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Updated on June 17, 2017
 

BenQ PG2401PT monitor review

BenQ PG2401PT monitorIn a price range under $1,000, the market is trusted by NEC and of course EIZO. But the brand BenQ, more famous for its office or gaming screens, engages in so-called "Graphic Arts" screens. What is this first 24", wide gamut screen released at a price of $1,000 worth?

To introduce this screen quickly, it can be said that it's a first 24" screen, called Graphic Arts (1,920 x 1,200 - pitch 0.27 - 94 ppi) with a matte panel of course given the targeted market, featuring IPS technology (LED GBr-Led), LUT table on 10 bits and wide gamut hence covering a gamut very close to Adobe RGB 98. It is sold around $750 (August 2016).


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New player in the top-range category...

How difficult it seems a priori to make oneself a place in the sun among Graphic Arts screens considering how the names of NEC and EIZO have imposed themselves as references, justifiably enough. Yet the company Color Confidence asked me to review a screen of clear pretentions but which brand, BenQ, is very far from evoking quality to professional editors and other Photoshop users. Its ambition, though, is to offer a complete range of screens for photographers in the end. I thus had it pass the test of my favorite sensor: the i1Display Pro with the program iProfiler or the program Palette Master, and also the test of the sensor Spyder5Elite. Here are my conclusions about this screen...

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Introduction to the BenQ PG2401PT

To start with, here are a few illustrations of this screen of flawless ergonomics...

 

Photos of BenQ PG2401PT

 



Main technical characteristics of the BenQ PG2401PT...

Size : 24 inches 16:10 - 1,920 x 1,080 - 94 ppi
Plate: 
IPS GBr-LED - Matte panel,
Calibration program:
Palette Master (base i1 Profiler 1.6)
Color space:
Adobe RGB 98, FOGRA certification
Brightness/contrast: 350 Cd/m2 / 350:1 (measured)
Wirings: DVI + Display wire + HDMI + USB3.0 (HUB 2 x USB 3.0 + SD card reader)
LUT table: 14 bits - hardware calibration.
Edges: classic (18 mm).
Delay: 12 ms.
VESA compatibility: Yes (100mm).
Cap: yes.

Warranty: 5 years


BenQ PG2401PT Price incl. taxes Retailer
 
$749.99
  $749.99
 
Amazon.co.uk Amazon.ca Amazon.de Amazon.fr

Bulkiness and perceived quality

The screen features a 24 inches panel and is 55.5 cm wide overall. It is classic. What is less would be its feet (photo above), quite bulky. At the same time, it leaves some space for the volume of my speakers in my case!

As for perceived quality, it is truly excellent. Nothing to add.

The screen and its panel

1 - Definition/resolution - It is thus a matte IPS panel, normal for this range of screens called "Graphic Arts", of 1,920 x 1,200 pixels. Its resolution is thus 93.8 ppi. Classic and not "Retina" but guess what, thanks to the superb anti-reflections treatment I'm mentioning again below, the pixels seem invisible at a "normal" viewing distance of 60 cm on a desk. Very beautiful. The backlighting is LED GBr-LED type, rather recent and adopted by NEC for instance.

2 - The panel and its anti-reflections treatment - I notice that for a little while and clearly on this screen, a "glossy" anti-reflections treatment doesn't show on the pixels anymore, which gives this panel an excellent rendering of images and gradients with an excellent rendering of "spicy" details. Very beautiful! Anti-reflections treatments that gave a grainy touch to the panels are finally over. Phew! It is clearly one of the striking qualities of this screen.

3 - The program - This screen is sold with its proprietary calibration software: Palette Master – which is an evolution of the program (i1 Profiler version 1.6) but that brings a very interesting new feature: the measurement/correction of brightness by zone in order to correct the homogeneity of the screen on a long term basis (the screen has a 5 years warranty).

Caution! This program enables hardware calibration but be aware that it is sold without a sensor so you'll need an i1Display Pro because the program as I'm stating above is just a customized declination of iProfiler.

