Hard­ware

One of the most af­ford­able 10-bit LCD dis­plays on the mar­ket is per­fect for colour ob­ses­sives, but have com­pro­mises been made else­where?

ImagineFX - - Contents -

Dig­i­tal artistry de­pends on us­ing a dis­play that of­fers high colour ac­cu­racy, bright colours and wide view­ing an­gles. The good news is that even rel­a­tively af­ford­able modern mon­i­tors with IPS pan­els are ex­cel­lent to work on.

You can pick up a well-built 24- or 27-inch screen that will be per­fectly suitable for around £250. In this price range you can ex­pect full sRGB cov­er­age and gen­eral im­age qual­ity that will be ab­so­lutely fine for dayto-day paint­ing use.

How­ever, real colour ex­cel­lence ain’t cheap. Full AdobeRGB cov­er­age is a far more sig­nif­i­cant bench­mark, be­cause the wider gamut de­liv­ers a no­tably su­pe­rior pic­ture qual­ity, which is im­me­di­ately no­tice­able as soon as you turn on the screen. Reds that you could just cud­dle up to on the couch, greens that make you want to lie in

Art that looks washed out on a stan­dard screen re­ceive an in­jec­tion of vi­brancy

mead­ows on a sunny day. Im­ages come alive, and it’s hard to go back to us­ing a stan­dard screen af­ter us­ing one. But good luck find­ing any dis­play in this cat­e­gory for un­der £1,000… and some can cost sig­nif­i­cantly more.

That ex­plains why we’re re­view­ing BenQ’s SW2700PT, a very high-qual­ity 27-inch dis­play that can go a long way to­wards all the lovely im­agery we de­scribe, with full (99 per cent) AdobeRGB cov­er­age, at a more palat­able £599 price point. This makes it one of the most af­ford­able full­colour mon­i­tors on the mar­ket.

The se­cret sauce is the SW2700PT’s 10-bit colour ac­cu­racy and 14-bit lookup-ta­ble (LUT) that re­ally de­liv­ers the goods. Art that ap­pears washed out on a stan­dard screen re­ceive an in­jec­tion of vi­brancy here. This will help you to choose bet­ter, more ac­cu­rate colours to en­sure your work re­tains its eye-pop­ping beauty else­where, thanks to a big­ger palette than you might be used to. Its 350-nit bright­ness is fairly av­er­age com­pared with other dis­plays, and it doesn’t do HDR, but it still looks great.

The er­gonomics are fan­tas­tic, too. In ad­di­tion to the screen’s full tilt, ro­tate and height ad­just­ment, the OSD is sim­ple and easy to nav­i­gate, with im­age pre­sets for Adobe, sRGB, Rec. 709 and DCI-P3. The phys­i­cal con­trols are lo­cated within easy reach on the lower edge and best of all, BenQ has a clever wired re­mote con­trol that sits in the base, en­abling you to flick through the var­i­ous op­tions with­out hav­ing to fid­dle with the but­tons. Hard­ware cal­i­bra­tion is built in, and it comes with a mon­i­tor hood for re­duced am­bi­ent glare.

The BenQ SW2700PT is a win­ner then. It’s ab­so­lutely great value for money and the colour ac­cu­racy it of­fers will make a dif­fer­ence for any artist still work­ing within the con­fines of a stan­dard mon­i­tor. If you can af­ford them, al­ter­na­tives do have more bells and whis­tles, higher res­o­lu­tions and larger dis­play ar­eas, but if not, the SW2700PT is a great short­cut to get­ting high-end im­age qual­ity.

BenQ’s SW2700PT is one of the most af­ford­able colourac­cu­rate dis­plays around

The shad­ing hood re­duces am­bi­ent light and re­flec­tions, al­though it can be re­moved if you pre­fer. The se­lec­tion of ports isn’t quite as gen­er­ous as on other dis­plays. In use, the eye-pop­ping colours will def­i­nitely im­press in which­ever screen con­fig­u­ra­tion you opt for.

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