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BenQ SW240 monitor review by Arnaud Frich

 


Review of the BenQ SW240 monitor
Published on May 31, 2018   |   Updated on October 31, 2018

 

BenQ continues its conquest of the high-end display market with this brand new BenQ SW240, a 24-inch display featuring the Adobe RGB gamut in Full HD. If, during my last BenQ screen tests, I had noticed the high quality of color reproduction, I had been less complimentary about the homogeneity of their tiles. What about this last one ?


To begin with, it should be noted that the brand remains attentive to our remarks because we are now in the third generation of monitors for three years, with significant advances or progress each time. To quickly present this monitor we can say that it is a 24 inch Full HD (1920 x 1200 - pitch 0.27 - 94 ppi) 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 to 99%. It is classified in the category of screens called "Graphic Arts". It is sold "only" 399 pounds when the competition is at 600 pounds. But for which concessions ?


 
 

In a few words...

 

BenQ SW240

£399.00

Really BenQ has made very big progress on the homogeneity of its new slab... on some copies because we find as on the BenQ SW2700 or the last BenQ SW271 that I just tested problems of homogeneity according to the copies. Too bad because the rest is all good!! - Read my conclusion 

 
   

 

 

Introduction to the BenQ SW240

Here are some illustrations of this flawlessly ergonomic monitor to start with...

   
BenQ SW240 monitor   BenQ SW240 in vertical position
Ergonomiics of BenQ SW240 monitor   Hood of BenQ SW240
   
  Technical specifications
  BenQ SW240 Launch price : £399.00 Inc. VAT
Size / Resolution
24 Inch 16:9 - 1920 x 1200 - 94 ppi
 
Panel technology
IPS white LED (New matte panel)
  Uniformity check
No
  Gamut > 99% Adobe RGB, 100% sRGB, 95% DCI-P3
  Certifications No
 
Brightness/contrast
350 Cd/M2 / 810:1 measured
 
LUT table
10 bits / 14 bits - possible hardware calibration
  Response time 5 ms
 
Screen dimensions
533 x 356 x 230 mm
  Border widths 5 mm
  Colour calibration soft Yes - Palette Master Element
  Connectivity DVI-D + DP 1.2 + HDMI + HUB USB 3.0
  VESA compatibility Yes - 100 mm
  Hood No - Optional at £79.00
  Warranty 2 years
  Company benq.com
 
 

What's in the box...

The monitor is sold with :

  • The power cord... of course !
  • The DP to mDP cable,
  • A USB 3.0 cable for hardware calibration and powering the USB HUB,
  • Individual calibration report,
  • Palette Master Element on CD.

The dimensions and perceived quality

The monitor has a 24-inch panel and is 533 mm wide overall. It is narrow thanks to very thin edges (5 mm). As for the perceived quality, it is excellent, really. The custom-made cap is optional. Nothing to complain about.

The BenQ SW240 monitor and its panel

1 - Definition/resolution - It is therefore a "satin" IPS panel as we now say (!), normal on this slot of monitors called "Graphic Arts", of 1920 x 1200 pixels. Its resolution is therefore 94 ppi. Classic for 24'' and not "Retina" but who knows, thanks to the superb anti-reflective coating I talk about below, the pixels seem invisible at a "normal" viewing distance on a desktop; Very beautiful. The backlight is a white LED type.

   
Hood of BenQ SW240 in option
 

Attention ! The hood of the BenQ SW240 custom-made is sold as an option $99.00.

2 - The panel and its anti-reflective coating - I notice that recently and clearly on this screen, the "satin" anti-reflective coating no longer marks the pixels, which gives this tile a magnificent rendering on the images and gradients with an excellent rendering of the details, "crisp". Very beautiful ! No more anti-reflective coatings that gave the slabs a granular look. This is clearly a significant quality of this screen.

BenQ SW240 display and its thickness edge

Thickness of the screen edges

They measure 5 mm so we are dealing with a screen with very thin edges that favours multi-screens. This is another outstanding quality of this screen.

To be read !
My advice to choose your photo monitor 


The hardware calibration software " Palette Master Element ".

This screen is sold with its hardware calibration software : Palette Master Element - which is a proprietary solution based on the famous i1Profiler from X-Rite well known. Among other things, it allows you to choose a gamma according to the L Star curve for those who print their photos, for example, and perhaps better control of black and white levels. Calibration can indeed focus on shades of grey and this screen is sold with an original accessory - a wired remote control - which allows you to modify the gamut of the screen on the fly, 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 talk about it again just below).

