BenQ SW270C Review

Dedicated photography and video monitor

BenQ SW270C
Review

Price when reviewed

£699

$772
Check current price

Our Verdict

Finding a monitor that's suited to both video and photography at a decent price is an almost impossible task. However, the new BenQ SW270C ticks almost every box, with high accuracy results, stylish design and incredibly well made. Although not a 4K monitor the visual quality of the display will suit most users, and with the puck making it easy to quickly switch between colour modes it's a great choice for today's photographic and video needs.

For

  • Excellent display Accuracy
  • Robust and well designed
  • Puck controller

Against

  • Not 4K resolution
  • Still expensive

What is the BenQ SW270C?

Finding a monitor that will display the colour spaces you need as a photographer or videographer can be difficult. Despite there being plenty of choices, those monitors that tick all the boxes can have eye-watering price tags.

The BenQ SW270C is by no means cheap compared with a run of the mill display, but when you compare the specs and quality against dedicated photography monitors that are twice the price, you can’t fail to be impressed.

It’s a huge leap forward in quality compared with standard monitors enabling you to edit in near full AdobeRGB, P3 or Rec. 709. What’s not to like?

BenQ SW270C Price & Availability

The BenQ SW270C price tag is £711 / $799 at the time of writing, and you can purchase it at retailers such as Adorama or Wex Photo Video.

For more information about the BenQ SW270C, visit BenQ.eu.

Features

For years I’ve used a 30-inch Apple Cinema Display, and while it was good, it never quite lived up to the quality of my smaller EIZO.

Both monitors have recently been retired, and the search has been on for a new model, I’ve tried and tested countless different models with prices between affordable and only in my dreams. Then the BenQ SW270C arrived.

I’ve tested many BenQ monitors over the years and have seen a steady increase in design and display quality. Many I’ve been impressed with, but there’s always been something that has held me back.

The BenQ SW270C is the first monitor to arrive that has almost every feature that I could want, selectable colour profiles, USB-C connection, IPS display and decent build quality and price.

BenQ SW270C

The only area it lacks in is full-blown 4K resolution, still for the price it works an even balance when you look through the rest of the features.

The BenQ SW270C promises a lot, but will it really live up to the promise and could it finally mark the end of a long search for my ideal monitor?

When it comes to monitor features, my list isn’t long: I need a monitor that will accurately display my images and video ready for editing. I want a display that will show a realistic preview of the content I’m working on. Why, so others who view my work will also see those images or video in the same way, as when I finished my edit.

Colour Space selection is at the top of my list, as is USB-C, as this makes it easy for me to connect to my various machines without hassle. I can also plug the monitor directly into a line-dock and not have to worry about a mess of cables.

The resolution I would prefer 4K, and although I used to like 30-inch monitors, I’ve found using two 27-inch, and a laptop display works better.

Specifications

The BenQ SW270C is a 27-inch monitor with IPS display that uses backlight technology.

Resolution is below what would be my ideal but is still a respectable 2560×1440, also known as Quad HD or QHD, this is the same used by older iMacs and many other monitors.

Max brightness is set at 300, which means that it can just about battle bright office environment and has a contrast ratio of 1000:1.

Importantly in a studio environment, the viewing angle is 178º in all directions, which is handy if you’re shooting tethered and using the display to view the images on the screen from different places around the studio.

BenQ SW270C

The refresh rate is 60Hz, so playing back footage shot on most cameras will look excellent and smooth. Importantly with video in mind, the aspect ration is 16:9.

Now on to the significant bit, the monitor can display 1.07 billion colours and has a colour gamut, saturation, of 99% AdobeRGB, 97% P3 and 100% sRGB, that’s good enough for me. The colour itself is 10bit.

The display area is 596.7×335.6mm with a Pixel Pitch of 0.2331
PPI.

When it comes to connectivity you have a headphone port in, 2 HDMI v2.0, DisplayPort v1.4, 2 USB 3.1 downstream, a USB 3.1 upstream a USB Type-C port and SD card reader on the site.

There’s also a puck that can be programmed to quickly switch between colour profiles or other settings you deem essential.

Build Quality

Removing the BenQ SW270C shows that BenQ has upped their game when it comes to build quality. In recent years the BenQ’s monitor quality has steadily been getting better, but the SW270C has a real feeling of quality.

The dark grey/black matt finish of the stand and surround looks very stylish, and there is nothing about the aesthetics that would look out of place in a high-end studio.

The stand has a reassuring weight to it, and assembling the stand and monitor, wires and all takes around five minutes.

A design feature of BenQ monitors that I like is the cable hole in the stand; it’s a small but nice touch as it enables you to keep the clean lines of the desk and other equipment.

At the top of the column is a small handle that makes it easy to lift and transport the monitor. In a studio situation where the monitor often gets shifted around this small feature is handy.

As ever the stand enables plenty of flexibility over the height, angle and tilt, and if you do want to rotate the monitor to portrait orientation you can.

The puck sits at the base of the stand, and it enables you to quickly switch between Colour Modes, adjust brightness and display input. Through the BenQ software Palette Master Element, you can customise the puck to your needs.

Performance

Plugging in and switching on display and before calibration, the default colour profiles look natural and instantly give you the visual reassurance that the monitor is displaying a high-quality image.

In use switching between colour, profiles is quick, and the puck makes this selection instant without the need to duck into the OSD, a feature I like.

By eye, the quality of the display looks fantastic, but the eye is easily deceived, and it’s only when you calibrate the monitor that you’re able to get a real feel as to how this monitor performs.

BenQ SW270C

As ever I ran the DataColor Display Analysis to check out the quality of the screen.

Overall there are ten tests run by the Display Analyser, and these look in-depth into each of the display’s characteristics.

BenQ SW270C Display Analysis Results

  • Gamut: 5.0
  • Tone Response: 4.0
  • White Point: 4.5
  • Contrast: 5.0
  • Luminance Uniformity: 4.5
  • Colour Uniformity: 4.5
  • Color Accuracy: 4.0

This gave the monitor an overall rating of 4.5 out of 5.

These scores are impressive for any monitor, especially one in this price bracket.

Looking at Gamut in-depth and it shows that sRGB is 100%, AdobeRGB is 99%, and Display P3 is 88%.

The results for sRGB and AdobeRGB are spot on with what BenQ quote in their specifications. The Display P3 did register as about 10% less than expected, but in all other fields, the monitor performed exceptionally.

When you have a monitor of this quality at this price, it does make you wonder why you’d spend any more on display.

While the display, build quality and usability are fantastic, the feature set is reflected in the price. Firstly the resolution while useful doesn’t stretch to 4K, to get that boost on a monitor of this quality you’re going to have to pay double.

Then there are the colour spaces, while sRGB and AdobeRGB are suitable even using the advanced setting it reaches 88% of P3.

However, the quality of the image is not in doubt, and you will not be disappointed with this outstanding monitor.

At this price, few other monitors come close to the SW270C. Would I buy one to replace the now-retired Apple 30-inch Cinema display? Do you know I think I will.

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