4K, 27 inch, colour accurate monitor at a very aggressive price point - there's a lot to like about this new monitor from BenQ!
The new BenQ SW271 is really the first of a new breed of monitors - more affordable colour accurate 4K options in the most popular 27" size. We know for sure many of you (and we!) - are waiting eagerly for this class of screen! Until now, 4K, colour accurate and affordable have been mutually exclusive things...however, finally, we expect in 2018 that models will begin to appear, and this is the first.
From BenQs 'advanced amatuer' SW range, we expect these will be really popular (certainly the very affordable SW2700 has been a real hit!). This is really the same thing, only in a 4K version - so a good quality (but not uniformity corrected) wide gamut panel with proper direct hardware calibration at a VERY aggressive price point. (We're hoping to also see a PV uniformity corrected version before too long - but that will of course be noticeably more expensive when/if it does come).
The SW271 builds upon the success of its award-winning predecessor and sets a new benchmark for wide gamut monitors taking image quality to the next level with the addition of HDR capabilities. The new 27" 4K UHD monitor offers extraordinary clarity of fine details and textures on a 10-bit panel with 99% Adobe RGB, 100% sRGB color space coverage as well as supporting HDR content.
4K UHD Monitor
4K ultra HD resolution ensures extraordinary clarity of fine details and textures for an optimal viewing and visual-intensive work experience.
99% Adobe RGB
See the true colors of nature! Adobe RGB color space offers a greater range of color reproduction for shades of blue and green, resulting in a more realistic color representation for outdoor and nature photography.
10-bit Color Display
Enjoy the smoothest color gradations on a 10-bit display which shows more than one billion colors.
High Dynamic Range (HDR)
High Dynamic Range (HDR) increases the overall dynamic range between black and white so the resulting image appears closer to what your eyes see in the natural world.
*To view HDR content from your device, ensure that you use the HDMI cable provided with the SW271 monitor or an High Speed HDMI Cable or Premium High Speed HDMI Certified Cable.
*HDR function supports HDR10.
14-bit 3D LUT & Delta E ≦ 2
The 14-bit 3D Look Up Table (LUT) improves RGB color blending accuracy, resulting in impeccable color reproduction. Having Delta E≤2 in both Adobe RGB and sRGB color spaces gives you the truest and most representative view of the original image.
Hardware calibration allows you to adjust the image processing chip in the monitor without changing the graphics card output data. It keeps images consistent with its original copies without being affected by graphic settings.
Palette Master Element Calibration Software
With the use of Palette Master Elements, and a calibrator, you can tune and maintain the color performance of the monitor at its most optimal state.
*Supported Platforms: Win7 or above, Mac OS 10.6.8 or above
*Supported Calibrators: X-Rite i1 Display Pro / i1 Pro / i1 Pro 2 & Datacolor Spyder 4 / Spyder 5 - We strongly recommend the i1Display Pro
USB-C™ Cable for Optimal Convenience
SW271 uses the latest USB-C™ port to transmit video and data with only one cable. So you can do the hardware calibration with ease. The USB-C™ port smoothly displays brilliant 4K contents and offers an up to 5Gbps transfer rate.
*The transmission rate of USB-C™ can vary. For more information please check out the user's guide.
*USB-C is compatible with Thunderbolt 3. The user should check the compatibility of the host device with USB-C.
*For more detail, please refer to SW271 compatibility list
Advanced Black & White Mode
View your photos in a black and white film effect. Choose from three different black and white presets to preview your photos in before you perform actual adjustments in your photo processing program.
GamutDuo enables you to view content simultaneously in different color spaces side-by-side for added comparison. Switch to PIP/PBP mode to enable GamutDuo.
The Hotkey Puck allows the user to switch between Adobe RGB mode, sRGB mode and Black & White mode effortlessly. The buttons can also be customized to map other modes or OSD settings, such as brightness and contrast to bring added convenience to photographers.
The SW271 includes a detachable shading hood that effectively reduces the monitor's screen glare resulting from ambient lighting, ensuring superb color accuracy required for professional work. The shading hood can be used in both portrait and landscape orientations.
In 2018, the SW271 display was granted a Verified by CalMAN mark, making BenQ one of the world's first manufacturers to achieve Certified Colour Critical by Calman for absolute colour accuracy.
In close collaboration between BenQ and Portrait Displays, the Verified by CalMAN program ensures each display to be accurate out of the box and true to multiple industry-standard colour gamuts. The Verified by CalMAN mark is only given to the highest-grade of displays.
More information on the Verified by CalMAN program here.
Panel Size / Ratio
27" / 16:9 (1.78:1)
3840 * 2160 (UHD 4K)
Direct Hardware Calibration?
In Built Sensor?
Adobe RGB 99%
This monitor supports Direct Hardware Calibration and comes with a full version of BenQ's Palette Master Elements software to achieve this.
However a calibration sensor is not included and needs to be purchased to take advantage of this system.
