Back in March, we looked at the PD3200U, a new model in BenQ’s series of Designer Monitors. It offers superb out-of-box color, Ultra HD resolution, and high-end build quality. It impressed us enough to earn an Editor’s Choice Award. Today, we’re checking out the PD2700QC, the line’s latest addition. It’s a 27” IPS panel with QHD resolution, color modes for nearly any computing task, and something we haven’t seen before: a complete laptop docking station built into its base. Let’s take a look.
At this writing, the PD2710QC costs a little less than $600, which puts it at the high end of 27” QHD/IPS monitors. For a premium product from BenQ, that’s not surprising, but there is a serious value-add here in that docking station. Thanks to the versatility of USB-C, you can connect a single cable from your laptop to the base, then hook up four USB peripherals, run a video signal from the DisplayPort output to the panel, and jack into your network through the included Ethernet port. The base has its own power supply so its functions don’t interfere with the display panel in any way. There’s even a conveniently-located headphone jack.
That panel is typical BenQ quality with multiple picture modes, several of which offer sufficient accuracy to make calibration unnecessary. You also get a flicker-free backlight, low blue light, and flexible OSD with every conceivable option you could need. About the only thing the PD2710QC won’t do is play games at high refresh rates. There is no G-Sync or FreeSync here, and speeds top out at 60Hz.
For those seeking a stylish, high-quality monitor to act as a home base for their laptop, or just a really nice desktop screen, the PD2710QC promises solid performance and more functionality than most.
Packaging, Physical Layout & Accessories
The PD2710QC’s carton is a little small by our standards, and the press sample we received was double-boxed. We recommend mail-order buyers check their purchases carefully. The panel snaps onto the upright and then bolts to the base. We thought there might be an internal video connection between the base and panel but there is not. If you use the docking station feature, you must run a DisplayPort cable between them. The base includes its own power supply in the form of a large brick while the panel makes do with just an IEC cord.
The accessory bundle includes two DisplayPort cables plus HDMI and USB-C. There is no USB 3.0 connector, but that’s not surprising, because there is no upstream port. The USB hub is fed by a single USB-C input in the base. You also get a printed quick-start guide and documentation on CD-ROM.
The PD2710QC is a rare BenQ monitor that isn’t all black. The chassis rear panel and the base are finished in a nice silver plastic. There aren’t any shiny bits, but the package carries off a nice contrast between dark and light. The base is all business with a large array of ports and a flat wide shape that can accommodate a closed laptop. Even a large one will fit. Our HP Spectre 360 15.6” just got its rubber feet on there.
The front screen layer is the same 3H hardness used on nearly every LCD monitor today with a matte finish that rejects light well. We saw no grain or artifacts, nor was there any backlight bleed or glow in our press sample. Clarity is excellent thanks to a small air gap above the TFT layer. The bezel is extremely narrow at only 7mm and flush with the front for a seamless appearance. True frameless screens aren’t here yet but they’re getting closer all the time.
The upright is solid and well made and offers a premium feel to all its adjustments. There is no swivel, but you get 7.5” of height, 25° back tilt, and a portrait mode. If you prefer a monitor arm or wall mount, there are 100mm VESA holes under the upright’s attachment plate, which comes off at the press of a button.
The side profile is a tad slimmer than most, but no great effort has been expended to make the PD2710QC super thin. The panel’s back tapers smoothly from side to side and is only broken up by the upright mount and a cut-out for the input panel.
To use the docking station, connect its power supply brick and run a DisplayPort cable between its output and one of the panel’s inputs. If you want networking, connect a cable from your router to the Ethernet port. With a keyboard and mouse added to the station, all that’s left is to run a USB-C wire from your laptop. Everything you need comes in the box.
The base includes four USB ports plus a single USB-C input along with Ethernet, DisplayPort out, and a headphone jack. To use any of them, you must plug in the power supply. You can switch the docking station off with a toggle when you’re not using it. The panel’s inputs include two DisplayPort 1.2 (one mini), one DisplayPort output, an HDMI input, and a second headphone jack. There are no built-in speakers.
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