The BenQ DV2680 is 26-inch-diagonal, HDTV-compatible flat-panel TV that, compared to other swanky LCD sets, cuts a fairly unremarkable figure. Its plastic silver frame is featureless, save for a small BenQ logo and the speaker grilles that flank the screen. As with most LCD sets, you can hang the 5-inch-deep, 27-pound panel from a wall with an optional mount (about $200) or use the included stand to put the BenQ on a tabletop.
While the DV2680's nonbacklit remote lacks controls for other types of gear, its button layout is well conceived, with two large volume and channel rockers, two picture-in-picture controls in the left column, and an aspect-ratio button at the very top. The circular, five-button navigation control is surrounded by four large, gray buttons, including the input selector at the top left, making that critical button easy to find in the dark.
Boasting a native resolution of 1,280x768 pixels, the DV2680 can display 720p HDTV signals in full detail, while its internal video processing converts 1080i and other resolutions to fit its native pixels. The BenQ has a standard TV tuner, but you'll need an HDTV set-top box to take in high-definition programming.
Among the set's features are a variety of picture-in-picture modes, including the typical corner placement, as well as a side-by-side option. You also get some relatively advanced picture settings, such as the ability to tweak the intensity of red, green, and blue. And while you can't actually store settings for each input, you can do the next best thing and save any adjustments into one of three user-defined modes, which remain associated with the last input used. You can also choose from the three presets (Vivid, Sports, or Movie).
Aspect-ratio choices are plentiful, including 4:3, 15:9 (the screen's actual aspect ratio), 16:9 (which results in very slightly squished images but does fill the screen), Letterbox, Through, and Wide. Happily, all six are available with every source. The DV2680 lacks simulated surround sound but does have a "steady sound" feature to tone down thunderous explosions or loud commercials.
Behind the set, you'll find a robust range of A/V inputs, including a DVI/HDCP input for high-def video and DVI-equipped DVD players, a VGA input for a computer, a single component-video input, two composite inputs, two S-Video inputs, and a VHF/UHF connector. We would have liked to see two component inputs, but the VGA input--uncommon among sets in this size range--makes up for the lack.
The DV2680 had a rough time during our initial lab tests. The set's color temperature was too blue out of the box, tingeing everything a very subtle blue, even in the Warm color-temperature preset. Interestingly enough, the BenQ scored well in our color-decoding test, nailing the delicate balance between red, green, and blue--which allowed us to turn up the color control for richly saturated images. While BenQ claims the DV2680 has 2:3 pull-down detection, we didn't see any evidence of that in our notorious Star Trek: Insurrection test. The haystacks at the beginning of the DVD were plagued by jagged edges and shimmering, as were the tough-to-render bridges and canoes. As a result, you'll see similar artifacts in TV shows that originate on film, as well as from DVD players set to interlaced output mode.
Things were looking grim for the DV2680 until we switched our DVD player to progressive mode. Suddenly, the jagged lines disappeared; the Nostromo flyover at the beginning of Alien looked rock-solid, and the complex moving lines in the ship's hull were rendered cleanly. The picture evinced decent shadow detail and good color reproduction, although the slightly blue picture and grayish blacks gave faces a somewhat washed-out look. In its favor, the set did an above-average job of handling Alien's tricky fog-bound scenes with only slight traces of false contouring. The BenQ managed a decent depth of black, but it wasn't as deep as some LCD sets we've seen, such as .
In the final tally, we'd recommend this midpriced 26-incher only if you really want a dual-use computer monitor/television. Strictly as a TV, it has a hard time competing with similarly priced sets such as JVC's LT-26WX84, Sharp's LC-26GA4U, and Panasonic's TC-26LX20, which all offer swankier styling. Of course, a major price cut would make the DV2680 much more attractive.
|Before color temp (20/100)||8,055/8,245K||Poor|
|After color temp||N/A|
|Before grayscale variation||+/- 2,203K||Poor|
|After grayscale variation||N/A|
|Color decoder error: red||0%||Good|
|Color decoder error: green||0%||Good|
|DC restoration||All patterns stable||Good|
|2:3 pull-down, 24fps||N||Poor|
|Defeatable edge enhancement||N||Poor|
Editor's note: We have changed the rating in this review to reflect recent changes in our rating scale. Click here to find out more.