In recent years, AOC has been the go-to brand if you wanted a cheap IPS PC monitor. But other manufacturers have been quick to release their own models, and BenQ’s new GW2406Z should prove tempting at just £120.
The GW2406Z isn’t aimed at gamers specifically – IPS screens don’t have the fast response rates of TN panels. But for casual gamers it will be fine. Instead, this is a ‘general use’ screen that’s going after those that want a good-looking monitor and the kind of ultra-thin bezels we’re starting to see on laptops. Note that the display itself doesn’t go right to the edge of the panel, but stops a few millimetres before it, so the total bezel width is around 10mm, but has the appearance of 5mm.
This thinning down appears to have just one drawback: the power supply is external. But it’s a minor inconvenience if you can hide it out of sight somewhere under your desk. At this price you wouldn’t expect a fully adjustable stand, and you don’t get one. The screen tilts up and down, but that’s it.
It does have three inputs: DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 1.4 and VGA D-Sub. There’s a headphone output that routes audio from the HDMI or DisplayPort inputs, but there are no built-in speakers. VGA and HDMI cables are bundled in the box.
The 24in panel has the expected 1920x1080 full-HD resolution, but BenQ lists it as an AH-IPS panel. This stands for Advanced Highperformance IPS, but essentially it is the same as other IPS screens.
You won’t find many image controls in the on-screen menu, such as gamma or colour temperature presets, but the essentials are there. Using the OSD is a pain because, as with so many monitors, the button labels are almost invisible. And the five buttons in the bottom edge all feel the same to your fingers, so it’s all too easy to press the power button instead of the menu button.
Considering the price, image quality is decent. Attaching our Spyder5Elite colorimeter, we measured a maximum brightness of 240.6cm/m2 and contrast of 750:1 (lower than the claimed 250cd/m2 and 1000:1), but at least contrast remained the same no matter the brightness level.
At the recommended brightness of 120cm/m2, the black level of 0.25cd/m2 isn’t amazingly inky but – again, for the price – it’s perfectly workable.
The average Delta E of 1.92 is towards the higher end of what we like to see, but in general colours and greyscale are accurate.
Using the Spyder to calibrate the screen we saw a final gamma of 2.26, which is fairly close to the ideal of 2.2. But the out of the box settings are not far off that, so you won’t necessarily need a calibrator.
The 2406Z covers 98 percent of the sRGB gamut, 77 percent of Adobe RGB and 74 percent of NTSC. This, along with the reasonably accurate out-of-box colours, means it’s a good budget choice for editing photos and colour-correcting video, although not if this needs to be done to professional standards.
Contrast is good enough, and thanks to the IPS panel, viewing angles are very good both horizontally and vertically.
What this means is that, unlike cheap TN monitors, you won’t be tilting the screen back and forward to try to figure out which emails are read and unread – the subtly different shades are easily discernible on the BenQ. It also means minimal colour shift and brightness drop-off if you’re not viewing the display square on. But if you like to play a lot of fast-paced games, you might be better off with the similarly-priced AOC G2460VQ6, which has a 75Hz TN panel.
If you’re after a monitor with good colours and contrast, but aren’t bothered about fast response times for gaming, the GW2406Z is a great budget choice. Jim Martin