BenQ SW271 monitor review

Screen Shot 2018-02-12 at 8.27.12 PM.png

BenQ SW271 monitor review

The BenQ SW271 is a 27″ 4k monitor aimed at the higher end photography/graphics/video market.   It’s a redevelopment of the SW2700PT monitor that I was considering purchasing last year before the release of the SW271.

The SW271 monitor

In this blog, I will take a look at what's in the box, how to set it up, and calibration.  Also I will show you how I used the monitor in my workflow.  

Features

  • 27 inches, 16:9, 3840 x 2160 resolution
  • 99% Adobe RGB coverage 14-bit 3D LUT, ΔE ≤ 2
  • Palette Master Element Calibration Software with Hardware Calibration
  • High Dynamic Range (HDR) content support ready
  • USB Type-C input for one cable calibration
  • GamutDuo to support dual colour space on one screen
  • Advanced Black & White mode
  • Technicolor Color Certified

Using these features

I’m connecting the monitor up to my 2017 MacBook Pro via the USB Type C 3-foot cable that is supplied by BenQ.   **Thank you to BenQ for sending a 6-foot USB Typc C cable, due to setup contraints, the 3-footer was too short.

I also purchased the OWC Thunderbolt 3 with 13-ports docking station since I had a number of G-Technology drives that was Firewire 800 & USB 3.1 connections.  

owc-thunderbolt-3-dock-ports-2@2x.jpg

For calibration, with the BenQ Palette Master Element software, I used the Datacolor Spyder 5 Express colorimeters.

Topimage1-4.jpg

Setting up the SW271

As with other BenQ monitors I’ve looked at, the packing in the box is well thought out, to aid the process of assembly.  I was up and going in under 20 minutes.

Take a look at some of the photos of the box setup.

 The monitor comes with its own calibration certificate.

The monitor comes with its own calibration certificate.

 First out is the support arm packaged in styrofoam.

First out is the support arm packaged in styrofoam.

 Below the styrofoam where the support arm is housed, the monitor base, display, box of cables and the vertical & horizontal monitor hoods.

Below the styrofoam where the support arm is housed, the monitor base, display, box of cables and the vertical & horizontal monitor hoods.

 A customizable USB control "HOTKEY" puck that you can use to toggle between SRGB, Adobe RGB, and Black & White modes.

A customizable USB control "HOTKEY" puck that you can use to toggle between SRGB, Adobe RGB, and Black & White modes.

Now the monitor is full assembled, you can see the full sleekness and sexiness of the BenQ SW271 monitor.

 Still waiting to full put this monitor to the test with some RAW files from the new Nikon D850.  

Still waiting to full put this monitor to the test with some RAW files from the new Nikon D850.  

Using the monitor

I’m initially testing the monitor on a 2017 MacBook Pro, connected via the USB-C Thunderbolt 3 cable port.  The display looked incredibly sharp and clear and very readable.  The display is scaling at 4:1, so images are very sharp being displayed at 1920×1080 on the screen.  I quickly changed the monitor display preferences via my Macbook Pro to 3840×2160 to get the full 4k resolution output.

Calibration For Photography

One of the advantages of  a monitor like this is its near Adobe 1998 color gamut.  When you calibrate this monitor with a DataColor Spyder 5, the calibration is carried out using the actual monitor hardware, rather than your video card.  Keep in mind, the X-Rite ColorMunki Display is -not- supported.  There are a number of different offerings for screen adjustments that are available in the monitor's different display modes.

The SW271 monitor has an internal 14 bit 3D lookup table. Which is set up in the calibration, using BenQ’s Palette Master Element software that comes available for use. You can still calibrate and save profiles with other software as mention before, this won’t disrupt the monitor's internal calibration software.

The software installs as an application, with Basic or Advanced functionality.  You’ll need an external calibrator – several are supported, but as I stated, I used the DataColor Spyder 5.

calibration-device.jpg

In basic mode your options for altering settings are limited, so keep your workflow in mind before hand.  In Advance Mode, a larger range of calibration settings are available to use towards your exact workflow.

Conclusions

Physically the SW271 has had a few changes over the SW2700PT, with a thinner bezel and the OSD buttons moved from bottom edge to front.

It’s a good clean design, even with the hood fitted. The monitor hood feels a little more solid too, and is easily assembled.  Overall, this monitor is sleek and sexy.

It comes with a range of cable that should be enough to get you up and running, with multiple input sources.  The direction that many laptops and computers are going, the USB-C cable seems to be the best & fastest route.

The hardware calibration works well, with a nice range of sensor options. 

The SW271 has the recessed style USB & SD Card slot (See Below), which makes it a bit difficult to access if you have larger hands, like myself.  Overall, this isn't a problem, cause I have a SD Card slot on my OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock, which is much more easier to get to if needed.  

USB-and-SD-Card.jpg

Summary

An excellent wide gamut high resolution monitor with hardware calibration for accuracy and consistency.  I would definitely recommend this monitor for your studio or home studio workflow.  One of the best monitors and most cost effective monitors on the market today.  A number of input options makes for a  flexible 4k monitor solution for all photographers, videographers, retouchers, and graphic designers.

Info at https://www.benq.com/en-us/monitor/photographer/sw271.html

WHERE TO BUY:  B&H Photo Video