BenQ Hits the Mark Again with 27-Inch SW270C Monitor for Photographers

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Bigger and better is the best way to describe the BenQ SW270C PhotoVue 27" HDR IPS Monitor. Aimed at photographers, the SW270C is well-equipped to provide highly accurate imagery with excellent uniformity and options for customizing the appearance of many different tasks. This is essentially a 27" screen with 10-bit color and respectable 2560 x 1440 (16:9 aspect ratio), making it a solid choice for photography, thanks especially to support for 99% of Adobe RGB, but there are a lot of extras built in that make it a very good overall choice for photographers, video editors, designers, and more. Also, it is a great step up from the smaller SW240 that I reviewed last year.

BenQ SW270C Photographer 27" 16:9 HDR IPS Monitor
BenQ SW270C Photographer 27" 16:9 HDR IPS Monitor

Outstanding Color, Once Calibrated

BenQ has been doing a good job of producing affordable displays with native 10-bit color and great accuracy. The only thing I have noticed is that the monitors could use a good calibrating to get started. After plugging in, I could tell immediately that there was a green cast on this display, compared to the calibrated display currently on my desk. That’s not to say it’s bad—just be aware that it will need calibration (as all new displays should) when you first plug it in. It does come very close to its 6500K target for color temperature, which is helpful, since I have had a few displays appear much bluer than stated.

AQCOLOR is BenQ’s signature technology and backs it up with 99% Adobe RGB, 100% sRGB, and even 97% of DCI-P3. It uses a 16-bit look-up-table (LUT) to further improve rendering—a notable jump from the 14-bit SW240, if you were curious—and has a Delta E ≤2, as confirmed by the provided calibration report. One of the highlight features of the SW270C is the Uniformity Technology to create an image with practically no falloff or casts as you approach the edges of the screen. This, combined with the small bezels on the sides, makes it a very good choice for dual-monitor configurations.

Let’s Calibrate

For calibration, the SW270C supports hardware calibration via BenQ’s Palette Master Element software. I greatly appreciate this feature because it means I can calibrate the monitor to a good baseline for use with multiple computers (a MacBook Pro and a Mac Pro) by saving the calibration data to the monitor itself. The Apple computers have a generally consistent color output, so when plugging in either computer, the display looks extremely close to the other. It’s obviously not ideal, but it is much faster for putting together quick edits. The only thing you need to acquire is a compatible X-Rite or Datacolor calibration tool to get this working.

A notable upgrade in this model is the addition of HDR support and 24/25p playback for smooth footage. This means it is a suitable choice for enjoying media or even using as an introductory HDR grading monitor. This isn’t something I would use to grade a feature-length film for theaters, but for doing short videos for web and potentially having the monitor do double duty and use it for watching movies or playing games is a great option. It is a useful feature to have as HDR continues to grow.

After using it for a couple of weeks I was able to integrate it into my workstation very easily. It calibrates easily, too, holds the calibration, and looks good. One curious thing was this: usually, I immediately turn the sharpness all the way down. In this case, it seemed detrimental; going down to setting 4 seemed acceptable but below that created a weird double-vision effect. I would say, leave this untouched if it looks fine to you. Overall, I was very impressed with the color rendering and it was a great display for working on my photos. It is also Pantone validated and verified by CalMAN, if you want some extra ratings to confirm that this display will work for you.

Build Quality and Connectivity

Simplicity has been a benefit of BenQ’s monitors. I appreciate the design because I don’t need my monitor to have a fancy stand or beautiful bezel, I just need a good screen where I can focus on my work. There are also physical buttons on the front that, in my opinion, are superior to the touch “buttons” that have become common these days. My favorite thing from BenQ is the HotKey Puck G2. This little device can be customized to provide rapid access to different settings. It makes it super easy to swap from Adobe RGB, sRGB, Black & White, and others at the tap of a button. If your work involves multiple color spaces, this is one of the best ways to handle it. Another choice is the GamutDuo Mode, which will preview the image side-by-side in your two selected gamuts. I don’t like splitting the screen up this way, but it is good for comparing how a single image may look in different places.

As for connectivity, the SW270C has all the options you would expect. This includes a USB Type-C port that can handle the imagery, audio, and data connections via a single cable. There is also support for power delivery of up to 60W (would like to see 100W next time) if you want to power up your laptop or tablet through the same connection. There are also two USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A ports, a DisplayPort 1.4 input, two HDMI 2.0 inputs, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

The BenQ SW270C should be a serious consideration for photographers and video editors looking to upgrade their workspace. It offers great color and a variety of features to further enhance your workflow.

Also, compared to the earlier PV270, the SW270C is even better with up-to-date connectivity options and further optimized color rendering for photographers and filmmakers.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the Comments section, below.

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