You may be aware that LCD displays use different panel types, which affect characteristics and quality. The most ‘expensive’, found in high-end LCD televisions, professional or premium monitors, and mobile devices like the iPhone, iPad and Nexus 7, is IPS, or Samsung’s PLS equivalent as found in the Series 9 laptop. One small rung down is PVA/MVA, which generally trades slightly weaker viewing angles and colour accuracy for better contrast and response time. It’s found on the Lenovo A720, among others.
At the bottom of the heap is TN, which rarely offers good viewing angles. It’s found on sub-£100 tablets, most laptops, and budget TVs and monitors. However, BenQ takes the money excuse out of the equation with its GW2250HM, a 22-inch VA-panel Full HD display for a penny under £100.
Our previous budget champion was the ViewSonic VX2336s-LED, a 23-inch IPS display for under £130. However, while that monitor offered superb quality for the money, its connectivity was quite limited and its design very basic. The BenQ GW2250HM, on the other hand, throws in everything from VGA and DVI to HDMI and audio, along with some speakers, while trying to gloss up its design a little. Can it become the new affordable number one?
Design and Build
The entire front, stand and base of the BenQ GW2250 are glossy black plastic, while its back sports a matt textured finish. The glossy look may make a nice first impression, but we are definitely not fans. Every fingerprint and dust-mote will show up, and the glossy bezel causes distracting reflections. Having said that, it’s definitely a more attractive design than the ViewSonic VX2336s-LED.
Build quality is pretty good throughout. The plastics used seem solid, and despite feeling a little hollow, there’s practically no unwanted creak or flex in the GW2250HM’s chassis.
Assembly and Adjustability
The BenQ GW2250HM arrives in three separate parts but is child’s play to assemble. Simply click the stand into the base, then slide the monitor onto the stand’s metal clasp and voila.
As with nearly every ‘budget’ monitor around, the GW2250’s adjustability is limited to a smooth tilt. If you want swivel, pivot and, most importantly, height adjustment, you’ll need to VESA mount it on an adjustable stand like the one Hazro does.
It’s nice to see that, despite this BenQ’s slim dimensions, it power adapter is integrated into the monitor. This not only reduces clutter and hassle, but also means it takes a standard power cable.
We were pleasantly surprised by the amount of connections BenQ has managed to include in a monitor this affordable. The GW2250HM not only gives you the VGA and DVI options you would expect on a display near the £100 mark, but also adds in HDMI for consoles, and even sweetens the deal with audio in and out.
This means that you can output the audio stream from your computer, an MP3 player or an HDMI source through headphones or speakers (we would recommend external ones rather than the monitor’s), and should be an obligatory feature on any consumer-oriented display. Where BenQ has cut a small corner is by not including a digital video cable, but those are cheap and plentiful.