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Introduction

Over the last couple of years, 27" monitors have become more common, and certainly more affordable. The large screen size and super-high resolutions of 2560 x 1440 have attracted new buyers, looking for more desktop real-estate but without having to spend substantially more money on the small selection of 30" models out there. The use of IPS panel technology has also been positively received, and until now the sector was pretty much dominated by LG.Display's IPS panels. In recent times Samsung have made an effort to infiltrate this sector with their own competing PLS technology, which has been incorporated into a few popular models from Samsung themselves, and other manufacturers like Asus and ViewSonic. With the influx of lower cost models from Korea and other small manufacturers like DGM and Hazro, the 27" market has become a realistic option for many buyers.

For a while now, BenQ have produced a few 27" models such as the GW2750HM and more recently the upgraded GW2760HS. However, they have not been offering high-res models and instead stuck with 1920 x 1080 resolutions offered by sister company AU Optronics, from their AMVA panels. Recognising the need to offer customers a higher spec panel, BenQ have just released the new BL2710PT. This is their first venture into the high-res 2560 x 1440 market, and also marks an interesting move from a panel technology point of view. This new screen moves away from AU Optronics long-established VA technology, and introduces a new panel technology dubbed AHVA (Advanced Hyper-Viewing Angle). This is an "IPS mode" technology, designed to offer similar performance characteristics to IPS and PLS technologies and the BL2710PT is the first model in the World to use this new technology. It will be very interesting to see how this new panel performs and how it compares to IPS and PLS which at the moment are widely available in the 27" sector.

The screen itself offers a range of BenQ's latest product developments and is described on their website as follows: "BenQ BL2710, the first tailored CAD/CAM monitor is the ultimate solution carefully designed to meet all demands of every professional working with PTC, SolidWorks, AutoCAD, Maya or other CAD/CAM software. Featuring a 27 2560x1440 WQHD Flicker-free screen, 100% sRGB, DP, HDMI and USB3.0 ports, HAS with Display Pilot software and unique CAD/CAM Mode, which easily handles work with complicated object wireframes, this CAD/CAM monitor is bringing you optimal and holistic experience that turns your job into enjoyment."



Specifications and Features

The following table gives detailed information about the specs of the screen:

Monitor Specifications

Size

27"WS

Panel Coating

Light AG coating

Aspect Ratio

16:9

Interfaces

DVI-D (HDCP), VGA, DisplayPort, HDMI

Resolution

2560 x 1440

Pixel Pitch

0.2331 mm

Design colour

Matte black bezel, stand and base

Response Time

4ms G2G (12ms ISO)

Ergonomics

Tilt, 150mm height, swivel and rotate

Static Contrast Ratio

1000:1

Dynamic Contrast Ratio

20 million:1

VESA Compatible

Yes 100mm

Brightness

350

Accessories

DisplayPort, HDMI, DVI, VGA, USB, audio and power cables

Viewing Angles

178 / 178

Panel Technology

AHVA

Weight

monitor with stand: 8.2Kg

Backlight Technology

W-LED

Physical Dimensions

(WxHxD with stand max height)
639 x 525 x 259 mm

Colour Depth

1.07 billion

Refresh Rate

60Hz

Special Features

2x USB 2.0 ports, 2x USB 3.0 ports, 2x 3W speakers, audio connections, ambient light sensor, human motion sensor

Colour Gamut

Standard gamut
100% sRGB, ~72% NTSC

The BL2710PT offers a good set of connectivity options. There are DVI-D, DisplayPort, D-sub (VGA) and HDMI provided for video interfaces, giving you everything you could really need for modern connectivity really. The digital interfaces are HDCP certified for encrypted content.

The screen comes packaged with all the connection cables you could need which is great to see (DisplayPort, HDMI, DVI, VGA, audio and USB). The screen has an integrated power supply and so it only needs a standard kettle lead which is provided in the box. There is a built-in 4 port USB hub as well on this model, 2 of which are USB 2.0 and 2 are USB 3.0. It was nice to see the inclusion of the latest USB generation here. There are also 2x 3W integrated stereo speakers on this model as well as an 'ECO sensor' (human motion sensor) which can turn the screen off automatically if no user is detected, and an ambient light sensor which can control the brightness depending on your ambient lighting conditions. The only thing it is missing which might have been nice to see is an integrated card reader.

Below is a summary of the features and connections of the screen:

Feature

Yes / No

Feature

Yes / No

Tilt adjust

DVI

Height adjust

HDMI

Swivel adjust

D-sub

Rotate adjust

DisplayPort

VESA compliant

Component

USB Ports

Composite

Card Reader

Audio connection

Ambient Light Sensor

HDCP Support

Touch Screen

MHL Support

Hardware calibration

Integrated Speakers

Uniformity correction

PiP / PbP



Design and Ergonomics



Above: front views of the screen

The BenQ BL2710PT comes in an all-black design, with matte plastics used for the bezel, stand and base. The bezel is of a moderate width, measuring ~20mm along the sides and top, and slightly thicker at ~22mm along the bottom edge. There is a shiny silver BenQ logo situated on the bottom left hand corner of the bezel, and a subtle grey-fonted 'BL2710' label in the top right hand corner. The power LED is situated in the bottom right hand corner along with 5 small black circles which are the touch sensitive OSD control buttons. The power LED glows a bright white colour during normal use and pulsates an amber/red colour when the screen is in standby.


Above: back and side views of the screen

The back of the screen is again a matte black plastic and is fairly squared off as you can see above. There is a BenQ logo on the back of the stand, and a small blue screw-on clip which can be used to hang headphones if you wish (as well as providing a slight blue accent to the design). From the side the screen maintains a reasonably thin profile thanks to the use of a W-LED backlight system, although since it has an integrated power supply it is not super-thin.


Above: view of the base of the screen (left) and headphone clip on the back (right). Click for larger versions

The base of the stand is a black rectangular shape measuring 300 x 191mm in size. It provides a nice sturdy base for the large 27" screen. Within the back of a stand is a cut-out circular section which can be used as a handy cable tidy. The screw-on blue headphone clip on the back of the stand is also shown above close-up. The stand and base come separately in the box and need to be slotted together which is easy enough to do.


Above: side USB ports. Click for larger version

The left hand edge of the screen features two easy-access USB ports which is useful.


The screen provides a full range of adjustments from the stand. There is a full 90 rotation function, 20/5 tilt adjustment, 45 side to side swivel and 150mm height adjustment.


Above: tilt range shown, click for larger versions

The tilt function provides a very good range of angles and is smooth to move, although quite stiff to operate.


Above: height adjustment range shown, click for larger versions

The height adjustment is a bit easier to use and again provides smooth motion. At the lowest setting the bottom edge of the display is ~10mm from the top edge of the desk, and at its maximum adjustment it is ~160mm (giving you a 150mm total adjustment range).


Above: side to side swivel adjustment. Click for larger versions.

The side to side swivel offers smooth movement but again the stand is quite stiff here.

 


Above: screen without the stand connected, click for larger version

The screen can also be VESA 100 wall/arm mounted if you want, and the stand is easily removed with the push of a button.

A summary of the screens ergonomic adjustments is shown below:

Function

Range

Smoothness

Ease of Use

Tilt

Yes

Smooth

Quite stiff

Height

150mm

Smooth

Easy

Swivel

Yes

Smooth

Stiff

Rotate

Yes

Reasonable

Stiff

Overall

Very good range of adjustments and mostly very smooth movements, although a little stiff

The materials were of a high quality and the screen felt well-built. It remained fairly sturdy on the desk although did wobble a bit if knocked due to the size. There was very little heat output from the screen thanks to the W-LED backlight unit and no audible noise or buzzing was detected, even when using specific test situations.

 

The back of the screen features all the connectivity options. On the left is the power connection and an on/off switch. To the right are audio input/output connections then the DisplayPort, D-sub VGA, Dual-link DVI and HDMI video interfaces. There is then an upstream USB connection and two additional USB ports.

