BenQ SW271 27″ 16:9 4K HDR IPS Monitor review


REVIEW – As a photographer, I view myself as an artist and a student of my craft. I am always seeking the next step up towards being better or producing better in anything and everything that I do. Recently, I reviewed the BenQ SW270C monitor that is designed to be a productive tool for the Photographer. I was and still, am very happy with the color reproduction and the monitor overall. Now I have the chance to test and review the BenQ SW271 27″ 16:9 4K HDR IPS Monitor which seems to be the icing on the cake. And since I am such a huge BenQ fan, I am eager to get started. So, here we go.

What is it?

The BenQ SW271 27″ 16:9 4K HDR IPS Monitor features enhanced color accuracy designed to target photo editing, graphic design, and other color-critical tasks. It also features 99% coverage of the Adobe RGB color space, covers 100% of the Rec.709 and sRGB color spaces, and 93% of the DCI-P3 color space. This monitor supports High Dynamic Range (HDR) and HDR10 to guarantee more detailed and realistic images. Specifications include a 3840 x 2160 resolution, a 1000:1 contrast ratio, a 5 ms response time, 10-bit support for up to 1.07 billion colors, and a 14-bit LUT, USB Type-C, HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.4 inputs, and a dedicated USB 3.0 Type-A hub

What’s in the box



1 x BenQ SW271 27″ 16:9 4K HDR IPS Monitor
1 x Shading Hood
1 x Hotkey Puck
1 x Power Cable (5.9′ / 1.8m)
1 x USB Type-C Cable (3.3′ / 1.0m)
1 x Mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort Cable (5.9′ / 1.8m)
1 x HDMI 2.0 Cable (5.9′ / 1.8m)
1 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Cable (5.9′ / 1.8m)
1 x Quick Start Guide
1 x DVD

Design and features

Specifications
Screen Size: 27”
Panel Type: IPS
Backlight Technology: LED backlight
Resolution (max.): 3840 x 2160
Brightness: 350
Native Contrast(typ.): 1000:1
Viewing Angle (L/R; U/D) (CR>=10): 178/178
Response Time: 5 ms (GtG)
Refresh Rate: 60Hz
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Display Colors: 1.07 billion colors
Color Gamut: 99% AdobeRGB, 100% sRGB,
Display Area(mm): 608.8 x 335.66‎
Pixel Pitch (mm): 0.1554
PPI: 163
DCR (Dynamic Contrast Ratio) (typ.): 20M:1
Color Bit: 10bits
Headphone Jack: Yes
Segment: Photographer
Product Color: Gray
Color Mode: Adobe RGB/ sRGB / Rec 709/ DCI-P3 / B&W / HDR / Darkroom/Calibration 1 /Calibration 2 / Calibration 3 / Custom 1 / Custom 2 / DICOM
HDR: HDR 10
Display Mode: Full, Aspect Ratio, 1:1
Color Temperature: 5000°K / 6500°K/ 9300°K / User Mode
Gamma: 1.6 – 2.6
K Locker: Yes
OSD Language: 18 Languages (English / French / Deutsch / Italian / Spanish / Polish / Czech / Hungarian / Romanian / Netherlands / Russian / Swedish / Portuguese / Japanese / Chinese / S-Chinese / Arabic/Korean)
PIP/PBP: Yes
HDCP: 2.2
VESA Wall Mount: 100mm x 100mm
Display Screen Coating: Anti-Glare
Flicker-free Technology: Yes
3D-LUT: 14bits
Delta E: < = 2 (avg)
Hardware Calibration: Yes
Video Format Support: Yes
Gamut Duo: Yes
Darkroom mode: Yes
Black & White mode: Yes
Black Level: Yes
Hotkey Puck: Yes
Factory Calibration Report: Yes
HDMI: HDMI (v2.0) x2
DisplayPort: DisplayPort (v1.4) x1
USB 3.0 Hub: USB Downstream x 2; USB Upstream x1
USB Type-C: Yes (PD10W, DP Alt mode, Data)
Card Reader: SD/MMC type
Support Format: SD/SDHC/SDXC/MMC
Voltage Rating: 90~264V
Mac Compatible: Yes
Windows Compatible: Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7
Technicolor: Yes

