From an industrial design viewpoint, BenQ sure has taken some of the bigger risks in the monitor industry. Where Dell found its niche and keeps working it, BenQ likes to try different things each time.
The BL2400PT is no different, sporting a design that will neither offend nor excite. Coated entirely in matte black, the only defining features are the left-to-right diagonal stripes that sit under the monitor, and a curious reflective piece under the monitor. This can only be an infrared panel or a proximity sensor, and a quick dig into the BL2400PT's menu reveals it's the latter, allowing the monitor to turn off when the user steps a certain distance away. While we initially received a unit in which this didn't work, a quick replacement on BenQ's behalf showed it to be an invaluable feature. Step out of range, and an on screen overlay pops up indicating you've got 40 seconds before the screen turns off. It's a bit cryptic, giving no indication of how much time you've got left, but at least it lets you know if you're accidentally out of range. Step back in to range, and in about 2 seconds the monitor turns back on. It's a great feature that we think every manufacturer should include.
The screen is an odd semi-gloss, something that adds a sheen and a softening to the image — quite off-putting during games at first, but you soon get used to it. The LED is backlit and features speakers, although these should be avoided at all costs as they offer extremely poor and distant sound.
BenQ's design will neither inspire nor offend. (Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)
Specs at a glance
|Viewing angles |
|Response time||8ms G2G|
|Max vertical refresh||60Hz|
|Connections||DVI, DisplayPort, VGA, 3.5mm line in and line out|
|Accessories||DVI, VGA, 3.5mm audio cables|
Stand and ergonomics
BenQ's stand starts with a solid, high grip rectangular base and extrudes into a curved trapezoidal neck. It has a cable management clip on the rear, and a button that unlocks the height adjustment. What height adjustment too! If you've found that no matter which monitor you buy you always end up putting books underneath to prop it up, this is the monitor for you — the base of the bezel at its highest extent is 203mm off the desk.
Swivel, tilt and 90° pivot are supported too, although the monitor tends to wobble quite a bit after each adjustment.
BenQ's stand allows the panel to be set incredibly high.
(Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)
Power, 3.5mm in, 3.5mm out, DisplayPort, DVI, VGA (Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)
Buttons and on-screen display (OSD)
BenQ has again opted to not put buttons on the face, making its monitor harder to use. This time it's under the lip, with the labels particularly difficult to read. Button positioning is not greatly intuitive, but you get used to it after some time. Shortcuts are in action here: if you press the Enter button when not in a menu it cycles inputs, the Right button cycles scaling modes, the Left button is for colour modes. There's also an Auto button, which attempts to tune the monitor to the best settings when using a VGA connector, to knock out those analog kinks.
The labels don't get any easier to read, even with the real thing. (Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)
C'mon BenQ, just put the buttons on the front (practicality before aesthetics). To the left you can see a weedy speaker. (Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)
Custom colour settings aside, the OSD is easy enough to use, but the buttons make it harder than it needs to be. (Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)
The menu offers sRGB, Photo, Movie, Standard and Eco modes — as usual we suggest you stick with sRGB or Standard. The BenQ offers full screen and aspect ratio scaling options, but disappointingly doesn't offer 1:1 pixel mapping. It does, however, allow you to turn overscan on or off, if you happen to have a movie player hooked up to it. We'd usually expect this for an HDMI enabled screen, but looks like BenQ is being hopeful that someone will have a DisplayPort enabled console or Blu-ray player. AMA can be turned on or off too: this is BenQ's response time accelerator. If you find things are tearing during games, you can turn it off to help get a more consistent image. In practice, games look significantly better with it on: without it, we found blurriness and ghosting to be present.
The usual sharpness, gamma, colour, brightness, contrast and dynamic contrast are here, with particular options only being available when you're operating in a particular mode.
