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BenQ SW271 27-Inch Monitor Review: Nearly Perfect

Editor's Choice

Conclusion

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.

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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.