Features

  • 4K UHD Monitor: 4K Ultra HD resolution ensures enhanced clarity of fine details and textures for an optimal viewing and visual-intensive work experience.
  • 99% Adobe RGB: The Adobe RGB color space offers a greater range of color reproduction for shades of blue and green, resulting in a realistic color representation for outdoor and nature photography.
  • 10-Bit Color Display: Enjoy smooth color gradations on a 10-bit display that shows more than one billion colors.
    High Dynamic Range (HDR): High Dynamic Range (HDR) increases the overall dynamic range between black and white so the resulting image appears closer to what your eyes see in the natural world. HDR function supports HDR10.
  • 14-Bit 3D LUT: The 14-bit 3D Look Up Table (LUT) improves RGB color blending accuracy, resulting in enhanced color reproduction. Having Delta E≤2 in both Adobe RGB and sRGB color spaces gives you a true and more representative view of the original image.
  • Hardware Calibration: Hardware calibration allows you to adjust the image processing chip in the monitor without changing the graphics card output data. It keeps images consistent with its original copies without being affected by graphic settings.
  • Palette Master Element Calibration Software: With the use of Palette Master Element and a calibrator, you can tune and maintain the color performance of the monitor at its most optimal state.
  • Supported Platforms: Win7 or above, Mac OS 10.6.8 or above.
  • Supported Calibrators: X-Rite i1 Display Pro / i1 Pro / i1 Pro 2 & Datacolor Spyder 4 / Spyder 5.
  • USB Type-C Cable for Optimal Convenience: The SW271 uses the USB Type-C port to transmit video and data with only one cable. So, you can do the hardware calibration with ease. The USB Type-C port smoothly displays 4K contents and offers an up to 5 Gbps transfer rate. The transmission rate of USB Type-C can vary. USB Type-C is compatible with Thunderbolt 3.
  • Advanced Black & White Modes: View your photos in a black & white film effect. Choose from three different black & white presets to preview your photos before you perform actual adjustments in your photo processing program.
  • GamutDuo: GamutDuo enables you to view content simultaneously in different color spaces side-by-side for added comparison. Switch to PIP/PBP mode to enable GamutDuo.
  • Hotkey Puck: The Hotkey Puck allows the user to switch between Adobe RGB mode, sRGB mode and Black & White mode effortlessly. The buttons can also be customized to map other modes or OSD settings, such as brightness and contrast to bring added convenience to photographers.
  • Shading Hood: The SW271 includes a detachable shading hood that effectively reduces the monitor’s screen glare resulting from ambient lighting, ensuring superb color accuracy required for professional work. The shading hood can be used in both portrait and landscape orientations.

The base of this BenQ monitor is similar to all of the bases that I have encountered. It is solid and feels sturdy. It has a built-in metal receiver for the monitor stand. Underneath there is a wing screw that screws into the monitor stand to lock the two together.




The pictures below show the monitor stand with the locking plate at the top the connects into the VESA receptacle on the back of the monitor. Right below the VESA plate, you can see 2 tracks that are the sliding tracks that allow for height adjustment, and below that there is a pass-through hole for cable management. Underneath the stand, there is the plate that connects to the monitor base. There is also a circular slot to accommodate the Hotkey Puck.




Below are close up pictures of the VESA plate and how it connects to the back of the monitor.



The monitor can be used in either landscape mode or rotated clockwise and used in vertical/portrait mode.


Underneath the monitor, there are the connectivity ports. As shown below from left to right they are the AC power input jack, Hotkey Puck / Hotkey Puck G2 socket, 2 x HDMI socket, DisplayPort socket, USB-C port, USB port (upstream; connecting
to the PC), and headphone jack.


On the left side of the monitor when facing the front of the monitor, there are 2 USB ports and 1 SD card port.

On the bottom right of the front of the monitor, there are the control buttons. From left to right they are 5 control buttons and the on/off power button.


The following 2 pictures show the monitor with the hood installed. The views are from the front and rear.


On top of the hood, there is a sliding door that is designed to open and close to accommodate the color calibrating device.



The Hotkey Puck is a nice addition to most of the BenQ monitors that I have reviewed. It gives you access to the controls at your fingertips. (FYI: I do find that I rarely use it).


If you would like more detailed information, click here to read the user manual.

Performance

As has been my experience with all of the BenQ monitors that I have owned and reviewed, this monitor arrived well packaged and padded. The components are easy to assemble and putting the monitor together only took a few minutes.
Once I set up the monitor, the first thing that I decided to do was to look at a side by side comparison between the SW270 on the right and the SW271 on the left as shown below. The picture on the SW271 is shown in Adobe Lightroom, and on the right in Photo Viewer.

