BenQ BL2410PT £200
17th Jul 2013 | 14:30
Very flexible multimedia monitor
Available for around £200 / US$285 / AU$345 online, BenQ's BL2410PT is very affordable for a 24-inch, 16:9-ratio LED multimedia monitor. It's full HD too, with a 1920 x 1080 resolution. At this sort of price, it's ideal for a second screen, or for turning your notebook into a desktop when you're at home.
But monitor prices have fallen, and the BenQ BL2410PT is up against some quality competition. The Asus PA238Q is only a little more expensive, and its IPS screen gives an excellent picture.
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Despite the relatively low price, the BenQ BL2410PT isn't short of features. Its Ultra-Flexible Height Adjustment System (HAS) enables you to twist the screen from landscape into portrait mode, tilt it back 20 degrees and forward five degrees, and swivel it 45 degrees each way on its sturdy stand.
It's height-adjustable too - at its lowest, the foot of the screen almost touches your desk, rising to around 15cm at its highest possible position.
Assembly is easy, and requires no tools. You can't fault the build quality either. While lesser low-cost monitors creak and groan when you make adjustments, and wobble like a drunk on a bouncy castle if you bang your desk, this one is sturdy, robust and stable.
Its anti-glare display is easy on the eyes, especially when in Reading Mode, which adjusts the colour temperature, brightness, contrast ratio and sharpness to simulate the look of a page in a paperback book. An ambient light detector adjusts the display to keep it at optimal brightness for current lighting conditions, and an Eco Sensor feature detects when you've left your keyboard and switches the monitor into energy saving Eco Mode, returning it to normal when you return.
Connectivity is pretty comprehensive. DVI and VGA are catered for, though like many inexpensive monitors, only a VGA cable is included in the box. There's also a DisplayPort, but no HDMI.
For audio, there's a headphone socket and a line-in, and if you want to connect USB peripherals, it has two USB 2.0 ports. Since you need to connect the monitor to one of your computer's USB ports to use them, this only gives you one extra port, but it's great for keeping peripherals such as a mouse and keyboard permanently connected to your display if you use it as a desktop monitor for your notebook.
Specifications and performance
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With 16.7 million colours, a 72% colour gamut and 5000:1 contrast ratio, the BenQ BL2410PT does a great job of displaying our test images. Detail is preserved, skin tones are realistic and colours accurately reproduced.
As you'd expect, there are numerous preset calibrations available, for photos, movies, reading, a standard display and more. But as is often the case, you'll probably just find the one that suits you best and stick to it most of the time.
The display acquitted itself well in our gradients test too. Colour ramps were smooth, with very little evidence of banding. It did a great job of distinguishing between 5% black (an extremely light shade of grey) and pure white, and 95% black (very dark grey) and pure black too, which is something that cheap - and sometimes not so cheap - monitors can struggle with.
Lighting consistency is another test with which low-cost monitors frequently struggle. But while the BenQ BL2410PT isn't perfect in this respect, it does a pretty good job. There's a slight inconsistency at the edges of the screen, most notably on the left and right, but unless you're deliberately looking for it, you'll hardly notice.
A professional designer or graphic artist might not find it satisfactory, but pro-level users are unlikely to look at a screen this cheap anyway. For most users, it's fine. Viewing angles are fine too. Maybe not the 178 degrees claimed, but you can certainly view at around 160 degrees without any significant colour shift.
You might expect BenQ's screen to fall behind its pricer counterparts in text reproduction, but it actually puts in a reasonable though not outstanding performance. Although it lacks the high-end clarity of more expensive displays, bold, large characters look pretty vivid and words remain reasonably readable at low point sizes.
If you've got a lot of reading to do, switching to the Reading preset helps by reducing the glare you get from a white background. Again, pro users might not find it satisfactory, but as long as you don't expect a four-figure performance from a £200 monitor, it won't disappoint.
Being a multimedia monitor, you'd expect the BenQ BL2410PT to be good at playing movies, and it doesn't disappoint here either. Its 4ms response time means your videos play smoothly, and without ghosting.
But as is common for low-cost displays, the inbuilt speakers are terrible. Audio reproduction is tinny and flat, with very little volume and almost no bass. If you intend to use the display for movies or music, you'd better invest in some external speakers.
Budget monitors are getting better. With prices arguably as low as they can ever go, to make your low-cost display stand out from the crowd, you need to give the sort of performance we'd have expected from a mid-priced monitor of a few years back. This is very welcome for those who don't want to pay much for their screen. Displays like this BenQ BL2410PT put in a performance that belies their cheap-and-cheerful price tag.
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There's a lot to love about BenQ's BL2410PT 24-inch widescreen VA LED multimedia monitor. It's meaty and robust, with none of the frailty that's sometimes associated with low-cost displays. Image reproduction is excellent, with realistic skin tones, good detail and accurate colours. In our greyscale test, it handled near-black and near-white shades with ease, which is something that cheaper monitors have struggled with in the past. Viewing angles are pretty good too.
Although you can connect the monitor to just about anything, some people might bemoan the lack of an HDMI port. It's acceptable rather than outstanding with text reproduction too, lacking the clarity and distinction associated with higher-cost screens. Perhaps this is where manufacturers should focus their attention for the next generation of budget displays?
The BenQ BL2410PT is a very good display considering the price. It's a great everyman's all-rounder that won't suit professional users, but is ideal for those on a budget or looking for a second screen.