BenQ have been trading for 11 years now since they split off from Acer, to which they are no longer tied. They make everything from monitors, televisions, projectors, cameras and more, so they should have picked up a few tricks along the way when it comes to making a decent gaming monitor and given that BenQ actually stands for Bringing Enjoyment and Quality to life, I can only hope that this product can live upto its own title and deliver on both the enjoyment and quality part.
The RL2240H is being hailed (by BenQ) as a professional gaming monitor, aimed at the RTS gaming crowd, although if a monitor is a good gaming monitor for one genre, it should also be a bit of a jack of all trades when it comes to other games. With the help of StarTale, the famous creators of the renowned RTS StarCraft II this monitors performance really should be upto a decent standard given StarCrafts demanding nature for rapid game play.
The front of the box presents us with a simple product shot of the monitor, showing off a stunning space image of what appears to be a galaxy and an alien planet, likely to appeal to the StarCraft II ideals that have been put into the screens design, as well as a few marketing logos, slogans and compatibility badges littered around the box and a team photo of the Korean eSports Team, which again will be targeted towards the StarCraft II crowd, but a solid affiliation none the less.
BenQ RL2240H - Box - Review
With features like its black eQualizer, RTS mode (a gaming preset), smart scaling, 2ms GTG (grey-to-grey), HDMI, DVI and VGA inputs and a 12 million to 1 dynamic contrast ratio, as well as LED backlighting, 22" of screen space and a respectable price tag of around £112 (at time of writing), its certainly got all the right statistics of a great monitor, especially in this price range.
BenQ RL2240H - Accessories - Review
Opening the box presents us with a nice selection of extras too, with a VGA and DVI cable included, unfortunately no HDMI but this isn't that uncommon to not be included, a white european power lead and a black UK power lead, little disapointed the UK adaptor is black though, given this monitor is all white, it would have been nice to keep things colour matched, you'll also find the usual instruction booklets, driver disc and clip on stand/base.
Once mounted on the base the monitor can be adjusted back and forth a little to help with viewing angle, but it cannot be adjusted up/down/left/right, although I must point out the monitor doesn't support VESA wall mounts or brackets, the only way to mount it will be with its included clip on base.
BenQ RL2240H - Front View - Review
First impressions stand for a lot and with the monitor out of the box and quickly mounted on the base, thanks to a simple clip on design, the BenQ screen looks fantastic, finished in a really high quality gloss white, with little design details such as the ventilation holes in the back of the monitor, and the general light curves to the edges all really help this screen to stand out from the usual sea of rectangle black boxes I'm used to seeing.
BenQ RL2240H - Rear View - Review
Around the back you find all the usual connection sockets, with the addition of a headphone jack, handy if your sending audio over HDMI, but with no speakers built in the the screen your either going to need seperate speakers running from your system or again the audio over HDMI and some headphones.
BenQ RL2240H - I/O Ports - Review
Down the right hand side you find a nice column of easy to access control buttons, all with a really nice high quality feel to them, combine this with the extremely helpful on screen display, allowing for quick and easy changes between display pre-sets, as well as calibration of the custom settings, volume, input source and other general settings.
BenQ RL2240H - Control Buttons - Review
Performance of the screen wasn't too bad, out of the box the screen exhibited the issue that plagues a lot of LED screens, a blue tint was apparant on a lot of the white output of the monitor, some simple tweaking of the pre-sets fixed a lot of this but unfortunately not all of it, leaving some calibration to be done on your system, for example the colour output settings in Nvidia Control Panel or Catalyst Control Center.
When it came to gaming I can't say I was really taken by the RTS gaming modes, the monitor offers a superb responce time which game me zero stutter or ghosting on the screen and the colour levels were certainly gorgeous to look at throughout many of the pre-sets, but I found gaming to be more eye friendly on either the "photo" or "movie" modes, as the RTS mode tends to over enhance black levels and create a less than tidy looking image, which only points to a lot of the advertised enhancing features being turned off to speed up the image processing time, then cranking the contrast and gamma to give a vivid image, the end result isn't undesirable but its really not for me. Fortunately you can create your own presets and with a little tinkering this is easily one of the best looking gaming monitors out there, both in terms of on screen performance and overall style.
Playback of movies was robust too, with the monitors "movie" preset enabled and a few tweaks to dial down the gamma on the screen colour reprodcution was superb, giving really deep and rich colours while keeping some really solid black levels, there was a little bit of bleed through from the backlight but on a screen of this value it was certainly above acceptable in terms of lighting. Fast moving scenes handled perfectly as well with no ghosting or tearing of the image, for a monitor aimed at gaming not movies, this is a pleasant supprise.
General internet browsing and day to day working on the screen are a pleasure too, with minimal eye straigh and a crisp clear image throughout all help to make this great a solid all rounder, but again a little work was needed to calibrate the screen as whites on webpages were looking a little tinted with blue.
After a couple of days use I really am happy with how this screen performs, its really comfortable to view and offers great black levels, but can melt your eyes with high brightness levels too if that is what you wish, the screen isn't very reflective meaning light polution in the room doesn't mess up your picture too bad and the style is superb, especially if you have a white PC case, keyboard and mouse combo, this really will complete the picture of an all white build and given that its 22" screen isn't exactly small, it outputs 1080p and has features like HDMI input (HDCP complient) your going to be hard pushed to find a better monitor for the same money, I highly recommend you try out this screen.