 



OSD Menu


Above: views of OSD operational buttons on the bottom right hand edge of the screen

The OSD menu is accessed and controlled through a series of 5 touch-sensitive buttons along the bottom edge of the screen. Normally these look like 5 small black circles on the front of the bezel which are subtle and hidden during normal use.

As you move your finger towards the buttons (but don't press them) they all light up, showing you they are available to press. From there a light touch of any of them brings up a quick launch menu bar as shown above which shows what each of the buttons will then do for you. From here there is quick access (in order) to the preset mode menu, input selection, volume control and then the main menu itself.

  

If you use the quick access to any of the menus, the logos above each of the buttons changes, showing you what they will now do, whether that's scroll up and down, make a selection or whatever else is available. Above are the quick access menus for the preset modes ('picture mode' menu) and input selection.

The quick access to the volume control is also shown above. You can also change what quick launch options are available from within the main OSD menu, including things like brightness, contrast, aspect ratio control and some of the ECO options. Useful to have available and be able to change to your taste.

The main OSD menu looks as above. It is split into 7 sections which are shown down the left hand side. As you scroll down the options within each section are shown on the right. The first 'display' section is mostly for adjustments when using the analogue VGA connection, but can also control the auto-pivot function (when switching the screen from landscape to portrait modes) and the input selection.

The picture menu contains quite a few of the common options like brightness and contrast. You can also select from the various gamma and colour temperature modes which we will test later on as well. If you scroll down this section further there is also the AMA option, for controlling the response time setting.

The picture advanced section includes a few more special features. There is the 'picture mode' option (preset modes) and 'display mode' (aspect ratio control), with options for full, 1:1 and aspect available. The dynamic contrast option is available if you are in a suitable preset mode.

The audio section is pretty self explanatory.

The system section allows you to customise the quick access buttons if you want, and control a few things related to the menu and OSD.

The Ergonomics section includes a few of the advanced features of the monitor. The 'Eye Protect' sensor is the ambient light sensor, controlling the backlight brightness depending on your ambient light conditions. The Smart Reminder can be set to reminder you at certain intervals to take a break.

The ECO section allows you to control the human motion sensor feature.

All in all the menu was pretty impressive. There were a wide range of options to adjust and plenty of advanced features which was nice. The touch sensitive buttons added a level of premium feel to the screen, although occasionally they could be a little insensitive, but not very often. The navigation was easy enough although it sometimes felt a little laborious to get to the option you wanted if we're honest.
 



Power Consumption

In terms of power consumption the manufacturers website doesn't seem to list any specs. We carried out our normal tests to establish its power consumption ourselves.

State and Brightness Setting

Manufacturer Spec (W)

Measured Power Usage (W)

Factory Default (100%)

-

43.3

Calibrated (35%)

-

25.1

Maximum Brightness (100%)

-

43.3

Minimum Brightness (0%)

-

15.0

Standby

-

0.5

We found that out of the box the screen used 43.3W at the default 100% brightness setting. Once calibrated the screen reached 25.1W consumption, and in standby it used only 0.5W. We have plotted these results below compared with other screens we have tested. You will note that the BL2710PT performed similarly to other W-LED backlit screens we have tested overall. The recent GB-r-LED based screens like the Dell U2713H and U3014 seemed to use a little more power than W-LED, and the CCFL units (Eizo SX2762W and NEC PA271W for instance) were even more power intensive.



Panel and Backlighting

Panel Manufacturer

AU Optronics

Colour Palette

1.07 billion

Panel Technology

AHVA

Colour Depth

8-bit +  FRC

Panel Module

M270DAN01.0

Colour space

Standard gamut

Backlighting Type

W-LED

Colour space coverage (%)

sRGB, ~72% NTSC

Panel Part and Colour Depth

The BenQ BL2710PT utilises an AU Optronics M270DAN01.0 AHVA (Advanced Hyper-Viewing Angle) panel which is capable of producing 1.07 billion colours. According to the detailed panel spec sheet this is done with an 8-bit colour depth and an additional Frame Rate Control (FRC) stage (8-bit + FRC) as opposed to a true 10-bit panel. This is a measure commonly taken on modern IPS panels as well to offer 10-bit colour support, and the FRC algorithm is very well implemented to the point that you'd be very hard pressed to tell any difference in practice compared with an 10-bit panel.

The panel offers support for 10-bit content. This gives a colour depth support for 1.07 billion colours. However,  you need to take into account whether this is practically useable and whether you're ever going to truly use that colour depth. You need to have a full 10-bit end to end workflow to take advantage of it which is still quite expensive to achieve and rare in the market, certainly for your average user. This includes relevant applications and graphics cards as well, so to many people this 10-bit support might be irrelevant.

This is the first panel produced by AU Optronics using their new AHVA technology, designed to offer similar performance to the very popular IPS tech produced by LG.Display. We will see throughout the course of this review how it compares. The panel is confirmed when accessing the factory menu:

Screen Coating

The screen coating on the BL2710PT is much like that featured on recent IPS and PLS screens. It is a normal anti-glare (AG) offering as opposed to any kind of glossy coating but is is a light AG coating which retains its anti-glare properties to avoid unwanted reflections, but does not produce an overly grainy or dirty image. It is a little more reflective than the IPS offerings we have tested recently (e.g. Dell P2414H) but does not cause any issues in normal use. There are no issues with "cross hatching" or other strange patterns on the panel as reported on some other recent 27" screens like the Dell U2713HM.


Backlight Type and Colour Gamut

The screen uses a White-LED (W-LED) backlight unit which has become very popular in today's market. This helps reduce power consumption compared with older CCFL backlight units and brings about some environmental benefits as well. The W-LED unit offers a standard colour gamut which is approximately equal to the sRGB colour space (equating to ~72% NTSC). Anyone wanting to work with wider colour spaces would need to consider wide gamut CCFL screens, or perhaps the new range of GB-r-LED displays emerging. AU Optronics also have a wide gamut version of their 27" AHVA in production so we expect a wide gamut model to appear from BenQ at some point too.
 

Backlight Dimming and Flicker

We tested the screen to establish the methods used to control backlight dimming. Our in depth article talks in more details about a common method used for this which is called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM). This in itself gives cause for concern to some users who have experienced eye strain, headaches and other symptoms as a result of the flickering backlight caused by this technology. We use a photosensor +  oscilloscope system to measure backlight dimming control with a high level of accuracy and ease. These tests allow us to establish

1) Whether PWM is being used to control the backlight
2) The frequency and other characteristics at which this operates, if it is used
3) Whether a flicker may be introduced or potentially noticeable at certain settings

If PWM is used for backlight dimming, the higher the frequency, the less likely you are to see artefacts and flicker. The duty cycle (the time for which the backlight is on) is also important and the shorter the duty cycle, the more potential there is that you may see flicker. The other factor which can influence flicker is the amplitude of the PWM, measuring the difference in brightness output between the 'on' and 'off' states. Please remember that not every user would notice a flicker from a backlight using PWM, but it is something to be wary of. It is also a hard thing to quantify as it is very subjective when talking about whether a user may or may not experience the side effects.


100%
                                                     50%                                                    0%

Above scale = 1 horizontal grid = 1ms

The BL2710PT is part of BenQ's new 'flicker free' monitor initiative. At all brightness settings the backlight output remains constant and is not cycled on and off at all. A Direct Current (DC) method is being used instead of PWM which is welcome. If users are worried about flicker or particularly susceptible to it, then you do not need to worry here.

Pulse Width Modulation Used

No

Cycling Frequency

n/a

Possible Flicker at

 

100% Brightness

No

50% Brightness

No

0% Brightness

No

For an up to date list of all flicker-free (PWM free) monitors please see our Flicker Free Monitor Database.



Testing Methodology

An important thing to consider for most users is how a screen will perform out of the box and with some basic manual adjustments. Since most users won't have access to hardware colorimeter tools, it is important to understand how the screen is going to perform in terms of colour accuracy for the average user.

