Monitors have really changed over the years. Back long before I even dreamed about opening the Personal Computer Museum I remember having to worry about colour versus monochrome, and then more specifically about VGA, EGA, CGA and then Super VGA. We had options for multisync and all kinds of other things that affected performance and price. In the past few years, it seems like the only thing that really changed was the size and the refresh rate but lately we have been given a lot more choices. Monitors are now more specialized, giving us the advanced features for gaming, general purpose, or (as in this case) geared towards visual artists.
A Monitor with a Purpose
While the BenQ SW2700PT will work as a general purpose monitor for anyone it is specifically designed for photographers and those doing video editing work. Whether being done for professional or personal reasons, colour is extremely important when it comes to either of these things. Adobe, makers of the popular picture editing software Photoshop (and its sister video editing software, Premiere) even created their own colour space called Adobe RGB to try and correctly reproduce colours on various devices, including displays. This monitor supports this standard and has special software available to match the colours properly.
The first thing you will notice when taking this monitor out of the box is that there are extra parts in there for a “skirt” (or shading hood as it is appropriately called) that goes around the top and sides. These are optional, but block out extra light from hitting the screen that could affect the colour balance. For example, warm fluorescents in a room could change the colours to appear warmer than they should be. When you are colour correcting a photograph or video, what appears correct to you could be way off for this reason.
Calibration Means Perfection
You will also notice a colour calibration report that comes with each monitor from the factory. In my case I didn’t really even need to calibrate the monitor beyond what was already there but if your lighting situation is drastically different you might want to make some adjustments. You can also setup different profiles for different situations (or even users) if you want.
|BenQ SW2700PT 27″ Monitor Specs:
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Another somewhat unusual feature of this monitor is the inclusion of an OSD “puck”. That’s an on-screen display controller for those keeping score and you might be wondering exactly what that is. Well, since this monitor is very focused on control of colours you could be spending a lot of time adjusting things. If you have ever tried to adjust the brightness level or contrast level on a standard monitor you could find yourself being easily frustrated with some monitors because it’s easy to forget which button does what on the side or bottom of the monitor and if you are anything like me, you are constantly exiting the menu when you thought you were pushing the up or down button only to dive back into the choices again and screw up yet again. It can be an awful experience and BenQ has recognized this and made a special, more traditional controller that you can optionally plug-in to handle these sorts of things. It even has a nice resting place at the base of the monitor – a nice touch and one that is surely going to be appreciated both those that take advantage of all that this monitor has to offer.
Thanks for the Input
When it comes to inputs the monitor supports DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort although it was a little surprising to find out that it’s only HDMI 1.4. Certainly not a deal breaker, but the fact that no HDMI cable is included might be a little telling that BenQ doesn’t really expect too many people to use that input for this monitor. Cables for the other input types are included and the exclusion of HDMI is really not that surprising since a wide gamut of HDMI cables in various lengths are readily available.
Once you get the monitor setup with your computer you will notice the native resolution of 2560×1440 (QHD) gives you an incredibly sharp look in those 27 inches, with 109 pixels per inch clarity. The colours are the real star here, though, with support of 99% of the Adobe RGB spectrum. As a much appreciated feature targeted towards film makers or photographers the monitor also features a “black-and-white” mode that allows you to preview colour photos in black-in-white without having to do anything in the software. It’s the kind of feature that makes you go “wow, why didn’t they think of this before?” that is a real time saver for someone who will be using this professionally.
A Little Bit and a Little Bit There
From a colour perspective the 10-bit display is going to give you noticeably more gradient choices in colours, generating over a billion colours in total. The LUT (Look-up-table) actually supports 14-bit, so regardless of the situation the colour spectrum is going to be completely covered in terms of what the human eye can discern. It’s not just the Adobe RGB standard that is supported – the open sRGB colour space also has full support so if that is more your style, you are covered there as well.
When it comes to calibration there is an optical disc that includes the proprietary Palette Master Element software so that if you change environments you can make sure your monitor is calibrated perfectly each time and there is also a hardware calibration option too that lets you change the image processing chip in the monitor. No matter what your style, the BenQ SW2700PT has you covered in the color department.
Overall I have been very impressed with this monitor. The colours are just magnificent and I loved watching some videos that I knew had great colour saturation and seeing how they looked on the screen. The added touches of the shading hood, black-and-white button and OSD controller are all great design choices that underscore the target market this monitor was designed for. It makes a beautiful, colourful view of that world.
Check out this BenQ 27″ Monitor at Best Buy