The BenQ EL2870U monitor review: A powerful display with an affordable price tag

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From the crisp colors and 4K HDR support to the 27.9-inches of screen real estate this monitor, the EL2870U is impressive.

TA-ratings-90Monitors are a dime a dozen these days. Ranging from your $50 run-of-the-mill basic monitor with a single VGA or DVI port to your top-of-the-line Ultra HD monitor with several HDMI and display ports, there’s a monitor for everybody. Typically though, if you want the top-of-the-line monitor with the bells and whistles, you usually have to pay top dollar. Enter BenQ.

For me, BenQ was in the unknown. Prior to the review, I had never heard of the company. So when I was asked to review BenQ’s EL2870U monitor I was a bit skeptical. I mean c’mon; a sub-$500 Ultra HD monitor with decent gaming performance seemed too good to be true.

Is the EL2870U from BenQ really too good to be true, or does this monitor actually have what it takes to impress? Let’s take a look.

Specifications

The BenQ EL2870U has the following features and specifications:

  • Screen Size: 27.9″
  • Resolution (max.): 3840×2160
  • Panel Type: TN
  • Backlight Technology: LED backlight
  • Resolution (max.): 3840×2160
  • Brightness: 300
  • Native Contrast(typ.): 1000:1
  • Viewing Angle (L/R;U/D) (CR>=10): 170/160
  • Response Time: 1ms (GtG)
  • Refresh Rate: 60Hz
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • Display Colors: 1.07 billion colors
  • Color Gamut: 72% NTSC
  • Display Area(mm): 620.9 x 341.3
  • PPI: 158
  • DCR (Dynamic Contrast Ratio) (typ.): 12,000,000:1
  • Color Bit: 10 bit
  • Connectivity: HDMI (v2.0) x2, DisplayPort (v1.4)
  • Built-in Speaker: 2W x2
  • Headphone Jack
  • Tilt (down/up): -5˚ – 15˚
  • Product Color: Metallic grey
  • Color Temperature: Reddish/Normal/Bluish/User mode
  • OSD Language: 18 Languages (English / Francais / Deutsch / Italiano / Espanol / Polish / Czech / Hungarian / Romanian / Nether-lands / Russian / Swedish / Portuguese / Japanese / Chinese / S-Chinese / Arabic/ Korean)
  • HDCP: 2.2
  • VESA Wall Mount
  • Eye Care, Flicker-free Technology, Low Blue Light, Brightness Intelligence Plus (B.I.+), FreeSync
  • Dimensions (HxWxD mm): 657.9 x 476.27 x 194.6
  • Net Weight (kg): 5.7

What’s in the Box

  • BenQ Monitor
  • HDMI cable
  • Power cord
  • Monitor stand
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Basic Install Guide
  • User CD

Design

The monitor’s design is pretty straightforward. That being said, this piece of tech has some weight and heft to it. To account for this, the monitor has a pretty robust stand for it to sit on. When it’s set up, the monitor sits solidly on any desk.

The EL2870U monitor sits solidly on its nondescript stand.
The EL2870U monitor sits solidly on its nondescript stand.

The EL2870U features two HDMI 2.0 ports and one 1.4 DisplayPort. Also on the back of the monitor is a 3.5mm audio jack. You’ll see the power plug-in in the back as well. The buttons to change the monitor’s settings as well as power it on are on the front right side.

The EL2870U features two HDMI ports and one 1.4 DisplayPort.
The EL2870U features two HDMI ports and one 1.4 DisplayPort.

Display

At first, I was a bit underwhelmed by my experience with the EL2870U. It had a problem moving in and out of HDR, and the colors seemed flat. It turns out I hadn’t updated my drivers for my computer in what seems like a decade. Once I updated my NVIDIA drivers, holy hell did that monitor look gorgeous.

The colors were punchy, and I couldn’t get over how amazing even just my desktop wallpaper looked. I was blown away by how amazing the screen looked every time I turned the monitor on and I haven’t experienced that with any other display.

The EL2870U's colors are vibrant and amazing to look at.
The EL2870U’s colors are vibrant and amazing to look at.

Performance

To test out the EL2870U in all its splendor and glory, I fired up Destiny 2 on my PC. Love or hate the game — and that’s an argument for another time — it does look rather beautiful with the settings maxed out. With that, I cranked it up to 4K resolutions and made sure HDR was on. The game looked beautiful. To say I was impressed would be an understatement.

I found no blurring issues when running the game and the monitor’s 28-inches of 4K goodness enveloped me in the game. The only thing keeping me from fully immersing myself in the experience was the monitor’s speakers, but we’ll get to that in a minute. Getting back to the blurring — or lack thereof — the EL2870 takes advantage of a few things in order to get the job done.

The monitor features AMD’s FreeSync technology and a 1ms response time that should make any gamer salivate. And again, it didn’t disappoint (starting to notice a pattern here). I didn’t notice any blurring or screen-tearing while gaming. On top of the low blue light technology, gaming for extended periods of time is easy to do on this monitor.

Getting to the one area I did find lacking though, this pretty perfect monitor was its speakers. In my opinion, while a welcome addition to the monitor, the sound just wasn’t that great. However, with this being a near perfect monitor, making a sacrifice in the speaker department can be overlooked. Plus, what tech enthusiast or gamer isn’t going to pick up a pair of quality speakers to round out their PC experience?

Price/Value

This is where the BenQ monitor truly shines. The sub-$500 price tag is hard to beat. I know I say this a lot, but this is probably the best bang for your buck you’ll ever come across. Given the screen real estate of this 4K monitor, your wallet will definitely thank you. It’s also currently on sale on Amazon for $449.99USD, making it even better value given the price.

The colors pack a punch, and the fact that it supports HDR makes buying this monitor a no-brainer. Coupled with decent gaming performance and I’d be hard pressed to recommend a different monitor.  Use the money you saved on the monitor to buy a decent set of computer speakers (these Logitech speakers for example).

Wrap Up

I’ll admit, this monitor was a hard review unit to box up and send back. I had become so used to how things looked on it, that I was reluctant to go back to my ultra-wide gaming monitor. From the crisp colors to the 27.9-inches of screen real estate this monitor, the EL2870U is impressive.

Like I said before, I hadn’t heard of BenQ prior to this review. However, after using the EL2870U monitor, it’s a company I’ll be keeping an eye on. For under $500 this monitor should definitely be on your radar. Despite its lackluster speakers, the monitor is a must buy. I know I’ll certainly be picking one up for myself in the near future. If you’re looking for even more real estate, BenQ also has a 32-inch version which we also previously reviewed.

*We were sent a review unit of the BenQ EL2870Umonitor for the purposes of this review.

BenQ EL2870U UHD Monitor

$499.99 USD
9

Design

9.0/10

Display

9.5/10

Performance

9.5/10

Speakers/Sound

7.0/10

Price/Value

10.0/10

Nailed it

  • The monitor packs a lot of features in a sub-$500 pricetag
  • Monitor colors are crisp and vibrant
  • Performance during gaming will please any gamer

Needs work

  • Speakers are a lot to be desired
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