The attractive BenQ FP91E offers extras, including built-in speakers and image presets, but the image quality isn't high enough and there's not enough adjustability for its $529 asking price. You'll get better performance and greater adjustability from theor the slightly blander .
The BenQ FP91E's matte silver-plastic casing, offset with a glowing blue power button in the center of the bottom bezel, looks soothingly space age. The side and top bezels are narrow enough not to distract the eye, and the bottom bezel runs wide enough to accommodate two integrated two-watt speakers; it has a pleasing textured finish. The six adjustment buttons and a headphone jack are tucked out of sight along the bottom edge of the display panel; minute icons etched into the bezel indicate their functions. The onscreen menu is easy to navigate (after some trial and error), and the I-key button launches a test pattern to calibrate the display when connected via an analog signal; it also functions as an autoadjust key. The Mode button toggles between preset brightness and contrast modes for movies, photo viewing, and standard use.
The display offers little adjustability. You can tilt the panel back about 30 degrees and forward 5 degrees, but you can't raise or lower it. Since the screen is less than two inches above the desktop, most people will need a monitor riser. The back panel accommodates analog and digital ports, plus a PC audio jack (all three cables are included); we found it somewhat difficult to connect the cables due to limited finger space. You can thread cables through a hole in the display's neck to keep them out of sight. The round base is very stable.
The BenQ FP91E's performance is adequate for basic tasks, such as word processing and Web surfing, but people who dabble in graphics design or photo editing would be better served by another monitor. In CNET Labs DisplayMate-based tests, grayscales exhibited colors; light grays and peak white showed a yellowish tint, midgrays a reddish hue. We also noticed an uneven progression in intensity at both extremes of the spectrum. Despite the display's advertised 8-millisecond response time, DVD playback wasn't great: we saw lots of digital noise in skin tones and backgrounds, as well as ghosting and posterization. The FP91E's speakers aren't spectacular--we heard too much treble--but they're better and louder than most built-in speakers we've heard.
The FP91E comes with an industry-standard three-year warranty on parts, labor, and the backlight. Toll-free phone tech support is available Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. PT. BenQ offers e-mail support, drivers, FAQs, manuals, and a searchable knowledge base via its Web site.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)