As well as an HDMI port, you’ve also got an HDCP compliant DVI port, so you can hook it up to your PC safe in the knowledge that you’ll be able to playback protected video content when Windows Vista launches, or if you put a Blu-ray or HD DVD drive in your machine. There’s also an analogue D-Sub port, S-Video and composite inputs.
The last input method is component video, meaning that the FP241W can wear the HD Ready badge. The component video connectors mean that you can happily hook your Xbox 360 up to this screen – believe me, it’s worth doing! With so many inputs, the FP241W really could address all your work, video and gaming needs. Hell, you could even hook up a PlayStation 3 to the HDMI port, assuming that Sony ever bothers to launch its new console in Europe of course.
Talking of gaming, this monitor isn’t just great for high definition consoles like the Xbox 360, if you’ve got a fast enough PC you’ll soon realise how good it is to play games at such a high resolution. I was using the FP241W to play Counter Strike: Source at the full native resolution of 1,920 x 1,200 and it was great. Does a screen like this give you an advantage over your opponents? Probably, as long as your graphics hardware is fast enough to cope, but one thing’s for sure, gaming at 1,920 x 1,200 looks awesome.
Talking of games, I’m sure there are a lot of you out there waiting for me to talk about response time. To be honest I don’t tend to buy into the whole response time myth, and in my opinion the drive to lower response times has just compromised image quality – we’ve ended up seeing new monitors with 6-bit panels instead of 8-bit, when we really should be pushing towards 10-bit technology. Also the introduction of grey-to-grey response times has meant that we’re seeing ridiculous numbers like 2ms being thrown around, but unlike most manufacturers BenQ is honest enough to quote both the grey-to-grey response time AND the off-on-off response time. So, the FP241W gets a 6ms grey-to-grey time, compared to 16ms for off-on-off – choose which ever number is more important to you, but I was more than happy with the response on this screen.
BenQ has ensured decent colour accuracy by equipping the FP241W with an 8-bit panel, producing the full True Colour gamut of 16.7 million colours – no need for dithering algorithms here. This is borne out when you use the FP241W for some image editing, as well as when I threw DisplayMate at it.