BENQ SW271

– REVIEW –

by | Nov 18, 2020

The photographic monitor

 

Photographers and amateur photographers don’t think twice before buying an expensive camera or professional lenses, but they often overlook an equally important component, the monitor. More and more often we hear about photographic monitors. But what are they? Do you really need one? Let’s be clear about it, in this review!

Logo benq

Why a photographic monitor?

In the world of photography and beyond, color management plays a fundamental role so that our works are displayed correctly regardless of the media used.

The monitor, therefore, is one of the most important tools we have at our disposal because through it we make crucial changes to our photos in post-production and today, thanks to the collaboration with BenQ, I have the pleasure of trying a monitor designed specifically for us photographers! This is BenQ SW271, which in fact has all the credentials to be called a “photographic monitor”. Let’s see them together!

BenQ SW271

TECHNICAL FEATURES

 

IPS panel 16:9, 27 inches
4K 3840×2160 pixel Resolution
Copertura 99% Adobe RGB & 100% sRGB
LUT 3D a 14-bit e ΔE ≤ 2
10 bit depth
Hardware Calibration
HDR (High Dynamic Range)
USB Type-C
GamutDuo
Advanced Black & White mode
Techinicolor Certificate

PACKAGE CONTENTS

Benq SW271
Base
Paraluce
CD-ROM driver & manual
Calibration certificate
 Hotkey Pucks
Power cable
 USB-C cable
mDP a DP cable,
HDMI 2.0 Cable,
 Cavo USB 3.1
____

How it looks like

The BenQ SW271 arrives home in a “huge” box, just think that the it weighs about 16 kg! Once you open the package you immediately realize how much care has been dedicated to the packaging, everything is perfectly in place, safely stored and protected by polystyrene to avoid any kind of problems or damage during shipping.

outer packaging of a monitor
outer packaging of a monitor
outer packaging of a monitor

Out of the box

Once out of the box, the Benq SW271 impresses with its design. The frames are really small, giving the monitor a very modern and elegant look. Available connections include a convenient SD player, 2 USB3.1 ports, HDMI 2.0, 1 Display Port 1.4, and a Type-C USB port compatible with the Thunderbolt interface used on the latest Macs. I really appreciated this last one because it allows you to transmit video and data with just one cable. So you can calibrate with great ease and display brilliant 4K content thanks to an incredible transfer speed.

BenQ sw271
benq sw271

Ergonomics

One of the features that I immediately appreciated about this monitor is the ergonomics of use that, for those like me, who spend many hours in front of their PC working on their photos, is an aspect not to be underestimated! This BenQ SW271 offers the chance to adjust both the height and tilt quickly and easily and, as a result, your back and eyes will say thank you! Staying on the subject, the anti-glare screen protector included in the package is worth mentioning. In addition to giving it a “professional” aesthetic touch, it helps to reduce reflections caused by surrounding lights and therefore ambient lighting, ensuring even greater color accuracy and helps you avoid unnecessary distractions while working.

In addition, you can rotate the monitor vertically, a feature that promotes the development of vertical photographs taking full advantage of the entire surface of the display. Although I love taking portrait photographs, I don’t find it very practical for me to rotate the monitor every time I rotate it, especially if you use the screen protector (to be mounted and unmounted each time), however it is a very useful feature that deserves to be mentioned, especially if you have a second monitor on which you would like to continue viewing horizontally.

benq sw271
monitor benq 271
Benq sw271

A complete and quality product

I don’t think I’m anticipating anything by telling you that I was really impressed as soon as I started working seriously with this monitor and, after trying it thoroughly, I can’t help but confirm my very positive impressions! Let’s go back now to talk about the features that most reflect the needs of us photographers, that make this monitor the perfect one for us!
hdr

IPS and HDR

Let’s start with the type of panel that mounts our BenQ SW271. It is an IPS or “In Plane Switching”, a technology that allows us to display images without alterations in terms of brightness and color, regardless of the viewing angle up to 178°. In addition, the display itself is equipped with HDR (High Dynamic Range) technology, which is a technology that allows us to reproduce an overall high dynamic range between black and white, so that the resulting image is as close as possible to what the eyes see live.

Resolution

When you turn on the monitor for the first time, the incredible quality and cleanliness of the images is immediately noticeable thanks to the 4K resolution. With its 3840×2160 pixels on a surface of 27 inches, the panel boasts a good 163PPI, which means that for every inch, there are 163 pixels, so it will be very difficult to see a single pixel with the naked eye and this will benefit in terms of detail and general definition of the images reproduced.
Resolution comparation

Gamut

One of the most important features, however that a good photo monitor MUST have, is an excellent gamut, which is the set of colors it is able to reproduce. BenQ SW271 offers an excellent gamut, covering 99% Adobe RGB and 100% sRgb.

10bit depth

A special feature for us photographers is the 10Bit display. Thanks to this feature, the monitor will be able to reproduce more than 1 billion colors always displaying uniform color gradations. We will no longer see the annoying phenomenon of banding, visible especially in portions of photos where the colors are very uniform and blurred.
 
In order to take advantage of this technology, however, it is necessary to use a proper graphics board like a Nvidia Quadro. On the market there are of course models of different performance, which can cost thousands of euros. However, unless you need to work extensively even with 3D graphics, a modest model that can do the job is Nvidia Quadro P620.
adobe profile

But, what is the difference between AdobeRGB and sRgb?