I restored my graphics card to default settings and disabled any previously active ICC profiles and gamma corrections. The screen was tested at default factory settings using the DVI interface, and analysed using an X-rite i1 Pro Spectrophotometer (not to be confused with the i1 Display Pro colorimeter) combined with LaCie's Blue Eye Pro software suite. An X-rite i1 Display Pro colorimeter was also used to verify the black point and contrast ratio since the i1 Pro spectrophotometer is less reliable at the darker end.


Targets for these tests are as follows:

  • CIE Diagram - validates the colour space covered by the monitors backlighting in a 2D view, with the black triangle representing the displays gamut, and other reference colour spaces shown for comparison

  • Gamma - we aim for 2.2 which is the default for computer monitors

  • Colour temperature / white point - we aim for 6500k which is the temperature of daylight

  • Luminance - we aim for 120 cd/m2, which is the recommended luminance for LCD monitors in normal lighting conditions

  • Black depth - we aim for as low as possible to maximise shadow detail and to offer us the best contrast ratio

  • Contrast ratio - we aim for as high as possible. Any dynamic contrast ratio controls are turned off here if present

  • dE average / maximum - as low as possible. If DeltaE >3, the color displayed is significantly different from the theoretical one, meaning that the difference will be perceptible to the viewer. If DeltaE <2, LaCie considers the calibration a success; there remains a slight difference, but it is barely undetectable. If DeltaE < 1, the color fidelity is excellent.



Default Performance and Setup

Default settings of the screen were as follows:

Monitor OSD Option

Default Settings

Brightness

100

Contrast

50

Preset mode

Standard

RGB

n/a

Gamma

3

Color Temperature

Normal


BenQ BL2710PT - Default Factory Settings

 

 

 

Default Settings

luminance (cd/m2)

264

Black Point (cd/m2)

0.34

Contrast Ratio

781:1

 

Out of the box the screen looked pretty good to the naked eye although it was very bright. This could easily be controlled via the brightness setting of course, which came set at a maximum 100% out of the box. Colours felt even and well balanced. We went ahead and measured the default state with the i1 Pro.

 

 

The CIE diagram on the left of the image confirms that the monitors colour gamut (black triangle) matches the sRGB colour space reasonably well, with some slight over-coverage evident in some shades, most notably greens. Default gamma was recorded at 2.5 average, leaving it a little out with a 12% deviance from the target of 2.2. White point was measured at 6422k leaving it a very small 1% out from our target of 6500k which was pleasing. Note that we are using a spectrophotometer to make these measurements which is not sensitive to the wide gamut backlight as some colorimeter devices can be. When using a standard gamut colorimeter not designed to work with modern backlighting units like W-LED, WCG-CCFL and GB-r-LED there can be a typical deviance of 300 - 600k in the white point measurement which is why some sources may refer to a different white point in this test incorrectly.

 

Luminance was recorded at a very bright 264 cd/m2 which is too high for prolonged general use, and will need to be turned down for most uses. The screen was set at a default 100% brightness in the OSD menu but that is easy to change of course to reach a more comfortable setting. The black depth was 0.34 cd/m2 at this default brightness setting, giving us a modest static contrast ratio of 781:1. This was a lot lower than AU Optronics' other panel technology of choice, AMVA, which can reach up to over 3000:1 easily nowadays. We didn't know what to expect from this new AHVA technology, which is designed to be more like IPS. In fact we were left with a contrast ratio similar to many IPS panels. Some can reach higher, up to around 1000:1, but most are in this kind of range from 600 - 800:1 to be honest.

 

Colour accuracy was pretty reasonable, but not great, out of the box with a default dE of 2.9, and maximum of 5.1. Testing the screen with various gradients showed mostly smooth transitions but there was some noticeable gradation, particularly in darker tones and even some slight banding in the darker range. This didn't seem to change when altering OSD settings for preset modes or gamma. Probably not something you'd see in normal use although a little disappointing given this is a high end screen. Overall the default setup was ok for general uses, but needs some tweaking to get a higher level of accuracy, especially with the gamma curve. Before we get on to the calibration process we will take some further measurements in other modes to see if some of the basic OSD settings can have a positive impact.

 

 

Colour Temperature and Gamma

 

 

Within the OSD is an option to change the colour temperature. There are three preset modes available as listed below, and then a "user define" mode when you're using the 'user' preset mode. This last option basically gives you access to the RGB controls to alter the channels individually. We measured the screen with the X-rite i1 Pro spectrophotometer in each of the preset modes to establish their colour temperature / white point. All other settings were left at factory defaults and no ICC profile was active. The results are recorded below:

Colour Temperature

Selected Preset Mode

Measured Colour Temperature (k)

Normal

6422

Bluish

10,096

Reddish

5988

 

The preset modes did as they described, making the image cooler (more blue) or warmer (more red). If we're being picky, the reddish mode wasn't really very warm compared with a 6500k daylight colour, and so maybe it would have been better being a bit warmer at nearer to 5000k. The "normal" mode delivered a white point pretty close to the 6500k target we use in our reviews which was good. You can leave it on that setting if you don't want to calibrate the screen yourself, and be safe in the knowledge that the white point is close to 6500k.

 

 

Gamma

Gamma Mode

Measured Average Gamma

Deviance from 2.2 Target

1

2.0

8%

2

2.2

2%

3

2.5

12%

4

2.7

24%

5

3.0

34%

 

We also measured the gamma curve in each of the gamma modes. Again all other settings were left at default in the 'standard' preset and 'normal' colour temperature modes. We had already seen that out of the box the default gamma setting of 3 had returned  an average gamma of 2.5 which was 12% out from our target of 2.2. We found actually that if you simply changed the gamma to mode 2, the result was much more pleasing. Average gamma was now 2.2 with only a small 2% deviance. Better still there were also some positive improvements to the colour accuracy as shown below, with average dE now only 1.7. This is a much better default setup for the screen and so we suggest switching to gamma mode 2 at the very least. We have suggested to BenQ that maybe the default factory setting is changed so it comes shipped in mode 2 instead.
 

 

 

Monitor OSD Option

Settings

Brightness

100

Contrast

50

Preset mode

Standard

RGB

n/a

Gamma

2

Color Temperature

Normal


BenQ BL2710PT - Default Factory Settings, Gamma mode 2

   

 

Default Settings, gamma mode 2

luminance (cd/m2)

264

Black Point (cd/m2)

0.34

Contrast Ratio

785:1

 

If you simply switch to the gamma mode 2 in the OSD, but leave the rest of the settings at default (preset mode = standard, colour temperature = normal), you get a very good default performance from the screen. Gamma is very close to the 2.2 target, white point is pretty much spot on to the 6500k target and colour accuracy is much better with average dE only 1.7. All you need to then do is turn the brightness down to a comfortable setting for your use (around 36 should give you a luminance of ~120 cd/m2), but that won't impact the rest of the measurements here, only the luminance. Even users without access to a calibration tool should be fine as the default setup here is very good really.

 

 

Calibration

 

We used the X-rite i1 Pro spectrophotometer combined with the LaCie Blue Eye Pro software package to achieve these results and reports. An X-rite i1 Display Pro colorimeter was used to validate the black depth and contrast ratios due to lower end limitations of the i1 Pro device.

 

Monitor OSD Option

Calibrated Settings

Brightness

35

Contrast

50

Preset mode

Standard

RGB

n/a

Gamma

2

Color Temperature

Normal


BenQ BL2710PT- Calibrated Settings

  
 

 

Calibrated Settings

luminance (cd/m2)

120

Black Point (cd/m2)

0.15

Contrast Ratio

788:1

 

We carried out a few calibrations of the screen. Normally at this stage we would change to one of the 'user' modes to give us access to more of the controls. To get the most access to user controls on this screen you have to use the 'user' preset mode. You then need to select the 'user define' colour temperature mode which gives you access to the RGB channels. When you switch to the 'user' preset mode, you can tell that some of the colours don't look right. Some bright yellows look brown-ish for example. We carried out the profilation of the screen using the i1 Pro in this 'user' preset mode but couldn't achieve any accurate results really. We tried with the colour temp mode in 'normal' and in 'user' where we could control the RGB levels ourselves. Neither seemed to make any difference and we were left with large discrepancies after calibration in the colour accuracy. Not sure why this is the case, but we have seen this from some other models before.

