A Closer Look at the BenQ FP241VW

Okay, we've talked about LCD panel technologies, and based on some of the discussion you should have a fair idea of what the FP241VW brings to the table. Even though the display is discontinued, you might be able to find one on sale somewhere, and there's a reasonable chance we'll see the same A-MVA panel in displays from other manufacturers. If you happen to know of some A-MVA 24" LCDs that use the AU Optronics panel (any 24" A-MVA display should meet that criterion), please leave a note in the comments section.

BenQ FP241VW Specifications
Video Inputs DVI with HDCP support
HDMI
Analog (VGA)
Component
S-Video
Composite
Panel Type A-MVA (AU Optronics)
Pixel Pitch 0.269mm
Colors 16.7 million (8-bit color)
Brightness 500 cd/m2 advertised
Contrast Ratio 1000:1 advertised
Response Time 6ms GTG
Viewable Size 24" diagonal
Resolution 1920x1200 (WUXGA)
Viewing Angle 178 horizontal/vertical
Power Consumption <95W max stated
Power Savings <2W
Screen Treatment Matte (non-glossy)
Height-Adjustable No
Tilt Yes - 20 degrees back/5 degrees forward
Pivot No
Swivel No
VESA Wall Mounting Yes - but you can't (easily) remove the frame/stand
Dimensions w/ Base (WxHxD) 27.6" x 18.6" x 5.3" (WxHxD)
Weight w/ Stand 22 lbs.
Additional Features 2 x USB Ports
Audio Headphone/Line out (no built in speakers)
Limited Warranty 3-year limited warranty, M-F 8:30AM-5:30PM PST
Accessories HDMI, DVI, USB, VGA, and power cables
Price Online starting at ~$450 - (Original MSRP ~$850)

Like the upper-end 24" S-PVA displays, as well as some of the better 24" TN panels, the FP241VW comes with a large selection of input options. VGA, DVI, HDMI are there, along with component, S-Video, and composite connections. You wouldn't want to use S-Video or Composite if you can avoid it, but all of the other inputs are viable choices. We didn't complete our full set of tests for resolution support, so we can't say how well the display works in every situation, but we can say that resolution support is a bit more finicky than some of the better LCDs. The native 1920x1200 resolution always worked well, but other 16:10 aspect ratio resolutions did not function as well. 1440x900 in particular failed to work properly when we forced that mode via the display drivers. HDMI also appears to target 16:9 resolutions, despite the 16:10 AR, so 1680x1050 and many other resolutions didn't work well with HDMI and we would recommend 1920x1080 for the best overall image using that connection.

One item that immediately caught our attention in testing is the OSD (On Screen Display), and unfortunately it wasn't in a good way. The OSD is by far the most sluggish UI we've used on an LCD, often requiring over 1 second to change selections. You shouldn't need to use the OSD all that much after initial setup, but aspect ratio scaling options didn't always work as expected and overall the OSD feels like it needs a major overhaul - or at least a processor upgrade. It does offer plenty of options, as you can see in the above gallery, but option overload isn't the same thing as working well.

Gallery: BenQ FP241VW

Something else that will make this display immediately stand out from other LCDs is the base stand. Instead of a traditional stand, BenQ has a large frame that supports the LCD, connected to the panel on the sides. This might not seem like a big deal at first - and for some users it won't be - but it does create some drawbacks. The frame means that there is no height adjustment, no pivot or rotate functionality, and while the back of the LCD has a VESA wall mount, you can't (easily) remove the stand - so in other words, using the wall mount will look silly at best. It also means the LCD is bulkier than other 24" LCDs. The OSD controls are located on the left support of the base stand, so even if you do manage to remove the stand you will still have to keep that circuit board around - likely dangling by a wire. Frankly, while it's sometimes good to be different, in this case we think it would be far better to stick with the tried-and-true approach of removable base stands that attach to the back of the LCD.

Okay, we've said enough about the FP241VW, especially considering you can't easily find this display for sale anymore. Let's move on to the evaluation of the performance characteristics of this A-MVA panel and see how it stacks up against the competition.

Let's Talk Panel Technologies Display Lag and Response Time
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  • genegold - Saturday, August 15, 2009 - link

    Jared - Take a look at HP's Business/Performance monitors for four new IPS models and two PVAs.

    While I've never seen a PVA monitor, one thing I've read in serious user discussions is how they are made for photo professionals and not for use with typical web/office/standard applications. For the latter, these monitors' colors are oversaturated and the text mediocre or worse. Users who have bought them for the latter frequently complain and are advised to return them for something more for the consumer market. The common theme is that these monitors are made for use with Adobe Photoshop and to some degree with other color-managed applications (of which Firefox is the only browser).

    I did try a Dell 2209WA E-IPS recently, actually two samples, and found them to be very good monitors for everyday use, with the big exception for my purposes that the model's minimum brightness setting (0%) is equivalent to a bright office. That didn't work well with my moderate day lighting and evening darkness (and aging hazel eyes).
    Reply
  • gking11 - Thursday, August 06, 2009 - link

    I got my FP241VW a couple of months ago after I was lucky enough to find it for sale online, and brand new to boot!

    While I did get a dead pixel (fortunately it was low enough that it didn't hinder my viewing much), the display is the closest thing to perfection in terms of an all-purpose LCD, especially for gaming. With my Pantone Huey, I have it calibrated and, boy, do the colors come out!

    Without further ado, here's the direct link to the site where I bought it from (it's $385 as of this post, I bought it for $400 then): http://www.entercomputers.com/benq-fp241vw-24-wide...">http://www.entercomputers.com/benq-fp24...l?SID=cf...

