- Review Price: £363.00
The 17in TFT seems to be the display of choice for the majority of consumers right now, and it’s easy to see why. They’re lightweight, consume less power than a CRT, and usually fulfil the image quality requirements for the everyday user. In fact, you can almost gauge how popular they’ve become by taking a look at the current price of a CRT monitor. I mean, £70 for a new and decent 17in CRT is a pretty clear indication that the smaller format cathode ray tube is steadily being squeezed out of the display market.
Inevitably, manufacturers are concentrating on LCD technology and competition has become fierce – fierce enough for manufacturers to highlight any difference that their product may have over a competitor’s. In BenQ’s case, it’s a 12ms response time as featured in its 17in FP767-12 TFT display, designed to convince gamers and movies watchers to migrate from their trusty CRTs.
With many TFT displays typically featuring a response time of around 20 to 25ms, the FP767-12 is one of the first to utilise a 12ms panel. Now, although this bodes well for those fast moving games and action sequences in movies, in practice the average user is going to be hard pushed to truly tell the difference between this and a 25ms screen. Granted, when you’re talking 40ms then moving images will appear to smear and ultimately lose detail, but I found that the actions scenes in our test DVD as well as some serious dog fighting in Chrimson Skies only revealed slight benefits when physically compared to my 20ms LCD monitor.
All the same, those slight benefits mean a lot to an avid gamer who may be considering an LCD, but is reluctant to use a display that can’t match a CRT’s colour performance or its rapid beam switching that virtually eliminates smearing.
So on paper, a 12ms response time for an LCD looks quite appealing, but in order to address each of the three RGB pixel colours with liquid crystals that twist and untwist over a 12ms duration, the panel’s digital controllers have to operate in 6-bit mode rather than the more usual 8-bits. In other words, instead of 8-bits per colour (which translates into 16.7 million colours), 6-bits only serves up 262,144 colours.
Now, if you take into account the fact that the human eye can distinguish between several millions colours, you’re left with a display that responds well to moving pictures, but doesn’t perform as well when it comes to portraying colours. To get around this, however, BenQ has implemented some intricate dithering procedures to fill in those missing colours.
That said, in our tests using DisplayMate along with assessing colour in our test images, the FP767-12 appeared to fall foul of this method of colour reproduction. Four instance, there was a distinct greenish tinge to darker regions of skin tones, and an overall lack of colour depth made the test images look very flat and consequently unnatural. A closer look at the colour ramps also revealed a degree of compression in the low intensity ends of the scales, especially along the blue and red spectrums. As for the overall colour temperature, this was disappointingly bluishy-green in tone and trying to obtain a well-balanced picture using the independent RGB settings within the OSD proved to be as elusive as the proverbial needle in a haystack.