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BenQ FP94VW review: BenQ FP94VW

The Good Image quality; HDMI input.

The Bad Ugly design; no integrated speakers.

The Bottom Line The FP94VW is slightly unattractive, but don't let that put you off. When configured properly the image quality is good, and the addition of an HDMI port is a bonus. It's nowhere near as impressive as the enormous 3007WFP, but at this price, it's not a bad investment

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7.5 Overall

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Not all monitors are created equal. Some are built for precise colour reproduction, some are built for enhanced contrast in films, and others, like the BenQ FP94VW, are built for games. It's not just about a fast response time, either -- BenQ has also incorporated a range of video modes optimised for different game genres. It sounds like a gimmick, sure, but let's take a closer look at whether it offers any benefits.

Strengths
The FP94VW is one of relatively few PC monitors to feature an HDMI input port with full support for HDCP copy protection. This comes in handy if you want to get the highest picture quality from a games console such as the PlayStation 3, a DVD player, as well as PCs with appropriate graphics cards. The monitor also has DVI and D-Sub ports, so it'll cater to most people's requirements.

BenQ supplies both D-Sub and DVI cables in the box, but you'll need to buy your own HDMI cable. We tested it using DVI from a PC and using HDMI from a Toshiba HD-E1 HD DVD player and it worked fine.

Given its gaming slant, it's no surprise to learn the FP94VW has a fast response time. BenQ claims 5ms black-to-black (the time it takes to switch from black, to white, to black again) and 2ms grey-to-grey, which is impressive on paper. We weren't able to precisely verify these claims, but in our experience with it, the FP94VW exhibited little if any blurring or ghosting -- a sign of low responsiveness.

The FP94VW uses BenQ's Senseye technology -- a processing system that aims to improve brightness, contrast, sharpness, motion and the appearance of colours. In practice, it seems to work well. The monitor has a mode that lets you view half the screen with Senseye off and the other half with Senseye on. The difference between the two is very noticeable -- colours seemed more punchy, contrast looked much improved, and whites were whiter.

There's a built-in power supply, which means there's no power brick to lose, and it's VESA wall-mountable, so you can stick it on a wall, a ceiling, a floor -- wherever takes your fancy. One of the coolest design touches, however, is a swappable hook that attaches to the back corner of the monitor. It's designed to let you hang a pair of headphones, a control pad or indeed anything with cables attached.

Weaknesses
The FP94VW tries to appear modern and smart -- and fails. This is a matter of subjective opinion, sure, but the silver and black design has been done to death, and the stand is frankly hideous. BenQ says the monitor has an 'industrial' look, but we're not impressed. It has an exaggerated widescreen aspect thanks to the fat left and right bezels -- it's almost comically wide. 

More importantly, however, the image quality didn't immediately rock our world. We had to do a fair bit of tweaking to get the best possible picture quality. The biggest issue we came across was a relative lack of contrast. BenQ claims a contrast ratio of 800:1, which is miles off the 3,000:1 ratio on the LG Flatron L1960TR. Interestingly, the screen on the FP94VW doesn't have a glossy coating, which is something of a surprise for this type of monitor. We wouldn't normally advocate glossy coats, but it would have come in handy here to boost the perceived contrast.

In the FP94VW, the aforementioned Senseye technology is combined with BenQ's gaming image trickery to form... wait for it... Senseye+game. The monitor has a dedicated Game Mode button that lets you switch between presets for 'action game', 'racing game' and 'standard'. Unfortunately, all this seemed to do was vary the brightness and blueness of the image. We reckon it's totally pointless and most buyers will never use it.

Other negatives are quite minor in comparison. There are no integrated speakers, so you'll have to get your own; the monitor doesn't pivot or have height adjustment; and the LED backlight bleeds slightly from the top and bottom.

Conclusion
When configured properly, the FP94VW delivers good image quality. We prefer LG's L1960TR due to its higher contrast and better overall picture, but the FP94VW is less expensive and will appeal to anyone who desires HDMI connectivy.

Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Nick Hide

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