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BenQ SW271 27-Inch Monitor Review: Nearly Perfect

Editor's Choice

HDR Grayscale, EOTF & Color

To run HDR benchmarks, we added an HD Fury Integral to the signal chain to simulate HDR10 content from our Accupel DVG-5000 pattern generator. This enabled us to measure the 27UK850’s grayscale in five percent increments, Electro-Optical Transfer Function (EOTF) tracking and color gamut capabilities within a Rec.2020 container.

The SW271 has an HDR-emulation mode for SDR material, but we don’t expect a lot of professionals to use it. When supplied with an HDR10 signal, the monitor quickly switched itself to HDR mode and blocked out all adjustment. It was still quite accurate, but a monitor like this should have adjustments available for all image formats.

Grayscale Tracking & EOTF

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Aside from a slight blue tint, visible from 55-70 percent, the SW271 delivered a neutral D65 grayscale. We’ve measured many HDR-compatible monitors lately, and the SW271 is the most accurate of the bunch. It would’ve been nice to have RGB sliders to get it perfect, but the monitor still delivered the best HDR grayscale we’ve seen yet.

Color Gamuts Within Rec.2020

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Like with the grayscale and luminance results above, the SW271 set a new standard for HDR color accuracy. Its wide gamut easily covered Rec.709 and almost all of DCI-P3. Saturation targets were near-perfect until the display ran out of color. The Rec.2020 chart is particularly impressive. The monitor didn’’t cover that entire gamut but it hit far more targets than any other display we’ve measured. Accurate tone-mapping is the key to HDR and extended color, and right now, no other monitor we’ve reviewed can boast this level of accuracy.

Ultra HD Blu-rays

Watching Ultra HD material on a reference monitor calls for watching reference material, Planet Earth II to be exact. The SW271 handled the 24p film cadence correctly, showing it at that frame rate. But what really drew our attention was the color. The impact of extended color, rendered accurately, cannot be overstated. This display covered over 89 percent of the DCI-P3 gamut and hit all the target points within it. That means you will see reds, greens and blues exactly as the content creators saw them.

The opening scene of Planet Earth II’s “Cities” episode shows colorful towers lit up brightly at night. On the BenQ monitor, the HDR effect was subtle, but the highlights really popped in rich shades of red, magenta and blue. During the infrared sequences, warmer objects like humans and other animals stood out boldly against a dark, but well-detailed, background.

The SW271 may not have the dynamic range of a full-array backlight display like the Dell UP2718Q, but its color is unmatched by anything we’ve seen so far.

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