Purchasing a monitor in today’s world can be a right headache. You’ve got some specifically for gaming, some for entertainment, others optimised for design work. But what will fit best for your needs? That’s the question you need to ask yourself. Today we’ll be reviewing the BenQ EW2780U 4K Entertainment Monitor with HDRi Technology, and hopefully, by the end, you’ll have a better idea if this could be just the thing you’re looking for when you’re due an upgrade.
Straight out of the Box
So first impressions are always important. And what bigger impression than when you unpack your new monitor straight from the box.
The monitor comes in three parts, you have the core monitor fitted with a Nano IPS Panel nicely packed in between two polystyrene blocks, with the stand for the monitor in two separate pieces packed in polythene bags. Or at least that’s how it arrived at my door, but this is a loan unit so whether it was packaged up differently by someone else to how it would be new could be a factor. Either way, it was all well protected and in great condition.
The monitor also came with the power supply adapter, a bunch of manuals and warranty information and a HDMI 2.0 cable. So you have everything you need to get started.
Fitting the stand together was quick and easy enough, and it felt nice and solid once the monitor was standing up. But sadly the EW2780U could only be tilted, there was no height-adjustable system there for optimised viewing. Bit of a misfire from BenQ here for me since this is an Entertainment monitor, and you’d think comfortable viewing would be at the core of the designer’s thoughts. Still, the stand was much more secure than the thin aluminium stand we had fitted to the Element Gaming monitor we reviewed way back when.
If you don’t wish to use a stand though, that’s no issue as the EW2780U does come with a 100 x 100 mm Vesa Mount section which is covered by a plastic panel on the back. BenQ do have their very own mount you could buy HERE, but it is a little pricey, so it may be worth shopping around first.
When it came to power up the EW2780U monitor, it was as simple as switching it on. I didn’t really feel like I had to fiddle with setting too much to get it how I wanted it to look. But there was another reason for that because on the front of the monitor there is the BenQ HDRi button, which allows you to flick between different optimised modes.
For those completely unsure what BenQ HDRi is, it’s a proprietary technology that BenQ believes will enhance the HDR content on your screen. So it’s not actually HDR, more their own version, and it does this with some preset modes for Cinema and Gaming, that ultimately make clarity adjustments and help tune colours to better suit the needs you have for the monitor.
For Entertainment, it worked perfectly. I couldn’t fault it at all. I used it several times as a second monitor to watch shows, movies and other events on the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime, and I have to say, they looked a hell of a lot better than my 4K Samsung TV we have set up in the living room, which does lack HDR so you can actually see the difference it makes. This will happen as well though when you go from having 4K on a big screen to a smaller one, especially if it manages the native resolution because the pixels per inch on screen are higher due to being more condensed.
For gaming, however, whilst it has an optimised mode for it, this monitor isn’t 100% ideal. Not for PC Gamers anyway. That’s due to the fact the EW2780U’s 4K IPS Panel is limited to a 60Hz refresh rate and has a 5ms response time. So if you’re wanting to play your games in Ultra Settings, that’s going to be fine, but you won’t be getting the true fps that you would with a more optimised gaming monitor that would if you were to invest in a monitor that had a 144hz or higher refresh rate.
Hook the EW2780U up to one of your next gen consoles though like I did with my PS5, and you’ve got yourself a great gaming monitor for consoles. That’s because no matter how many times we’re promised high frame rates on these new consoles, they rearely ever hit them, most even struggle to hit 60fps. So with its 60Hz refresh rate, this monitor is perfect for console gamers.
Performance and Features
So we’ve touched up a little on performance above, but there is so much more to this monitor than just the HDRi capabilities. The EW2780U comes with a whole host of other visual features, such as BenQ’s Brightness Intelligence Plus Technology, which detects ambient light levels as well as colour temperature in your environment, to optimise the screen automatically for that more comfortable viewing experience.
On top of that, it also has a built-in EPaper Mode, which like a Kindle would, makes it more comfortable to read eBooks by adjusting the layout to make it less strenuous on your eyes. And speaking of eyes, it also has a built-in Eye Reminder that uses the same sensors to monitor your environment to detect your presence and suggest when you may need a break. A great feature if you’re using the monitor for work because it’s important to take regular breaks, and it’s a great excuse to go pop the kettle on.
One problem is though, with all the capabilities of the monitor, it doesn’t perform well if you’re looking for energy efficiency. It’s actually rated at the bottom of the scale with a G rating, due to its large power consumption. If there was one area BenQ needed to work on this monitor, it’d be this, because even my old Panasonic Plasma Screen TV, notorious for being very unefficient with energy consumption, was rated much more highly than this.
It’s not all about the visuals though, with built-in treVolo speakers too, once again, the EW2780U is ready to go straight from the box. There is no need to purchase additional speakers saving you space, you can literally plug in, switch on and straight away start enjoying your monitor, whether it be to listen to music as you work from home, or immerse yourself in the latest films or games.
What’s particularly good with these speakers is that treVolo are part of the BenQ group, so they’ve been made purely for BenQ products and optimised to get the best performance out of them. Rather than buying some cheap speakers that some manufacturers stick in so, the feature is there, yet leave you with distorted sounds at loud volumes or have that tinny output to them. These really did the trick and were quite impressive.
That said, they don’t come anywhere near the quality of a set of decent desktop or bookshelf speakers you can buy separately. But it’s nice to know there is no additional cost of having to buy some and they’re definitely above-average performance.
The final main feature is that the EW2780U supports USB-C connectivity. Best of all it supports up to 60W of charging power, meaning you could charge up any USB-C devices up whilst using the monitor. So whether it be your phone, tablet or laptop, you can charge up whilst you’re sat at your display working away. Sadly it’s not reversible, so you can’t use it as an extra dock for your PC to connect things like your Keyboard. Not a big issue as you’ll have peripherals plugged into the PC anyway, but it would be a cool feature to add.
Bang for your buck?
If you’re looking to buy a brand-new EW2780U monitor, at the moment, it will set you back around the £400 mark, or just under. That seems like a lot of money for a monitor, and you’d be right, we won’t argue with that. But is it worth it?
Well, if you factor in that the monitor does hit a native 4K resolution, using a 1300:1 contrast ratio, and packs a whole host of features including that USB-C port, it’s actually very well priced. It’s not the most expensive, but it isn’t the cheapest either, and it never will be when they’re using an LED-backlit Nano IPS panel, as opposed to lower quality TN panels.
That said, there are a few competitors out there that also have IPS Panels that are a little cheaper. Some lack similar HDRi tech, so that’s a point for BenQ, but others also have faster response times. Whether 1ms difference is a deal breaker, I’m not sure but depending on your budget and what you’ll be using it for you could get more for your money elsewhere if you shop around and are smart. But, you do get what you pay for sometimes, and this is a classy monitor so demands that classy price.
Will I be replacing my existing monitor with the BenQ EW2780U?
Short answer? No! But mainly because I use mine more for gaming than anything else, so I prefer that high refresh rate and response time. However, as a 2nd monitor? Sure, I’d happily have this sitting alongside my main gaming monitor as it’s great for those entertainment purposes of watching stuff whilst I work, and also to get the most out of my PS5.
There is no doubt that the EW2780U is a quality built monitor, good to go right out of the box. You’ve no need to fiddle with settings, it has quality in-built speakers to save on desk space, and it comes with a whole host of features that you would struggle to find at a lower price range, although whether you make use of them all is another thing. So many of those features as well are all aimed at viewing comfort but no height-adjustable stand? Missed a trick there BenQ. Still, I don’t think you’d be disappointed if you bought this monitor for anything other than PC gaming.