We recommend the i1Display Pro.i1 Display Pro
These calibrators are either simply not compatible, or do not measure current monitor technologies reliably. If you have one of these, it's time for an upgrade!i1 Display V1 & V2
Please note: Specifications are provided as a guide only.
We try very hard to keep these up to date and correct, but if a particular specification is really critical to you, then please double check the specification directly with the manufacturer. Some features may of course have caveats not fully described here.
To get more information about a particular specification, use the arrow to get a 'Specxplanation'.
Monitor panel sizes are measured across the diagonal, in inches.
They are approximate only, so the actual measurement might be 27.1" for example. Note that panel size in inches is only one part of the story - the other being the aspect ratio. For example a 24" monitors doesn't sound much bigger than a 23" monitor, but 24" monitors are normally 16:10 versus most 23" monitors being 16:9. This means a 24" monitor is much taller than a 23" and the working size is much greater than one inch difference would suggest.
The panel ratio gives the relative size of the horizontal to the vertical. Older monitors were 4:3, but most modern monitors are widescreen, with 16:10 or 16:9 being the common ratios. 16:10 is distinctly taller, and common with 24 and 30 inch monitors. 23 and 27 inch monitors are normally 16:9 - the same ratio as widescreen televisions. For monitors 24 inches and below, we recommend going with a 16:10 monitor if you can. Once you're over 24 inches you've got sufficient vertical working space it doesn't matter so much.
Native resolution is simply the number of pixels a monitor has, stated as horizontal x vertical.
LCD monitors really want to receive their native resolution and look pretty terrible when scaling other resolutions to the native resolution of the panel.
Most modern computers have no trouble outputting up to 2560 by 1600 (e.g. all Mac Pros/Macbooks/Minis/Airs etc. from the last 5 years or so can do this without issue, usually to 2 or more displays simultaneously). The only time it becomes particularly important is with older machines, particularly laptops, many have a maximum external display resolution of 1920 by 1200. If in doubt send us the full model number of your laptop and we can double check this for you!
There are three major types of monitor panels. IPS (aka PLS) - are the best for image makers. They have the best colour accuracy and uniformity characteristics. The can sometimes have weaker blacks, so gamers and video editors sometimes lean towards PVA monitors. However these days good IPS panels have excellent blacks so we recommend that all image makers use an IPS panel. The latest panel type, TN, is generally only used in laptops and low end devices and should avoided for imaging work at all costs!
The two major types of backlighting are CCFL (Flourescent tube based) and LED. CCFL is the older type of light source and offers good uniformity and it has been traditionally easier to engineer colour accuate monitors with flourescent tubes. However recent LED backlit monitors can be excellent - very uniform, and of course they use much less power. The latest LED backlit monitors from the good makers now offer excellent colour accuracy - at least as good as the older CCFL models.
LEDs also uses significantly less power (although CCFL monitors are already much better than old CRTs of course!) - and tend to have better uniformity.
Whether or not the unit needs a fan for cooling. Most monitors fortunately don't need a fan, rather using passive cooling through heatsinks and vents.
However, some monitors do require a fan, which can be of concern given the monitors proximity to your ears. Generally the fan will be a low dB fan not audible above a typical computer fan, but if ambient noise is of concern to you the we suggest you choose a monitor without a cooling fan.
Calibration is the process of calibrating directly into the monitor's hardware. This is both more accurate, and typically more easy to do, than traditional software calibration. See the 'Calibration Information' section above for more details about this monitor and calibration.
In built correction sensors come in two forms:
Until around 2010, almost all monitors were 'standard gamut' - meaning they could display a moderate range of colours (roughly around the size of the sRGB colour space). In recent years we've seen the development of wide gamut monitors that can display a much wider range of saturated colours (about 25% more) - equivalent to approximately the gamut of AdobeRGB.
We recommend wide gamut monitors for all image makers, but especially for anyone working regularly with saturated colour. Wide gamut monitors can also emulate standard gamut monitors very well, so it's more future proof to choose a wide gamut model, and there really aren't any disadvantages (apart from the generally higher price of wide gamut models!).
Does the monitor accept a 10 bit incoming video signal? 10 bit video signals allow for more tonal level separation (i.e. smoother gradients).
PC: 10 bit is well supported and relatively easy to achieve with 'workstation' graphic cards (short version: buy an nvidia Quadro video card!).
Mac: 10 bit has only just become supported in 2016 - you'll need very up to date Mac hardware, and the latest versions of OSX and your apps.
Our comprehensive article on 10 bit support has all the details.
The maximum achievable ratio of the brightness of a monitor's white to the depth of it's black. The stated figure is a maximum, achieved only when the monitor is running at high brightness in a darkened room.
A high contrast ratio makes things looks more contrasty (i.e. more 'pop') and is particularly of note with gaming, video, and image display scenarios. For example, if you're selling photos to clients straight off your screen, then high contrast has more wow factor.
However, for print work, it is typical practice to dramatically reduce the monitors contrast to as low as, say, 200:1 to better simulate paper. This is best done with monitors that feature direct hardware calibration support and allow you to specify the desired contrast ratio.
The maximum achievable brightness of the monitor in candellas per metre squared.
