BENQ GW2250HM review
The budget end of the monitor market used to be dominated by cheaper TN panels, but we're starting to see more and more inexpensive screens with the supposedly superior IPS and VA panel technology. BenQ's GW2250HM is a 21.5in monitor with a VA panel for less than £100.
Every monitor is of course different, but the three panel technologies have some general advantages and disadvantages compared to each other. TN is known for fast response times, high brightness and low cost, but colours aren't always particularly accurate and tend to change shade noticeably as viewing angles increase. IPS panels usually have accurate colours and very wide viewing angles, so colours tend to remain constant at all but the most extreme viewpoints, but some struggle to show deep blacks.
The GW2250HM's VA panel technology is an attempt to combine the advantages of TN and IPS. VA screens tend to have deep blacks, leading to excellent contrast, but still show some colour shift at wide vertical or horizontal viewing angles; there's not as much shift as on TN panels, however.
There's no doubt the GW2250HM is a budget monitor. It has a cheap-feeling gloss black chassis and there's little adjustment on the stand; you can tilt the screen towards or away from you, but that's all. You do get DVI, VGA and HDMI inputs, as well as a pass-through for a 3.5mm audio signal; we found this cut out an excessive amount of volume, though, even when we set the monitor's volume to its maximum.
We were initially impressed by the monitor's image quality. The display has a semi-gloss finish, which helps with colour vibrancy but means that the monitor doesn’t suffer so much from reflections as a full-gloss display. In our solid colour tests, reds, greens and blues all had plenty of punch and were uniform across the screen. Blacks were truly black and whites were properly white, rather than the greys we sometimes see from budget monitors, and there was no leakage from the backlight anywhere on the panel.
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