The PC display market has come a long way from its early days where CRTs were dominant. Even when LCD monitors started entering the market, the biggest concern was the price as they were much more expensive than CRTs. Now, you can buy a 22-inch monitor for even a budget-oriented PC. For the longest period, 22-inch displays were around the Rs. 10,000 mark but now we’re looking at that drop to between Rs. 8,000 and Rs. 10,000 even for full-HD panels. The Benq GW2250 is one of these panels.
Design and Build Quality
At low prices, there are some promises when it comes to the build quality of the product. In the case of the GW2250, the build quality is actually quite decent. The frame doesn’t make squeaky sounds when you press the bezel or the stand. It’s all quite well built. The stand wobbles a little if you push it around. The base is quite small too, so you can push the monitor right to the back of your table. The stand lets you tilt the screen to some extent but there’s no rotation or swivel.
Not the most stylish design, but it sure is well built
The settings are changed via physical buttons unlike the touch sensitive ones found on many displays today. Personally, we prefer physical buttons over touch-activated ones, unless they’re very refined and function flawlessly. The buttons are lined up along the right side of the screen.
The BenQ GW2250 is a full HD (1920x1080) 21.5-inch LED-backlit display, which uses a VA panel. BenQ claims a response time of 4ms for the panel. In terms of connectivity, there are the three basic ports expected on such a panel today: the traditional D-Sub connector for older PCs, a DVI port which is preferable to D-Sub, and an HDMI port. There’s also a 3.5mm audio output port at the back for passing HDMI audio through to external speakers or headphones. There are no speakers, so this is the only way to hear audio if you're using HDMI. For all purposes, this makes for a decent screen to on a PC with the additional inputs used for a game console, Blu-ray player or DTH TV service.
The user interface on the GW2250 is quite well designed; in fact it’s the same one used on their other monitors. It’s colourful and has icons, so it’s not intimidating. It’s also quite straightforward in its appoach. For example, the Enter button doubles as an input selector, cycling between the input sources - DVI, D-Sub and HDMI. This is much simpler than having to go through a menu just to select an input.
Pretty thin, when you look at it sideways
The OSD switches from one menu to another without any irritating lag. At the same time, there are tons of customisation options so you can tweak the settings as you wish. BenQ has not dumbed down the UI or sacrificed features.
Users have the option to change the RGB, hue and saturation values to tweak image quality, so there’s a decent amount of control over the look of the display. There’s also an auto power off setting that turns off the display after a set amount of time.
We calibrated the display using a Datacolor Spyder before proceeding to the performance tests. Spyder gave the display a rather good contrast ratio score; better than what we’ve seen on some of the other monitors.
All connectors, including the audio connectors are placed at the rear
Apart from Spyder’s own tests, we used a variety of media types ranging from games to photos to movies. The monitor has a slightly warm tone to it, with a hint of orange that’s only visible in bright scenes. For example, one of our test sample clips, a 1920x1080 one at 60 fps was very fluid with sharp transitions without any blurring or shadows trailing behind. Colours were close to accurate and this is clearly an improvement over TN panels.
Physical controls on the right side of the screen
Upscaled content looks very impressive as well. 720p videos look nearly as impressive as 1080 with no signs of dithering or patches appearing. DVD quality content of course isn’t as accurate, but colours look good and it’s still a decent panel for movie playback. Photos look good and there’s little sign of banding, which we were expecting to find.
We also noticed that the backlighting wasn’t even all throughout with faint patches in some areas of the screen, especially in the corners. Viewing angles are pretty impressive with only brightness taking a slight hit. Colours appear close to normal from the sides. Being a VA panel, there’s almost no visible input lag, which is good if you’re using the monitor for gaming.
Verdict and price in India
The BenQ GW2250 - offers good bang for your buck
All in all, the BenQ GW2250 is a good performer and comes with a price tag of Rs. 8,700 in India. It has all the basic connectivity options, well above average performance, and a very attractive price tag. If you’re building a budget rig or want to upgrade from an older CRT or LCD monitor without spending too much, then this is a good product to consider.
Updated 24 May, 2013, 7:53 pm IST
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