Benq Professional P992 review:

Benq Professional P992

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MSRP: $240.00
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CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Low price; stable, easy-to-swivel base; fair horizontal range of motion.

The Bad Slightly out of focus; some geometry problems.

The Bottom Line In spite of some useful features and a low price, the Benq P992's merely passable image quality make it, at best, a consumer's budget compromise.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

7.0 Overall

Never heard of Benq monitors? Pronounced either benk or ben-kyoo, Benq is the Display Manufacturer Formerly Known as Acer. So what--other than the name--has changed? Not much. The company's P992 19-inch CRT is a reasonably priced consumer model, just like Acer's used to be, and its image quality is decent. Never heard of Benq monitors? Pronounced either benk or ben-kyoo, Benq is the Display Manufacturer Formerly Known as Acer. So what--other than the name--has changed? Not much. The company's P992 19-inch CRT is a reasonably priced consumer model, just like Acer's used to be, and its image quality is decent.

Nice plastics, smooth moves
Thanks no doubt to some anonymous designer, the $265 Benq P992 looks slightly less boxy and is more adjustable than most 19-inch CRT displays. It still comes in the usual putty-colored plastic casing, but its corners and edges are somewhat rounded, and the front-panel control buttons are big and blue--an improvement over the nondescript mass-market bezels. Its base remains stable when you adjust it; the movement is smooth and easy, and it swivels about 90 degrees to the left or the right, so you can turn the screen for others to view. On the inside, the Benq P922's shadow-mask tube makes for a perfectly flat, low-glare screen.

Setting up the Benq P992 is simple, though you'll probably need someone to help you lift the 46-pound bruiser out of its box. Once that's done, just follow the setup instructions in the very basic user manual, which walks you through plugging in the monitor and installing the swivel base and software drivers. The manual also offers an explanation of the front-panel and onscreen-menu (OSM) controls, a skimpy troubleshooting section, and a few specs. While far from comprehensive, the documentation should be enough to get you started.

The OSM is controlled by four buttons on the front panel: Exit, two arrow keys, and Enter. The menu itself is easy to navigate; all the standard horizontal, vertical, and pincushion adjustments are grouped together in submenus.

Focus and geometry
The Benq P992 has a maximum resolution of 1,600x1,200, with a 78Hz refresh rate. But at that resolution, fonts and desktop icons are too small and blurry to read. It performed better on our DisplayMate benchmark tests when set at the recommended 1,280x1,024 resolution and 85Hz refresh rate. Colors and grayscale were decent overall, with rich reds, a good range of grays, and a well-saturated black. However, in Web images, colors appeared slightly dark and muted. The display also had some geometry problems that we couldn't correct via the OSM--namely, some bowing and distortion, especially at the right side of the screen. On the whole, the P992's focus was mediocre, and the lower-right corner looked particularly blurry. Text was passably clear and legible at 12-point size, but at 6.8 points, letters looked jaggy, faint, and hard to read. Overall, the Benq would be adequate as a general-purpose display, but perfectionists and graphics pros should steer clear.

Long warranty
The Benq P992 is backed by a good three-year warranty on parts, labor, and the CRT itself. Toll-free telephone tech support is available Monday to Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET for the life of the monitor. For do-it-yourselfers, Benq offers contact information, driver downloads, and FAQs on its Web site.

The Benq P992 has an attractive price tag and some great features. But if you're going to stare at your monitor all day, the display should be crisp and free of flicker. This could be a viable value as a price/performance compromise for bargain hunters, but we recommend spending a bit more for the Samsung SyncMaster 900NF. Or you could go with a similarly priced--and truly stunning--17-inch CRT such as the Eizo FlexScan F520.

Monitor image-quality test
Longer bars indicate better performance
0-50 = Poor   50-60 = Fair   60-70 = Good   70-80 = Very good   80-100 = Excellent
IBM P96
75 
NEC MultiSync LCD1880SX
74 
Samsung SyncMaster 900NF
70 
Samsung SyncMaster 950b
68 
Sony HMD-A400
64 
Benq P992
64 
HP 92
58 
 

The Benq P992 exhibited acceptable image quality in CNET Labs' benchmark tests. Colors and grayscale were decent overall, with rich reds, a good range of grays, and a well-saturated black. However, in Web images, colors appeared slightly dark and muted. The display also had some geometry problems that we couldn't correct--namely, some bowing and distortion, especially at the right side of the screen. Also, the focus was a bit off, especially in the lower-right corner of the display.

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