 

Palette Master Element of BenQ


Included accessories

It is sold with the power cord (!), a USB 3.0 cable to power the two USB 3.0 connections + the SD card reader on the side of the monitor and finally allow hardware calibration (by placing the ICC profile directly in the LUT table on the screen). It is also sold with a MiniDisplay / DisplayPort cable for connection. In 2018, some might point out that it does not include USB-C. The screen can be equipped with the accessories found in the BenQ SW2700PT, namely a custom hood and the wired OSD remote control.

Remote of BenQ SW240 in option
The OSD wired remote control found with the BenQ SW2700PT is sold here as an option. That said, the OSD on the screen is very well done and gives access to this option. It's just a little less functional !

This remote control allows you to select three types of presets :

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

This remote control or menu also provides access to the OSD menu on the screen. Very practical even if not essential because we don't go there very often !

 

The three color modes of BenQ SW240


The three color modes of BenQ SW240

 

 
 

Optional : the SH240 shading hood

 

BenQ SH240

£79.00

Essential, especially for those who work in a bright environment.

 
   


Ergonomics

The design is exemplary : the amplitude of the screen's movements in height, inclination and rotation will allow all users to find their ideal setting. Really perfect ! The same is true of the menu buttons and the famous accessory I just mentioned : the wired remote control that comes in the middle of the foot and allows you to control the OSD menu. The central column is also equipped with a grommets. Excellent !

 

Ergonomics of BenQ SW240

 

The connectivity

This monitor has an HDMI socket (with direct connection to a digital camera or a camera), a DisplayPort socket, a USB 3.0 socket to guarantee hardware calibration, i. e. to send directly the ICC profile generated in the LUT table of the monitor and not only on the graphics card and finally two USB 3.0 cables.

 

The connectivity of the BenQ SW240

 

 

What is the BenQ SW240 monitor worth after calibraiton with the i1Display Pro (with or without Palette Master Element) ?

I calibrated this display with the best current colorimeter (except the superlative and very expensive Basic) in a simply excellent price/quality ratio: the i1Display Pro + i1Profiler software (version 1.7.2) in this first test) then with the proprietary software, Master Palette Element version and still the same colorimeter.

I chose the following screen settings :

  • Color space : Adobe RGB
  • Gamma : Adobe RGB (2,2)
  • Contrast : 56% / Native
  • Color temperature : 6500K (Adobe RGB).

And as target values in the i1Profiler software 1.7.2... 

  • 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 : 80 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 – with standard curve, (The L* is only available with ColorNavigator 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 could not compare objective data using i1Profiler's analysis tools because the ICC profile generated by Palette Element Master is not compatible. That being said, and as I specify below, the visual comparison on image is formal : the calibration with the i1 Display Pro + i1Profiler solution is really better, subjectively, and to add a little objectivity, I specify that the colors are then identical to those displayed on the Eizo CS240 which is my reference. There is no more to say !

1 - i1Profiler Final Report :

 

Final report after calibration with i1 Display Pro of BenQ SW240

 

2 - Delta E (CIE 2000) :

 

Delta E after calibration of BenQ SW240 with i1Display Pro

 

My opinion : How to see a difference with "normal" eyes with an Eizo CS2420 ! With the 2000 standard, this gives for all the patches: 0.62 and for the highest: 1.47 on my copy and 0.33 / 0.74 on the copy of one of my readers whom I would like to thank here very much! And yes, these figures are really very good, but I still note a real disparity that we do not find in Eizo. As a result, there is no tight quality control at BenQ ex-factory.

Now the luminance and color temperature harmonization tests :

Considering the disappointments with some of the BenQ SW2700PT models, it is especially here that this new BenQ is expected...

Let's start with the homogeneity measurement in luminance at 255, as for the other screens:

 

Luminance uniformity after calibration of BenQ SW240 with i1Display Pro

 

The least we can say is that BenQ hadn't gotten us used to such scores before this monitor ! It's excellent and worthy of an Eizo. So much progress has been made !

And now at 127 luminance, still on this second copy:

 

 

We exceed 10% in an angle so it's not necessarily embarrassing to the naked eye but it looks strange on a screen with definite claims. This BenQ wants to fight against the Eizo CS2420 and not against a "vulgar" office screen.

