A feature-packed budget 27in monitor with great image quality
- Robust build
- Great image quality
- Auto brightness
- Viewing angles not the best
- Prosaic, practical design
The BenQ GL2780 is an unusual monitor in that it doesn’t sacrifice much to hit a relatively low price point. Most monitors at around £130 tend to be 24in displays or smaller but this one is a whopping 27in, giving you loads of space to spread out onto.
Key specifications and price:
- 27in, 1,920 x 1,080 TN display
- 60/75Hz refresh rate
- 1ms GTG response rate
- HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI-D and VGA inputs
- Auto brightness and blue-light reduction modes
- Built-in speakers
- Price: £130
What do you get for your money?
The catch is that the BenQ GL2780 doesn’t use an IPS panel. Instead, it employs TN technology. This means that at extreme viewing angles the picture quality falls off dramatically. If you’re only going to sit directly in front of it, however, it’s one of the better budget TN monitors I’ve seen.
In addition to the monitor itself, BenQ supplies a desk stand – which you have to attach yourself using a small thumbscrew – an HDMI cable and a kettle-type mains lead.
That’s pretty standard stuff, as is the monitor’s design. The bezels are pretty thick and the housing is made from plain black plastic at the front with a curved, patterned rear. It’s practical rather than pretty, but that’s no bad thing.
And there are plenty of nice touches here, including a power adapter that’s housed within the monitor, so there’s no dangling power brick to worry about. You also get a cable tidy built into the stand. You can’t adjust the height of the monitor but that’s not unusual at this price.
What type of connections does it have?
For a budget monitor, the BenQ GL2780 is unusually well fitted out when it comes to connections. Here’s a list of the video inputs you get:
- HDMI DisplayPort
- VGA (D-SUB)
This means most laptops and PCs are covered unless yours happens to only have USB-C ports. Even then, you don’t necessarily need to miss out. You can buy a USB-C to HDMI cable like this one from Amazon for £12.
That’s it for video inputs but you do also get 3.5mm inputs and outputs, positioned underneath the monitor in the bottom left corner so you can hook up a pair of PC speakers or a headset.
How good is the image quality?
Stretching a resolution of 1080p across 27in means things can look a little pixelated but this is far from a deal-breaker because, otherwise, the picture quality is remarkably good. It’s a TN panel so if you look at it from the side or above, the colours do shift a bit. However, it goes pretty bright – all the way up to 326cd/m2 – and the contrast ratio is an excellent 1,316:1. This means images don’t look washed out.
Colour performance is absolutely spot on, too. I measured the BenQ GL2780 using a colorimeter and found sRGB gamut coverage to be 92.4% (good) and the average deltaE measurement to be 0.99, which is superb for a budget display. Delta E is a measurement of colour difference: the lower the number, the less difference there is between colours on screen and the colours in real life and any result of 2 or below is very good.
Finally, I have no issue with brightness uniformity across the panel either, with no patchiness or backlight bleed anywhere to be seen. You get the gist: the BenQ GL2780 is really rather good despite the old school TN tech.
Are there any other features I should know about?
Aside from good connectivity, sensible design and great colour performance, there are some extra features you might want to take note of as well. Top of the list is an automatic brightness mode, which lowers the intensity of the backlight to match the amount of ambient light in your room. It does this with the help of a small light sensor jutting out of the bottom of the screen.
There’s also 75Hz compatibility for smooth gameplay at higher frame rates than 60fps and a blue light reduction mode. The latter is useful if you tend to use the monitor late at night just before going to bed.
Finally, the monitor comes with integrated speakers. These aren’t exactly the last word in sound quality but they’re perfectly adequate if all you want to do is watch the odd YouTube clip.
Should I buy it?
The price at the time of writing this review was £130, which is a great price for such a practical, feature-packed monitor. With excellent image quality and a huge expanse of display, it’s a stupendously good screen for very little money.
It’s worth bearing in mind, however, that the price has risen recently due to high demand, so you might want to hold on until stocks are replenished and the price has fallen.