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BenQ SW271 monitor review

 


Review of the BenQ SW271 / 4K monitor
Published on September 30, 2018

 

BenQ continues its conquest of the high-end display market with this brand new BenQ SW271. It is a 27 inch display showing the Adobe RGB 98 gamut in 4K. If, during my last BenQ screen tests, I had noticed the high quality of colour reproduction, the almost perfect packaging and the finish, I had sometimes been less complimentary about the homogeneity of their panels. What about this great last one with asserted claims?

 

To quickly present this monitor we can say that it is a 27 inch 4K (3840 x 2160 - 168 dpi) for photographers or graphic designers either experienced amateurs or professionals. Its panel is obviously matte considering the targeted area, with IPS technology (White LEDs), 10/14 bit LUT table and wide gamut so covering the Adobe RGB 98 to 99%. It is classified in the category of so-called "Graphic Arts" screens. It is sold for 989 dollars when the competition is much more expensive. But for which concessions?


 
 

In a few words...

 

BenQ SW271

$989.10

The technical data sheet of this BenQ SW271 4K is dreamlike but we' ll have to deal with a uniformity below the values we usually find at this level of the range! - Read my conclusion  

 
  Other prices...
 
$989.10
CDN$ 1,468.90
 
     

 

 

Introduction to the BenQ SW271 monitor

To start with, here a few illustrations of this monitor of flawless ergonomics...

   
BenQ SW271 screen and its hood   BenQ SW271 display in upright position
BenQ SW271 screen ergonomics   Back of the screen BenQ SW271
   
  Technical specifications
  BenQ SW271 Launch price: $1,000
Panel size
27" 16:9 - 3840 x 2160 - 168 ppi
 
Panel technology
IPS white LED (New matte panel)
  Uniformity check
No
  Color space 99% Adobe RGB 98, 100% sRGB, 95% DCI-P3
  Certifications No
 
Brightness/contrast
350 Cd/M2 / 963:1 measured
 
LUT table
10 bits / 14 bits - possible hardware calibration
  Response time 5 ms
 
Screen dimensions
618 x 223 x 578 / 50 mm
  Border widths 10 mm
  Color calibration soft Yes - Palette Master Element
  Connectivity DP 1.4 + HDMI + hub USB 3.0 + USB-C
  VESA compatibility yes - 100 mm
  Hood Yes
  Warranty 3 years - BenQ US
  Company benq.com
 
 

What's included in the box...

The monitor is sold with:

  • The power cord... of course!
  • The HDMI to HDMI cable,
  • A USB 3.0 cable for hardware calibration and powering the USB HUB,
  • A USB-C to USB-C cable,
  • Individual calibration report,
  • Palette Master Element in CD.


Bulkiness and perceived quality

The display has a 27-inch panel and is 61.8 cm wide overall. The edges (black edges of the screen + screen border) are really thin (10 mm). The custom hood is provided. Nothing to say, especially since the perceived quality is excellent. It is heavy, well designed and the movements are fluid.

The monitor and its panel

1 - Definition/resolution - It is thus a "glossy" IPS panel as they're called nowadays (!), normal for this range of screens called "Graphic Arts", of 3840 x 2160 pixels. Its resolution is thus 168 ppi. Classic for a 27" 4K. The backlighting is a white LEDs type.

   
BenQ SW271 hood
  The custom-made BenQ SW271 hood is sold with the display

2 - The panel and its anti-reflective coating Contrary to a trend over the past two years on all monitors tested, the anti-reflective coating of this BenQ SW271 is once again a little more visible than on the best current products. As a result, it "marks" a little the pixels that become almost visible when we talk about a 4K screen. Curious paradox and almost a bad point...

The panel of the BenQ SW271 screen and its very thin edges

Thickness of the edges of the screen

They are 10 mm wide so we are dealing with a screen with very thin edges that favours multi-screens. This is a significant quality of this screen.

 

Thickness of the edges of the BenQ SW271

 

To be read!
My recommendations to choose your monitor for photography 


The hardware calibration software "Palette Master Element" 

This monitor is sold with its hardware calibration software: Palette Master Element - which is a proprietary solution based on the famous X-Rite i1Profiler. Among other things, it allows you to choose a gamma according to the L Star curve for those who, for example, print a lot of their photos and perhaps better control of black and white levels. Calibration can indeed focus on shades of grey and this monitor is sold with an original accessory - a wired remote control - which allows you to modify the gamut of the screen, just by clicking on one of the three buttons (in addition to a quick access to the OSD menu) as on the BenQ SW2700PT. (I'll talk about it again just below).