And finally at a luminance of 63:

 

 

Now we're talking about 33% on the whole opposite side this time! It is better not to like working especially on dark images... because this difference is huge.

Let's move on to measuring the homogeneity in colour temperature on our two copies. Let's start with my copy:

 

Uniformity in color temperature after calibration of BenQ SW240 with i1Display Pro

 

Then the copy of one of my readers:

 

 

If it's practically the same on my copy (125K maximum at 255), which confirms here its very good homogeneity, it's really less good on this second copy... and frankly disappointing (We can notice a delta e of 4 at L127 !). The most disappointing part of the case? We don't know what we're going to find...

And my subjective data : what does my eye see ?

1 - Calibration Palette Element Master vs i1Display Pro ? On my "critical" test of the stained glass window of the "Good Samaritan" of the cathedral of Bourges developed in Adobe RGB, it is very clear that differences in calibration are visible between these two ICC profiles and that without any possible hesitation if we compare to my reference screen which is the Eizo CS240 (replaced by the Eizo CS2420) - my reference ! - calibration with the i1Display Pro is the best, significantly. Unfortunately I couldn't compare the Delta E's because the Delta E's are incompatible with the tool integrated in the i1Display Pro (unlike the Palette Master) but visually, there's no hesitation to have.

My Tip! The Palette Master Element software may be a proprietary software, but it allows calibration with the L Star gamma curve, hardware calibration and what's more, my dear i1Display Pro does much better so no hesitation to have : calibrate with the i1 Display Pro + i1Profiler !

2 - Comparison with my current reference Eizo CS2420 - Frankly, everything is based on micro-details with the naked eye in terms of Colour fidelity, with the same image on these two monitors, next to each other. The most saturated reds are only slightly more subtle on the Eizo CS2420 but you have to stick your nose on the screen to see it. This is a little less true for gamma, more "natural" and progressive on the Eizo. That said, well done BenQ at this price !

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  BenQ SW240  
Colour fidelity 10/10
Uniformity of the panel 7,5/10
Resolution 8,5/10
Ergonomic design 10/10
Connectivity 8,0/10
Manufacturing quality 9,5/10
Value for money 8,5/10

 

  I like it very much...  
 
  • Display of colors very-very-close to the Eizo CS2420, my reference, but I almost nitpick...
  • Matt "satin" IPS panel with a perfect, soft but "crispy" finish on the fine details - a striking quality of this monitor,
  • Almost perfect uniformity in practice.... At last!
  • Perfect ergonomics too,
  • 3 presets on the screen : Adobe RGB, sRGB and B&W,
  • Very complete and ergonomic menus,
  • Large gamut real and checked,
  • Optional custom-made hood,
 
     
  I regret...  
 
  • We don't know which copy we're going to find and it's always the lottery because the disparities are really big. The quality service at the factory is clearly not that of Eizo and this justifies a much lower price... or not according to your point of view!
  • No USB-C,
  • You should avoid Master Element Palette, which is not as good as a good old i1Display Pro + i1Profiler !
  • To be checked (End-2018): reliability over time and on many copies...
 
     
  My overall rating...  
  From 7.5 to 9.5 / 10 according to copy  
     
  My conclusion...  
 

What a pity not to check your screens better when they leave the factory because the disparities in colorimetry (which will hardly be visible) and obviously and above all in homogeneity (which you can't miss if you fall wrong) are really important. On my test copy, I made this BenQ SW240 the best quality/price ratio in 24-Inch displaying the current Adobe RGB but on that of one of my readers - necessarily disappointed - it is still a little expensive for a tile that displays other claims! Cross your fingers at the time of purchase because if you "fall" well then you will have in front of your eyes an excellent screen at the best quality/price ratio today... Otherwise, Eizo and his CS2420 will extend their arms to you.

 
     
   
 
BenQ SW240
£399.00
SH240 shading hood for BenQ SW240
£79.00
 
   
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Here is my complete review of the BenQ SW240 monitor
 
- Full review of the BenQ SW240
  - Introduction to the BenQ SW240
- What is the BenQ SW240 worth after calibration ?
- My rating and conclusion
 

- My 21 full monitors reviews !
- How to choose your monitor ?
- How to calibrate your monitor ?


 

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