Paper beats rock but what if that paper had 4K, HDR, 1ms response time and 60fps written on it? Even Dwayne Johnson would cave in.
Yup, BenQ has achieved the trifecta of monitors and folks good at reading spec sheets will be sold but not your dear Stuff writers. We’re more stingy and less forgiving in our reviews. We even know what The Rock’s cookin’ without even lifting our noses up. That’s a lie, we only sniff out good tech for our readers and use Swiggy for everything else.
So we put this monitor through its paces and we have to say, it’s an extremely divided opinion. Features or preference? Wake up and buck up. This is going to be a very interesting one dear reader.
Body: Stuck in the middle with you
It’s a gaming monitor but not in-your-face like how Asus and Acer's offerings. Those high-end gaming monitors do come with their own RGB disco but here it’s not necessary. For the price we’re happy to deal with grey and black.
The bezels ain’t winning any prizes either and the buttons are flushed below at the bottom right. It’s alright. Nothing to be alarmed or delighted about.
Pah! This is quite boring, isn’t it? Well, that’s because it’s a monitor dummy and the next thing you need to know is if it can swivel. Only 5° down and that’s not much. Still, it's standard practice for monitors in this range and size.
Display and Performance: Uncle Ben, Q?
Here’s the hype part. The monitor is amazing on paper, the specs it boasts of are here for the naked eye to see and even enjoy to some extent. However, it’s a bit disappointing in terms of visual fidelity.
This 4K resolution screen uses a TN panel which is the main culprit for washed out colours and delivers average colour accuracy. On the (not-so) bright side, the 300 nits of brightness is also average. BenQ even included their Brightness Intelligence Plus technology (B.I.+ Tech.) which detects ambient brightness and color temperature to adjust display settings to deliver balanced brightness and color temperature to match the environment. Think of it like True Tone for iPhones.
To be honest, we didn’t use that feature. Yes while doing some office work we did notice a slight relief on our peepers but while gaming it was never a choice because consistent colour accuracy is something we’re in desperate need of. Especially to enjoy the graphical grandeur of the latest game titles like God of War and Marvel's Spider-Man on the PS4 Pro.
While watching Altered Carbon on Netflix the HDR mode didn’t really dish out punchy blacks and the flitting between the HDR mode was below satisfactory. The monitor has 1000:1 contrast ratio so don’t expect it to be completely enthralled by its visual prowess.
FreeSync is a good addition for supporters of team red (AMD) and 60FPS with 1ms response time is why you should really consider the EL2870U. Playing Fortnite at 60FPS and achieving 1ms response time on this was better than our review monitor which uses an IPS display while sacrificing response time. Faster and accurate feedback from the BenQ monitor minimises ghosting too which is really important for online multiplayer games.
We consider 4K to be the best standard in gaming but this monitor doesn’t fully make you appreciate that due to its lacklustre colour accuracy. Meanwhile, HDR is not up to par either.
If your priority is 1ms response time then this is a decent monitor but BenQ Zowie’s range of gaming monitors are far more capable in this realm. They even have better features for proper competitive gaming with Black eQualizer, adjustable height and up to 240Hz refresh rate. The only trade-off is that you won’t get it in 4K.
So even though the EL2870U brings the best of three worlds, it doesn’t particularly deliver on all three fronts and this makes it a hard bargain even if it’s dropping at ₹35,000.