If you are a photographer or you spend a lot of time photo or video editing, this BenQ SW271C review is the right place to be. If neither of those sounds like you, and you’re on the hunt for a high-quality display, take a look at T3’s guide to the best 4K monitors where you'll find more of our favourite options.
Let's get straight down to it, here's the full BenQ SW271C review.
BenQ SW271C review: price and features
The BenQ SW271C is available now. It's not one of the most expensive monitors you can buy, but it certainly doesn’t come cheap. Currently, on Amazon, it's listed for £964.77 in the UK, $1,599.99 in the US and AU$1,699 in Australia. For more retailers, take a look at the widgets on this page.
Thanks to its AQCOLOR Technology, the biggest selling point of the 27inch BenQ SW271C 4K monitor is its accurate colour reproduction. That's not all though, it also offers Paper Color Sync to create a dedicated colour setting based on the printer mode, paper type and colour space.
And for video editors, HDR with 24, 25, 30P video format support, CalMAN support for LightSpace video calibration and HLG video input for post-production colour grading. All of that is joined with a built-in SD card slot, speedy USB-C connectivity and it even comes with a detachable shading hood to reduce glare. This is, without a shadow of a doubt, a 4K monitor made for creatives.
BenQ SW271C review: design and setup
This isn’t a sleek, slim monitor by any means. The BenQ SW271C looks a little old-fashioned with its grey plastic chassis, large clicky buttons on the front and thick bezels. Without the shading hood, it weighs 10.9kg and measures 618 x 647 x 285mm with the stand. So, it’s definitely hefty.
The matching stand is fully adjustable - you can tilt, swivel and rotate it as well as move it up and down. Easy enough to set up, it’s just a case of clipping in the stand and screwing in the base. It’s worth bearing in mind that the stand does take up a lot of desk space, especially considering this is only a 27inch monitor, the base is an unnecessarily large grey square block. To keep things neat and tidy, the stand does have a hole for cable management, so that does something to reduce how much of an eye-sore it is. It’s VESA wall mount compatible and the monitor also comes with a detachable shading hood to reduce glare from ambient lighting.
To hook up your devices, you have plenty of choices: on the left-hand side of the monitor, there are 2 x USB 3.0 and an SD card slot. In the nook on the back, there are 2 x HDMI, a DisplayPort, a USB 3.0, 3.5mm audio and a USB-C which can simultaneously power up to 60W and display your laptop’s screen through one cable. A lot of more powerful laptops need more than just 60W but it will keep your laptop topped up while you work, at least. The BenQ SW271C is compatible with Mac and Windows. Because you can tilt, rotate and swivel the monitor, all of the ports were pretty easy to access.
To switch display inputs, or adjust the settings, there are five square navigation buttons placed along the bottom bezel, as well as a power button. They are big enough to use quickly and easily, although it would have been good to have a joystick to speed it up as well. The monitor does also come with the Hotkey Puck G2 attachable remote, which gives you quick access to your preferred colour modes and features.
BenQ SW271C review: performance
Being a part of BenQ's range of PhotoVue Photographer Monitors, it's safe to say this 27inch 4K (3840 x 2160p) IPS panel is ultra-clear and impeccably detailed. It has an aspect ratio of 16:9 and 178-degree viewing angles so you get a consistent appearance from almost every angle.
The BenQ SW271C is designed for photography and editing so the 1.07 billion colours look incredibly natural with plenty of depth. That’s largely down to the AQCOLOR Technology which accurately reproduces colours - the display boasts 99% AdobeRGB, 90% P3 and 100% sRGB as well as a Delta E ≦ 2 (average), plus 10-bit per channel colour. It’s also Pantone Validated. Those are impressive specs on a 27-inch monitor.
You can preview video without pulldown or distortion as the BenQ SW271C supports 24P, 25P and 30P content. It has Calman Verified status meaning it has been evaluated in colour temperature, gamma curve, and Delta E, meeting the criteria for video post-production editing and reviewing. Plus it has HDR10/HLG support. However, the BenQ SW271C does lack full HDR capabilities like local dimming and the peak brightness of 300nits isn’t particularly high either, which could limit how much you can do when it comes to video production.
Displaying lettering or browsing the web, the panel looks seriously crisp, lines are incredibly fine and details really stand out. As well as photo editing, this will be a fantastic monitor to use for other types of work like word processing or web browsing. A response time of 5ms paired with a 60Hz refresh rate may be ideal for content creation, but it's not so well-suited to gaming. It’ll certainly cope with light games yet I wouldn't say this is a monitor to switch between work and play on.
BenQ SW271C review: verdict
At first glance, the BenQ SW271C may not look particularly impressive with its chunky plastic grey chassis and bulky stand, but switch it on and you’ll be immediately convinced by its depth of colour and accuracy. The mere human eye won’t be able to notice flaws when it comes to the colour reproduction on this display.
It may seem like a particularly pricey monitor yet in comparison to other professional panels for editing, it’s really towards the lower end. If you aren’t a professional, then perhaps steer clear as it might be a little wasted on you - there are 4K monitors that cost a lot less which will be much more versatile, and frankly, that will look better in your home office as well.
Those who will mostly use a 4K monitor for content creation should definitely shortlist the BenQ SW271C. Although it has a few downsides when it comes to video production, cinematographers will still get on well with it, and if you are all about photography, then it’d be hard not to recommend this monitor.
BenQ SW271C review: also consider
If money is no object, the Acer ConceptD CP7271K is one of the best 4K monitors for content creation, but gamers will also be able to make use of it. The ultra-sharp 4K resolution is paired with impressive colour reproduction and a 144Hz refresh rate.
For something a little more affordable and more well-rounded, take a look at the BenQ EW3280U. It costs less than $700 / £600 / AU$900 and offers something for everyone. At 32-inches, it’s slightly larger than the BenQ SW271 but is unquestionably one of the best monitors at this price and size.
If that’s still a little pricey for you, then the Dell P2721Q will be perfect for any home office and is even less expensive at around $500 / £430 / AU$630. It won’t give you professional-grade colour reproduction but is sure to boost productivity and will look good at home too.
- More of a gamer than content creator? Check out the best gaming monitors