Visor of BenQ PG2401PT4 - Accessories - It is sold with a power cable (phew!), a USB 3.0 wire to supply the two USB 3.0 plugs (and not USB 2.0 as often) + an SD card reader on the side of the screen and enable hardware calibration (the ICC profile is placed directly into the LUT of the screen) and finally a VGA wiring, surprising on a Graphic Arts monitor worth more than $1,000 nowadays + HDMI. Possibly prefer a Display Port wire which isn't sold with the screen though.

And finally, it is sold with its cap.

Thickness of the edges of the screen

Edge thickness BenQ PG2401PT and HP 23XiThey're 18 mm thick hence a value that is among current standards even if nowadays some manufacturers like HP or Dell are making efforts regarding this point. If you work with a one and only screen, it won't bother you but if you work with a multi-screens configuration like I do, you would have appreciated thinner edges, of 10 mm only. (Read: my recommendations to choose your monitor for photography )

Ergonomics

Ergonomics are exemplary: the range of motion of the screen in height, in tilting and in rotation will enable all users to find their ideal setting. Truly perfect! The same is true for the menu buttons. Note that they light up when you approach your hand. Only the on/off button remains lit all the time.


BenQ PG2401PT ergonomics

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What's the result after calibration?

I calibrated this screen using my reference sensor (meaning the one I use all the time), the i1Display Pro + program iProfiler (version 1.6.3), then with the Spyder5Elite and finally with the proprietary software, Palette Master, and the sensor i1Display Pro.

 

Here are the target values I picked with the i1Display Pro and iProfiler 1.6.3:

  • Backlighting technology: GBr-Led (very important!),
  • Color temperature: 6250K
  • Brightness: 90 Cd/m2
  • Contrast: 287:1 (for print) - native (which is 360:1)
  • ICC norm: V2 (to avoid compatibility issues with certain images viewing programs (images rendered too dark).
  • Gamma: 2.2
  • ADC functionality disabled
  • Automatic room brightness control functionality disabled (I don't like it!)

Very important! Be sure to choose the screen technology GBr-Led if it isn't done by default and in order to have it work perfectly, install the last version of iProfiler (1.6.3 in October 2015).

I chose the following screen settings:

  • Color adjustment > Color mode > Perso1
  • Default 50% contrast,
  • Color temperature: personalized 5700K (choice made thanks to the sensor)
  • Gamma: 2.2
  • Color range: Adobe RGB 98

My pressing recommendation! Be sure to choose a personalized color temperature in the screen menus of 5700K for a targeted color temperature of 6250K. The screen is too blue by default and the calibration, especially regarding greys neutralization, seems imperfect. After many tests with the Eizo CS240 aside as a reference, it's with this setting that I got the best and most accurate results.

Objective data: what does the final report say after this first calibration?

The screen does indeed display 6250K and a contrast close to the targeted 287:1. Let me remind you that I like using this contrast ratio because it's the one that gives me the best match screen/print.



Now what about the delta e following the norms 2000?


Final report after calibration of BenQ PG2401PT


If you fall for the game of "objective" comparison, this BenQ doesn't get results as good as the 24" reference, the Eizo CS240. But these figures are so low - the highest delta e barely passes 1! - that no eye on earth can see the difference. If you want to choose a winner, refer to the figures, and if you want a screen that displays perfect colors in the color space Adobe RGB 98, you can buy this one without a second thought.

Now the brightness uniformity tests:


Luminance uniformity of BenQ PG2401PT


The brightness uniformity of the BenQ PG2401PT is also perfect. The 2% differences are perfectly invisible to the naked eye.

And the color temperature uniformity test:


White point uniformity afletr calibration of BenQ PG2401PT


Here, the difference with Eizo is significant. Not everyone can call themselves Eizo! It is the weakness of this screen, without being a bother to the naked eye.

And my subjective data: what does my eye see?

This screen does unarguably have a very good gamut, saturated colors displayed identically to the Eizo CS240 - since I'm lucky enough to have them side by side during these tests-, subtle and progressive grey gradients (texts and details still so sharp but this has nothing to do with the calibration!). But unlike the CS240 that is easy to calibrate, (you get beautiful colors immediately, a superb grey gradient but also menus or other windows greys perfectly neutralized and this all day long) and as often with brands else than NEC and Eizo, you sometimes need to repeat the operation several times, changing the target values in the program or directly on the screen to get beautiful results as well. Here again, not anyone can call themselves NEC or Eizo! With that said, with the values I'm quoting above, you'll get a wonderful calibration.