 

Palette Master Element de BenQ

 

Accessories

It is sold with the power cord (Phew!), a USB 3.0 wire to supply the two USB 3.0 plug-ins and allow hardware calibration (by placing the ICC profile directly in the LUT table of the screen) if you use Master Element Pallet + SD card reader on the side of the screen, HDMI > HDMI cable and finally a USB-C > USB-C cable. In 2018, there is little we can do better than that! We will see in the next paragraph that BenQ adds another accessory of its own and very practical: an OSD controller in the form of a wired remote control...

Wired remote control OSD BenQ SW271
The OSD controller comes in the form of a wired remote control that is found with the BenQ SW2700PT and that comes naturally at the bottom of the screen. It allows you to change color space in one click!

This remote controller enables to select three types of presets:

  • Gamut Adobe RGB 98,
  • Gamut sRGB,
  • Black and white.

This remote also enables to access the OSD menu of the screen. Very convenient even if it is not essential because it isn't used so often!

 

The three color modes of BenQ SW271


The three color modes of BenQ SW271

 

The buttons of the screen menu

The keys of the screen menu are classic, i. e. via small buttons on the screen on the right. The ON/OFF button is illuminated.

 

Details of BenQ SW271 and its menu buttons


Ergonomics

Ergonomics are exemplary: the range of motion - and its smoothness - of the screen in height, tilting and rotation will enable all users to find their ideal setting. Truly perfect! The same is true about the menu buttons and this particular accessory I just mentioned: the wired remote control that is placed at the center of the foot and enables to control the OSD menu. The central column is also provided with a wire grommet more discreet than the BenQ PG2401PT's. Excellent!

 

The ergonomics of BenQ SW271

 

The connectivity

This display has an HDMI socket (with direct connection to a digital camera or a camera), a DisplayPort socket, a USB 3.0 socket to ensure hardware calibration, i. e. to send the generated ICC profile directly to the LUT table of the display and not only to the graphics card and finally two USB 3.0 sockets and finally a USB-C socket. This monitor is therefore complete!

 

The connectivity of BenQ SW271

 

 

What is the BenQ SW271 monitor worth after calibration with the i1Display Pro + i1Profiler

I calibrated this monitor with the best current sensor (except the superlative and very expensive Basic) in a simply excellent price/quality ratio: the i1Display Pro + i1Profiler software (version 1.8.1) in this first test) then with the proprietary software, Palette Master Element and still the same sensor.

I chose the following screen settings:

  • Color space couleur: Adobe RGB 98
  • Gamma: Adobe RGB 98 (2,2)
  • Contrast: 50% / Native
  • Color temperature: 6500K (Adobe RGB 98).

And as target values in the i1Profiler software 1.8.1... 

  • Display technology : Choose white diodes,
  • D65 or possibly a little less if you want a slightly warmer screen. (Note that at D55, the screen is really warm but not yellow like on cheap monitors),
  • Luminance: 90 Cd/m2 or more depending on your main use (printing or web) and especially the brightness of your room,
  • ContrastNative (possibly 287:1 for those who print a lot),
  • Gamma : 2,2 – standard curve, The L* is only available with Palette Master Element and there is a lot to say about this L* gamma anyway),
  • ADC functionality disabled,
  • ICC norm: V2 (to avoid incompatibility problems with some image viewing software (images too dark) and obviously V4 if you know what you are doing).

And the result is?


Objective data: what does the final report say after calibration?

Importante note! I was not able to compare objective data using i1Profiler's analysis tools because the ICC profile generated by SMEs is not compatible.

1 - i1Profiler Final Report:

 

Final report after calibration of BenQ SW271 with i1Display Pro

 

My opinion: We are dealing with a high-end display because all the targeted values are well achieved: 6503 K, 0.1 cd/m2 of black luminance and 912 : 1 of contrast ratio. This is not, for the last value of a record but we are not at the top of the LED display range.


2 - Delta E (norm 2000) :

 

Delta E after calibration of BenQ SW271 with i1Display Pro

 

My opinion: With "normal" eyes, I dare you see a difference with an Eizo CS2730! With the norm 2000, it gives for all patches: 0.30 and for the highest ones: 1.29!!!! It's hard to do much better, even on an Eizo CS or CG. So it' s all good!

Now the luminance and color temperature harmonization tests:

Considering the disappointment with some of the BenQ SW2700PT models, it is especially here that this new 27-inch BenQ is most awaited...