It is VERY unusual to run a monitor at maximum brightness, especially for imaging work.
The DCI (Digital Cinema Initiative) specifications requires contrast of 1500:1 or more.
Most LCD monitors do not yet offer DCI True Blacks support (in practice 'true blacks' means a very low black point suitable for video editing in a dim environment). This doesn't mean they have bad blacks in typical viewing environments, but it does mean you may experience some 'glow' in your blacks if you're viewing in a very dim environment.
Achieving very high contrast ratios is difficult and a combination of technologies is used - changes to the panel, light retardation film and backlight are all required.
This is really only of relevance in video work - in still image work, and particualrly for print, it is common practise to actually raise the monitor's black point above the minimum to better simulate the printed output.
The wider the better! Viewing angle is the maximum angle at which a display can be viewed with acceptable visual performance.
This is a highly subjective figure and we don't place much credence in it - basically, IPS panels have the best viewing angles by far, and all IPS panels sold here all have excellent viewing angles, so you won't see variance as you move you head around under normal circumstances.
The bit depth of the gamma Look Up Table. That is, the number of levels the gamma table can contain, which is crucial to the appropriate placement of tonal levels on screen. 8 bit is standard (although some appalling screens are only 6 bit!), but 10 bit or more is desirable, and the best monitors are now 14 or 16 bit.
The bit depth of the colour Look Up Tables. These are used to map incoming values from your computer to actual colours on the monitor's screen - so are of course crucial to colour accuracy. 8 bit is standard (although some appalling screens are only 6 bit!), but 10 bit or more is desirable, and the best monitors are now 14 or 16 bit. Ideally combined with 3D LUTs that can transform colours in more than one table at once.
Put simply the higher the bit depth of the LUT, the greater the capacity for accuracy.
3D Look Up Tables allow colour transformations to occur on R,G and B simultaneously, which increases speed and accuracy. Basically, a 3D LUT means better, more accurate calibrations. You want one even if it sounds like gibberish!
LCD Monitors coming off a production line typically exhibit some uniformity issues. Uniformity corrected monitors are broken into zones, measured, and each zone calibrated to be even with its neighbours (and you often get a written report of this process with very high end monitors like the Eizo CG series). Called DUE by Eizo, and most likely something else by others, it's an important part of the process of high end LCD making.
The process occurs at the begining of the monitor's life and there is currently no user system for correcting uniformity after the monitor is out in the field, although it is theoretically possible. Fortunately, moden monitors that leave the factory in a very uniform state tend to then remain uniform for many years of use.
Monitors that are not uniformity corrected may exhibit some visible artefacts like a change in density or colour across the field of the monitor. Wtih brands like Eizo and NEC, the non uniformity tends to be minor.
How quickly a pixel can change colour, in milliseconds (usually measured as grey-to-grey, but there's no real standard).
Basically, any value 16 or under is generally fine for all normal uses. Exceptions are high end gaming and possibly video production - but it's rare anything below 10 makes a significant difference, and monitors with very low response times typically sacrifice a lot of colour quality to achieve this.
The input ports a monitor has. We have a comprehensive article about these (with pictures!) - here.
Other connections the monitor offers - such as audio connectors if the monitor has speakers (most don't) - and USB hubs. Some USB hubs also act as 'KVMs' - meaning you can plug your mouse and keyboard into the monitor, then the monitor into two separate computers and easily share your peripherals and screen between the two machines.
How much power the monitor draws. Often stated only as peak power usage, the real figure in practise may be lower.
Lower is better, both for your electricity bill and the planet, but typical figures of around 100W means that your monitor uses about the same as two standard downlights, so modern monitors are really very efficient compared to the hundreds of watts those old CRT clunkers used!
If a monitor hood is not included, then there are [LINK] aftermarket hoods available.
Monitor hoods stop direct light falling on the monitor which can make, in particular, shadow details harder to perceive. While not essential, once you get used to having one it's hard to go back to a screen without one - they improve the picture generally and provide a real 'window in to your image' effect.
Most colour accurate monitors don't have in built speakers.
Those that do offer speakers usually connect via 3.5mm jack (see connections), and the speaker output is usually around the 1-2w range. Fine for basic system sounds but not great for music etc.
Can the monitor be rotated on its stand 90 degrees and used in portrait orientation? Particularly useful if you're doing portrait work on smaller screens!
If the monitor & stand support this then you just rotate the screen physically and instruct your video card to flip the image 90 degrees (if you bind this to an F key on your keyboard it can be a very simple process!).
We keep these details up to date to the best of our knowledge.
However if a particular item is of special importance to you please also check the manufacturer's listing for the product.
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Hand curated articles, links and downloads to help you get the best from your BenQ SW271 27" 4K Monitor.
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Exclusive to Image Science customers!
New BenQ monitors bought from Image Science come with a special BenQ three year full parts & labour warranty, and an extremely generous dead pixel warranty of 6 months.
(NB - Ex-demo monitors come with a two year warranty).
See BenQ Warranty Page for full terms and conditions of the general warranty.