BenQ – FP202W review

20-inch widescreen LCD monitor
Photo of BenQ – FP202W
£270

The BenQ FP202W is a 20-inch widescreen TFT display with a resolution of 1,680 x 1,050 pixels, and while it’s quite cheap that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s good value.

Once you’ve clipped the rectangular base onto the slab-like stand and taken a look at the display, you start to wonder whether it was designed by someone with access to a ruler and no appreciation for the odd curve or two. The control buttons are tucked away behind the right-hand bezel so you have to make your adjustments by feeling for the curved buttons blindly with your fingertips.

The stand is a very basic support with tilt adjustment but no way of altering the height, so once you’ve connected up the power cord and either a VGA or DVI connection you can do little more than sit in front of it and hope that the picture looks good.

We doubt that it will, even though the 300cd/m2 brightness, 600:1 contrast ratio and 8ms response time are perfectly respectable figures. Indeed, on paper this TFT is a mainstream product with a relatively low price which is presumably helped by the moderate build quality and minimal regard for design.

Part of the problem with the image is the absurdly tight viewing angles of 140 degrees horizontal and 130 degrees vertical. These figures ensure that the picture looks poor if you move around in your chair too much and as you stand up from your chair the image practically vanishes, but even if you sit plumb in front of the screen it still looks rotten as the image is incredibly bright and harsh.

This is often the case with TFTs that have the contrast and brightness set at 100 percent, but usually it’s a simple matter to adjust the display to an appropriate level. With the BenQ we had to turn the brightness down to less than 20 percent and set the contrast at 50 percent, which is far lower than we have ever set any TFT. And while the image ceased to be offensive it was still far from appealing or pleasant to use.

If the FP202W were significantly cheaper than the competition we might possibly judge that it would suit the punter on a tight budget, but this simply isn’t the case. The Samsung SM205BW is the same price and the Viewsonic VX2025wm is only ten percent more, and both displays have a very similar specification to the BenQ along with image quality that is leaps and bounds ahead.

Company: BenQ

Contact: 0870 850 4417


Verdict
We didn't like the BenQ FP202W, not one little bit. Despite its relatively low price it represents poor value for money and we wouldn't consider giving it house space unless the price dipped towards £200. This display is not up to the standard of other BenQ monitors we've reviewed.