As a photographer and Videographer, I work in various software applications to edit and produce my videos and photos. This monitor does an amazing job with color reproduction, and surprisingly it is even better than the really good SW270 model. Below are photos of the monitor with some of the applications that I use.
Adobe Lightroom

Adobe Photoshop

PortraitPro 18


Adobe Premiere

DaVinci Resolve

What I like

  • The amazing color reproduction
  • The build quality
  • The adjustable monitor including 90-degree rotation
  • The connectivity
  • The included vertical and horizontal hood attachments

What I’d change

  • I want a 32″ ~ 35″ version 🙂 (Or maybe even larger?)

Final thoughts

At this point, the following may be considered a very redundant statement of mine, but I am a really huge fan of BenQ monitors. This BenQ SW271 is the icing on the cake, especially in this price range. Every week, I spend a lot of time editing photographs and videos in my home studio and it is such a pleasure to work with a monitor that in my opinion provides just about perfect color reproduction right out of the box and without any needed calibration. I always keep my color calibration kit handy, but as I stated, with this monitor, it is not needed, or at least not needed so far. The colors are precise and brilliant and with it mounted on the wall right alongside the SW270, I feel like I have the 1st and 2nd best photo editing monitors in this price range. I only use my monitors in landscape mode, and while the monitor also tilts forward and backward, my use of the wall mount gives me a greater range for adjustment.

BenQ also gets extra points for including the hood attachments for both landscape and portrait mode with this model. The SW270 only comes with the landscape hood attachments. I do not use my monitors without the hood attachment because the difference with the light control that it provides is fantastic. As I mentioned earlier in the review, The Hotkey Puck is also a nice convenient tool albeit that I do not use it very often. I give the BenQ SW271 monitor a very, very, very well done, and two thumbs way up!!!

Price: $1099
Where to buy: Amazon, B&H Photo, Adorama, BenQ
Source: The sample for this review was provided by BenQ.

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BenQ SW271 27″ 16:9 4K HDR IPS Monitor review originally appeared on The Gadgeteer on October 18, 2019 at 9:00 am.

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Viotek LinQ Touch (P16CT) 16-inch portable touchscreen monitor review

REVIEW – Did you know that you can add a touchscreen monitor to your laptop or turn your Samsung Galaxy or Huawei phones into a desktop computer? Yes, it’s possible and easy with the Viotek LinQ touchscreen monitor. Let’s take a closer look.

What is it?

The Viotek LinQ is a portable touchscreen monitor that connects to MacBooks, Windows laptops, and even some smartphones with a USB-C cable.

Hardware specs

15.6-inch IPS panel @ 60hz
1920 x 1080 resolution
10-point capacitive touchscreen
Multiple Connections: Two USB-C, HDMI, headphone (use and power it from almost any device)
Magnetic folding leather cover/stand for multiple configurations
178-degree viewing angle
Metal body with mirror finish and glass back shell
Ultra-Thin: 0.36 inches
Ultra-Light: 1.7 pounds
250 NIT brightness
Built-in speakers
AMD FreeSync™

What’s in the box?

  • Viotek LinQ
  • USB-C to USB-C cable
  • USB-A to USB-C cable
  • mini HDMI to HDMI cable
  • Cleaning cloth
  • User manual

Design and features

The Viotek LinQ Touch looks like a slab of black glass but it’s really a polished metal case with a raised section on the back that has the Viotek logo at the bottom.

It comes with a magnetic case/stand that gives it a Microsoft Surface kind of vibe.

All of the monitor’s ports are located on the sides. On the right side, there is a mini HDMI port and two USB-C ports. The top USB-C data port that is used for video and audio. The bottom USB-C port is for power.

The left side has a small power button at the top, a brightness/volume adjustment/on screen display menu switch in the middle, and a 3.5mm headphone jack on the bottom.

The cover attaches to the back of the monitor with magnets and flips around to the back to turn into a kickstand that you can use to adjust the viewing angle.

The bottom edge of the LinQ has narrow rubber feet to keep the monitor from sliding around on your desk.

Let’s get connected

I tested the Viotek LinQ Touch (P16CT) 16-inch portable touchscreen monitor with three devices: an early 2016 12″ MacBook, a Dell Latitude 7490, and a Huawei P30 Pro.

The first device I tested with the LinQ was my MacBook and things got off to a rocky start. I connected the LinQ to the MacBook with the included USB-C to USB-C cable plugged into the LinQ’s middle USB-C port and the MacBook’s only port which is also a USB-C port. The LinQ’s display woke up and showed the Viotek splash screen and for the first few seconds of connection, I could move the MacBook’s cursor on the screen by moving my finger around on the LinQ’s blank display until it stopped moving.