 

Well, sRGB is currently a standard color space adopted by most devices, including the web, but we can define it “limited” as it is able to cover “only” 35% of the colors visible to the human eye.

 Adobe RGB, on the other hand, is an “extended” color space designed to include many of the colors that can be obtained with CMYK printers, and this means, in simple terms, that thanks to a significant increase in range, mostly true cyan and green, it covers about 50% of visible colors.

Having a monitor that covers this color profile, therefore, allows us to work on our photos more accurately in terms of colors and will be able to prepare them correctly for printing as well.

DeltaE

Having clarified the difference between color profiles, there is another important piece of information that determines how accurately and qualitatively these are reproduced, the DeltaE. This is a parameter that measures the deviation of the colors shown by the monitor from the standard reference. If the DeltaE value is below 3, no errors will be perceptible to the naked eye, that said, Benq SW271 proves to have another excellent feature and, not surprisingly, receives the Tecnnicolor Certification.
monitor che mostra a resa cromatica

Technicolor Certificate

Technicolor certification is an award reserved for a variety of devices – PC monitors, laptops, multifunctional devices, tablets – that meet Technicolor® standards throughout the product manufacturing process, ensuring the same rigorous levels of color accuracy used in Hollywood and the media and entertainment industry. All Technicolor® certified devices deliver accurate, consistent, and precise color as designed by the original content creators.

Calibration

Remaining on the subject of “colors”, let’s now talk about a very important aspect, the calibration!
BenQ SW271 arrives factory calibrated, with a report included in the package, but the feature that differentiates it from most monitors on the market is that the calibration is hardware and not software type. This means that the calibration data is stored directly in the monitor inside the graphics chip and not on our computer as a profile to be applied to the output of the graphics card. This peculiarity offers several advantages. It allows you to connect to the monitor any device, PC, Notebook, Macbook, always keeping the same calibration and therefore color fidelity and, first of all and most importantly, ensures a much more accurate calibration than the software type.

Hardware vs software

Let’s clarify. Software calibration, always executable through external probes, generates, as already said, a color profile to associate to the video card output of only 8bit. The Hardware one, instead, generates a LUT (Look Up Table) 3D calibration that has a depth of 14bit.

 

More specifically, it means that with 8bit guaranteed by the software calibration the generated profile will be based on a scale of 256 values (2^8) 16.7 million colors, while with the Hardware one the available values become 16384 (2^14) or 4.39 trillion, which guarantees a calibration curve much more accurate and able to handle all shades of color.

To calibrate the Monitor, simply use any commercially available probe and use the excellent calibration software provided free of charge by BenQ: Palette Master Elements, which can be downloaded free of charge from the official website.
monitor calibration

The features continue

Browsing through the menus of the monitor we can discover an interesting function that will make the happiness of those photographers passionate about black and white. Well yes, this monitor has a Black-and-White mode, which helps us to have a quick preview of our photo in that mode. For those who, like me, love colors, can instead use this mode in a completely “alternative” way, that is to read and analyze lights and shadows of a photo, useful right?
Black and white monitor
Black and white monitor

Hotkey Puck

In this regard, an accessory that is really useful is the Hotkey Puck, a nice wired “remote control” that allows you to access the settings by changing them to your liking quickly and without actually touching the monitor.

But its most useful feature is that you can switch between Adobe RGB, sRGB and Black-and-White modes at the touch of a button. The buttons can also be customized to set other modes such as quickly changing the calibration profile we created or changing brightness and contrast, an additional convenience for photographers.

GamutDuo

Remaining on the subject of “functionality” it is worth mentioning another very useful gem, provided by BenQ SW271. This is GamutDuo, a very interesting feature that allows you to see content in two different color spaces, displaying them side by side to compare them. There are 2 different display modes, PIP/PBP (Picture in Picture / Picture by Picture), selectable through the menu.
picture in picture

FINAL CONSIDERATIONS

As already mentioned, this is a high-end professional monitor, dedicated to the most demanding photographers and the cost is definitely in line with the features it offers.

Logo benq

If you are looking for a professional monitor that allows you to take a leap forward in the processing of your photos, the BenQ SW271 will not disappoint you! The 99% AdobeRGB coverage, 10bit depth, hardware calibration and 4K resolution, along with all the other features, will change the way of your post-production and further increase the final quality of your images.

Amazon

At this moment on Amazon (sold and shipped by Amazon) it costs about 1100 Euros. I understand very well that this is an important investment, especially for those who have not made photography their job, but I want to say that in addition to having a good camera body or good lenses, even a good monitor like this can contribute in a very significant way to the improvement of your photographs, whether they are intended for the web or print.

There is also the larger 32” version (BenQ SW320) and, for the less demanding in terms of resolution, the smaller 24” FullHD version (BenQ SW240) is also available. You can go directly to the amazon page by clicking on the button below.

THANK YOU BENQ!

 

Thank you once again to BenQ for giving me the opportunity to try this exceptional monitor and as a result, to be able to share its useful features to improve your photos with you all. I hope this review has been helpful. Let me know by leaving a comment.
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