 

 

This isn't a big problem though. The screen has a very good default setup if you make the minor changes we described earlier in the review. Even if you don't have a calibration tool the screen should perform well. If you do have a calibration device you can easily correct everything one step further by profiling the screen in the 'standard' preset mode instead. We left the colour temp setting in 'normal' and switched to gamma mode 2 for an optimum starting point. This was the optimum hardware starting point before the software level changes would be made at the graphics card level. This would help preserve tonal values and limit banding issues. After this we let the software carry out the LUT adjustments and create an ICC profile.

 

 

Average gamma had been corrected slightly closer to 2.2 average according to the initial test, correcting the default 2% deviance we'd found out of the box which was good in this gamma mode, and leaving a small 1% deviance now. The white point remained accurate at 6512k. Luminance had now been improved thanks to the adjustment to the brightness control and was now being measured at 120 cd/m2. This left us a black depth of 0.15 cd/m2 and retained a static contrast ratio as before at 788:1. Colour accuracy had been corrected nicely, with dE average of 0.4 and maximum of 1.0. LaCie would consider colour fidelity to be excellent.

 

Testing the screen with various colour gradients showed mostly smooth transitions. There was some slight gradation in darker tones and some very banding still visible in dark tones due to the adjustments to the graphics card LUT from the profilation of the screen. You can use our settings and try our calibrated ICC profile if you wish, which are available in our ICC profile database. Keep in mind that results will vary from one screen to another and from one computer / graphics card to another.

 

 

Calibration Performance Comparisons


 

The comparisons made in this section try to give you a better view of how each screen performs, particularly out of the box which is what is going to matter to most consumers. When comparing the default factory settings for each monitor it is important to take into account several measurement areas - gamma, white point and colour accuracy. There's no point having a low dE colour accuracy figure if the gamma curve is way off for instance. A good factory calibration requires all 3 to be well set up. We have deliberately not included luminance in this comparison since this is normally far too high by default on every screen. However, that is very easily controlled through the brightness setting (on most screens) and should not impact the other areas being measured anyway. It is easy enough to obtain a suitable luminance for your working conditions and individual preferences, but a reliable factory setup in gamma, white point and colour accuracy is important and not as easy to change accurately without a calibration tool.

 

From these comparisons we can also compare the calibrated colour accuracy, black depth and contrast ratio. After a calibration the gamma, white point and luminance should all be at their desired targets.

 

 

Default setup of the screen was moderate overall, but could actually be corrected with some very simple changes to the OSD menu. If we talk about the out-of-the-box performance for a minute, we were pleased with the white point (6422k, 1% deviance) but were not that pleased with the gamma curve (2.5, 12% deviance). Colour accuracy was ok, but not great, with an average dE of 2.9. Those are the figures we've compared above as those were srticty the default settings.

 

However, if you make a very simple switch to gamma mode 2 in the OSD menu, this corrects a lot of the problem as we saw in our earlier tests. If you do this then gamma is improved significantly to 2.2 with only a 2% deviance. Colour accuracy is also improved to a dE average of only 1.7. This represents a very good factory setup if you make just this simple change. Obviously you can control the brightness to suit your requirements, and that does not impact the other areas here.

 

 

 

This was our first look at an AHVA panel and we weren't sure what to expect from its black depth and contrast ratio. In practice, after calibration the results were very comparable to a lot of IPS panels. This is probably to be expected given it is an "IPS mode" panel technology, designed to be like LG.Display's offering. With a calibrated contrast ratio of 788:1 it was similar to a lot of IPS and PLS panels we've tested. We had seen some IPS panels reach up to nearer 1000:1 though, but perhaps there's room for this AHVA technology to grow if AU Optronics continue to invest in it. It can't compete with their other AMVA technology, which can reach up to over 3000:1 easily, but it's a reasonable performance here really for an IPS-type technology.

 

 

 


Contrast Stability and Brightness

We wanted to see how much variance there was in the screens contrast as we adjusted the monitor setting for brightness. In theory, brightness and contrast are two independent parameters, and good contrast is a requirement regardless of the brightness adjustment. Unfortunately, such is not always the case in practice. We recorded the screens luminance and black depth at various OSD brightness settings, and calculated the contrast ratio from there. Graphics card settings were left at default with no ICC profile or calibration active. Tests were made using an X-rite i1 Display Pro colorimeter. It should be noted that we used the BasICColor calibration software here to record these, and so luminance at default settings may vary a little from the LaCie Blue Eye Pro report.

OSD Brightness

Luminance
(cd/m2)

Black Point (cd/m2)

Contrast Ratio
( x:1)

100

258.52

0.34

760

90

236.63

0.31

763

80

215.91

0.28

771

70

194.08

0.25

776

60

173.04

0.23

752

50

151.17

0.20

756

40

128.77

0.17

757

30

106.44

0.14

760

20

82.65

0.11

751

10

59.50

0.08

744

0

36.07

0.05

721

 

Total Luminance Adjustment Range (cd/m2)

222.45

Brightness OSD setting controls backlight?

Total Black Point Adjustment Range (cd/m2)

0.29

Average Static Contrast Ratio

756:1

PWM Free? 

Recommended OSD setting for 120 cd/m2

36

The brightness control gave us a very good range of adjustment. At the top end the maximum luminance reached 259 cd/m2 which should be high enough for most users, but actually fell quite a bit short of the specified maximum brightness of 350 cd/m2 from the manufacturer. This was measured in the default 'standard' preset mode. If you switch to the 'user' mode where the RGB channels are at 100% by default, the maximum luminance is a bit higher at ~330 cd/m2. However, we had issues with colour accuracy in the 'user' mode as we talked about earlier, so unless you specifically need a higher luminance, we recommend sticking to the 'standard' mode.

In the 'standard' preset mode we tested there was a 222cd/m2 adjustment range in total, and so at the minimum setting you could reach down to a luminance of 36 cd/m2. This should be adequate for those wanting to work in darkened room conditions with low ambient light. A setting of ~36 in the OSD menu should return you a luminance of around 120 cd/m2.

We have plotted the luminance trend on the graph above. The screen behaves as it should in this regard, with a reduction in the luminance output of the screen controlled by the reduction in the OSD brightness setting. This was a linear relationship as you can see from the graph above. It should be noted also that the brightness regulation is controlled by a Direct Current (DC) method instead of using Pulse Width Modulation, which means the BL2710PT is flicker free.

The average contrast ratio of the screen was 756:1 and it remained very stable across the brightness adjustment range as shown above. Note that these measurements were taken when in the default screen state, and using the 'standard' preset mode. It is possible to get a higher contract ratio of around 1000:1 if you switch to the 'user' mode and leave the RGB channels at 100 each. However, we've already talked about the fact that the user mode doesn't seem to allow an accurate colour calibration. Also keep in mind that if you do calibrate the screen in the 'user' mode, you will need to adjust the RGB levels down anyway, and we found that after we'd done that (in line with the recommendations of the calibration software), the contrast ratio had dropped to around 780:1 again anyway.
 


Dynamic Contrast

The BenQ BL2710PT features a dynamic contrast ratio (DCR) control. For some reason the spec doesn't appear to be listed on BenQ's website, but on the box it states 20 million:1. Dynamic contrast ratio technology in theory involves controlling the backlight of the screen automatically, depending on the content shown on the screen. In bright images, the backlight is increased, and in darker images, it is decreased. We have come to learn that DCR figures are greatly exaggerated and what is useable in reality is often very different to what is written on paper or on a manufacturers website.

For this test we would use an i1 Display Pro colorimeter to record the luminance and black depths at the two extremes. Max brightness would be recorded on an almost all white screen. Black depth would be recorded on an almost all black screen. In real use you are very unlikely to ever see a full black or full white screen, and even our tests are an extreme case to be honest. Carrying out the tests in this way does give you a good indication of the screens dynamic contrast ratio in real life situations however.