 

Second calibration with Palette Master and the sensor i1Display Pro...

I thus performed a second calibration with proprietary software - Palette Master that needs you to own an i1Display Pro - to benefit from a hardware calibration, meaning to inscribe the ICC profile directly in the 14 bits LUT table of the screen in order to get the best grey gradients, for instance. Moreover, in hardware mode, all the target values of the program are directly sent to the screen so the different color menus become in-operational.

Precautions to take before performing hardware calibration:

1 - Plug in the USB 3.0 wire sold with the screen - the ICC profile will pass to the LUT table through it,

2 - Reset the colors of your screen
and choose "Calibration 1" in the menu "Color adjustment" > Color mode > Calibration 1

3 - Follow< the usual calibration process in Palette Master:

  • Screen technology: Note that in the program PM this option isn't available because PM uses GBr-LED by default,
  • White point: D65 if you work for the web and D55 if you'd rather get closer to the recommendations for photographers. Note that at D55 the screen is really warm but not yellow as on low-range screens, and it is perfect if you check your prints in a monitored cabin,
  • Brightness: 80/90 Cd/m2 for printers and 100/120 for graphic designers,
  • Contrast: Native for graphic designers or 287:1 for printers,
  • Gamma at 2.2 of course – standard curve,
  • ICC norm: V2 (to avoid compatibility issues with certain images viewing programs (images rendered too dark).

At the end of the calibration process, the profile is directly sent to the LUT (14 bits) of the screen for better color gradients.

Objective data: what does the final report say after this second calibration?

Against all expectations, delta e are a bit or noticeably worse and especially, the grey gradient is exactly the same. Hardware calibration isn't any better in my configuration.


delta e according to the norm 2000: the figures are almost identical to those obtained with iProfiler. However, neutral greys in the windows and menus seem less neutralized.


"Symbolically", it is still quite surprising. But here's why according to my analysis...

My analysis! Unlike an Eizo CS240 that is very "easy" to calibrate, I had to make several trials to calibrate this BenQ correctly. When did I get a satisfying calibration with the BenQ compared to the CS240? When I changed the color temperature values in the menus of the screen. By default, I was choosing 6500K, the closest color temperature to the 6250K targeted. But at the moment of measuring this color temperature with the sensor during the calibration phase, the sensor measured a much higher color temperature. To get a measurement close enough to 6200/6300K, I had to change the color temperature of the screen in "Personalized color temperature" at 5700K hence 500K under! By default, the screen displays a color temperature that is too high (compared to Eizo, for instance). It is a major drawback: it isn't possible to make this personalized change with Palette Master and the hardware calibration because we can't access the screen menus. Logical. Here's why, I think, I got better results with the i1Display Pro + iProfiler because I could make this change back then. This wouldn't have occurred with Eizo because their screens are close to 5500K when they leave the factory and because the overall quality is a cut above.

Anyway, don't get mistaken: the progresses that graphic arts screens of all brands have made are such that nowadays, to see colorimetric differences, you'll have to rely on our beloved sensors. All of them wash whiter than white and the eye can't even see it anymore. However and since I'm lucky enough to try several screens at the same time, the difference always lies into the "ease" to get a good calibration and the uniformity of the panel. Still not anyone can call themselves NEC or Eizo!

Third calibration with the sensor Spyder5Elite...

The possibilities of settings and target values are really incredible with this program. For instance, I could calibrate my monitor choosing a L* gamma curve but frankly, the shadows were too open then. There was detail in the shadows, but too much of it! In fact, I got really good results visually and compared to a print or to the Eizo CS240, by changing the gamma curve on the basis of a 2.2 curve and by enhancing dark tones a bit. The biggest defect of this solution lay in the grey gradients, really shaded. I get less of them with my HP 23Xi! Too bad. And finally, note that you can't perform hardware calibration natively with the program Spyder5Elite.

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Conclusion and my rating!

