Over the past few years, I’ve reviewed several monitors. And while I love those with all the bells and whistles — like a built-in colorimeter — not all of those things are necessary. At the same time, having features that photographers can rely on is important.
Enter the BenQ SW271C, the company’s 27-inch monitor that’s geared toward photographers and videographers alike. Modeled off the company’s previous SW271 model, the SW271C is very similar, just with the addition of a USB-C port. Along with some increased tech specs.
The first impression I had was before I even took the monitor out of the box. This thing was heavy. Compared to my ViewSonic monitor of the same size, it was quite a bit heavier carrying it up to my home office.
Once it was out of the box, the monitor was what I expected to see. After all, I had seen the SW271 at trade shows, and this was nearly identical to that. The side ports — which had two USB-A ports and an SD card reader — were a great thing to have easy access to.
The only thing that bothered me about this monitor was the bezel. It’s quite large. If you use the built-in hood, this probably isn’t a concern … but as someone who has an office with no windows or glaring lights, I’ve never really needed a monitor hood.
All this said, the monitor was super sturdy on my desk. It didn’t shake (like my ViewSonic can do when I’m typing quickly), and it looked great (minus the large bezel).
Anyone who’s ever looked into a professional BenQ monitor undoubtedly has heard of “the puck.” The Hotkey Puck sits at the base of the monitor, and lets you switch back and forth between inputs, color spaces and the like.
I must admit, I really liked the design of this. It was much easier to use than the buttons found on the front of the monitor, and it blended in enough where it didn’t seem to stand out.
Throughout the few months I used the SW271C, I was very happy with its performance. The colors were great and were pretty well calibrated out of the box (though I did do a calibration of my own, just in case). The monitor covers 100% of the sRGB color space, and 99% of the Adobe RGB color space, meaning you’ll get extremely accurate colors.
The brightness and colors were equal throughout the display, which I’ve noticed isn’t always the case with my ViewSonic (where the corners are slightly darker).
It was also great having the two extra USB ports and SD card reader on the side, as it meant I didn’t have to rely on my USB hub as much.
Paper Color Sync
One of the big things that BenQ is marketing with this monitor is its screen-to-print consistency, with its Paper Color Sync software. I’ve been caught before when selecting the wrong color profile, paper, etc., and BenQ eliminated the pain points of getting my photo to print. And, of course, it turned out great, with vivid, realistic colors and great detail.
Now, BenQ recommends a lot with its Paper Color Sync software — mainly the shading hood attached and room color temperatures of 4500–5000K. Even without installing the shading hood and checking my room color temperature, I still found this software to be valuable, as it made the printing process easier. Plus it let me know that my settings were correct, without having to dig through countless menus.
The monitor also features HDR10 and HLG support for video, as well as 24p, 25p and 30p content.
On the still side, it also features Advanced Black & White modes, which let you view your photos in a film effect. This can come in handy when you’re trying to decide how to process your images before you start moving those sliders. Personally, I didn’t find a major benefit to this, as I don’t do a lot of black and white processing, but I can see where some would find this beneficial.
The monitor also lets you view different color spaces side-by-side. Again, not a benefit for me, but if you’re working with corporate clients who require a certain color space, this might be beneficial.
Let’s talk about price
As much as I loved the SW271C, there’s one thing that makes me scratch my head a bit. The price. This monitor (at time of writing) retails for $1599.99. That’s not a cheap monitor, especially considering that the standard SW271 is $500 less.
Sure, the SW271 standard doesn’t have USB-C connectivity, or as many video features. It also doesn’t have the Paper Color Sync functionality either. But if you don’t need those features … I don’t see how you can justify a $500 price increase. Plus, it doesn’t have the huge bezel that the SW271C has.
All that said, the SW271C is a great monitor. It does what you’d expect, and performs wonderfully. For me, the price tag is a bit steep though.
BenQ SW271C 27″ 16:9 4K HDR IPS Monitor
With 99% coverage of the Adobe RGB color space, the SW271C 27″ 16:9 4K HDR IPS Monitor from BenQ is designed for those demanding enhanced color accuracy for tasks such as video editing, photo editing, graphic design, and more. In addition to 99% coverage of the Adobe RGB color space, this monitor also covers 100% of the sRGB and Rec.709 color spaces, 90% of the DCI-P3 color space, and can play back 24p, 25p, and 30p video at its native cadence. To further enhance color brightness and clarity, this BenQ monitor has High Dynamic Range (HDR) support for HDR10 and Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) to help make images more detailed and realistic.