The BenQ GW series brings VA (Vertical Alignment) panel technology to the company’s consumer line of desktop displays. Quality-wise, VA technology falls somewhere in between IPS (In Plane Switching) and TN (Twisted Nematic) panel technology; they offer better color and black levels than TN panels but can’t match the color and viewing angle performance of IPS panels. With the GW2450 ($179 street) you get a 24-inch monitor that delivers the deeply saturated colors and inky blacks that make VA panels an attractive alternative to TN panels. You don’t get much in the way of features though, and it lacks HDMI and DisplayPort connectivity, but it’s a good bargain nonetheless.
Design and Features
A matte black cabinet with rounded glossy black bezels holds the 24-inch panel, which has a native resolution of 1,920-by-1,080 and a 16:9 aspect ratio. At 2.5 inches thick it is relatively bulky for a monitor that uses LED backlighting. The cabinet is supported by an oval base that can be tilted forward and backward but lacks height, swivel, and pivot adjustability.
I/O ports are scarce; DVI and VGA video inputs are located at the rear of the cabinet, but that’s all you get with this model. There are no HDMI or USB ports, nor are there any audio inputs or speakers. There are six buttons on the right side of the cabinet, including the power switch. In addition to a menu button that launches the OSD (on screen display) system there are hot keys for changing the input source, the display mode, and the aspect ratio. There’s also an Enter key for selecting menu choices.
There are six display modes, including Standard, Movie, Game Photo, sRGB, and Eco. Basic picture settings include Brightness, Contrast, Sharpness, Gamma, and Color Temperature, and you can fine tune individual Red, Green, and Blue levels as well as Hue and Saturation levels. When using an analog (VGA) signal you can use the Auto Adjust function or manually adjust Phase, Clock, and Position settings.
The GW2450 comes with a three-year warranty covering parts, labor, and backlighting. It also comes with a CD containing a user guide and drivers and a VGA cable. A DVI cable is not included in the box.
The GW2450′s VA panel boasts a native contrast ratio of 5000:1 (most TN panels have a native contrast ratio of 1000:1 but use a variable backlighting technology to create a much higher “dynamic” contrast ratio ). As a result, the GW2450 produces very deep blacks, which helps give colors a great deal of pop. Swatches from the DisplayMate Color Scales test were well saturated but not oversaturated, and full screen primary colors appeared uniform with no noticeable hot spots.
Grayscale reproduction was mixed; the panel had no trouble displaying the lightest shades of gray on the 64-Step Grayscale test, but instead of gradating to dark gray the two darkest shades were black. Not surprisingly, shadow detail on my test photos was less than optimal.
The GW2450′s 4-millisecond (gray-to-gray) pixel response handled fast motion gaming without issue while playing the PC version of Assassin’s Creed II. There was no noticeable lag or ghosting while displaying my 1080p test video, The Magic of Flight, but viewing angles were narrow, with obvious color shifting occurring at extreme side angles. Top and bottom viewing angle performance was also sketchy. Although viewing angle performance is better than what you get with TN panel technology it can’t match the performance of IPS-based monitors such as the Dell UltraSharp U2412M.
The GW2450 used 31 watts of power during my testing while running in standard mode, which is typical for a panel of this size. However, it used only 18 watts while operating in Eco mode, which produces a dimmer picture but is still bright enough for everyday use. The monitor uses recycled packing materials and is Energy Star 5.1 qualified, all of which earn it our Greentech stamp of approval.
If you’ve been itching for a VA monitor but have limited funds, the BenQ GW2450 is an excellent choice. Granted, you’ll have to live without an HDMI port and other niceties like an ergonomic stand and USB ports, but you do get inky blacks and robust colors at a price that’s hard to beat. It won’t put much of a dent in your utility bill either. If you require better grayscale accuracy and can live with a smaller screen, consider our Editors’ Choice for budget monitors, the IPS-based Asus VS229H-P.
Compare the BenQ GW2450 with several other monitors side by side.
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|Native Resolution||1920 x 1080|
|Supported Video Formats||1080p60|
|PC Interfaces||Analog VGA, Digital (DVI-D)|
|Diagonal Screen Size||24 inches|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc