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BenQ PG2401PT review

Michael Passingham
4 Feb 2015
Expert Reviews Recommended Logo
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
865
inc VAT

Professional-grade colour performance and sturdy design, but its resolution is lower than we'd like

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Specifications

Screen size: 24in, Resolution: 1,920x1,200, Screen technology: IPS, Refresh rate: 60Hz

BenQ's Pro Graphics (PG) monitor range is considerably more expensive than its other models, but the extra money buys a range of extra features that should appeal to design professionals and photographers who need accurate colours. The PG2401PT is a 24in, 1,920x1,200 pixel IPS display claiming 99% coverage on the wide and challenging Adobe RGB colour gamut, as well as 100% coverage on the CMYK gamut used in the printing industry.

DESIGN AND BUILD

The PG2401PT is built to last; the stand is notably heavier than the arms supplied with cheaper 24in screens, and the wide base is extremely stable - meaning there's minimal wobble when the monitor is knocked around. The stand is height adjustable and includes a smooth turntable with 90 degrees of adjustability, although adjusting the vertical angle of the screen is a bit more limited.

There are VGA, DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort and Mini DisplayPort connectors, with one of each found at the rear. For the most accurate colours, you should use the DisplayPort, Mini DisplayPort and HDMI connectors, as the DVI and VGA ports can only output 16.77 million colours as opposed to the 1.07 billion seen on the other connectors. There's also a 3.5mm audio jack for plugging in a pair of headphones if you’re connected via DisplayPort or HDMI. A light blue cable routing hole keeps a tight hold of the cables as they're fed into the connection ports.

Two USB3 ports and an SD card reader are easily accessible on the left. The monitor also comes with a hood, for those who conduct extremely light and colour-sensitive work such as design for print.

A line of six backlit, touch-sensitive buttons control the onscreen menus. The buttons light up as your hand moves towards them, which is a nice touch. The onscreen menus are responsive and well designed, with all the settings you'd want easily accessible. At this price, however, we would have expected an external remote control with buttons for presets or navigating the menus.

The available colour presets include Adobe RGB, sRGB, illumine. A, D50, D65 and Eco. Customising them is a little fiddly because their colour temperature and gamma settings are locked down, with other options greyed out. To use one of these profiles as a base for one of your own custom profiles, you'll have to save it as a custom profile, and then switch to that profile and edit it. There are only two slots for custom profiles, which seems a bit stingy.

PANEL PERFORMANCE

The monitor uses an AH-IPS panel made by LG. The AH prefix denotes this is an "advanced, high-performance" panel, which means that colours should be brighter while dropping power consumption to a claimed 74.6W.

The panel coating does a superb job of minimising reflections caused by interior lighting, and viewing angles both vertical and horizontal are very wide indeed, with virtually no colour shift at even oblique angles.

Each PG2401PT comes with its own unique performance report that's conducted in the BenQ factory before shipping, which is a nice touch. With a 10-bit panel, images with soft gradients keep their shading characteristics instead of suffering from obvious divisions between colours.

In our calibration tests we found the factory default Standard mode was able to produce 99.6% sRGB coverage and 98.1% Adobe RGB coverage out of the box, which is a very impressive score to achieve without further calibration. It slightly missed our colour temperature target of 6500K, with images showing up slightly cold at 6654K. Colour temperature can be adjusted via the onscreen menus, although you can only pick from a selection of nine presets unless you use one of the Custom profiles. Using a Custom profile you can adjust colour temperature in increments of 100K or by tweaking RGB values, which will be a boon for photographers who take photographs in challenging lighting conditions.

The average delta E figure, where lower scores are better, was 0.76. This means the colours produced on screen and the ideal version of that colour are virtually indistinguishable to the human eye, even when placed side-by-side. 

Colour profile

sRGB

Adobe RGB

Colour temp (target 6500K)

Brightness

Contrast

Black levels

Standard (factory default)

99.60%

98.10%

6654K

163.1cd/m2

557:1

0.28cd/m2

Adobe RGB

99.70%

96.70%

6662K

135.9cd/m2

601:1

0.22cd/m2

sRGB

97%

68.60%

6675K

135.2cd/m2

604:1

0.22cd/m2

The "Uniformity" option is switched on by default, giving the monitor incredibly even backlighting with only tiny deviations of around 3% between the darkest and the brightest patches of the panel. The problem with this mode is that it limits the screen's brightness hugely; in our initial calibration tests with brightness set at 50, the screen could only muster 163.1cd/m2. For most people that won't be a problem, especially because when the Uniformity option is switched off, white levels can reach an eye-searing 322cd/m2, which will be far too bright to work with all day without risking eye strain. 

It should be noted that with the Uniformity mode switched off, there are much greater differences between the lightest and the darkest spots on the panel, with some patches of the screen up to 17% darker than the central area.

The Uniformity mode also affects contrast levels; the best contrast performance we could get out of the panel with it switched on was a fairly low 604:1. Once switched off, this increased to a much better 971:1. If this is important to you, you should switch off Uniformity mode and drop the brightness settings to a comfortable level.

We had no problems with input lag on this display; using the Leo Bodnar Input Lag Tester we measured lag at 37.2ms. For non-gaming purposes, this lag is practically irrelevant and caused us no issues whatsoever.

The PG2401PT also has hardware calibration, meaning you can connect a compatible colour calibrator to your PC, connect the PC to the monitor via USB and adjust the monitor's own 3D colour lookup table (LUT) yourself.

The BenQ PG2401PT is a superb monitor with a lot of advanced features professional users will love. It's a shame it doesn't have a higher resolution panel, though. While this is a limitation of technology, and higher resolution panels with 99% Adobe RGB coverage are much more expensive, designers and photographers would surely benefit from choosing a monitor with a higher resolution thanks to the increased detail and desktop space afforded by it.

If you need an accurate monitor that you can trust, this is the monitor to buy. However, if your projects are less colour-sensitive, you should look at the Asus PB279Q, which is larger, has 3,840x2,160 resolution and has incredibly accurate colours. It's also nearly £200 cheaper. It doesn't have the same industry standard presets, and doesn't come with a hood or hardware calibration, but for all but the most advanced users, it's more than enough.

Hardware
Screen size24in
Resolution1,920x1,200
Screen technologyIPS
Contrast ratio1000:1
Brightness350cd/m2
Refresh rate60Hz
Response time5ms
Response time typegrey-to-grey
Horizontal viewing angle178 degrees
Vertical viewing angle178 degrees
Screen depth40mm
Base (WxD)295x290mm
Screen elevation35-185mm
Portrait modeYes
Internal speaker (power)No
Detachable cablesYes
USB hub2-port USB3
Integrated power supplyYes
Video inputsDisplayPort, mini DisplayPort, HDMI, DVI, VGA
Audio inputsNone
Buying information
Price including VAT£865
WarrantyTwo-year onsite
Supplierwww.laptopsdirect.co.uk
Detailswww.benq.co.uk
Part codePG2401PT

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