BenQ promises that its E2400HD LCD monitor will provide “a brand-new standard for personal digital audiovisual entertainment….” And while we’ve grown weary of marketing hyperbole, at first glance, this 24-inch panel has the specs to back up this statement. The E2400HD sports a 1080p HDMI interface and utilizes a 16:9 aspect ratio (rather than the more common ratio of 16:10 for widescreen panels), two features that should improve the movie-watching experience. OK, perhaps “brand-new standard” is a bit overboard, but as we unboxed it, we did think that a 1080p 24-inch monitor for less than $400 was certainly intriguing—even if it sports a 6-bit panel.
A 16:9 aspect ratio should, theoretically, provide a better image when viewing high-def widescreen movies because a 16:10 monitor has to either stretch an image by 10 percent or add black bars to the top and bottom of the image to compensate for the additional space. In our tests with multiple DVD movies, however, those ubiquitous horizontal black bars appear during playback. While TV shows and many movies (typically romantic comedies) are filmed in a native 16:9 aspect ratio, many films are matted using a wide 2.35:1 aspect ratio where you’ll still see black bars. Therefore, while the BenQ is capable of displaying a movie in its original widescreen glory, many DVDs will still not be able to utilize all of the screen’s space.
Regardless, this is still a solid panel for watching high-def movies—when the monitor’s Movie mode is used. In standard mode, V for Vendetta suffered from a washed-out palette. The panel couldn’t differentiate the movie’s many dark hues and the bright white seemed to take on a gray cast; however, Movie mode upped the contrast significantly, showing off both ends of the color spectrum. Gaming was also solid; the colors in Far Cry were vivid and we didn’t observe any stuttering or ghosting during gameplay.
Our DisplayMate tests (www.displaymate.com) backed up what we observed in our real-world tests. We were able to differentiate colors at both ends of the spectrum in the grayscale tests, and the E2400HD showed no color-tracking or banding issues when we ran DisplayMate’s scripts.
However, the same Senseye technology that improved our movie-watching experience was much less successful when we viewed high-def photos. With the Photo mode on, pictures took on a cold, blue hue. Standard mode seemed to present a truer presentation of the images colors, but lacked a certain vividness.
Whether the 16:9 aspect ratio will make any noticeable difference really depends on what type of content you’ll be watching; still, with a street price hovering around $350, the E2400HD is a good value. But even at this midrange price, we expect more from the stand, which allows only minor tilt adjustments; if we were to use this monitor as our primary movie-watching or gaming panel, we’d prefer to also have height adjustment and swivel included as well.
A 24-inch LCD that supports 1080p for less than $400.
16:9 aspect ratio supported by limited number of films.