Apart from the step-away-from-the-monitor tech mentioned in the second paragraph, BenQ introduces one other piece of tech: Eye Protect. This feature will pop a message on the screen reminding you to rest your eyes, and can be set to a minimum of 20 minutes, all the way up to 100 minutes, and the message can nag for five seconds all the way up to 25 if you need extra coaxing to go outside. One thing of note that hindered our calibration process: you'll need to turn off Eye Protect if you want to adjust brightness. Even though the OSD allows you to still change the setting, this won't be reflected on screen at all.
Lagom.nl LCD tests
After calibrating to a target brightness of 140cd/m² with an X-Rite i1Display 2, Eye-One Match 3 and tweaking with HCFR, the BL2400PT was run through the Lagom.nl LCD tests.
Greyscale gradients were flawless, with only test 4a in the pixel walk tests flickering.
|Contrast||Sharpness||Gamma||Black level||White saturation||Gradient|
|Inversion pixel walk tests|
|Test 1||Test 2a||Test 2b||Test 3||Test 4a||Test 4b||Test 5||Test 6a||Test 6b||Test 7a||Test 7b|
Measured against a Samsung SyncMaster 975p CRT, and using a Canon 40D set to a shutter speed of 1/320, an average of over 60 photographs were taken using Virtual Stopwatch Pro. Despite being a VA panel, the BL2400PT returned a zero difference result most times, and other times returned a faster result than the CRT. This is on par with the fastest TN screens — you shouldn't have an issue gaming with this one.
ΔE is the measurement of how far a measured colour deviates from its expected value, allowing us to determine the colour accuracy of a monitor. While a ΔE value of one is considered perceivable, as long as it's less than three the shift shouldn't be too obvious. HCFR was used to determine ΔE for the monitor.
|Measured levels (sRGB mode)|
|Black level (cd/m²)||0.10|
|White level (cd/m²)||216.83|
|Colour ΔE (compared to sRGB)|
Yep, that's pretty bad. (Screenshot by CBS Interactive)
As expected for an affordable monitor, the colours are way off. Let's see what we can do to rectify the situation.
|Measured levels (Standard mode)|
|Black level (cd/m²)||0.10|
|White level (cd/m²)||158.35|
|Colour ΔE (compared to sRGB)|
A lot better. This is likely all we can do here, there are no further colour control options available considering the price. (Screenshot by CBS Interactive)
Viewing angles were taken with a Canon 40D in spot metering mode, with only shutter time adjusted to obtain a good exposure.
While it doesn't have as wide viewing angles as IPS panels, VA has a decent picture and deeper blacks. It tends to get lighter as you move off axis. (Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)
Backlight uniformity was measured by placing HCFR into free measure mode, displaying a completely white image and recording the brightness along a 5x3 grid on the screen. This should be considered a guide only, as backlight uniformity is likely to change from unit to unit.
The BL2400PT follows the expected uniformity pattern. (Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)
The BL2400PT suffered from small, faint light bleed in each corner. It's small enough that unless you have a purely black screen, you're unlikely to notice it, and even then you'll have to be paying attention.
It's important to note that the effects of light bleed will likely change from monitor to monitor, regardless of make.
We measured power consumption using a Jaycar mains digital power meter. It's important to note here that due to limitations of the meter, measurements are limited to values 1W and greater, and are reported in 1W increments.
All measurements, screen brightness and contrast were set to 100 per cent, and a test image displayed.
|Maximum power draw||27W|
|Power-saving mode||<1W< td="">|
BenQ's baby is quite energy efficient indeed, even without its extra power-saving features.
The warranty for the BL2400PT is impressive: four years, on-site pick-up, with a zero bright or dead pixel guarantee. If only all manufacturers were this generous!
The BL2400PT is a nice monitor, although BenQ's choice of screen coating isn't the best as it tends to make things look too soft, the button placement is vexing and the inclusion of DisplayPort over HDMI puzzling. Still, for AU$449 you get a VA-based monitor with a heck of a lot of vertical adjustability, and an alternative if you need deeper blacks and one more inch than the equally good Dell U2311H.