A Monitor Thoughtfully Designed for Photographers: We Review the BenQ SW272Q Monitor

A Monitor Thoughtfully Designed for Photographers: We Review the BenQ SW272Q Monitor

It’s no question that the technology available for creatives nowadays offer solutions for any kind of workflow challenges. However, it's even more remarkable when you see that a particular tool was tailored specifically for the kind of usage that you require.

When we talk about displays for photo editing, of course the most important factors to consider are color accuracy and resolution. Photographers look for a monitor either as a secondary display or as a primary monitor for a desktop workstation that can be kept in a controlled lighting environment. The goal is to have a screen with high resolution and get colors that are as accurate as possible, especially for projects that have prints as the end goal. At the same time, it is important to acknowledge that a lot of the work that we do as photographers nowadays end up on digital platforms, and it is equally as important for us to proof our images for colors displayed by screens. Most manufacturers have options that often cater to a wider range of creatives with different workflows, but this also means that a lot of the features end up not being utilized. However, this monitor that was specifically designed for photographers aims to fit your workflow like a glove.

The BenQ SW272Q

This BenQ SW272Q monitor comes as a 24 x 14.5-inch panel with a thickness of about 2 inches that tapers down to 1.5 inches towards the sides. It makes use of a hard plastic bezel that keeps the monitor relatively lightweight and easy to adjust. This bezel encases the 23.7 x 13-inch LED backlit IPS panel topped off by a remarkably matte textured finish that disperses any direct hard light that shines on it, emulating the surface of a matte fine art print.

Editing shades installed

On the back panel is a 100 x 100mm VESA mount that is compatible with the included stand as well as all other VESA mount stands and arms. Below the mounting port are the display input ports that include an HDMI port, DisplayPort, a USB-C port with Power Delivery, and a USB Type-B port for extended connection down to the monitor’s hub features. The USB-C port acts both as an input port display and data transfers, as well as a simultaneous power output port that allows the monitor to charge any device plugged in for up to 90 watts.

VESA mount and input ports

On the bottom surface are two USB-A ports, a 3.5mm auxiliary audio port, and an SD card reader slot that act as a built-in hub for additional inputs. When connected to a computer via USB-C, it also functions as the connection for the hub. However, when connected via HDMI or DP, it requires using a separate USB-B to USB-A cable that also came in the box.

Bottom ports and control buttons

The desk stand allows for an additional 14cm (5.5 inches) of height by simply pulling on the handle on the back panel. The neck of the stand also allows the monitor to tilt down 5 degrees, tilt up 20 degrees, and swivel 30 degrees to either side. At the same time, the monitor can be rotated 90 degrees into a vertical configuration perfect for maximizing the screen real estate for editing vertical photos or videos.

Resolution and Color

The SW272Q has a 2560 x 1440 resolution with a refresh rate of 60hz while the higher variant, the SW272U offers 4K. Both monitors are capable of displaying 8-bit color with the enhancement of FRC, which allows it to closely emulate what a 10-bit monitor can display. This IPS panel has a contrast ratio of 1000:1 with a maximum brightness of 300 nits.

This BenQ AqColor monitor covers 100% of sRGB, 99% of AdobeRGB, and 98% of the DCI-P3 color spaces. Prior to packing onto individual boxes, these monitors are tested and calibrated under both Calman and Pantone standards to test for their capability to display the highest color accuracy. In general, the BenQ SW272Q comes with a peak color accuracy/variance rating of Delta E<1.5 however, each individual monitor comes with its own color accuracy report and this particular unit is reported to have an average Delta E rating of 0.35 which is significantly high for most color accurate IPS panels. Upon personal calibration, what I can attest to is that I would get quite close to this average (roughly values of 0.4-0.8) and visually, I saw very minimal changes from the default upon calibration when done under controlled color temperature (daylight) lighting.

In addition to the color accuracy capability, BenQ offers a feature with this monitor called the Paper Color Sync, which allows the user to match and proof images while emulating certain printers and paper options to get as close as possible to the intended output.

The HotKey Puck G3

This IR connected wireless remote called the HotKey Puck G3 is also included in the package of the BenQ AqColor monitors such as the SW272Q. This circular controller has one dial with a built-in button, three customizable shortcut buttons, a back button, and an input switch button. This allows for quick access to the monitor’s settings without having to reach over to the buttons behind the monitor. Pressing the dial opens up the monitor's system menu, the input switch quickly accesses the input options that can be switched by rotating the dial, and the three shortcut buttons can be assigned to different color modes for the display. In addition, an info button can be found on the side of the controller that gives a quick look into the monitor’s current settings. This controller can also be configured to be used with multiple BenQ monitors simultaneously, which can be configured to switch easily using the three-way switch on the opposite side of the info button.

