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BenQ SW240 - BenQ's affordable mini marvel brings colour accuracy to everyone!

6th September 2018 Product News

June 2018 was the arrival date for BenQ's mini marvel - the best $699 you can spend in photography.

The BenQ SW240 is a colour accurate, wide gamut monitor offering fantastic performance - for a truly bargain price.

Introduction to the BenQ SW240

In photography (or anything in the graphic arts), $699 often doesn't go very far. It's about a third of the cost of a decent lens, or roughly the same price as one of the new pencil compatible iPads - where the pencil reacts a solid half second after you touch the screen with it (the iPad Pro works speedily, though).

In monitor terms, it typically gets you things like the Asus ProArt or Dell Ultrasharps - monitors that aren't complete rubbish - but aren't as far from it as you'd like them to be!

Until the middle of this year, there really wasn't a good option in monitors, for imaging purposes specifically, that was below $1000.

All that has changed with the introduction of BenQ's mini marvel - the $699 SW240. First seen and mentioned in our Japan CP+ report from earlier this year, we've now had these flowing through to customers for the last few months and have been gathering their feedback, and have finally even managed to keep one in stock long enough to put it through a proper workout here!

What Is The BenQ SW240?

The BenQ SW240 is a remarkably good value 24 inch colour accurate wide gamut monitor with direct hardware calibration support. 

(There is even a comprehensive series of accessories - BenQ's 'Accurate Colour On The Go' platform - coming soon for the ultimate in portable colour accuracy).

BenQ SW240 Key Specifications

The BenQ SW240 has these key specifications:

  • 24" high quality IPS panel
  • Wide Gamut - 99% Adobe RGB, 93% DCI-P3, 100% sRGB/Rec.709
  • 10 Bit input
  • High bit depth 3D LUTs
  • Comes with an individual uniformity and calibration report
  • 1920 by 1200 pixels
  • Matte panel - no nasty reflections, good quality blacks
  • Direct Hardware Calibration support
    (software included in the price - Palette Master Elements)
  • High quality monitor hood (included in the price)
  • Elegant appearance, with thin bezels and quality ergonomic stand
  • 3 year general warranty (6 months pixel warranty)
  • Forthcoming 'Accurate Colour On The Go' full portability system (hard/soft case options, tripod mounts, battery power etc.!)

Who Buys The BenQ SW240?

The BenQ SW240 is the perfect entry level colour accurate monitor for enthusiast amateur photographers on a tight budget, and it also makes an excellent second screen or studio monitor for working professionals. 

Indeed, we are seeing a whole lot of people who are very enthusiastic about colour accuracy for a very reasonable price:

  • Enthusiast photographers
  • Professional photographers - especially as a second screen/on location/studio monitor
  • Camera clubs and their members
  • Video editors & graders working in the HD/SD/Rec.709 space, such as for corporate or real estate video
  • Video graders needing a reference monitor (e.g. attached to BlackMagic Ultrastudios)
  • Illustrators and graphic designers, e.g. those looking for a significant upgrade from the low colour quality panels in iMacs.
  • On-Location users - in studio, in the field, even out in the wilderness.  See your work in 24" colour accurate glory - pretty much anywhere!
  • Really anyone with a passing interest in colour quality - you can buy many much worse monitors for a similar price, but why would you?

Our Evaluation

Given this monitor is a few months old now, there are already detailed reviews all over the web (and they're very positive reviews!). 

And given this is a member of the now very familiar line of BenQ SW monitors - scores of which are now out in daily professional and amateur use with our customers around Australia, I'm not going to spend a lot of time re-hashing our earlier thoughts on BenQ monitors (see our BenQ SW271C and BenQ SW270c evaluations).

Suffice it to say all the superlatives from those previous evaluations apply here.  It's really very similar in colour performance, across the board, to the BenQ SW271.  Our example is, if anything, even more uniform than our SW271 (which is already great), and it is quite frankly a thrill to see such accuracy for so few dollars.

All the positives remain:

  • Exceptional colour quality for the price. 
    (Really no one can touch BenQ in this regard, they're in a class of their own right now for bang for buck!)
  • Hardware calibration support (just add a compatible sensor - i1Display Pro (recommended) or Spyder 4/5 compatible).
  • High quality, Adobe RGB, nicely uniform IPS panel - matte black surface and with good blacks and viewing angles
  • Excellent ergonomics - light weight, yet solidly  built, great stand (includes pivot support), standard VESA mount (see our Accurate Colour On The Go info for more about this!)
  • Eye protection features to prevent eye strain
  • Quality hardware, quality warranty and quality support - really now this is available there's really no excuse any more to be using any monitor of lesser quality - so ditch those Dells, ditch those iMacs (well, put one of  these next to your iMac, technically) - and get colour accurate!

The frustrations that remain are mostly minor:

  • You must manually select the input you are using at initial start-up (or if you change cables).  For reasons unknown, BenQ monitors just will not auto-detect which input is in use, despite pretty much every other monitor maker reliably achieving this.
  • The monitor buttons are not labelled (but really they're not used much anyway).
  • Palette Master Elements is definitely not the nicest calibration software ever made, but overall it does do its job easily and well (see our Guide to Palette Master Elements)
  • We still definitely recommend a BenQ PV or Eizo ColorEdge screen for professional print matching work.  Not being able to set a contrast ratio/black point is the most significant miss in these monitors (relevant to serious print work, but not really to most home users printing with labs etc).

But It's Not 4k!

Put simply - who cares?  (And if you really need 4k - there's the SW271C!).

4K is really almost completely irrelevant in terms of achieving high quality imaging results.  It is vastly, vastly more important to get your colour under control.  This is true for photography, graphic design, illustration - you name it.

Sure, you get sharper thumbnails and text is without doubt more beautifully rendered on 4K, and there are some higher end video grading scenarios where you truly do need 4K - but the reality is for the vast bulk of folks working with images & video the absolute key issue - the key problem that causes them issues in their workflow that need to be solved - is a lack of colour quality.

Buying a 4K machine with lesser colour quality - and that's all 4k monitors at this price point - is a big mistake if you care about making beautiful images.  The $2499 SW271C is really the only high quality colour accurate 4K monitor on the market (hence its popularity) - but if your budget is not at that level, you will find it very easy to live without 4K and will greatly enjoy and benefit from the colour accuracy the SW240 offers.

Executive Summary

If you have an interest in photography, or any of the digital visual arts, and your monitor budget is below $1000, then you should buy this monitor (and a calibrator!). 

There is simply no better choice available for graphics work at a similar price. 

(Of course if your budget is close to $1000, you might just get tempted by the equally excellent bigger brother SW2700PT model :)

As ever, if you need any help at all in deciding, or want to see a demo unit etc., then don't hesitate to get in touch.

BenQ SW240 24" Monitor
The most affordable high quality colour accurate monitor on the market. Great accuracy, direct hardware calibration, even includes a hood!
Ships free to most locations! See notes.
  • Panel Size / Ratio24" / 16:10 (1.6:1)
  • Native Resolution1920 * 1200
  • Panel TechnologyIPS
  • Direct Hardware Calibration Support?
  • In Built Sensor?
  • GamutWide
More info
BenQ SW271C 27" 4K Monitor
The new and improved version of the extremely popular SW271 is a 27" 4K photo-editing monitor with excellent colour accuracy and uniformity.
Ships free to most locations! See notes.
  • Panel Size / Ratio27" / 16:9 (1.78:1)
  • Native Resolution3840 * 2160 (UHD 4K)
  • Panel TechnologyIPS
  • Direct Hardware Calibration Support?
  • In Built Sensor?
  • GamutWide
More info