Review: The BenQ 27-inch DesignVue UHD Thunderbolt 3 is an asset for designers, photograph...

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2021
AppleInsider goes hands on with BenQ's 27-inch DesignVue UHD Thunderbolt 3 Display, an adaptable, ultra-high definition monitor with plenty of features to please even the most fickle designer.

BenQs 27-inch DesignVue UHD Thunderbolt 3 display


With the advent of high definition video and photography, digital artists have had to step up their display game in order to get the most out of their work. The DesignVue is a reasonably priced monitor geared toward designers, video editors, and photographers.

Build Quality & Features

For a 27-inch monitor, the DesignVue is pretty darn impressive, and that's true before you even switch it on. For the monitor sits on a spring-loaded base, so if you're a person who likes to transition between sitting and standing throughout the day, the DesignVue effortlessly transitions with you.

It's also got a fair amount of tilt, and if for some reason you need to pivot the monitor 90 degrees to vertical orientation mode, it can do that as well -- just like the BenQ 32-inch display we checked out in February.

The DesignVue 27
The DesignVue 27" rotated to portrait mode


The anti-glare coating on the monitor is also likely to be appreciated by those who work in brightly lit offices. I found that even on the brightest day, the screen was easy to view with no glare washing out the dark.

And if you're someone who has a lot of different devices to hook up to a monitor, you'll be pretty happy with this one. The DesignVue has the standard DisplayPort 1.4 and dual HDMI 2.0 ports, as well as two USB 3.1 ports. It also has two Thunderbolt 3 ports, which is what I used to connect to my Mac Mini. This also supports power delivery, allowing you to attach peripherals, charge laptops, and daisy-chain displays together.

A selection of ports on the the 27-inch DesignVue Monitor
A selection of ports on the the 27-inch DesignVue Monitor


One port provides 65 watts of power and the other just 15 watts of power, so only one can power laptops and other monitors, but it's a nice option to have.

The On Screen Display (OSD) control of the DesignVue monitor is, thankfully, pretty easy to use. A small, easy-to-use joystick navigates the menu and the basic buttons enable you to quickly toggle between common setups.

Beyond the on-screen option, BenQ also provides a USB-based puck to interface with the DesignVue monitor. It's a similar idea to the more general-purpose Griffin PowerMate or Microsoft Surface Dial, and I loved using it. Three shortcut keys give you the ability to toggle between three favorite setups, and the joystick and menu buttons allow you to enter the OSD to change options or enter into picture-in-picture mode.

The BenQ hotkey puck
The BenQ hotkey puck

Specifications

The DesignVue is an IPS monitor with a maximum resolution is 3840x2160 and a brightness measurement of 350cd/. The native contrast hovers in just around 1000:1, which lends itself well to highly detailed images and produces incredibly crisp text.

For designers, it's worth noting the monitor is capable of displaying about 1.07 billion colors. It covers 96% of the DCI-P3 gamut, 100% of the sRGB gamut, and 99% of Adobe's RGB gamut. It's got a pixel density of 163, which is decent, though it's nothing revolutionary, either.

Image Quality

As a person who works with images quite a bit, I thought the BenQ was more than sufficient for my day-to-day needs. There are a bunch of different modes you can quickly switch between to meet your needs, including an HDR mode, low blue light, Adobe RGB, and several more. The DesignVue also comes with HDR10 support, so if you're shooting high dynamic range video, you can edit it accurately with this monitor.

The BenQ DesignVue comes-pre color calibrated, and I found that I didn't need to calibrate the monitor all that much to get it where I wanted it to be.

The BenQ OSD
The BenQ OSD

Audio quality

The DesignVue comes with built-in speakers, though I never really thought to use them much. This is partly because I have a Mac mini, which I have for general audio, or I use headphones to avoid annoying other people in the room.

However, it's not only that headphones or the Mac are convenient. It's also partly because as far as speakers go, the BenQ DesignVue's speakers aren't great quality. Sure, they play sound, but it sounds hollowed out and generally unpleasant. I don't think that's much of a demerit to the monitor, though.

