Huge Screen Supertest (Part 6) - BENQ RL2240H & BENQ EW2730V

5/10/2012 9:12:11 AM


You’re a gamer, you’re on a tight budget and you need an LCD screen. Five years ago, we’d have pitied your predicament. Whatever you ended up with, Lt wasn’t going to be pretty. Fast forward to today and this gaming-optimised 22-inch panel is yours for just $176. And it’s full HD. Yip pee.

Description: BENQ RL2240H


That’s right, a full HD screen from a proper brand for $160 and the cost of a packet of fags. Ish. Give it up for globalisat ion and preposterously low electronics prices — but we digress. Cost and relatively modest screen diagonal aside, this BenQ also claims to improve your gaming prowess in RTS games. What you’re actually getting is an operating mode with colours and contrast tweaked for the demands of RTS games. If we’re really honest, as with most preset modes, we probably wouldn’t bother. The difference is marginal at best, and where it is noticeable, not unambiguously for the better.

It’s better to concentrate on the screen’s traditional TN virtues when it comes to gaming. Okay, it’s a classic TN panel, and that means black tones are corrupted with the slightest hint of blue, and there’s a bit of bleed around the panel edge. Inevitably, you’ll discover some compression of whites if you can be bothered to fire up the Lagom scales. This isn’t the most accurate monitor ever made.

Description: If $160 or so is all you can afford for a screen this is a safe bet for gaming

If $160 or so is all you can afford for a screen this is a safe bet for gaming

Great for gameing

But here’s the thing — in many ways, this screen looks nearly as good as the low-cost IPS panel in Dell’s Ultrasharp U2412M (reviewed p16). The colours are in the same ballpark for richness and vibrancy. Indeed, thanks to the tighter pixel pitch and smoother anti-glare coating, it’s sharper and clearer. The colours aren’t as accurate and the viewing angles fall short, but there’s no denying HD video looks great and games look even better.

What’s more, the TN tech makes for excellent pixel response. That’s not a surprise, but what we weren’t expecting at this price was BenQ’s AMA or Advanced Motion Accelerator. It boils down to switchable pixel overdrive and offers just two settings. So it’s not quite as sophisticated as the name suggests. But once enabled the response performance is fantastic.

Hell, even the chassis doesn’t look half bad with its Stormtrooper-style glossy white plastics, even if the tilt-only stand is a very basic affair. Meanwhile, DVI, HDMI and VGA ports are all provided. All of which brings us to the following remarkable conclusion. Regardless of cost, you could argue this is the best gaming monitor here. If $160 or so is your limit, that’s awfully good news.

Vital Statistics

Price $176


Size 21.5-inch

Panel type TN

Native resolution 1,920 xl,080

Pixel response 2ms

Viewing angle 170/1600 H/V




Fitness for purpose. More than anything, that’s what this big BenQ delivers. It would be all too easy to immediately disregard it based on its humdrum 1,920 x 1,080 native resolution. After all, you can have precisely the same pixel grid for a little over $160.


Description: BENQ EW2730V

Okay, at that price point, you’ll be squeezing those pixels into a much smaller 22-inch LCD panel. But when it comes to apps and web surfing, it’s pixel count not screen diagonal that really matters. You get no more viewable Windows desktop with this $381, 27-inch screen than you do from BenQ’s $140 special offer iO8Op (opposite).

But what if it’s games and movies above all else you want to your screen for? In that scenario, the BenQ EW2730V might just be purpose personified.

For starters, BenQ has given it a glorious, luxurious VA or Vertical Alignment panel. That’s not just any VA panel, but one from the very latest generation, complete with a claimed contrast performance of 3.000:1. Then there are 178° viewing angles in both planes; an LED backlight; a gorgeous looking chassis and stand replete with slithers of brushed alloy.

Description: A compelling screen that could be improved by a quicker pixel response

A compelling screen that could be improved by a quicker pixel response


The EW2730V might not be cheap per se, but it is awfully good value. That positive impression remains when you fire her up. This panel produces rich and vibrant colours without being oversaturated or artificial. The black levels and contrast are really super too, even if they’re not quite as stupendous as the 3,000:1 ratio suggests.

We’re big fans of the panel’s Surface. Too often, a good screen is spoiled by a stupid panel coating. IPS screens often suffer from sparkly, coarse surfaces, but the BenQ, in contrast, has it just right. The surface is super smooth, almost semi-glossy but without any nasty reflectivity. The result is extremely pleasant clarity and excellent contrast without the glossy screens’ downsides.

But what of pixel response, which is such a critical metric far gaming and sometimes the source of failure for VA screens? Well, BenQ offers switchable pixel overdrive. Once enabled, there’s evidence of mild inverse ghosting. Overall, response is good but not great. BenQ’s own RL2240H shows it a clean pair of pixels, but that’s what you’d expect from a modern TN screen. And don’t forget, that modest 1,920 x 1,080 pixel grid is easy on your GPU.

The story, then, is of a lovely looking screen that excels for watching movies and could only really be improved for games with 3D support and slightly quicker pixel response. To really succeed as an all rounder, the native resolution needs upgrading. But at this price, it’s a very compelling package.

Vital Statistics

Price $480


Size 27-inch

Paneltype VA

Native resolution 1920x1,080

Pixel response 8ms

Viewing angle 178/1780 H/V

Inputs DVI2xHDMI, component, VGA

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