If there was ever a time to upgrade to a 4K monitor, it's now. Almost all new monitors introduced are now 4K and the prices have come down precipitously in the last handful of years. But unlike the television market, the monitor market has been slower to adopt High Dynamic Range (HDR), and so choosing a 4K monitor (with or without HDR) can be a tough proposition. Over the last several weeks I’ve been testing out the latest 4K HDR monitor from BenQ, the EL2870U 28”. Let's jump in and talk about the latest from BenQ.
- High Dynamic Range (HDR) and Cinema HDR Mode increase the overall dynamic range between true black and bright white to resemble what your eyes see in the natural world.
- Super-fast 1ms GTG response eliminates motion smear for smooth video and gaming. Fast-moving action and dramatic transitions render flawlessly without lag or ghosting. Enjoy immersive gaming and video entertainment without delay.
- AMD FreeSync technology eliminates image tearing, broken frames, and choppy gameplay for incredibly fluid gaming. And refresh rate to bring out an ultra-smooth gaming experience, EL2870U is the gamer’s dream monitor.
- Enjoy extremely vibrant, precise and realistic images as well as much higher frame rates with 4K resolution. You will be amazed by the crystal-clear and details of the image and take advantage of the most advanced viewing experience.
- HDR together with Brightness Intelligence Plus Technology (B.I.+ Tech.) to balance maximum contrast and vibrancy and fully enjoy the splendid image performance of HDR while maintaining your viewing comfort.
- Brightness Intelligence Plus Technology detects ambient brightness and color temperature to adjust display settings, with soothing warm white for comfort and cool white for productivity.
- Smart Focus highlights the selected window or area, helping users concentrate on the main viewing content by reducing distractions in the background.
The BenQ EL2870U is what I’d call an unassuming monitor. It’s not in your face, doesn’t have any crazy decals or a curved screen. For being a 28” monitor, the simple grey color tone works really well. Despite being a 28” monitor, the footprint doesn’t feel as big. The BenQ EL2870U has minimal bezels and small but sturdy base. I found the BenQ EL2870U to be a very sleek and well-designed monitor, especially given its price point.
BenQ EL2870U has two HDMI 2.0 ports, a DisplayPort, and a headphone jack. Setup is as simple as tightening two screws that lock the base to the display. The directions are crystal clear and all told it took a matter of minutes to have the monitor up and running. I think the design of the BenQ EL2870U is quite good. I appreciate a simplistic design and luckily the display can back up that.
To test out this 4K HDR display, I used the BenQ EL2870U out on both video games and video content. I’ll start with the latter and tested out 4K HDR content on both Netflix and Amazon Prime. One of my favorite shows to test out a new monitor or TV with is Netflix’s Daredevil. Specifically, the first episode of the first season has an incredible fight scene that is a great test for any 4K HDR monitor. I’m happy to report that the BenQ EL2870U handled it pretty well. There’s no denying that the BenQ EL2870U has a crisp display and the level of detail displayed is really impressive. The one issue I found, not only with Daredevil but with all video content, was the HDR “pop” was a little subdued. The colors are not washed out but they don’t have quite the pop that you will find in other 4K HDR displays. I've tested quite a few HDR TV's and Monitors and usually there's a signficant brightness to the colors that almost makes HDR content feel like its coming out of the monitor. On the BenQ EL2870U, the colors don't have the same brightness levels that I was hoping for.
The lack of HDR pop does carry over to video games, although it felt slightly less pronounced. Probably because there's just not a ton of HDR content to test for PC games. I did, however, test out two games that I have a lot of experience with on non-4K HDR monitors, Forza 7 and Assassin’s Creed: Origins. Both looked spectacular on this monitor. You’d be hard-pressed to find two games that will impress me more today with a 4K HDR monitor then these two. Similar to the video content, the HDR isn’t as impressive as you will find on more expensive panels out there.
Another piece of technology that we haven’t discussed yet is the Low Blue Light technology, which is supposed to help with eye strain for long sessions on the computer. The setting can be turned on from the monitor settings. Within the setting, you have four options to choose from: Multimedia, Web surfing, Office, and Reading. I tested all four settings and there are some noticeable tweaks to the screen and all seemed to have an effect. As someone who doesn’t spend all of my time on the computer playing games, I enjoyed surfing the web or pumping out e-mails on the low blue light mode. It doesn’t take that much away from the screen while also helping you not strain your vision.
One thing to remember is that the BenQ EL2870U is around $500 on Amazon right now. For a 4K HDR monitor that is far more budget-friendly than most. Even though it doesn’t display HDR content in all of its glory, it makes up for it with a beautiful display, great design, and a price point that won’t break the bank. If you’re in the market for a budget-friendly 4K HDR monitor, you can’t go wrong with the BenQ EL2870U.
I'm the Owner & Editor in Chief of Darkstation.com. After spending seven years as the reviews editor I took over the site in 2010. The rest is history. Now I work with our amazing staff to bring you the best possible video game coverage. Oh and I really like sports games.