BenQ PG2401PT monitor

The definitive conclusion of this screen review is thus full of paradoxes after a month of use! BenQ, new on the market of so-called Graphic Arts screens, makes a decisive move right away on certain criteria. Indeed, it does have an image to build, but this is rather a successful first try. But there's a but. Now we need to see how it's going to behave over time and of course with future screens to come. History taught us that proprietary software, if commercial success never comes, are never updated and the homogeneity check functionality of the screen only works with the proprietary version.…

Moreover, at this price, really higher than its direct competitor's, namely the Eizo CS2420, a more difficult calibration and a lack of homogeneity in color temperature are hard to justify. Not anyone can call themselves Eizo!

With that said, I'll repeat for those who'll choose to buy this screen for its qualities, it was never as important to use the "right" program or at least the right version and above all, to choose the backlighting technology well: here GBr-LED. I had never seen before how much it could influence a calibration.

And finally, I wouldn't be thorough if I didn't precise two other additional defects about this screen, more or less bothering depending on the user, that might be crippling for some photographers:

1 – A remanent effect on the texts when you slide bold HTML text on the web, when the option AMA is activated. I disabled this option and everything goes back to normal. Note that I don't watch videos nor play video games on this screen. This could become a problem over time. Since this screen is mainly dedicated to displaying images, it can not be a problem at all though. You decide whether it will be your only screen or if, like myself, you choose to work with several screens.

2 – Here, it will bother more the photographers who work in the dark or almost: the backlighting of the panel doesn't seem homogeneous while the homogeneity test tells us the contrary! I noted at the bottom right of mine a greenish luminance when I display a black or very dark background and I watch it in a very dark room, without ambient light. Kind of like this panel, IPS though, were in fact a TN technology. Not so good for a screen worth more than $1,000.00. It is the most annoying defect that keeps from recommending it plainly hence without knowing who you're recommending it to.

I think that more than not being an EIZO or NEC – though! -, these points will harm this very interesting screen regarding other criteria. Hard to recommend it unreservedly then...

 

Ratings

  BenQ PG2401PT
   
Manufacturing quality
4 étoiles
   
 
Resolution
3,5 étoiles
94 ppi  
 
Ergonomics
5 étoile
   
 
Wirings
5 étoiles
   
  Color restitution 4 étoiles Average delta e: 0.50  
  Homogeneity 5 étoile    
 
Value for money
4 étoiles
   
 
I LOVE...
  • Flattering figures after calibration: Average delta e  0.50 (Norm 2000) and max. 1.11! (Below 1, all differences are invisible to the naked eye.)
  • "Glossy" matte IPS panel with a perfect rendering, smooth but "crispy" on thin details - striking quality of this screen,
  • Also perfect ergonomics,
  • Very thorough menus,
  • wide gamut,
  • FOGRA norm,
  • Monitoring of the homogeneity of the screen over time with the proprietary program (5 years warranty),
  • Sold with its cap.
 
 
I REGRET...
  • Brand unknown in top range,
  • its price, too high,
  • Homogeneity of the panel in color temperature,
  • Lack of homogeneity of the backlighting in a corner at night hence without ambient light in the room and on a dark background only (I'm quibbling here but I prefer stating it),
  • Compared with an Eizo CS2420 (or other screens), it gives the impression to have a slight greenish predominance all the time,
  • No Display wire but an HDMI one
  • Calibration "difficult" to perform,
  • Isn't sold with the sensor i1Display Pro, yet compulsory to use Palette Master,
  • Competition is hard!
  • Remanence on bold texts in HTML in quick sliding with the AMA on,
  • Range with one 24" only,... for now!
  • What future? It is true that BenQ is healthy!
 
 
OVERALL RATING
7.5 / 10
 


My opinion:
This is not simple! Delta e at the level of a top-range screen displaying perfect colors but with a homogeneity in color temperature that is not sufficient for this level of price that won't make you forget the other and very beautiful qualities of this screen like its anti-reflections treatment and the accuracy of thinnest details or texts. At more than $1,000.00, this screen remains hard to recommend unreservedly because the competitors make screens that are really perfect for $700 only... It's a shame because this screen is really "likeable"!


Buy the BenQ PG2401PT from site

   
BenQ PG2401PT
Price incl. taxes  
   
Logo Amazon.fr
$749.99
   
Amazon.co.uk
£720.00
    $749.99
         

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Summary > BenQ PG2401PT review
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