This designer monitor helps inspirations come alive.
A couple of years ago, I moved from using an iMac to exclusively using a MacBook Pro as my main computer. Anyone who follows Apple is well-aware that their portable machines have grown leaps and bounds from where they were ten years ago. They have plenty of power to run a full HD video editing suite and can go with you anywhere. I love the options that are available with a portable powerhouse like the MacBook Pro. That said, I still really like to have a stationary workspace when I’m in my home office. So, I’ve worked on finding an ideal monitor to complement my Apple computer. For a while, I was using an Apple Cinema Display but then moved on to bigger, more dramatic options. With the video technology growing once again (now from HD to Ultra HD and 4K), I decided it might be time for another jump and I looked at BENQ’s fine line of monitor products.
BENQ has a company has been around since 2001. It’s based in Taiwan and focuses on products like projectors, monitors, digital signage, interactive flat panels, speakers, and LED Lighting for its customers. “BENQ” stands for Bring Enjoyment ‘N’ Quality to Life. And they do just that with their mission of elevating and enriching aspects of life that matter most to people — lifestyle, business, healthcare, and education. I’ve seen their products in the ‘real world’ and been very impressed with them so when I wanted to start researching a high-quality monitor with newer technology than my current one, I decided to peruse their product line and I found the 27-inch QHD Designer Monitor (PD2710QC).
This monitor, as its name suggests, is 27 inches in size. It’s a 2K QHD (Quad High Definition) Monitor with 100% sRGB color space coverage. The resolution is 2560 x 1440 and it features IPS screen technology with 8 different preset modes for an ultimate color range. You, of course, have the option to also create your own color profiles, but the preset definitely cover a lot of the basic needs and I found that you tend to use the different presets for different types of monitor use. I’ll come back to that later.
Perhaps the most intriguing feature of this monitor to me was the docking station that comes with it. As I mentioned, I have a MacBook Pro as my primary machine, but I also have an HP Spectre x360, which I ended up using for my primary testing with this monitor. The reason for this is because I have always really like the screen on the HP and I wanted to see how the BENQ would fare against it. The other reason I chose to work with the HP is that it is running Windows 10 and the BENQ monitor supports calibration with that OS, but not macOS. The docking station is set up to deliver a clutter-free workspace and it connects to your computer through USB-C. This allows for charging, data transfer, and audio/video signals to be sent from one single source. I liked how efficient it seemed to make the set up — until I set it up.
What’s neat about the installation of the monitor is that the monitor attaches to the stand without the need of screws. It just snaps into place. The same goes for the docking station. The thing that’s odd about the setup is that both the monitor and the docking station have separate power cables. There is a very large power brick and cable for the dock and then a standard power cable for the monitor. This is odd to me because I would think there could be a connection between the monitor and the dock inside the stand so that you don’t have to have so many external cables.
While I’m on the topic of cables, so far, we are up to two cables for power. Before you can plug a computer into the monitor, you have to again connect the monitor to the dock with a display cable. So now we are up to three dangling cables just to get the monitor/dock prepared for a computer to be connected to it. To do that, you have to connect the USB-C cable from the dock to the computer. For my testing purposes, I had four cables extending outward from the monitor/dock. I would have loved it if BENQ had designed the stand to be a conductor for power and video so that you would only need the power cable to extend from the dock — similar to the way that a Smart Keyboard works with the iPad Pro. There are no speakers incorporated into the monitor so if you want sound, you will have to connect external speakers or headphones to the dock via the headphone jack.
All in all, there are eight ports on the dock.
- Headphone/Audio Out Jack
- USB-A (4)
- Display Port Output
- Power Adapter Port
And, then there are five ports on the monitor.
- Display Port (in)
- Mini Display port
- Display Port (out)
- Headphone/Audio Jack
Now perhaps this was designed this way in case you wanted to use the monitor without the dock, but since it was designed to work together, I would just rather see the two more closely integrated. The monitor ships with the necessary power cables and a USB-C cable, Display cable, HDMI cable, and a Display to Mini Display cable. I’m not entirely sure why so many connectors are supplied, but I’m always happy to have quality cables. The other odd thing about this package is that BENQ includes a CD with the user manual and drivers on it. Most laptops these days — especially those equipped with USB-C — do not have a CD/DVD drive in it anymore.
You do that the ability to daisy chain multiple BENQ monitors together (the maximum amount is 4). The PD2710QC is enabled with multi-stream transport technology that allows you to extend your laptop’s screen across several displays. This is great for designers and editors that need a huge workspace.
Now that I’ve gotten through the set up information, I want to talk about the experience. Startup is a little odd again. You have to have both the monitor and the dock turned on in order to have a signal go to the monitor. With this stand, you do have the option to view in horizontal or vertical orientations. I primarily worked with the horizontal option because it’s what I needed. I decided to look at a set of RBG color bars to look at the different display presets. For more purposes, I really like the sRGB preset. The colors were bright and vibrant. If you want to review all the color presets and what they are used for, click here.
The monitor has quite a few menus to use so that you have the best possible picture experience for your use. I, of course, want to use this for both media streaming and content creation. So my first test was to pull up a video on Netflix. I chose to go with Finding Dory because it showcases the incredible color gamut that’s available within the animation. This particular image won’t really do it justice, but you can see the difference between the BENQ monitor and the HP’s display. While the BENQ does a really nice job of producing a clear picture, I felt like the HP’s display had a better display of blacks/shadows.
You can really see that with the second example I have below of the galaxy image. That was an image taken during a time lapse video from National Geographic. It’s a very high-quality video and while the clarity is there on the BENQ monitor, I just think that the HP does a better job with the darker tones. I think I could probably adjust this, but as a native preset, it just didn’t show as well as the laptop’s display in my opinion.
As my final test, I pulled up my iCloud account to view something that was more productivity-driven. Here, I really love how the content is displayed. It’s crisp and very, very clean. The colors are precise and you can read the type very easily.
In conclusion, I think the BENQ monitor is a very nice display and great for productivity, but could use some thinking on the execution of the stand/dock setup.
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