The DCR feature is available in the Movie and Photo preset modes within the 'Picture Advanced' menu section. It has a slider setting ranging from 0 to 5, with 5 being the maximum, and is labelled as "Dynamic Contrast". The setting seems to control how extreme the differences are between the bright and dark settings, with the highest setting of 5 allowing for the maximum range of adjustment. We tested the screen at setting 5 which would allow us to identify the maximum DCR usable.

 

Dynamic Contrast

Specified DCR Range

20 million:1

Available in Presets

Movie, Photo

Setting Identification / Menu option

Dynamic Contrast

Settings

0 (off) to 5

Measured Results

Movie

Photo

Default Static Contrast Ratio

685:1

625:1

Max luminance (cd/m2)

306.31

286.42

Min Black Point (cd/m2)

0.07

0.07

Max Dynamic Contrast Ratio

4376:1

4092:1

Useable DCR in practice

Yes

Yes

Backlight turned off for 100% black

Yes

Yes

We tested the DCR feature in both of the preset modes. By default the movie preset mode gave us a static contrast ratio of 685:1, a little lower than we'd experienced in the 'standard' mode out of the box (781:1). The DCR function seemed to work pretty well though, giving us a usable DCR of 4376:1 which was pleasing. The transitions were smooth and fast, with the total change from a light to dark state taking around 2 seconds. This may mean DCR changes are a bit fast and frantic for some uses, but you can always turn the DCR setting down a bit so that the adjustment range is not as wide (although the transitions are still fast). If you switch to a 100% black image, the backlight doesn't dim any further, but after 5 seconds it is turned off completely. Given that you're unlikely to ever get a 100% black image in practice, especially continuously for 5 seconds or more, this feature seems pointless and is more of a marketing gimmick than anything else allowing for crazy figures to be measured in the factory. The photo preset mode was a similar story, although delivered us a slightly lower static and slightly lower dynamic contrast ratio.

 


Viewing Angles


Above: Viewing angles shown from front and side, and  from above and below. Click for larger image

Viewing angles of the BL2710PT were very good. We weren't sure what to expect here given it is a new panel technology, but knowing that it was designed to be like IPS we had a good idea. Horizontally there was very little colour tone shift until wide angles past about 45. A slight darkening of the image occurred horizontally from wider angles as you can see above as the contrast shifted slighting. Contrast shifts were slightly more noticeable in the vertical field but overall they were very good. The screen offered the wide viewing angles like IPS/PLS technology and was free from the restrictive fields of view of TN Film panels, especially in the vertical plane. Unlike AU Optronics' other panel technology of choice, AMVA, it was also free of the off-centre contrast shift you see from those panels and a lot of the quite obvious gamma and colour tone shift you see when viewing from different angles. Basically the AHVA panel performed very similarly to IPS and PLS technologies.


Above: View of an all black screen from the side. Click for larger version

On a black image there was a white glow from an angle which is also characteristics of most IPS panels. If you are working in darkened room conditions and with dark content on the screen this may prove a problem perhaps since as you change your line of sight the white, silvery glow appears across the panel. Given the size of the screen you may notice some glow towards the corners in normal use, depending on how close you sit to the screen and your line of sight.



Panel Uniformity

We wanted to test here how uniform the brightness and colour temperature was across the screen, as well as identify any leakage from the backlight in dark lighting conditions. Measurements of the luminance and colour temperature were taken at 35 points across the panel on a pure white background. The measurements for luminance were taken using BasICColor's calibration software package, combined with an X-rite i1 Display Pro colorimeter with a central point on the screen calibrated to 120 cd/m2. Measurements for colour temperature (white point) were taken using BasICColor software and the i1 Pro spectrophotometer which can more accurately measure the white point of different backlighting technologies. The below uniformity diagram shows the difference, as a percentage, between the measurement recorded at each point on the screen, as compared with the central reference point.

It is worth noting that panel uniformity can vary from one screen to another, and can depend on manufacturing lines, screen transport and other local factors. This is only a guide of the uniformity of the sample screen we have for review.
 


Uniformity of Luminance

The luminance uniformity of the screen was good overall. There were some small deviances in the upper corners of the screen, where the luminance dropped by -17.65% at a maximum, compared with the centre of the screen, down to 105 cd/m2. The central region of the screen seemed to be more uniform than the top and bottom edges. Around 86% of the screen was within a 10% deviance of the central point which was good.
 


Uniformity of White Point / Colour Temperature

The colour temperature uniformity was measured based on a centrally calibrated 6500k point. As you can see, the colour temperature was pretty uniform across the panel with only small deviations across the screen. The upper left hand region was slightly cooler than the lower right hand region, but only by about 4% maximum. There was a maximum of 7.10% deviance between any two points on the screen.



Backlight Leakage


Above: All black screen in a darkened room. Click for larger version

As usual we also tested the screen with an all black image and in a darkened room. A camera was used to capture the result. Three was some slight leakage in the bottom right hand corner of the screen but nothing too severe, and certainly nothing you could spot during normal uses day to day. No real issues here at all thankfully.

 


General and Office Applications

The 27" screen size and massive 2560 x 1440 WQHD resolution is very nice for office and other general uses. The pixel pitch of 0.231mm is small, and by comparison a standard 16:10 format 24" model has a pixel pitch of 0.270mm and a 30" model has 0.250mm. These ultra-high resolution 27" models offer the tightest pixel pitch and therefore the smallest text as well. We initially found it quite a change coming from 21.5 - 24" sized screens, even those offering quite high resolutions and small pixel pitches. Some users may find the small text a little too small to read comfortably, and we'd advise caution if you are coming from a 19" or 22" screen for instance where the pixel pitch and text are much larger. We found a 27" screen to be quite a change with text size when we first used one, and the extra screen size also takes some getting used to over a few days as there really is a lot of room to work with. However, once you do, it's very hard to go back to a smaller resolution. It provides you a huge desktop area to work in and easily handles split screen side by side working which is great. It's excellent to see BenQ offer their first 2560 resolution model with the BL2710PT and move away from their previous 1920 x 1080 27" range a little.

The new AHVA panel offers a light AG coating which is certainly welcome, and a very positive aspect compared with a lot of older IPS based screens which have a grainy and 'dirty' appearance from their coatings. LG.Display have more recently moved to a lighter AG coating with their modern panels which is good, and the AHVA panel is quite similar here. It is a little more reflective, a bit like PLS panel technology from Samsung in fact. You may have some slight reflections depending on the positioning of your screen but certainly nothing major to worry about.

The wide viewing angles provided by the AHVA panel technology in both horizontal and vertical planes, helps minimize on-screen colour shift when viewed from different angles. The default setup of the screen was reasonable really in terms of white point and balance of colours, but gamma and colour accuracy were a bit off. As we've already talked about this is very easy to improve by simply changing to gamma mode 2 in the OSD, providing then a nice accurate gamma curve and improving the colour accuracy as well. If you have access to a calibration tool you can obvious get even higher levels of accuracy. The contrast ratio was good, but not great, and on par with a lot of IPS and PLS panels we've tested. The brightness range of the screen was also very good, with the ability to offer a luminance between 259 and 36 cd/m2 when in the 'standard' preset mode. This should mean the screen is perfectly useable in a wide variety of ambient light conditions, including darkened rooms. A setting of ~36 in the OSD brightness control should return you a luminance close to 120 cd/m2. On another positive note, the brightness regulation is done without the need for the use of the now infamous Pulse-Width modulation (PWM), and so those who suffer from eye fatigue or headaches associated with flickering backlights need not worry.

There was no audible noise or buzzing from the screen, even when specifically looking for it using test images with a large amount of text at once. The screen also remains cool even during prolonged use, although there was some slight heat given off from the front of the panel if you hold your hand close.

