BenQ EW2420 Monitor Reviewby Chris Heinonen on October 13, 2011 12:00 AM EST
The OSD controls for the EW2420 are broken down into five main screens: Display, Picture, Picture Advanced, Audio, and System. For most users the Display screen will go unused as it only applies to the non-digital D-sub input. It would probably be better if BenQ moved this screen to a lower selection in the menu instead of being the initial choice, as it will be used so much less compared to the other choices. Picture contains your standard Brightness and Contrast settings, as well as a Sharpness control, a Gamma control that is welcome to see, Color for an advanced Color sub-menu, and AMA. AMA enables panel overdrive to take the Gray-to-Gray times from 25ms down to 8ms. If you are using the panel for gaming, this sounds like an option you will want to enable, but we’ll see later how much it actually helps.
If you venture into the Color sub-menu, you will find a single set of RGB gain controls for the white balance, as well as a hue and saturation control. These are only enabled if you select the User Mode choice from the different color modes available. The Normal and User modes were closer to 6500K in temperature than either the Reddish or Bluish choices, which were so far off the mark I can’t imagine someone using them as their choice.
Picture Advanced lets you pick between different picture modes that claim to be designed for different content types, but the majority of these are very skewed and not likely to be used. The Standard and sRGB modes provided the best results of the available choices, and I went with Standard as it allowed for the most customization. The Senseye Demo mode allows you to compare the Standard mode in a split screen to the other picture modes, in case you want to see how drastically they affect the image. Dynamic Contrast affects how aggressively the LED lighting operates (it’s automatically disabled on sRGB, Standard, and Eco modes) and Display Mode lets you choose if you want to have images scaled to use the entire screen, or if you want to maintain the correct aspect ratio on a signal that isn’t 1080p.
Color format lets you choose between YUV or RGB encoding for your digital video signal, which we will test in a later section for color handling capabilities, and finally the HDMI RGB PC Range lets you select between RGB PC video levels (0-255) and RGB Video Levels (16-235). As the EW2420 is designed to serve as a multi-purpose display, this will be very important if one of the HDMI inputs is used with a digital TV tuner, PS3, Xbox 360, or other device that uses the video range. Having the incorrect range would lead to crushed highlights and a lack of shadow detail on all of your video material, since the monitor would be optimized for the wrong range.
Audio lets you set the volume of the speakers, mute the audio, and select the source for the audio. Using a Mini-DisplayPort to HDMI adapter on my MacBook Air, I was able to send audio perfectly fine to the BenQ, though even at bare minimum the volume was louder than I would have preferred it to be. The sound wasn’t anything fantastic, but it was better than the speakers in my laptop and will work just fine for occasional use. If you want higher quality sound, I’d recommend using the headphone jack on the left side of the display, or a separate set of speakers. Finally, the System menu provides your standard functions such as input selection, OSD positioning and time out, DDC/CI control, and information on the signal being received.
The OSD is reasonably easy to navigate through, though I often found myself hitting a button to go in the wrong direction than I intended. A label on the screen that showed which direction each button would move the cursor would be nice. Additionally the Auto button at the top is going to be used very little by people now that analog connections are so uncommon for people to use on their display. Much like defaulting to the Display screen initially in the menus, this seems to be a design touch that is out-of-date now.