Dis­plays

Computer Shopper - - CONTENTS -

With some cal­i­brat­ing, the BenQ SW2700PT’s colour ac­cu­racy makes it a per­fect fit for pro­fes­sional edit­ing work

VER­DICT

A great pro­fes­sional-level mon­i­tor for jobs that de­mand high colour ac­cu­racy

IF YOU’RE SE­RI­OUSLY into photo or video edit­ing, a tra­di­tional mon­i­tor prob­a­bly won’t cut it, as it’s not ca­pa­ble of pro­duc­ing ac­cu­rate enough colours. In­stead, you need a pro­fes­sional model, such as the 27in BenQ SW2700PT that we have on re­view here.

The first clue that this mon­i­tor is some­thing a lit­tle dif­fer­ent is that it ships with a shad­ing hood. This three-sided box sits on the top and sides of the dis­play, re­duc­ing glare on the screen so that you get a clearer and more ac­cu­rate pic­ture. As­sem­bling this hood is straight­for­ward, with the sep­a­rate pieces neatly clip­ping to­gether and then slid­ing over the mount­ing brack­ets on the dis­play’s sides.

A sec­ond stand­out fea­ture of this screen is its USB-pow­ered wired re­mote con­trol. This cir­cu­lar de­vice is used to nav­i­gate through the mon­i­tor’s on­screen menus, mak­ing choos­ing set­tings far eas­ier than via the tra­di­tional but­tons on the bot­tom of the dis­play. Neatly, the re­mote drops into a cutout on the stand’s base, so you can store it when it’s not in use.

COM­FORT­ABLY AHEAD

As the SW2700PT is a pro­fes­sional mon­i­tor, the stand is ex­tremely flex­i­ble. It gives you height ad­just­ment be­tween 45mm and 85mm from your desk’s sur­face; it has a por­trait mode; and there’s a high de­gree of tilt and swivel. In other words, get­ting this dis­play con­fig­ured so that you can see the screen clearly is not dif­fi­cult. This is fur­ther helped by the IPS panel’s ex­cel­lent view­ing an­gles of 178 de­grees ver­ti­cal and hor­i­zon­tal.

The stan­dard VESA mount at the rear means that you can also con­nect the SW2700PT to a stand of your choice, if you’d rather wall-mount it or if you have a more flex­i­ble desk­top arm.

Around the back of the mon­i­tor are all the in­puts, with DVI, HDMI and Dis­playPort on of­fer. The mon­i­tor has no speak­ers, but a 3.5mm au­dio out­put means that you can plug in a pair of head­phones, de­liv­er­ing sound from your PC us­ing HDMI or Dis­playPort. BenQ has also in­cluded a two-port USB3 hub and an SD card slot with the dis­play, which is a real boon for pho­tog­ra­phers.

TO BE PRE­CISE

You’ll want to hook this dis­play up to your com­puter via USB, as the SW2700PT uses this to help it cal­i­brate. With most con­sumer dis­plays, colour cal­i­bra­tion in­volves cre­at­ing a soft­ware pro­file that sits on your PC. This soft­ware pro­file ad­justs the out­put to match what the dis­play ac­tu­ally shows, cor­rect­ing for colour dis­crep­an­cies.

With the SW2700PT, cal­i­bra­tion up­dates the dis­play’s colour Look Up Ta­bles (LUT) on the dis­play it­self, sav­ing the re­sults in the spe­cial Cal­i­bra­tion 1 or Cal­i­bra­tion 2 pro­files.

Cal­i­bra­tion re­quires a com­pat­i­ble colourime­ter (we used the X-Rite i1 Dis­play Pro) and the supplied BenQ Pal­ette Mas­ter El­e­ment soft­ware. This com­bi­na­tion of hard­ware and soft­ware has two main ad­van­tages. First, hard­ware cal­i­bra­tion should be more ac­cu­rate. Sec­ond, us­ing the USB con­nec­tion, the soft­ware can ad­just the dis­play’s set­tings on the fly to cre­ate a more ac­cu­rate im­age. With tra­di­tional colour cal­i­bra­tion, it’s more fid­dly as you first have to ad­just the dis­play’s bright­ness and in­di­vid­ual RGB con­trols.

Out of the box, we mea­sured the screen as able to dis­play 95.4% of the sRGB colour gamut and 95.4% of the Adobe RGB gamut. The dis­play was set to max­i­mum bright­ness at 335cd/m2, which re­sulted in a low con­trast ra­tio of 394:1. We mea­sured delta-E, which shows how ac­cu­rately colours are pro­duced, at a de­cent 1.49. Af­ter cal­i­brat­ing the screen with BenQ’s soft­ware, we boosted sRGB and Adobe RGB colour gamut cov­er­age to 100%. Cal­i­brat­ing for a bright­ness of 120cd/m2, we mea­sured the dis­play at a close 118.43cd/m2, with a low black level of 0.093cd/m2, giv­ing a much bet­ter con­trast ra­tio of 1,272:1. Given that the dis­play uses an IPS panel, this con­trast ra­tio is at the high end of what can be achieved. Af­ter cal­i­bra­tion, delta-E dropped to a su­perb 0.81.

Sub­jec­tively, the SW2700PT pro­duces an ex­cel­lent pic­ture. Com­pared side by side with a stan­dard con­sumer model (cal­i­brated us­ing soft­ware), the SW2700PT pro­duced a far more nat­u­ral pic­ture, with greater sub­tlety and finer colour gra­da­tion. Cer­tainly, for im­age or video edit­ing, the SW2700PT’s qual­ity im­age is a real ad­van­tage.

Dis­play uni­for­mity is ex­cel­lent, with no back­light bleed. Mea­sur­ing us­ing a colour cal­i­bra­tor, we found the ‘worst’ parts of the im­age were just 6cd/m2 dim­mer than the cen­tral part of the im­age. That’s im­pres­sive.

GO PRO

Even for stan­dard Win­dows use, the SW2700PT is a fine choice. With a res­o­lu­tion of 2,560x1,440, there’s plenty of res­o­lu­tion for the Win­dows desk­top. Text looks sharp and clear, and win­dow edges are clearly de­fined.

For a 2,560x1,440 dis­play, the SW2700PT seems ex­pen­sive, but you’re pay­ing for its colour ac­cu­racy and hard­ware cal­i­bra­tion. For ded­i­cated photo or video ed­i­tors, th­ese are fea­tures well worth pay­ing for. And com­par­ing the SW2700PT to its main com­pe­ti­tion, it’s ac­tu­ally com­par­a­tively good value.

If you’re not such a se­ri­ous ed­i­tor, then the Sam­sung CF791 (Shop­per 356) is a good choice and comes at a sim­i­lar price. The CF791 has a higher res­o­lu­tion of 3,440x1,440 and ex­cel­lent colour ac­cu­racy, al­though it’s a shade off what the SW2700PT de­liv­ers.

David Lud­low

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