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Monitors

BenQ SW320 pro monitor has more to offer than just a lot of colors

The company also adds some useful features for streamlining a color-critical workflow.

benq-sw320-mfr.jpg
BenQ

The monitors I want unerringly cost $1,500. That's a lot. I guess I'll just add the BenQ SW320, the company's 32-inch, 4K UHD (3,840x2,160-pixel resolution) display for color-critical professionals to the list of those I'll never be able to afford. What's so special about it? Well, in addition to the essential capabilities you find in other pro monitors -- including almost full coverage of the Adobe RGB/DCI-P3 gamut, typical tolerances of 2 Delta E or less, 14-bit lookup table for performing color-profile conversions and hardware calibration (which means you can store the color profiles in the display) -- BenQ adds a few really convenient features.

GamutDuo I have two monitors, one high-quality, hardware calibrated for working in AdobeRGB and one cheap sRGB display; the SW320 obviates the need for that. BenQ's new GamutDuo lets you view the same thing in two color spaces simultaneously, either picture-in-picture or side-by-side.

Hotkey Puck Switching among color spaces through a monitor's onscreen menus is really tedious. BenQ's puck connects through a dedicated USB port for quick switching without having to lean forward awkwardly every time you need to swap.

Black and white mode Sure, you can do this in software, but having a dedicated mode in the display means you'll get an optimized result.

HDR10 support One of the first monitors to ship with the ability to display HDR content natively, this mode is intended for playback of HDR10-standard content via HDMI, but is invaluable for video editing. That said, the specs don't look like they're up to the UHD spec standard for brightness, but BenQ only provides a typical brightness number, not peak, and no information on black levels.

Support for Datacolor calibrators Monitors that support hardware calibration require that you use their calibration software; that's understandable. But most of them also require that you use a very specific calibrator, usually the expensive X-Rite i1 Pro. BenQ's Palette Master Element calibration software also supports the cheaper Datacolor Spyder4 and Spyder5 calibrators.

The SW320 is available now in the US and UK for $1,500 and £1,179; it doesn't seem to have traveled to Australia yet, but a direct conversion of the US price is about AU$1,980.

Specifications

BenQ SW320
Price $1,500, £1,179
Panel type IPS
Size (diagonal) 31.5
Curve radius n/a
Resolution 4K UHD
Aspect ratio 16:9
Pixel pitch 0.182
Maximum gamut 99 percent Adobe RGB/DCI-P3
Rotates vertically Yes
Bit depth 10
Typical brightness (nits) 350
Color profile stored in hardware Yes
Hardware calibration compatibility X-Rite i1 Display Pro, i1 Pro, i1 Pro 2; Datacolor Spyder4/5
Selectable color spaces Adobe RGB, sRGB, DCI-P3
Color space transformation 14-bit 3D LUT
Color temperature options 5000K, 6500K, 9300K
Claimed Delta-E tolerance ≤ 2
HDR HDR10
G-Sync/FreeSync n/a
Maximum vertical refresh rate 76Hz
Gray/Gray response time (milliseconds) 5
HDMI 1 x 2.0
DVI No
USB-C (out) No
USB-C (in) No
USB 3.0 (out) 2
USB 3.0 (in) 1
Thunderbolt No
DisplayPort 1 x 1.4
Mini DisplayPort 1 x 1.4
Built-in speakers No
Headphone jack Yes
Card reader Yes
Wireless charging in base No
Accessories included Hotkey Puck, hood
Release date December 2016

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