Application and User Experience

It was absolutely remarkable to see that a monitor was made specifically for photographers, specifically for viewing and editing photographs and preparing them for either high quality printing or for digital viewing and use. The 2.5K resolution in my opinion hits the sweet spot for a 27-inch monitor when it comes to pixel density, however it is undoubtable that where would be an observable difference when using the 4K version.

Among all the features, the color accuracy on this display (judging both subjectively and objectively with the calibration reports) will have to be the biggest and perhaps the most under-rated feature. A max Delta E rating of <1.5 is already quite remarkable for any IPS display, but the actual average rating of 0.35 makes it even more impressive. For someone who calibrates his monitors regularly, it was astounding to see how it achieves visually similar output as the OLED screen on my laptop and even more so, barely any difference upon hardware calibration. This does not mean that the monitor does not need any calibration because actual light environments can vary significantly, but it is impressive to see how close it comes when the indoor lighting is ideal.

When it comes to all the ergonomic and convenience features, this monitor does give a very smooth user experience. From the ability to adjust and even rotate the screen, to the input options as well as the extended hub features on the bottom panel, the SW272Q offers a very straight forward experience, so the user can get right onto the task at hand. The single USB-C cable connectivity and charging is perhaps the most convenient of them all.

The added feature offered by the HotKey Puck G3 also add to the convenience in terms of having quick access to all the monitor settings and switching to different inputs without much effort. However, I believe that this remote control tool has so much more potential as an editing tool. Given the dial and the buttons already on the device, it might be safe to assume that it can also probably double as an editing controller that can be configured for in-app hotkeys and shortcuts specifically on editing software like Photoshop and Lightroom. Perhaps with the flick of a switch it can shift from being a control for the monitor itself into a shortcut tool that can be configured with a driver. While the HotKey Puck G3 was definitely useful, I found that I personally under utilized it. Giving it this functionality will definitely give the user an even more efficient experience and definitely more value for money.

What I Liked

  • Wide color space coverage
  • Extremely high color accuracy
  • Convenient hardware features
  • Removable editing hood

What Can Be Improved

  • Possibly another USB-C port on the hub
  • Expand the HotKey Puck functions for editing


You can purchase the BenQ SW272Q here.

Nicco Valenzuela's picture

Nicco Valenzuela is a photographer from Quezon City, Philippines. Nicco shoots skyscrapers and cityscapes professionally as an architectural photographer and Landscape and travel photographs as a hobby.

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Finally, a monitor that does not cost an arm and leg with every color scale 100% of sRGB, 99% of AdobeRGB, and 98% of the DCI-P3 color spaces. Yes $800 is a lot but compared to a lens or even camera. And all the extra photography editing things too much to list again. Thanks for the great review for you covered more than I could ever list.
Well have to order so.

One issue I ran into is trying to find an affordable monitor that will do decent DCI-P3 coverage, HDR 400 (no need for the the massive luminance range since an expanded gamut and 10 bit per channel mode is a good benefit for many games that use wider gamut textures.

Many gaming monitors that support the DCI-P3 color space, can often be calibrated to similar level as graphic design focused monitors, the only issue is that they will have some expensive features that venture into the reals of diminishing returns, for example, pushing 180+Hz refresh rates.

There is also a large price premium when a monitor comes fully calibrated, often $150-200 for mid range panels. For those with the calibration tools it is a waste to have the factory calibration, when you can do it yourself.

Ideally what I would like is a display along the lines of the Samsung LS24A600NWNXGO but with a 120Hz panel, and a slightly better panel quality at a $300 price point compared to the usual $225.

My reasoning for this, is that for color gamut, technology has improved enough that wider gamuts in TVs have become very low cost. For example, at stores like Costco, many of the 4K TVs at 55 inch in the $400 price range, will do the HDR 400 standard, along with often 96% DCI-P3 coverage based on reviews from sites like rtings. And many TVs in the lower $600 range at 55 inch size, will often do 99% DCI-P3 coverage, along with HDR 1000.

If we can get a wide gamut, HDR1000 120Hz 4K at 55 inches for $630,when why can't we get decent DCI-P3 coverage at 120Hz HDR 400 at 1440p (2560x1440) for $300?

Zero excuses for 60Hz in 2024. I wouldn't buy it just because of that.

I know it's not a gaming monitor, but 75Hz shouldn't be an issue and even clicking around in Windows you can notice a difference.