BenQ SW271 27-Inch Monitor Review: Nearly Perfect

Why you can trust Tom's Hardware Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

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

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

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.

MORE: Best Gaming Monitors

MORE: How We Test Monitors

MORE: All Monitor Content

Christian Eberle
Contributing Editor

Christian Eberle is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He's a veteran reviewer of A/V equipment, specializing in monitors. Christian began his obsession with tech when he built his first PC in 1991, a 286 running DOS 3.0 at a blazing 12MHz. In 2006, he undertook training from the Imaging Science Foundation in video calibration and testing and thus started a passion for precise imaging that persists to this day. He is also a professional musician with a degree from the New England Conservatory as a classical bassoonist which he used to good effect as a performer with the West Point Army Band from 1987 to 2013. He enjoys watching movies and listening to high-end audio in his custom-built home theater and can be seen riding trails near his home on a race-ready ICE VTX recumbent trike. Christian enjoys the endless summer in Florida where he lives with his wife and Chihuahua and plays with orchestras around the state.

  • fool20
    Nice monitor. The weight in kg might be 10.5 instead of
  • mischon123
    The 27 is great. TH peddling old ware? This one is better:,4983-6.html

    Use it for proofing, grading, CAD, gaming. 4k at 27 is too small. 32 better.
  • Kridian
    A thousand dollars of color accuracy! Imagine if all vendor monitors just f*#** had color accuracy? I grow weary of these "professional" tagged products holding the color accuracy carrot in our face.
  • LordConrad
    If only it was an 8:5 (16:10) screen. Until someone releases a 4k screen in 8:5, I'll stick with my 30" screen at 1600p.
  • Nintendork
    HDR with a shitty IPS with piss poor contrast can not compute.
  • Nintendork
    The "old" 16:10 being the perfect upgrade from 1600x1200 CRT's.
  • Ninjawithagun
    minus one star for not being offered in 32-inch form factor. It absolutely makes no sense whatsoever to own or use a 27 inch 4K monitor.
  • mransom
    Please review the NEC PA271Q. I am interested to see how it compares to the BenQ SW271
  • pipette
    There's a question in the forum here from a while back regarding this monitor and color profiles, that hasn't been answered yet and that I'd be interested in as well.
    When calibrating the monitor the calibration is stored and performed in the monitor hardware. At the same time a color profile is generated that is saved in a (Win10) system profile folder. Do these system color profiles actually serve any purpose? As the calibration happens in hardware shouldn't these profiles just perform a null (=identity matrix) operation?
  • Dan_S98
    any change you will be reviewing the the SW240 sometime soon? It seems like it is a much more realistic option cost wise for those that need a 2 or 3 monitor set-up!