BenQ V2420 review
Adding a 24in monitor to your iMac, MacBook or Mac Pro is tempting, but given that the Apple version costs £649 (£552.34 ex VAT), it's not always affordable. Happily, there are some budget options available.
The BenQ V2420 is a 24in widescreen LED backlit panel with a 1900 x 1080 resolution, and tips the scales at just under £200. The 1900 x 1080, 16:9 LCD is becoming ever more popular even for computer screens, as it means HD movies can use the full screen rather than with black bars. With more and more people watching HD sources on their Macs, it makes sense. The 1900 x 1200 16:10 ratio monitor is better suited to those who need greater detail, but for most general purpose computing, the 1900 x 1080 is fine.
As it stands, the panel technology of an LED backlit display is no different to that of cold cathode fluorescent tube (CCFL), though the benefits of an LED illuminated screen are many. Lower power consumption is one, but perhaps most important is the improved brightness and contrast.
The V2420 is incredibly thin and though it might seem like a small point, the difference between this and other non-LED monitors really is stark. It's not all good news though, as there's no Vesa-compatible mounting point. This omission is no doubt down to the thinness of the screen, but it's a real shame that it can't be wall mounted. The supplied stand has a little bit of tilt so you can adjust the viewing angle a touch, but there's no swivel action. That said, the BenQ is incredibly light, so its not difficult to manoeuvre. The V2420 is certainly well put together and the plastics all look and feel robust.
As for looks, it's quite stylish, with buttons hidden across the bottom of the bezel. In terms of connectivity there's very little to talk about, as there's just one DVI connector and one VGA port. With no USB ports, speakers or even a headphone jack, this is a minimalist design.
One downside, we found that the cables are connected at a 90° angle to the back of the monitor, so stick out. We'd have preferred for the leads to be attached vertically so that they didn't protrude so much from the monitor. This would make the V2420 a touch thicker, but we feel it a compromise worth making. This might seem like a picky criticism, but it does mean that you can't push the screen back against a wall without risking damage to the cables or ports.
The built-in menu system is, as many of these systems tend to be, a bit fiddly to navigate, but nothing too taxing. There's fine control over brightness, contrast, sharpness and gamma, and some control over power settings and, of course, the all-important reset all option.
The screen itself is very impressive, with HD sources particularly good. We watched a range of movies and cartoons on the BenQ, and were very impressed by the accurate colours and level of detail. For general web browsing and other work, the V2420 can more than carry its own. We had to fiddle with the contrast to get the best image for our tastes, but in general, the picture was good. Whites were noticeably brighter when compared to a CCFL Screen.
For £191, the BenQ is good value, but if you watch a lot of movies and TV on your screen, it might be best to go for the slightly more expensive V2420H version, which has an HDMI port and a headphone jack for £196. Stylish good looks can only carry you so far, and though there's little to this monitor, the quality of the screen is very good. Bright and accurate there's a lot to like about it. For games, video and general use, it's a very accomplished LCD. Perhaps not as well-honed as Apple's 24in display, but much cheaper and still very good quality, the BenQ V2420 would make a great companion to any Mac.