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BenQ EW277HDR Monitor Review

HDR Tests & Hands-on

To measure HDR performance, we employed an HD Fury Integral signal modifier to add HDR10 metadata to the output from our Accupel pattern generator. CalMAN 5.7 was used to generate charts for grayscale tracking, EOTF (gamma), and a DCI-P3 color sweep.

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The EW277HDR’s main limitation is luminance. Turning up the backlight to 400cd/m2 helps create a reasonable HDR effect, but after 75%, white levels all look the same. Granted, typical HDR content won’t have a ton of information at the high end except in tiny areas of the image. If it did, the overall picture would be far too harsh. And remember that black levels rise along with the backlight setting in HDR mode, which means the sequential contrast (difference between minimum black and peak white) has not changed. Viewing SDR and HDR versions of the same image back to back reveals a little extra pop in the HDR content, and the color is certainly more saturated. But the difference is moderate at best.

Grayscale errors are minimal and only rise above the visible threshold when the EOTF nears its clipping point. You won’t see this in real-world material. And luminance tracking is right on the money which is a good thing.

We evaluated color by running a P3 sweep inside the Rec.2020 gamut. The 100% targets are pretty close, but most of the inner levels are over-saturated. There is no provision in the OSD to adjust this, but it’s the same accuracy level we’ve seen from most HDR displays. We expect a bit more time to pass before monitors become consistent. Remember that the EW277HDR is less than $300. This level of performance is more than satisfactory for the money.

Playing Ultra HD/HDR content proved to be a challenge. Our only available sources at present are the aforementioned HD Fury Integral/Accupel combination and a Philips BDP-7501 Ultra HD Blu-ray player. We had no trouble switching the EW277HDR into HDR10 mode with the HD Fury, but it didn’t want to play nice with the Philips. The monitor won’t accept signals higher than 1920x1080 for starters. Switching the player to auto resolution took care of that issue. But no combination of settings would allow an HDR10 connection. We had to content ourselves with the emulation mode. This provided a small improvement in image quality with a little extra depth in the mid-tones and greater overall brightness. Shadow detail was well-delineated with the deep blacks VA is known for. We also enjoyed the extra color saturation provided by the P3 gamut.

BenQ warns in the user manual that not all sources will be compatible with the EW277HDR. We recommend checking out your gear before committing. And that holds true with any HDR monitor purchase. This is an evolving technology and there are bound to be inconsistencies.

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Christian Eberle is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He's a veteran reviewer of A/V equipment, specializing in monitors.