Overall & where to buy

If you're a designer and want a monitor that has tons of features at a somewhat moderate price point, the DesignVue 27-inch 4K UHD Thunderbolt 3 Monitor might be the monitor for you. The PD2720U is available from Amazon for $999.99 and B&H Photo for $999.99.

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

    Pros
  • Plenty of different modes
  • Features HDR10
    Cons
  • Pixel density is decent, not great
  • Audio quality is poor

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,508member
    These days, I would consider a monitor with “ultra high” resolution to be much higher than the 5k of the iMac, which has had that Rez for quite some time. The 4K Rez of this monitor isn’t anything near ultra high. I don’t know why that term was used. Even the 6k of the new Apple pro monitor doesn’t qualify as being ultra high. With 8k Tvs coming out now, even that barely qualifies these days.

    the price is good enough for what it is. Not sure it qualifies to be equivalent to the real pro monitors out there though. They’re about 50% more, and up
    edited December 2019
  • Reply 2 of 12
    melgross said:
    These days, I would consider a monitor with “ultra high” resolution to be much higher than the 5k of the iMac, which has had that Rez for quite some time. The 4K Rez of this monitor isn’t anything near ultra high. I don’t know why that term was used. Even the 6k of the new Apple pro monitor doesn’t qualify as being ultra high. With 8k Tvs coming out now, even that barely qualifies these days.

    the price is good enough for what it is. Not sure it qualifies to be equivalent to the real pro monitors out there though. They’re about 50% more, and up
    UHD is a term that the industry coined for this resolution, similar to how 1080p is High Definition.
    CloudTalkinwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 12
    I'm still left scratching my head why the LG 4K and 5K don't pivot ? On the Ergotron I have bought it amounts to two screws - one for pivot and one small removable screw to fix landscape mode.
  • Reply 4 of 12
    Right. This would do if you are designer of postal stamps.
    I won't even think about a monitor smaller than 43" anymore...
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 12
    Right. This would do if you are designer of postal stamps.
    I won't even think about a monitor smaller than 43" anymore...
    How's you neck feeling these days? LOL
    StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 12
    melgross said:
    These days, I would consider a monitor with “ultra high” resolution to be much higher than the 5k of the iMac, which has had that Rez for quite some time. The 4K Rez of this monitor isn’t anything near ultra high. I don’t know why that term was used. Even the 6k of the new Apple pro monitor doesn’t qualify as being ultra high. With 8k Tvs coming out now, even that barely qualifies these days.

    the price is good enough for what it is. Not sure it qualifies to be equivalent to the real pro monitors out there though. They’re about 50% more, and up

    PC monitors aren't more than 4k because Windows would look too small on a 27", so you just don't get non-Apple designed 5k 27" monitors, there were a couple of attempts but the Dell one needed 2 cables and the Iiyama suffered from many dead pixels. On Windows 4k is "ultra-high" because it's the highest you can get.
    edited December 2019 watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 12
    melgross said:
    These days, I would consider a monitor with “ultra high” resolution to be much higher than the 5k of the iMac, which has had that Rez for quite some time. The 4K Rez of this monitor isn’t anything near ultra high. I don’t know why that term was used. Even the 6k of the new Apple pro monitor doesn’t qualify as being ultra high. With 8k Tvs coming out now, even that barely qualifies these days.

    the price is good enough for what it is. Not sure it qualifies to be equivalent to the real pro monitors out there though. They’re about 50% more, and up

    PC monitors aren't more than 4k because Windows would look too small on a 27", so you just don't get non-Apple designed 5k 27" monitors, there were a couple of attempts but the Dell one needed 2 cables and the Iiyama suffered from many dead pixels. On Windows 4k is "ultra-high" because it's the highest you can get.
    "The Consumer Electronics Association announced on October 17, 2012, that "Ultra High Definition", or "Ultra HD", would be used for displays that have an aspect ratio of 16:9 or wider and at least one digital input capable of carrying and presenting native video at a minimum resolution of 3840×2160 pixels."