There is a 'Reading mode' preset mode available from the menu which may be useful if you want to set up the screen for different uses perhaps. The product page states that "Corporate users are frequently required to read documents from a monitor. Reading Mode adjusts the screen brightness, contrast ratio and sharpness to make your eyes feel as easy as reading directly from hard copies without wasting any paper." There is also the special CAD/CAM mode available in the preset menu. The product page states "The unique CAD/CAM Mode is specially designed to enhance work efficiency and reducing eye fatigue for all CAD/CAM users. By making the colour contrast higher, every displayed line will be perfectly distinguished. With BenQ CAD/ CAM Monitors, you will never miss a line again in your designed work." Again, maybe useful to some users.

The screen offers 2x USB 2.0 ports and 2x USB3.0 which can be useful, and nice to see the inclusion of the latest USB 3.0 generation as well. There are also a few other advanced features handy for office work. The Eye Protect feature (ambient light sensor) can adjust the backlight for you depending on your working environment, and can be quite useful. The ECO sensor is also a useful extra and can turn the screen off for you when it detects no one is using it. There are 2x 3W integrated speakers which should be able to handle the odd mp3 or Youtube clip without issue as well. There was a great range of ergonomic adjustments available from the stand allowing you to obtain a comfortable position for a wide variety of angles. The VESA mounting support may also be useful to some people as well. All in all a decent job from BenQ here offering a wide range of features to improve your monitor usage experience.

 
Above: photo of text at 2560 x 1440 (top) and 1920 x 1080 (bottom)

The screen is designed to run at its native resolution of 2560 x 1440 and at a 60Hz recommended refresh rate. However, if you want you are able to run the screen outside of this resolution. We tested the screen at a lower 1920 x 1080 resolution to see how the screen handles the interpolation of the resolution, while maintaining the same aspect ratio of 16:9. At native resolution the text was very sharp as you can see from the top photograph. When you switch to a lower resolution the text is larger of course but still clear. The screen seems to interpolate the image well although you of course lose a lot of desktop real-estate running at a lower resolution.



Responsiveness and Gaming

Quoted G2G Response Time

4ms G2G

Quoted ISO Response Time

12ms

Panel Manufacturer and Technology

AU Optronics AHVA

Panel Part

M270DAN01.0

Overdrive Used

Yes

Overdrive Control Available to User

Yes

Overdrive Settings

AMA = Off, High, Premium

The BL2710PT is rated by BenQ as having a supposed 4ms G2G response time and the panel uses overdrive / response time compensation (RTC) technology to boost pixel transitions across grey to grey changes. They also list 12ms as the ISO response time (black > white > black transition). There is a user control for the overdrive impulse within the OSD menu, under the 'picture' section and labelled as 'AMA' (Advanced Motion Accelerator). This allows you to control three settings for the overdrive. The panel part being used is the AU Optronics M270DAN01.0 AHVA panel. Have a read about response time in our specs section if you need additional information about this measurement.

We will first test the screen using our thorough response time testing method. This uses an oscilloscope and photosensor to measure the pixel response times across a series of 20 different transitions, in the full range from 0 (black) to 255 (white). This will give us a realistic view of how the monitor performs in real life, as opposed to being reliant only on a manufacturers spec. We can work out the response times for changing between many different shades, calculate the maximum, minimum and average grey to grey (G2G) response times, and provide an evaluation of any overshoot present on the monitor.

We use an ETC M526 oscilloscope for these measurements along with a custom photosensor device. Have a read of our response time measurement article for a full explanation of the testing methodology and reported data.

AMA Setting Tests

First of all we carried out a smaller sample set of measurements in each of the three AMA settings. These, along with various motion tests allowed us to quickly identify which was the optimum AMA setting for this screen.

When the AMA setting was 'off' response times were fairly slow, with an average of 12.1ms G2G. This was slower than some of BenQ's modern AMVA technology based screens like the GW2760HS (11.7ms when AMA was off) and shows that the new AHVA technology is quite slow without an overdrive impulse applied. Rise times were the more problematic, with an average 15.4ms G2G measured. At least with the AMA set to 'off', there was no overshoot evident at all.


AMA Off, transition 0 - 150 - 0. Each horizontal grid = 20ms

Above is a typical oscillograph when AMA was off, showing a fairly slow rise time, but a faster fall time. There is no overshoot on either transition.
 

When you change the AMA setting to 'High' there is a noticeable change in the responsiveness of the screen to the naked eye. Blurring is reduced somewhat and the moving image appears sharper. The oscilloscope measurements show an improved average G2G response time of 9.6ms. Rise times were still a bit slower than fall times, but some of the really slow transitions from before have been improved. Thankfully there was still no overshoot measured so this was certainly a better setting to use than AMA = off, with no negative side affects. This setting made the screen more responsive than recent AMVA models like the GW2760HS (which had a 10.9ms G2G average with a few very slow transitions).

The AMA Premium setting was a different story though. You can see that the response time measurements have improved significantly, with an average G2G response time of only 5.4ms now. This measurement makes it faster than the modern IPS panels we've tested (typically around 7.5ms G2G at best) and close even to some fast TN Film panels we've measured like the Asus VG278HE (4.1ms G2G average). However, the response time figure alone doesn't tell the whole story. In the AMA Premium mode the overshoot was horrific! Some transitions showed an RTC error of over 100% which is massive. The rise times, which has been the slower transition range before, were now much faster with a 4.4ms G2G average response time. However, a huge amount of overshoot error was introduced here. In practice this error is very visible as well, leaving you with dark and pale halos and trails behind moving objects. As a result, this mode is unusable in practice. They've done a good job of cutting the response times down by applying a very aggressive overdrive impulse, but the overshoot is just too severe to make it worthwhile. The AMA High setting seems to be the optimum on the BL2710PT.


AMA Premium, transition 0 - 150 - 0. Each horizontal grid = 20ms

Above is the worst case example of the overshoot measured in AMA Premium mode. You will see the rise and fall times are fast here, but a massive 130.6% overshoot is introduced on the rise time.


AMA = High, Further Tests

Having established that the AMA High setting was optimum on this model, we carried out some further measurements across the transition range to get a more complete view of the performance.

The measurements gave us a 10.0ms G2G response time average across the range of transitions. As we noted before, the rise times (changes from dark to light shades) were a bit slower at 11.2 ms average, than the fall times (changes from light to dark shades) at 8.9ms. The response times to change to black (x > 0) shown down the left hand edge of the table were fastest at around 6ms but there were some transitions which were much slower, up to around 14.5ms maximum. Remember, this was in the optimum AMA High preset mode which avoided all the nasty overshoot problems when using the AMA Premium mode.

If we evaluate the Response Time Compensation (RTC) overshoot then the results are pleasing and there is no overshoot at all in this AMA mode.


Transition: 0-100-0
(scale = 20ms)

The above oscillogram is an example of what we saw for most transitions. Characterised by a slower rise time, slightly faster fall time, and no overshoot issues.

The above comparison chart shows you the lowest, average and highest G2G response time measurement for a range of screens we have measured. As you can see, the BL2710PT performed slightly slower than some IPS panels we have tested, but not by much. It performed quite comparably to the Asus PA248Q (8.7ms G2G average) once we'd set that screen at its optimum response time setting. Some IPS models here are faster, like the Dell U2413 / U2713H / U3014 at around 7.2 - 7.9ms G2G average, but they do suffer from some very noticeable overshoot as a result. The recently tested Dell P2414H is one of the fastest IPS models we have tested (8.9ms average) while being free from any overshoot issues. So the BenQ's AHVA panel isn't really much behind that in practice, although a few ms slower in some of the slower transitions. The TN Film based Asus VG278HE was a fair bit faster with its ultra-quick 4.1ms G2G average, but that is a gamer orientated screen don't forget.

 

Display Comparisons

The screen was also tested using the chase test in PixPerAn for the following display comparisons. As a reminder, a series of pictures are taken on the highest shutter speed and compared, with the best case example shown on the left, and worst case example on the right. This should only be used as a rough guide to comparative responsiveness but is handy for a comparison between different screens and technologies as well as a means to compare those screens we tested before the introduction of our oscilloscope method.

