Introduction

Technology often seems to be running along at a breakneck pace; many people are still trying to find good uses for quad-core Core 2 processors, and yet already those are yesterday's news. Every year, users can count on new CPUs, GPUs, and other hardware to make their once great computer system seem old and outdated. Thankfully, there are areas where progress occurs at a more sedate pace. Yes, once again it's time to talk about displays.

That's not to say that displays haven't changed a lot over the years; besides lower prices, we have seen some technological innovations particularly in the LCD arena. Five years ago, the best you could hope for was pixel response times that weren't atrocious. These days, numerous displays boast 2ms response times, and while the reality may be that typical response times are quite a bit higher, at least that's one area where technology has reached the point that you don't need to worry about it too much anymore.

BenQ is a company that has been around for a while in one form or another. Originally established in 1984, the BenQ name officially came into existence in 2001, when they separated from Acer. While they do make other peripherals (Joybook laptops, optical drives, digital cameras, phones, and even a mobile Internet device), BenQ is best known among computer users for their displays and projectors.

Their latest "innovation" is that they are leaving behind 16:10 aspect ratios and instead going with 16:9 FullHD/1080P displays (at least for some models). Why is that important? Honestly, if all you ever do on your PC is surf the web, play games, and do office work there's a very good chance you will not appreciate the difference. Where this is useful is in support for native HDTV resolutions. Instead of a vertically stretched image filling your 16:10 display or black bars on the top and bottom, you can watch HD content at its normal aspect ratio and have it fill the whole display. This is supposed to help with watching the latest Blu-ray movies, but there's just one small problem: a lot of HD content doesn't use a 16:9 (1.78) aspect ratio. Instead, many DVDs and Blu-ray movies now use a 2.39 AR, so you still end up with black bars on the top and bottom.

Certainly there is an amount of marketing involved in promoting FullHD/1080P LCDs, but 16:9 video content does exist (and gaming content as well -- Assassin's Creed being a prime example) so there are occasions where this isn't pure marketing hype. How big of a benefit the 1080P resolution is will depend largely on how much multimedia content you view. Note also that the two displays we are looking at today support HDMI, so besides functioning as computer LCDs they can also stand in for an HDTV, or you can hook up an Xbox 360 or PS3. In that case, the native 16:9 AR can be very important!

Today we are looking at the BenQ E2200HD and E2400HD. Both have a native resolution of 1920x1080, with the difference being that one is at 24" panel and the other is a 22" panel (technically 21.5"). In terms of features and appearance, the two LCDs otherwise look identical. Naturally, the larger E2400HD does cost more, but depending on your eyesight the extra ~$100 may be money well spent. If you only plan to use your display as a computer monitor, we wouldn't worry too much about the debate over 16:9 vs. 16:10 AR -- instead, get whichever display offers the best image quality at the most reasonable price. What we want to find out then is how well these new BenQ displays perform. After all, if image quality, processing lag, or other aspects are really poor, aspect ratio support may be the least of your concerns. So let's get to it.

BenQ E2200HD Overview
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  • 10e - Wednesday, November 05, 2008 - link

    If the last MVA panel from BenQ/AUO is any indicator, input lag should be low. I had the FP241VW with December 2007 firmware and it was 7.9ms behind a CRT, with only 5% of the time it being 2 frames behind. The other times it was only 1 frame behind, or none at all.

    It's good to see that our crying over on another forum has kept BenQ and AUO from abandoning the non-TN market altogether

    The only tiny issue with it was dark greys shifted more than (say) my Dell 2709W (S-PVA). Good luck with the review.
    Reply
  • Jorgerr - Tuesday, November 04, 2008 - link

    Did you check the Samsung T220P? looks that have the same specs as the Benq. Seems to be a very interesting competitor as well.
    I would appreciate to read your comments about it.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, November 04, 2008 - link

    Looks like that was an Asian release only? I'm not sure... spec-wise, it's actually a 1920x1200 LCD, and I haven't seen any of those in 22" trim over here in the US. Weird. Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if Samsung makes the panel in the BenQ LCDs; then again, it's either Samsung, AU Optronics, or Chi-Mei so I have a 33% chance of guessing right. ;-) Reply
  • Jorgerr - Tuesday, November 04, 2008 - link

    Thanks :-) In Israel the Samsung T220P is available, and we belongs to Asia.
    Good luck with the new president! No matter who will be I wish you the best.
    Reply
  • NARC4457 - Tuesday, November 04, 2008 - link

    [quote]We are only aware of one other 22" LCD manufacturer that offers native 1080P support (ViewSonic), and we feel this is an untapped market.[/quote]

    Check out Dell's new 2209W, it is a Full HD 22" LCD
    http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/products/Displa...">http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/prod...mp;dgc=C...
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, November 04, 2008 - link

    I edited the conclusion for you - I should have known better than to make an assumption without a bit more research. Probably HP has a similar display too - or it's in the works. Obviously, where one LCD company goes plenty will follow, and if there aren't more 22" 1080P LCDs right now I expect that to change. The Dell 2209W appears to lack HDMI input, however, so that's a big advantage for the BenQ and ViewSonic options IMO. Reply
  • NARC4457 - Wednesday, November 05, 2008 - link

    True enough, I was surprised that they didn't have the same amount of inputs that many of their existing monitors already have.

    Wasn't looking for an update to the article, just wanted to send it your way in case you were looking for more monitors to review. :) Thanks jared, good information in the review.
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Wednesday, November 05, 2008 - link

    Probably all use the same LCD panel - once the panel becomes available, the usual suspects will all build a display around it. Reply
  • steveyballme - Tuesday, November 04, 2008 - link

    I have ordered 17 for my bedroom!
    Don't ask why.

    http://fakesteveballmer.blogspot.com">http://fakesteveballmer.blogspot.com
    Reply
  • Flyboy27 - Tuesday, November 04, 2008 - link

    I know I want to step up to 1920x1200 or 1920x1080 so that means a 24" monitor. They seem to be the sweet spot right now as you can get a video card these days to run those resolutions in almost every game for a very reasonable price. However, there's no reason for me to upgrade my HD3850 until I get a bigger monitor since it runs all games just fine at 1440x900. I'm sure there are many other folks out there that are in the same boat.

    Now, it's easy to figure out comparatively which video card to get by reading Anandtech and other such sites but harder to find info on 24" monitors. Not too hard to compare FPS in a certain resolution and find a video card to get the best bang for your buck. However, for a guy that is a gamer, movie watcher, internet browser, and avid Photoshop user what monitor is the best bang for the buck. I don't want to sacrifice panel speed for colors. My idea with colors and Photoshop is just get me "close enough" and I'll be happy. I'm also on a budget (that's why I'm not looking at 30" monitors). Where is the happy medium here guys? -Thanks
    Reply

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