BenQ have been heading towards gaming monitors in a big way for the past few years. I mentioned before when I reviewed the BenQ EL2870U that BenQ could be seen in offices around the world, as a monitor for work use, but that perception is very quickly changing. Yes they have a range of work use monitors, but they also have an impressive gaming range, which the BenQ EX2780Q is part of.
The BenQ EX2780Q gaming monitor is very neat and tidy, with skinny bezels on the sides and top, with a smart grey finish to the bottom. It’s classed as bezel-less according to BenQ’smarketing, and there’s no physical bezels, but there are flush to screen bezels. It’s not quite edge to edge, but it’s close. It’s got some skinny bezels, and most of what you’re going to be seeing, if sitting right in front of it is screen, but it’s not bezel-less.
The stand that it’s sitting on is also rather basic. It’s a small form factor type stand that does the job, and allows you to stash items you may need like SD memory cards, the monitor remote control or others and it actually looks good, but lacks in functionality you would normaly find in gaming monitors at this price. There’s a tilt capability, so if you’re taller, you can angle the monitor upwards towards your face. However, there’s no swivel so you can’t turn it left and right without turning the entire item and there’s no hight adjustment either.
One thing however about the BenQ EX2780Q is that it’s quite thick, with dimensions of 614 x 459 x 196mm. There is a VESA 100 mounting section on the rear too if you wanted to stick it on the wall on on a monitor arm. The thickness though, is down to the 2.1 speaker setup that can be found inside. The grill is stretched across the top half of the monitor, and inside are a pair of 2W speakers and a 5W subwoofer. Of course, the quality isn’t going to match an external 2.1 system you may have set up on your PC, but if you’re wanting to do some bedroom gaming, it’s really not that bad. Bass of course is lacking somewhat, but the clarity is rather nice. It’s also pretty loud too. You’ll struggle to be able to play media at top volume.
Down the rear right hand side you can find a few buttons as well as a joystick to cycle through all of the BenQ’s menus. The two separate buttons are for shortcuts, to choose which input you’re using, whether it’s DisplayPort or one of the HDMI 2.0 inputs, and the other changes the colour mode. There is however, and it’s really the first time I’ve seen anything like this on such a conventional monitor, and that’s a remote. Oh how life has just become SO MUCH easier to get through your menus. I have no idea why other manufacturers haven’t included this type of setup before!
The BenQ EX2780Q is a 2560 x 1440p 27″ monitor that utilises IPS technology to bring you richer colours and wider viewing angles. It also features an 144Hz refresh rate, as well as Freesync technology for those adaptive refresh rates, and finally HDR, which is a little hit an miss here due to the overall 400nits of peak brightness when HDR is switched on. I never really used HDR, becasue of that max brightness but also because I’ve been let down in the past before when it comes to gaming monitors. Here though, HDR comes in three effects: for gaming, cinema and something called Display HDR.
When playing games, it brought out a bit more detail in the dark areas, while on Cinema HDR, it crushed the blacks even further. The HDR also uses technology called HDRi, which means it has intellegent lighting. There’s a sensor which I believe is housed in the bottom bezel that detects how much light is in the room, and chooses the monitor brightness based on this. I usually sit in a darkened room, pretty much most of the time, and the monitor ended up looking very dim so HDR was pretty much kept off the entire time with this monitor. If you did want to use this monitor for HDR purposes, then stick to Cinema HDR. It offered the better contrast ratio out of the three options to choose from.
Looking at the plethora of picture profiles that are supplied with the monitor, the best I found for gaming is Gamer 2, which makes the image very bright an very sharp, and also gives it a more cool looking tone. I kept the black equalizer setting to around six, while the colour vibrance setting was left around 10. I did also run the monitor through my Datacolor Spyder X Elite, a tool used to for colour correcting monitors, and got some very interesting results. Most notably in the 10-bit colour accuracy, in which it hit 100% sRGB, 91% AdobeRGB and 94% of the DCI-P3 colour gamuts. I did see however a contrast ratio of 870:1, which to be honest, is a little sub par.
For gaming though, the BenQ EX2780Q gaming monitor performed pretty flawlessly. I’m playing a few games right now and all performed very well indeed. The monitor has a 144Hz refresh rate, as well as Freesync technology, and I noticed no visible tearing when sprinting around fast games like Doom Eternal. Colours inside of games looked great too, and that was evident during again, Doom Eternal, but also the scenery in Call of Duty Modern Warfare and a first person sim called Hell Let Loose. The foliage as well as the mud and water on the ground all looked pretty fantastic.
The BenQ EX2780Q gaming monitor is a decent pick if you’re going to be using it for its internal speaker performance, and while it can hold its own while playing games, and even with its HDR performance if you stick to its Cinema HDR setting, I feel there are better options out there, that cost less than the current ticket price of the EX2780Q like the ASUS MG278Q, the Acer Predator XB241H or even BenQ’s Zowie range which are coming down in price slowly. However, you are losing that IPS panel quality, and if colour accuracy is super important to you, if you’re like me who uses their screen to game and also edit video and photos, then the BenQ EX2780Q is a decent choice. For more information, head over to the BenQ website.