AMA Setting Comparison

For comparative purposes we carried out these tests in each of the AMA (overdrive control) settings. As you can see, there was some slight improvement in responsiveness when switching from the 'off' setting to the 'high' setting. Blurring was reduced a little and you could spot this with the naked eye as well. When you switch to the 'Premium' AMA mode, the blurring is reduced a little, but a noticeable overshoot is introduced which is very distracting. There are dark and pale halos behind the moving car as you can see. This mode should be avoided as we've already identified some horrendous overshoot using our oscilloscope system. Stick with AMA High for optimum performance on this screen.


27" 4ms G2G AU Optronics AHVA (AMA Setting = High)

In practice the BenQ BL2710PT showed fairly low levels of motion blur, and no obvious ghosting. There was some some slight trailing in the best case images as you can see above but overall the movement felt quite good. It perhaps felt a little slower than some of the fastest IPS and PLS screens we've tested but keep in mind this isn't really a screen aimed at gamers. There was no sign of any obvious overshoot artefacts which was pleasing when using the AMA High mode.


27" 4ms G2G AU Optronics AHVA (AMA Setting = High)


27" 8ms G2G LG.Display AH-IPS


27" 5ms G2G Samsung PLS (Trace Free = 40)


27" 12ms G2G Samsung PLS (Response Time = Advanced)

We have provided a comparison above first of all against some of the competing 27" 2560 x 1440 resolution models. These other models use IPS or PLS panel technologies which the new AU Optronics AHVA panel is designed to compete with. From a response time point of view, the Dell U2713HM (IPS) and Asus PB278Q (PLS) were a little faster in practice, showing a slightly sharper moving image and slightly less motion blur. Neither showed any overshoot issues and are two of the better IPS/PLS 27" models in this area. The ViewSonic VP2770-LED (PLS based) was a little slower than the other two, leaving it more similar to the BenQ really.



27" 4ms G2G AU Optronics AHVA (AMA Setting = High)


23.8" 8ms G2G LG.Display AH-IPS


24" 8ms G2G LG.Display e-IPS


24" 4ms G2G AU Optronics AMVA (AMA = Premium)

We have provided a comparison of the BL2710PT also against 3 popular ~24" screens we have tested. The recently tested Dell P2414H had impressed us with its response times, being one of the best IPS panels we've tested really. It was slightly faster than the BenQ (like the Dell U2713HM in fact), but not by a huge amount at all. The Dell U2412M was pretty comparable again but did show a noticeable dark overshoot as you can see from the above which can be distracting in gaming. The AMVA (not to be confused with this new AHVA) based BenQ GW2450HM was about as fast as we've seen a modern VA panel, but again showed some overshoot problems and was not as fast as the IPS/PLS/AHVA panels here in feel.

 


27" 4ms G2G AU Optronics AHVA (AMA Setting = High)


27" 2ms G2G Chi Mei Innolux TN Film +144Hz (Trace Free = 60)


24" 2ms G2G AU Optronics TN Film + 120Hz (AMA = On)


27" 1ms G2G Chi Mei Innolux TN Film + 120Hz (Over Drive = 0)


22" 3ms G2G Samsung TN Film + 120Hz

We've also included a comparison above against four very fast 120Hz+ compatible screens we have tested. In all cases these other screens are using TN Film panels and are aimed primarily at gamers. Firstly there is a comparison against the Asus VG278HE with its 144Hz refresh rate. This showed very fast pixel response times and smooth movement thanks to its increased refresh rate. You are able to reduce the motion blur even more through the use of the LightBoost strobed backlight which we talked about in depth in our article about Motion Blur Reduction Backlights.

Then there is a comparison against the BenQ XL2420T. This showed very low levels of motion blur, but some dark overshoot was introduced as a side-effect. The Iiyama G2773HS was very responsive and even has a quoted 1ms G2G response time. This showed very low levels of blur and had minimal issue with overshoot. The Samsung SM2233RZ performed very well in these tests and showed very low levels of motion blur also. When 120Hz mode was enabled the overdrive artefacts evident in 60Hz mode were almost completely eliminated, which is something we have seen with the BenQ XL2420T as well.

While these pixel response tests show the BenQ to have pretty fast pixel transitions and freedom from any overshoot, there is something else going on as well here which can't be picked out by the camera. All of these other TN Film models are running at 120Hz (or higher) refresh rates, which allows for improved 120fps+ frame rates and the support of 3D stereoscopic content as well. This can really help improve smoothness and the overall gaming experience so these screens still have the edge when it comes to fast gaming.


The responsiveness of the BenQ BL2710PT was pleasing, and about on par with most of the decent IPS and PLS equivalents we have tested to date. The average 10ms G2G response time was slightly slower than the best IPS panels we've tested (nearer 8 - 9ms average) and couldn't of course compete with fast TN Film models. Considering this was the first appearance of the new AHVA technology, it was a positive sign. Additionally pleasing was the freedom from any overshoot problems when using the AMA High mode, although it was a shame the Premium mode didn't offer a more modest boost of response times without all the horrible overshoot it introduced. Nevertheless you can just ignore the AMA Premium setting and stick with High on this model. The screen should be able to handle some fast gaming without problem, although those wanting to play fast FPS or competitive games may want to consider some of the more gamer orientated 120Hz+, TN Film based compatible displays out there. Even better still would be models equipped with LightBoost systems for optimum motion blur elimination.



Additional Gaming Features

Aspect Ratio Control - The screen offers three options for hardware level aspect ratio control, available within the 'picture advanced' menu as shown above. There are options for 1:1 pixel mapping, full and aspect which should be perfectly adequate. It's nice to see an easy 'aspect' option there which will simply maintain the aspect ratio of the source for you and scale it to fill as much of the screen as possible. If you don't want the image scaled at all, you can use the 1:1 pixel mapping instead.

Preset Modes -
There is no defined 'game' preset mode available in the menu but plenty of other modes you could set up for gaming if you want. The movie mode might be a good option as it also gives you access to the dynamic contrast ratio which works pretty well.



Lag

We have written an in depth article about input lag and the various measurement techniques which are used to evaluate this aspect of a display. It's important to first of all understand the different methods available and also what this lag means to you as an end-user.

Input Lag vs. Display Lag vs. Signal Processing

To avoid confusion with different terminology we will refer to this section of our reviews as just "lag" from now on, as there are a few different aspects to consider, and different interpretations of the term "input lag". We will consider the following points here as much as possible. The overall "display lag" is the first, that being the delay between the image being shown on the TFT display and that being shown on a CRT. This is what many people will know as input lag and originally was the measure made to explain why the image is a little behind when using a CRT. The older stopwatch based methods were the common way to measure this in the past, but through advanced studies have been shown to be quite inaccurate. As a result, more advanced tools like SMTT provide a method to measure that delay between a TFT and CRT while removing the inaccuracies of older stopwatch methods.

In reality that lag / delay is caused by a combination of two things - the signal processing delay caused by the TFT electronics / scaler, and the response time of the pixels themselves. Most "input lag" measurements over the years have always been based on the overall display lag (signal processing + response time) and indeed the SMTT tool is based on this visual difference between a CRT and TFT and so measures the overall display lag. In practice the signal processing is the element which gives the feel of lag to the user, and the response time of course can impact blurring, and overall image quality in moving scenes. As people become more aware of lag as a possible issue, we are of course keen to try and understand the split between the two as much as possible to give a complete picture.

The signal processing element within that is quite hard to identify without extremely high end equipment and very complicated methods. In fact the studies by Thomas Thiemann which really kicked this whole thing off were based on equipment worth >100,1000 Euro, requiring extremely high bandwidths and very complicated methods to trigger the correct behaviour and accurately measure the signal processing on its own. Other techniques which are being used since are not conducted by Thomas (he is a freelance writer) or based on this equipment or technique, and may also be subject to other errors or inaccuracies based on our conversations with him since. It's very hard as a result to produce a technique which will measure just the signal processing on its own unfortunately. Many measurement techniques are also not explained and so it is important to try and get a picture from various sources if possible to make an informed judgement about a display overall.

