BenQ EW277HDR Full HD VA model with HDR capability
We’ve reviewed and gathered plenty of user feedback on several relatively recent Full HD VA models from BenQ, including the EW2750ZL. We know that many users find the combination of price and all-round performance appealing, especially if they prefer relatively strong contrast and dislike ‘IPS glow’. The EW277HDR offers an interesting evolution of the venerable ‘EW’ series of ‘Video Enjoyment’ monitors. The styling remains fairly sleek and simply, with the now common 2-stage bezel design, comprising a very thin hard outer component and a panel border that appears to blend into the screen when it’s switched off. Both components considered, the bezels remain sleek at the top and sides. The bottom bezel is noticeably thicker, with a silver matte plastic finish. The OSD (On Screen Display) is controlled by pressable buttons on the underside of this, towards the right side. There is also a forward-facing button with a gold label, which controls the ‘HDR’ (High Dynamic Range) and ‘B.I.+’ (Brightness Intelligence Plus) function that we’ll come onto shortly.
The panel used is a 27” AU Optronics VA (Vertical Alignment) part, most likely AMVA+ (Advanced Multi-Domain Vertical Alignment ‘Plus’). This offers a 1920 x 1080 (Full HD) resolution, 60Hz refresh rate and has a specified static contrast of 3000:1 and 178°/178° viewing angles. A light matte screen surface will be used, whilst true 8-bit colour is supported without dithering and a (to be taken with salt) 4ms grey to grey response time is specified. A flicker-free WLED backlight (DC dimming rather than PWM) is employed, whilst Low Blue Light Plus’ settings also feature to aid relaxing viewing. The backlight offers a fairly high peak luminance of 400 cd/m² when boosted for HDR content, 300 cd/m² otherwise – although most users would opt for a much dimmer value anyway. The backlight uses enhanced phosphors to achieve 93% DCI-P3 coverage, meaning it extends some way beyond sRGB without the same sort of reach as traditional wide gamuts such as Adobe RGB. This allows it to deliver extra vibrancy and saturation without the same sort of ‘garish oversaturation’ associated with viewing sRGB content on an untamed ‘traditional’ wide gamut screen.
The peak luminance and extended colour space is also part of the monitor’s drive to ‘support’ HDR10 content. Because the backlight is not divided into lots of dimming zones, the colour space is not truly massive and the monitor doesn’t actually support 10-bit colour it doesn’t deliver a true HDR experience. But, as is common on all but notably expensive high-end monitors, the HDR support is still there in some form. The monitor will recognise HDR10 content and respond accordingly. That button we discussed earlier, on the front of the monitor, activates the HDR feature which can be cycled between ‘4 levels’ of presumably increasing saturation and overall ‘effect’. You can activate the feature when viewing non-HDR content as well and it will ‘simulate’ the HDR experience it offers – we imagine a key advantage of running actual HDR content on this model will be the ability to better make use of the colours within its gamut without simply oversaturating lots of shades. The HDR setting is combined with B.I.+, a technology that adjusts the image according to the content being displayed (how bright or dark it is) as well as the ambient lighting in the room. In essence, this is all like a sort of enhanced dynamic contrast setting. The monitor not only responds to the image it’s displaying (bright and dark) by adjusting its backlight brightness, but also depending on ambient lighting it will adjust this and the colour temperature. Plus, where HDR content is detected, it will respond to the cues encoded into the content itself and adjust accordingly.
As usual for a 27” EW series model, there are no VESA holes and it just comes with a simple tilt-only stand. The ports face backwards and include; 2 HDMI 2.0 ports, VGA (don’t ask), 3.5mm headphone jack, 3.5mm line-in and a DC power input (external ‘power brick’). A K-Slot is also included and there are some simple integrated speakers included for basic sound output. Further information can be found on Benq’s website with details on price and availability still forthcoming. If a sample can be provided and time permits, we’d like to review this model.