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.


We’ve tested and labeled many monitors as “accurate,” but on rare occasions, one appears that goes beyond anything reviewed before. The BenQ SW271 is one of those monitors. It’s better than the vast majority of pro screens and truly earns the title “reference.”

In today’s world of Ultra HD content with HDR and extended color, professionals need a display that can deliver color in sRGB, DCI-P3 and Adobe RGB gamuts. They need compatibility with HDR signals and Ultra HD resolution. They need video processing that covers 60p and 24p frame rates and the ability to combine different gamut, white point and gamma standards.

The SW271 checks all those boxes. Its flexible and well-designed OSD allows any combination of color, grayscale and gamma specs. Afterwards, image modes are easily called up with the front panel buttons or from the excellent Hotkey Puck controller. If you’d rather leave calibration to software, BenQ’s Palette Master Element is easy to obtain and works with most of today’s popular color meters. That work can be saved to three available picture memories and easily recalled. This is truly the Swiss Army Knife among computer displays.

HDR is still something we are finding challenging to quantify. The SW271 nails its HDR grayscale, EOTF and color points perfectly. But its native contrast of 1,000:1 and edge backlight hold it back from truly doing the standard justice. We expect it to be used as a color-grading tool rather than a reference display for HDR. Our viewing experience was amazing, however. The monitor’s vivid color overshadowed any thoughts about contrast or overall brightness.

The SW271 isn’t perfect in all areas, but as a color reference tool it has few, if any, equals. We’re confident that someday BenQ will pair its impressive attention to detail with a high-contrast VA panel lit by a full-array LED. That will be a happy day, indeed. For now, though, users needing a professional monitor that performs at the reference level would do well to consider the SW271. It’s hard to imagine much better.

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!