For our tests we will continue to use the SMTT tool to measure the overall "display lag". From there we can use our oscilloscope system to measure the response time across a wide range of grey to grey (G2G) transitions as recorded in our response time tests. Since SMTT will not include the full response time within its measurements, after speaking with Thomas further about the situation we will subtract half of the average G2G response time from the total display lag. This should allow us to give a good estimation of how much of the overall lag is attributable to the signal processing element on its own.

 

Lag Classification


To help in this section we will also introduce a broader classification system for these results to help categorise each screen as one of the following levels:

  • Class 1) Less than 16ms / 1 frame lag - should be fine for gamers, even at high levels

  • Class 2) A lag of 16 - 32ms / One to two frames - moderate lag but should be fine for many gamers. Caution advised for serious gaming and FPS

  • Class 3) A lag of more than 32ms / more than 2 frames - Some noticeable lag in daily usage, not suitable for high end gaming

For the full reviews of the models compared here and the dates they were written (and when screens were approximately released to the market), please see our full reviews index.

(Measurements in ms)

Standard Mode

Total Display Lag (SMTT 2)

25.0

Pixel Response Time Element

5.0

Estimated Signal Processing Lag

20.0

Lag Classification

2

 Class 2

We have provided a comparison above against other models we have tested to give an indication between screens. Those shown with blue bars in the bottom half represent the total "display lag" as at the time of review we did not have access to an oscilloscope system to measure the response time element and provide an estimation of the signal processing. The screens tested more recently in the top half are split into two measurements which are based on our overall display lag tests (using SMTT) and half the average G2G response time, as measured by the oscilloscope. The response time is split from the overall display lag and shown on the graph as the green bar. From there, the signal processing (red bar) can be provided as a good estimation.

The BenQ BL2710PT showed an average total display lag of 25ms in our tests. If we take half the average G2G response time as 5ms (measured in AMA High mode) we can estimate that the signal processing lag accounts for about 20ms of the total lag. This is just over one frame and is fairly common for a lot of screens with scalers. Remember, gaming isn't a primary focus of this screen. It should be able to handle some moderate gaming, but those with high demands and wanting to play anything at a higher level should probably look at some of the gamer-orientated screens, where they are more focused on providing a low lag.
 

For more information about the SMTT 2.0 tool, or to purchase a copy please visit:

http://smtt.thomasthiemann.com/index_en.html


Movies and Video

The following summarises the screens performance in video applications:

  • 27" screen size makes it a reasonable option for an all-in-one multimedia screen, but being quite a bit smaller than most modern LCD TV's of course.

  • 16:9 aspect ratio is more well suited to videos than a 16:10 format screen, leaving smaller borders on DVD's and wide screen content at the top and bottom.

  • 2560 x 1440 resolution can easily support full 1080 HD resolution content

  • Digital interface support HDCP for any encrypted and protected content

  • DVI, VGA, HDMI and DisplayPort connections available, providing easy connectivity options for modern DVD players, Blu-ray, consoles etc. Great to see HDMI included for these uses.

  • Cables provided in the box for all the video interfaces which is a nice touch.

  • Light AG coating providing clean and clear images, without the unwanted reflections of a glossy solution.

  • Wide brightness range adjustment possible from the display, including high maximum luminance of ~259 cd/m2 (in standard preset mode) and a good minimum luminance of ~36 cd/m2. This should afford you very good control for different lighting conditions. Contrast ratio remains stable across that adjustment range as well, and the backlight does not use PWM and remains flicker-free as a result.

  • Black depth and contrast ratio are reasonable at 788:1 after calibration. Detail in darker scenes should not be lost as a result, and shadow detail should be good.

  • Dynamic contrast ratio is available on this model and works reasonably well, providing a usable DCR of around 4000:1. Transitions are smooth but may be too fast and sudden for some uses.

  • There is a specific 'movie' preset mode available for movies or video if you want but it was a bit warmer than our calibrated custom mode. May be useful to some though.

  • Good pixel responsiveness which should still be able to handle fast moving scenes in movies without issue. No overshoot issues which is pleasing as long as you stick to the AMA High setting and avoid AMA Premium.

  • Wide viewing angles thanks to new AHVA panel technology meaning several people could view the screen at once comfortable and from a whole host of different angles. There is some glow from an angle on darker content which may prove problematic depending on your viewing position.

  • Very good range of ergonomic adjustments available from the stand, so should be easy to obtain a comfortable position for multiple users or if you want to sit further away from the screen for movie viewing.

  • No noticeable backlight leakage, and none from the edges which is good. This type of leakage may prove an issue when watching movies where black borders are present but it is not a problem here.

  • There are 2x 3W integrated stereo speakers on this model which may be able to handle the odd video trailer or Youtube clip if needed.

  • Good range of hardware aspect ratio options with 1:1, full and aspect modes available which should be fine for most uses.

  • Picture in picture (PiP) and Picture By Picture (PbP) are not available.

  • For PAL sources, we have tested the screen and confirmed it will support the full native resolution of 2560 x 1440 at 50Hz refresh rate.
     


Conclusion

The BL2710PT was an interesting screen to test, being the first AHVA panel released on the market. The idea was to release a 2560 x 1440 resolution panel to rival the very popular IPS based models out there, offering IPS-like performance characteristics. Thankfully it achieves this very well and the BL2710PT performed very much like an IPS screen. Viewing angles were wider than AU Optronics' VA technology and offered more stable colours and gamma from wide angles, very similar to IPS technology. There was also the characteristic white glow on dark content from an angle, not a good thing per se, but a sign that AHVA is very comparable to IPS. Response times were pretty good, and as long as you stick to the AMA High mode you can achieve pretty good responsiveness and avoid any unwanted overshoot. It was a fraction slower than the fastest IPS panels we'd seen (ignoring IPS panels where the overshoot was too pronounced) but a respectable performance for a first outing. It would have been nice if the AMA Premium mode was less aggressive, and if BenQ could get a better balance between boosting response times a little, but keeping RTC overshoot down significantly, it would be welcome. The only limitation from a gaming point of view really was that the lag was quite high, just over one frame which to be fair is common from a lot of screens with scalers like this.

The out of the box setup was reasonable on the most part, and we found that it could be easily improved with a simple change of the gamma mode. This then gave us a very good setup of the screen which was pleasing. The contrast ratio wasn't great at around 780:1 but it was never going to compete with VA panels, and to be fair was comparable to most IPS and PLS panels out there. Hopefully future generations will improve in this area to bring the contrast ratio up to around 1000:1 which is about as good as you can get from a modern IPS panel at the moment. There was some slight banding evident in colour gradients, even at default settings, so that might be a little problematic if you are doing any colour critical work or rely on smooth gradients. In normal day to day use you won't see any problems with it. The 'user' mode provided the highest level of control over the settings from within the OSD menu, but unfortunately seemed to have an issue with calibrating colours properly. Sticking with the 'standard' preset mode seemed a better choice and got around that problem easily enough.

We were very impressed by the wide range of features and extras provided here and it did feel like a lot of effort had been made to think of all those nice extra things which make the monitor a pleasure to use. Flicker free backlighting is of course very welcome, as is the nice light AG coating. The stand provided a great range of ergonomic adjustments and the video interfaces provided everything you could really need. It was also great to see cables for all of them provided in the box which is pretty rare. The additional USB ports (including USB 3.0), human motion sensor, ambient light sensor, touch sensitive buttons and built in speakers were also useful 'premium' feel extras and BenQ have done a nice job here. The BL2710PT is very new to the market but retails currently for ~480 - 520 GBP. This puts it at a very comparable price to models like the Asus PB278Q (480) and ViewSonic VP2770-LED (520) which is pleasing, and it is well worth looking at as an alternative, especially if you want some of the extra features it can offer you.

 

Pros

Cons

Good first appearance of AHVA technology, very IPS-like in overall performance

Inability to calibrate 'user' preset mode properly

Great range of features with USB 3.0, speakers, human sensor, ambient light sensor, all video connections and cables provided, full range of stand adjustments

Some slight banding in colour gradients

Flicker free backlight, no PWM

Lag is a little too high for serious gaming

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