 

Luminance uniformity after calibration of BenQ SW271 with i1Display Pro

 

And it's still not any good. 14% in the upper right and left corners is a lot. And it is even worse in dark greys (L = 63):

 

BenQ SW271 screen uniformity measurement in luminance

 

We reach 25% of difference with respect to the center of the screen.... On an Eizo CS2730 (certainly not 4K but Adobe RGB 98 and obviously 27 inches too) we remain at a maximum 5% difference whatever the level of brightness. On a screen at less than $500 I would be more forgiving but I am really more doubtful on a screen at nearly $1000 and with a professional aim.

 

BenQ SW271 screen uniformity measurement in color temperature

 

It's practically the same. The upper left corner shows a deviation of 3 delta and this is indeed visible in "real" life. The screen is warmer in a large upper left half. It's not a big deal, but Eizo is doing much better and the screen is still not cheap. Here are the pictures taken during my test:

 

Bad uniformity of the panel of my copy of the BenQ SW271

Lack of homogeneity of BenQ SW271

Uniformity of the BenQ SW271 panel photographed well in front of the screen. You can see very clearly with the naked eye that my test copy, the screen is "warmer" on the left.

 

 

What is the BenQ SW271 monitor worth after calibration with the i1Display Pro + Palette Master Element (BenQ)

I then calibrated this monitor in hardware mode, using the i1 Display Pro colorimeter and BenQ Palette Master Element software, not to mention connecting the USB cable sold with the monitor.

 

 

We get back on values similar to those obtained with i1Profiler... as if by chance! Let's just note in passing that we can't measure the uniformity of the screen with this software on this monitor.

And my subjective data: what does my eye see after calibration with PME or i1Profiler?

By displaying a blank browser page, we can clearly see that the i1Profiler calibration is more "reddish" and by comparison more "greenish" with Palette Master Element, exactly like with ColorNavigator on Eizo. However, in my non-standard work environment I find it easier to align my secondary screens with the i1Profiler calibration, which I find more "natural". On the other hand, on my test photo of the Bon Samaritan's stained glass window in Bourges Cathedral, the colors are really very similar. So Palette Master Element work very well but I like it less.

My recommendation! The Palette Master Element software may be a "proprietary" software (which looks terribly like i1Profiler), but it allows calibration with the choice of the L Star gamma curve, hardware calibration and what else, I prefer my dear i1Display Pro + i1Profiler!

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  BenQ SW271  
Color fidelity 9,0/10
Uniformity of the panel 5,0/10
Resolution 10/10
Ergonomic design 10/10
Connectivity 10/10
Manufacturing quality 9,5/10
Value for money 7,0/10

 

  What I like very much...  
 
  • Figures after calibration that are close to the best with the i1Display Pro + i1Profiler or Palette Master Element,
  • Hardware calibration with Palette Master Element,
  • Also perfect ergonomics,
  • 3 presets on the screen: Adobe RGB 98, sRGB and Black & white,
  • Very complete and ergonomic menus,
  • Real and checked wide gamut,
  • Custom hood,
  • High-end connectivity (end of 2018): USB-C in particular!
  • And frankly the best quality/price ratio today.... if you get a homogeneous copy because...
 
     
  What I regret...  
 
  • Insufficient uniformity in luminance and color temperature because it is visible to the naked eye and obviously confirmed by the measurement on my test copy,
  • Slight darker band at the bottom of the screen,
  • Anti-reflective coating a little too visible: it brings out the pixels yet a priori very discreet since we have to do with a 4K screen but this will be especially visible if you have two screens because I almost quibbled,
  • The price... so... but only fi you get a bad copy,
  • So it's a bit of a lottery when buying: will I get a good serial number?!
 
     
  My overall rating...  
  7,5 / 10... on my copy  
     
  My conclusion...  
 
Its technical data sheet is inspiring! As a result, its price is also very attractive. But... My copy - and I stress this point very strongly - was not homogeneous enough for a professional-quality screen at nearly $1,000. In other words, if you come across a homogeneous copy, you are the happiest of the owners because this screen is full of other qualities but as there seems to be some disparity at the factory you will play the raffle at the time of purchase. My score of 7.75 sanctions this because if you fell well then it would surely be 9.0. In the hope that BenQ will strengthen its quality control before shipment... like the famous competitor brand.
 
     
   
 
BenQ SW271
$989.10
$989.10
CDN$ 1,468.90
 
   
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Here is my complete review of the BenQ SW271 monitor
 
- Complete review of the BenQ SW271
  - Introduction to the BenQ SW271
- What is the BenQ SW271 worth after calibration?
- My rating and conclusion
 

- My 13 monitor reviews!
- How to choose your monitor?
- How to calibrate your monitor?


 

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