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultra-high-definition_television#Technical_details

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 12
    I've purchased a BenQ 4K monitor before and it was basically a you-get-what-you-pay-for scenario: cheaper than others + solid screen quality, but it developed chronic striping problems after about 3 years. It also had a very poor stand design, where the monitor screwed into the base. Moving the monitor could cause the display to dismount from the base too easily.
    gatorguywatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 12
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,791member
    Right. This would do if you are designer of postal stamps.
    I won't even think about a monitor smaller than 43" anymore...
    LOL, ok. Software dev here and 27" is fine. Can always add a second monitor if I need it for some reason.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 12
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,508member
    melgross said:
    These days, I would consider a monitor with “ultra high” resolution to be much higher than the 5k of the iMac, which has had that Rez for quite some time. The 4K Rez of this monitor isn’t anything near ultra high. I don’t know why that term was used. Even the 6k of the new Apple pro monitor doesn’t qualify as being ultra high. With 8k Tvs coming out now, even that barely qualifies these days.

    the price is good enough for what it is. Not sure it qualifies to be equivalent to the real pro monitors out there though. They’re about 50% more, and up
    UHD is a term that the industry coined for this resolution, similar to how 1080p is High Definition.
    That was years ago, when it actually was. It isn’t now. So calling it that to an audience which mostly knows better is simply incorrect. At one point, 1024x768 was called high resolution. Would you call it that now? Definitions change with the times.
    edited December 2019
  • Reply 11 of 12
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,508member

    melgross said:
    These days, I would consider a monitor with “ultra high” resolution to be much higher than the 5k of the iMac, which has had that Rez for quite some time. The 4K Rez of this monitor isn’t anything near ultra high. I don’t know why that term was used. Even the 6k of the new Apple pro monitor doesn’t qualify as being ultra high. With 8k Tvs coming out now, even that barely qualifies these days.

    the price is good enough for what it is. Not sure it qualifies to be equivalent to the real pro monitors out there though. They’re about 50% more, and up

    PC monitors aren't more than 4k because Windows would look too small on a 27", so you just don't get non-Apple designed 5k 27" monitors, there were a couple of attempts but the Dell one needed 2 cables and the Iiyama suffered from many dead pixels. On Windows 4k is "ultra-high" because it's the highest you can get.
    That’s not true. Both windows and macOS do fine on a higher def screen. Just as on the Mac, you can adjust font and icon size, or use a lower Rez if you want to. That has nothing to do with it.
  • Reply 12 of 12
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,508member

    melgross said:
    These days, I would consider a monitor with “ultra high” resolution to be much higher than the 5k of the iMac, which has had that Rez for quite some time. The 4K Rez of this monitor isn’t anything near ultra high. I don’t know why that term was used. Even the 6k of the new Apple pro monitor doesn’t qualify as being ultra high. With 8k Tvs coming out now, even that barely qualifies these days.

    the price is good enough for what it is. Not sure it qualifies to be equivalent to the real pro monitors out there though. They’re about 50% more, and up

    PC monitors aren't more than 4k because Windows would look too small on a 27", so you just don't get non-Apple designed 5k 27" monitors, there were a couple of attempts but the Dell one needed 2 cables and the Iiyama suffered from many dead pixels. On Windows 4k is "ultra-high" because it's the highest you can get.
    "The Consumer Electronics Association announced on October 17, 2012, that "Ultra High Definition", or "Ultra HD", would be used for displays that have an aspect ratio of 16:9 or wider and at least one digital input capable of carrying and presenting native video at a minimum resolution of 3840×2160 pixels."

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultra-high-definition_television#Technical_details

    And again, that was 8 years ago when it actually was ultra high resolution. Now it’s just medium high resolution.
    edited December 2019
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