Way back in the fog of 2001, a brand called BenQ came into existence, spun off from Acer. Acer was to be the business brand, BenQ the lifestyle. Things didn't quite work out this way, and in 2006 Acer removed its interest in BenQ entirely, leaving the company to fend for itself.
In the monitor space, BenQ has typically delivered mid-range to high-end consumer products. Things haven't changed with its latest entry, the E2220HD. Despite the prevalence of twos in the model name, this isn't a 22-inch monitor; rather it's a 21.5-inch. While losing half an inch might be damaging to some people's reputations, in the case of monitors it's not too bad, as the shrinking in panel size coalesces with an increase in resolution to the full HD 1920x1080. In short, it's not the size that matters, and BenQ sure knows how to use it.
Also sloshing around in the positive bucket is BenQ's styling. The crisp, clean lines; piano black and silver accents creating an attractive monitor that anyone would be proud to have on their desks. The funky standout feature of the E2220HD though is a hook that clips into the back of your monitor, containing what looks like a smiley bear.
Awww, it's so cute. (Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)
This cute little mascot does more than make you feel like you've dropped into a Japanese cartoon; it holds your headphones, too. By and large it's quite effective, and keeps things neat provided you can be bothered to hang your headphones in the first place.
The E2220HD is rather attractive, and reasonably slim with a plethora of inputs. (Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)
Specs at a glance
|Max vertical refresh||76Hz|
|Connections||2x HDMI, DVI, VGA, 3.5mm line in/out, headphone jack, 4x USB|
|Accessories||DVI, VGA, USB upstream, 3.5mm audio and power cables|
Stand and ergonomics
The E2220HD's stand is ovoid, and offers tilt functionality only. The stand isn't quite heavy enough though, as when tilting the panel back, you'll need to hold down the stand with your other hand at the same time lest the whole thing lift up with it. A single liftable loop on the neck provides cable management. By itself it's too small to fit a DVI cable through, although you can unclip the loop from the neck to fit through any cables you might need. It's not the most elegant solution, but it works.
It's fine once you've adjusted to your desire, but the stand really isn't heavy enough to make easy adjustments.
(Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)
Power, 3.5mm line in and out, 2x HDMI, DVI, VGA, USB upstream and 2x USB downstream. (Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)
Two more USB ports and a convenient headphone jack. (Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)
BenQ has fit two 1.5W speakers to the bottom of the E2220HD, but you're better off using your own speakers or headphones, as they're tinny, weak and unconvincing at best.
Buttons and on-screen display (OSD)
BenQ persists in using annoying side-mounted buttons. Despite having labels (which are difficult to find in the dark), placing the buttons on the side and their order feels clunky and unintuitive, resulting in many mistaken button presses and slow configuration.
The buttons also act as shortcuts, with the Enter button acting as an input switcher, the Up button allowing quick access to volume controls, and the down button cycling through the image presets.
BenQ still falls back on the highly frustrating side-mounted buttons. (Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)
Thankfully, the OSD is modern and well designed, and offers gamma and sharpness settings above the usual fanfare. Scaling abilities include Overscan, Full and Aspect, but you won't find a 1:1 option here.
BenQ has also embraced the way of the preset, bundling Standard, Eco, sRGB, Photo, Game and Movie profiles. As usual we suggest going with the standard/custom profile and calibrating yourself, as these built-in presets are sub-standard as nearly always seems to be the case.
While Dynamic Contrast Ratio is thankfully turned off by default, BenQ has also thrown in something called SenseEye, which dynamically adjusts contrast and sharpness. Despite the gushing PR, we'd suggest you leave it at its default state: off, where it can't mess with your images.
BenQ's OSD is tabbed, and, confusing button layout aside, works well. It doesn't contain any extraordinary options, but isn't missing anything either. (Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)