They don’t give up much aside from size when compared to the EW3280U, but the price is a very reasonable $ 549.99 (down from $ 499.99 at time of release). That’s a $ 250 to $ 300 savings compared to the larger monitor.
First impressions and furnishings
Like the EW3280U, the BenQ EW2780U is a very attractive monitor. The company uses a unique metallic brown finish that gives it a real upscale look. The minimalist design includes tiny bezels on the sides and top with a small chin underneath (less than 1 inch) and a matte finish that is almost flush with the bezels. When switched off, it looks like a matt glass plate mounted on a simple metal stand.
If you hate the look of traditional PC monitors with black plastic, reflective panels, and large bezels, this is a great one for you.
The stand attached with built-in thumbscrews (no tools required) and a plastic cover on the back of the stand pull out to route cables. There is a slope (-5˚ – 15˚) but no height adjustment or rotation. The monitor can be mounted on the wall of VESA. On the back there are two HDMI 2.0 ports, USB-C (60 W) and DisplayPort 1.4, which offer numerous connectivity options.
Beautiful 4K display with HDRi, eye care
I mainly used the monitor with a MacBook Air and output 4K through Mini DisplayPort. The results have been excellent. At 4K on a 27-inch IPS panel, the text is clear and has room to open numerous windows. If you find that the text is too small, you can always change the resolution and the monitor will handle scaling like a champ.
The EW2780U offers 99% sRGB color gamut with a native contrast ratio of 1300: 1. Pictures and videos look amazing, with realistic colors that pop. The panel practically eliminates reflections. This monitor also features BenQ’s HDRi technology, which goes beyond standard HDR. It uses a built-in light sensor and push-button selection (front-mounted) between game and cinema to actively optimize content based on the source and ambient light conditions. With the same button you can select standard HDR or switch the function off entirely. HDRi really makes a huge difference.
BenQ has also designed this monitor to be easy on the eyes when you use it for long periods of time or for productivity tasks instead of entertainment. The eye care functions can be accessed via a joystick mounted on the rear. This includes options like Low Blue Light, ePaper mode, Color Weakness, and Reminders. The monitor also has flicker-free technology.
This joystick control on the back also lets you browse an extensive settings menu that lets you adjust the volume, screen brightness and color temperature.
BenQ makes some very cool portable speakers that incorporate the company’s treVolo audio. I checked one out a couple of years ago that had fold-out electrostatic drivers.
Many of the PC monitors I’ve reviewed lately have completely eliminated the need for built-in audio. This allows them to downsize the device while reducing costs. BenQ uses the opposite approach with the EW2780U. This monitor has built-in TreVolo audio with two 5W speakers, its own DSP and several content-specific sound modes.
The results are very good for a monitor. It won’t replace the effect of an external multichannel speaker system, but instead of outputting my laptop’s audio to my stereo (as I’ve done in the past), I’ve found that this monitor’s built-in audio was more than good enough to be Listen to streaming music, play casual games, and occasionally watch movies or live streams.
What are you giving up in comparison to the BenQ EW3280U?
I mentioned BenQ’s larger EW3280U monitor several times in this review. The two monitors look practically identical – the EW2780U is essentially a scaled down version that costs less – but there are some functional differences.
The EW3280U has a volume control on the underside of the front panel that allows for more convenient adjustment. The larger monitor also has a more robust 2.1-channel sound system with an integrated subwoofer. And it comes with a handy remote control in the box. I asked a BenQ representative why the EW2780U lacks these features and it depends on the positioning:
“EW3280U at 32 inches is where the screen begins to enter the realm of a small television.”
In other words, the 27-inch EW2780U is considered a computer monitor while the 32-inch EW3280U can do double the performance as a TV for many people. The improved sound system and remote control were seen as necessary for this market segment.
I am not a hardcore PC gamer or a Photoshop pro. If you fall under one of these screens, BenQ has monitor areas tailored to your needs. However, I play video games occasionally and spend a lot of time editing photos and videos. And the BenQ EW2780U was everything I could ask for in that regard. It’s also great for watching streaming video, and the speakers – although the larger EW3280U lacks the subwoofer – sound a lot better than most monitors.
I have a 27-inch iMac (before 5K) and as nice as the display is, I prefer the BenQ.
If your PC could use a new monitor and you want a 4K display, the BenQ EW2780U is an easy recommendation. The 27-inch display is big without being too big. The 4K panel is sharp, bright and shows a wide range of colors. The minimalist style and unique metallic brown finish make this monitor a visual winner too. The price reflects the premium design and features, but isn’t exorbitant. If you want a bigger screen, choose the 32-inch EW3280U. Otherwise, the BenQ EW2780U is a good choice.
Disclosure: BenQ provided a monitor for assessment, but had no influence on this review.
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