quality, and a wide range of customization options, then your search is over.

Highs

  • Near-perfect panel and processing
  • No calibration needed
  • Decent price point
  • Sturdy, versatile stand

Lows

  • Not for gamers
  • Only one DisplayPort

Available at: BenQ | Amazon