BenQ VW2420H review
Better than many cheaper rivals, but not by a big enough margin to really excite
The BenQ VW2420H is a 24in TFT that looks to bring a little more quality to the budget end of the market. It sports a Full HD resolution inside a slim, style-conscious design, and does so for a mere £151 exc VAT. But the main focus is its panel.
Rather than the usual TN panel, the VW2420H opts for the technically superior VA technology. The benefits are higher contrast levels, wider viewing angles and more saturated colour reproduction. Pitted against TN panels, the downsides are fairly minimal - the principal one being slower response times.
And it's initially impressive. The Edge-LED backlighting is even, and there's precious little backlight bleed visible around the panel's edges. It's bright too, with a measured brightness of 274cd/m2 proving blinding in the dim corner of our labs.
Viewing angles are wider than a TN panel, but not by much, and the BenQ is still some way behind pricier IPS monitors. Colours remain reasonably static if keep your head near to dead-on, but at different angles obvious contrast shifts result in shadow detail appearing and disappearing.
Flicking through our test images and movie clips proved positive. Colours do indeed look a little more saturated and rich than comparable TN panels, but it's the great black levels and a measured contrast ratio of 2,900:1 that really leave rivals trailing. The darkest greys blend smoothly into black, and the lightest fade gently into pure, bright white.
Extended testing reveals some shortcomings in the BenQ's performance, however. Pastel shades seemed to confuse the BenQ's panel, which had trouble differentiating between the subtle variations of blue and green in our Blu-ray of Avatar. The VW2420H also reveals its budget electronics: we noticed what looked like dithering artefacts across mid-tones, which manifested as distracting speckling.
Testing with X-Rite's i1Display 2 colorimeter threw the BenQ's shortcoming into even greater relief. At its default settings, the VW2420H recorded an average Delta E of 4, and had particular trouble achieving an accurate blue, where it reached a maximum Delta E of 10.6. It also struggled in the dark greys, where it was significantly off the mark.
Gamma was way off too, and despite manually setting it to 2.2 - the standard gamma for PC usage - it still measured at nearer 1.9. It wasn't until we bumped the BenQ up to a gamma setting of 2.4 that the average Delta E fell to a much better 3.3, and this drastically improved the greyscale issues we noted at default settings.
The preset modes were no help. The sRGB mode measured the same as Standard, and the other modes made image quality worse. The Photo setting is dreadful: it delivers worse image quality than Standard, with Gamma dropping to 1.6 and a horrid, over-sharpened effect destroying text clarity and fine detail. Colour accuracy goes out the window, too.
Stick to the best settings, though, and the BenQ performs well. Input lag hit peaks of 40ms, with lows of 10ms, and we noted an average of 22ms. The panel's relatively sluggish black-to-black response time of 25ms causes some minor smearing in fast-moving games, but all but the most demanding of gamers are unlikely to notice.
For a monitor that we hoped would deliver a taste of the high-end at a sensible price, the BenQ is only partially successful. It's clear that VA technology delivers serious improvements in some areas, but be aware that low price is compensating for some issues that are hard to ignore.
|Price ex VAT||£151|
|Price inc VAT||£177|
|Features & Design||4|
|Value for Money||5|
|Resolution||1920 x 1080|
|Pixel response time||25ms|
|Dynamic contrast ratio||20,000,000:1|
|Horizontal viewing angle||178 degrees|
|Vertical viewing angle||178 degrees|
|Speaker power ouput||N/A|
|TV tuner type||N/A|
|Upstream USB ports||0|
|USB ports (downstream)||0|
|3.5mm audio input jacks||0|
|Other audio connectors||none|
|Other cables supplied||VGA|
|Internal power supply||no|
|Peak power consumption||36W|
|Idle power consumption||1W|
|Forward tilt angle||-5 degrees|
|Backward tilt angle||15 degrees|
|Swivel angle||0 degrees|
|Pivot (portrait) mode?||no|
|Dimensions||581 x 434 x 189mm (WDH)|