BenQ SW320 Review
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With the popularity of 4K capture and high resolution stills cameras, a high-quality monitor is an essential item. The BenQ SW320 32inch 4K monitor (31.5 actual screen size) is the latest addition to the impressive range of BenQ monitors that caters for both stills and video editing. The SW320 is at first glance a no frills monitor, but once powered up you are presented with a display that will impress the most demanding of photographers, designers and videographers. The BenQ SW320 retails for £1245 (inc.vat) / $1499.
The BenQ SW320 is a 32 inch LED backlight monitor with a display area of 698 x 392 mm. The screen has a native resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels (4K) with an aspect ratio of 16:9 – ideal for editing 4K video files and working with multiple open applications. The monitor is capable of producing 1.07 billion colours, but not all can be displayed at once, and it has a contrast ratio of 1000:1. The monitor also has a USB 3.0 port which connects with a supplied cable to a computer, this provides 1 upstream and 2 downstream ports. The SD card reader together with the two USB posts are located on the side of the monitor. The monitor has a viewing angle of 178/178 (L/R & UD) and can be tilted (down/up) by -5⁰ to 20⁰, swivel left/right 45⁰/45⁰, height adjustment 150mm and pivot 0⁰ – 90⁰ clockwise (could be useful for portrait orientated photos, or desktop publishing applications, or for mobile phone users who shoot videos in the upright format). A monitor hood is supplied for shading the screen from stray ambient room light.
The BenQ SW320 monitor needs to be assembled first, an easy to follow illustrated step by step quick start guide is supplied. For the most part assembly is straightforward, although the multi section shading hood will require a bit of patience to assemble and fit. The supplied monitor stand compromises of both a base section and supporting arm, the screen clicks onto a supporting arm bracket, once in place make sure you don’t press the quick release button to avoid an expensive crash. Next connect the supplied cables; Power, USB 3.0 and HDMI cable. These all connect to the rear overhanging section which can be awkward, rotating the screen to the upright 90⁰ position makes it easier to connect each cable.
Once connected to the PC turn the on the power using the power button on the front panel. The BenQ SW320 monitor can be easily positioned to your desired angle with tilt, swivel and height. The supporting arm is spring loaded and balanced to keep the monitor in position. Next, the screen resolution needs to be set from your PC, the SW320 has a native resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels, ensure that your graphic card can support this.
The five monitor control keys are located at the front bottom edge of the screen. Press any key to access the menus, a set of icons appear above each button. The first three buttons are pre-programmed as hot keys to give you access to Input, Colour Mode and Brightness. The fourth button gives you full access to all the functions this monitor offers. Once the function button is activated the four buttons become cursor keys to enable you to scroll through the various options. The fifth button is an exit menus button, otherwise menus will turn off automatically after 15 seconds of inactivity. The keys can also be customised to provide you with other functions such as Gamma, Colour Gamut, Black point and PIP (Picture in Picture). The last two keys are Main Menu and Exit. When an option is selected the buttons act as navigation keys, this enables you change the options or fine tune the settings. We liked the bottom of the screen positioning of the menu options, this ensures that the main screen is not obscured when making fine adjustments.
When the BenQ SW320 monitor is first switched on there may be a message saying No Cable connected. Just press any key and selected the icon that represents the connection you are using (HDMI in our case), now the screen displays the normal Window/Mac screen. Inputs can be changed using the first Hot key, you can connect a camera directly using a HDMI cable etc. A second input device can be displayed using the PIP option, in effect you could view photos that are on a digital camera whilst working in your editing application.