We would be expecting BenQ’s E2200HD to be using the same panel as its white cousin, but that’s no bad thing since the M2200HD did fairly well in the image quality stakes. First things first, it’s a 16:9 display, meaning it’s better suited to films and other widescreen entertainment such as modern console games than the more traditional 16:10 PC aspect ratio.
It also sports a Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) resolution rather than the more common 20-22in 1,680 x 1,050. This is not only ideal for Blu-ray discs and console games, but can also help your productivity as it increases your desktop real-estate sufficiently to comfortably have two word documents or web pages open side by side.
In terms of performance, it’s immediately obvious we’re dealing with the exact same panel as before. So while the E2200HD can display the extremes of light and dark shades, it can’t do so simultaneously. However, though it’s not entirely absent there’s little sign of banding and dithering, and as we’re seeing ever more frequently not a hint of backlight bleed. Text is sharp, thanks in no small part to the small pixel pitch resulting from such a high resolution on a relatively small screen.
Best of all are the viewing angles. Despite inevitably suffering from contrast shift on the vertical viewing angle, the E2200HD still puts in a better performance here than most TN-based displays and horizontal viewing angles are remarkably good.
This means you can enjoy a film or game with a few friends without any problems, unlike many other ‘budget’ TN displays we’ve had through our labs. The monitor’s 16:9 native aspect ratio and resolution (in addition to several aspect ratio options) together with multiple digital inputs makes it suitable for those looking for a cheap high-definition display to use with their Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3.
BenQ has a tradition of providing good value for money and the E2200HD continues that trend. Available for around £150, it’s currently the cheapest Full HD 22in monitor we’ve come across. The Iiyama ProLite E2208HDS has gone up in price since we reviewed it, despite offering fewer inputs and inferior image quality.
Of course there’s BenQ’s own M2200HD to consider, which gives you a webcam and USB-hub for only £23 more but is only available in white. The other major competitor is ViewSonic’s VX2260wm. This display offers the same triple video inputs and an additional 3.5mm audio in, as well as superior build quality and styling. However, despite similar specifications on paper the BenQ offers better viewing angles and is around £20 cheaper (though keep in mind you’ll have to buy a digital cable if you don’t have one already).
BenQ’s E2200HD does have its down-sides including a somewhat sub-par chassis and somewhat unattractive design. However, BenQ makes up for it with fair image quality, good viewing angles and an even better price.