    *Running away from stampede!*
    Reply
  • rlx - Sunday, July 19, 2009 - link

    Two points often disregarded in reviews.

    I bought a Samsung SM275T and although I am very happy with it, I find the readability of small anti-aliased text to be not as good as I expected. I find the reason to be that each pixel is in fact made of two pixels on that monitor. Both subpixels combine to double the number of different colors the monitor can display. I find that in some cases one subpixel is on while the one below is off.

    This creates a dithering effect and somehow interacts with antia-liased text. The net effect is that I find small text to be harder to read )or I should say recognize). I compared with an analog monitor and with a 720P LCD tv and I am quite sure that using two subpixels the way Samsung does it is not the way to go for a monitor that is intended for general use.

    The other point is that vertical viewing angles are very important to me on a portable computer screen. Since my vision is not that good I sometimes need to move my head closer to the screen and this movement changes the angle of view. This is why I find laptops (TN) very difficult to use. People with normal vision can do everything from a single position and the vertical angle of view might not be as important for them.

    Richard
    Reply
  • rlx - Wednesday, July 22, 2009 - link

    I meant twice the number of gray levels of course (re. twice the number of colors) but why Samsung has done all that work of doubling the number of pixels just to gain one bit in the number of gray levels.

    If both sub-pixels have a slightly different number of levels, say sub-pixel No.1 has four levels of gray 0,1,2,3 and sub-pixel No.2 has 6 0,1,...,5 then the number of achiveable gray levels is 24 out of 31. They are 0, 3/15, 5/15, 6/15, ... up to 2.

    The light coming through sub-pixel No.1 is l1/3 and the light through No.2 is l2/5. The total light through both is (l1*5 + l2*3)/15.

    The 24 achivable levels out of the possible 31 are, (going from 0 to 30): 1001011011111111111111101101001.

    If one scales those numbers up then one sees why Samsung can do much better than double the number of gray levels by using two sub-pixels instead of a single pixel.

    Maybe I learned something from my typo.
    Reply
  • rlx - Tuesday, July 21, 2009 - link

    I just wish to clarify my statement about the readability of small size anti-aliased text on the SM275T. I double checked with my older analog SM950P that I run at 1600x1200. From a distance, the small text is definitely much easier to read on the SM275T.

    I am a bit annoyed by the dithering effect when I take my glasses off so I can get close to the screen. From that short range, small size text looks smooth on the analog screen while artifacts appear on the SM275T.

    However even at this small range the text on the SM275T is still readable while it is not really so on the analog screen.
    Reply
  • - Sunday, July 19, 2009 - link

    Just wanted to say great review, it mirrored my sentiments exactly.

    P-MVAs (A-MVAs perhaps not as much) were incredible displays. Found in $300 24" soyos I was amazed how much better they were than pre-highgamut S-PVAs in every regard(color response and even slightly in gamma shift). When AUO stopped their entire MVA line it was party over for cheap high quality displays, as Samsung thinks alittle too highly of it PVA technology.

    Although I still have an LG 24" with a P-MVA, my other two recent additions were H-IPS HP2475w. Great deals at $600 and worth every penny and then some, but still not bending the price curve down enough. TN has its place, but not in anything over $150 imho.
    Reply
  • Sabresiberian - Thursday, July 09, 2009 - link

    Beats the heck out of any LCD made to date. Yeah they were $2500 when they were made, but that would likely be much less now, especially if it were made for gamers not professionals and priced to sell properly to that market.

    Sorry, I just had to say it; maybe there's a Sony exec that reads Anandtech and will get sparked, lol!
    Reply
  • Mr Bill - Friday, June 26, 2009 - link

    I bought this monitor last fall from BenQ for $400 just before they went out of production. I wish I had bought two. Its a very nice monitor. Reply
  • ocyl - Thursday, June 25, 2009 - link

    Thanks, Jarred, for the efforts that you've put into writing this article. Here is a bit of idea sharing :)

    1. You might be interested to check out NEC's MultiSync P221W (S-PVA, 1000:1 contrast, black level control, GammaComp, sRGB preset, 4-way adjustable stand, 16ms response time; $500) and the newly announced E222W (looks like a PVA given its 178º viewing angle; 1000:1 contrast, sRGB preset, 4-way adjustable stand, 5ms response time; $270). I spent two weeks of time on research when I was in the market for a new TFT-LCD monitor last November. I ended up purchasing a NEC MultiSync LCD1990SX (LTM190E4 PVA, 1500:1 contrast, ColorComp, OmniColor, black level control, sRGB preset, 4-way adjustable stand, 20ms response time; $480) and couldn't have been happier.

    2. As we know, scaling is one of the main contributors to processing delay. While I don't currently own a Radeon and therefore don't know if this can be done in Catalyst, it's possible to relieve monitor from scaling tasks in ForceWare. There are four options available at nVidia Control Panel -> Display -> Change Display (Flat Panel) Scaling: Use nVidia Scaling, Use nVidia Scaling with Fixed Aspect Ratio, Use My Display's Built-in Scaling, and Do Not Scale. I don't have measuring equipment so I can't perform any meaningful investigation, but perhaps it's something that AnandTech may find worthwhile looking into.
    Reply
  • ocyl - Friday, July 17, 2009 - link

    NEC announces MultiSync EA231WMi, a 23" IPS monitor
    http://www.techpowerup.com/99491/NEC_Unveils_Multi...">http://www.techpowerup.com/99491/NEC_Un...t_23_inc...
    Reply

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