I then tried the included mini HDMI to HDMI cable plugged into the LinQ’s mini HDMI port and the other end plugged into an HDMI to USB-C adapter plugged into the MacBook. Still no luck.

I then tried both connections again but included power to the bottom USB-C port on the LinQ monitor. Still no joy. I think it has something to do with power, but I don’t have my MacBook’s original power adapter. I use a 3rd party adapter with it. I’ll have to do more testing when I have access to that charger again -> My house is currently being remodeled and my office has been closed off and is not accessible.

On to other tests…

For the next test, I connected the LinQ to my Huawei P30 Pro and it worked great. The Huawei allows you to either mirror the screen as you see above, or you can put it in Huawei’s EMUI desktop mode as you can see below.

In desktop mode, it’s like you’ve turned your phone into a giant touchscreen tablet that you can scroll, tap, etc. You can also turn the phone into a touchpad which is cool.

Be aware that not all Android phones will allow this level of awesomeness. Samsung Galaxy phones will also allow this full-screen goodness since they have the built-in DeX feature. But other phones like iPhone and my Pixel 2 XL do nothing when you connect them to the LinQ.

Pair a Bluetooth keyboard and a mouse to your phone and you can have an almost full-fledged laptop-like experience.

Watching video through YouTube and the Hulu apps was smooth with no lag. Trying to get Netflix to work was a little wonky though. But that’s the fault of the EMUI interface and not this monitor.

For my final test, I connected the LinQ to a Dell Latitude laptop. It worked great as long as I assigned the LinQ to be the primary monitor. Until I made that change, scrolling the LinQ display caused the Dell’s display to scroll instead of the former. Once set up correctly, it worked great.

Audio through the monitor is decent and the picture quality is very good with bright colors and crisp text (once you bump up the brightness). The thin bezels (except for the “chin”) make this monitor super sleek. However, viewing angles aren’t the greatest.

The OSD menu allows you to change various features like brightness, color, volume, etc. Note that all settings that you change will be lost when the device goes into standby or you disconnect from the device and reconnect. That includes brightness levels that go to a default dim setting which is a little annoying because increasing the brightness is the first thing you do when you start using the monitor.

What I like

  • Metal case
  • Portable
  • Touchscreen
  • Only need one cable connection for some devices

What I’d change

  • Save settings

Final thoughts

Even though I could not get the LinQ to work with my MacBook, I still enjoyed testing this portable touchscreen monitor. Monitors like this one are handy as external monitors for your laptop or even your phone when you don’t have a lot of space and when you like to take an external monitor with you when you travel without adding too much bulk to your carry-on luggage.

Price: $229
Where to buy: Amazon
Source: The sample for this review was provided by Viotek.

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Viotek LinQ Touch (P16CT) 16-inch portable touchscreen monitor review originally appeared on The Gadgeteer on October 7, 2019 at 9:00 am.

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BenQ SW270C Photographer Monitor review


REVIEW – Whenever I write a review, I always assume a position of impartiality. Having said that, many of the readers that follow my reviews know that I love BenQ equipment and especially BenQ monitors. When I heard about the BenQ SW270C Photographer Monitor, I was beyond excited about the opportunity to test and review it. Let’s see if I am still excited after taking it for a spin!!

What is it?

The BenQ SW270C Monitor is a 27-inch Photographer Monitor with, 2K Adobe RGB, Uniformity Technology for Screen-Wide Color Accuracy, 99% Adobe RGB Color Space with IPS Technology and multiple built-in ports including USB-C Connectivity with Power Delivery. BenQ has also included a Hotkey Puck that simplifies switching between modes. The Hotkey Puck is programmable so that it can be used to quickly adjust the displays settings.

What’s in the box


1 x BenQ SW270C LCD Monitor
1 x Monitor Stand
1 x Monitor Base
1 x Shading hood for landscape orientation
1 x Hotkey Puck G2
1 x Video Cable: DP to mini DP
1 x USB Cable
1 x Power Cord
1 x Quick Start Guide
1 x CD-ROM

Design and features

Specifications
Screen Size: 27″
Panel Type: IPS
Backlight Technology: LED backlight
Resolution (max.): 2560×1440
Brightness: 300
Native Contrast(typ.): 1000:1
Viewing Angle: (L/R;U/D) (CR>=10), 178/178
Response Time: 5 ms (GtG)
Refresh Rate: 60Hz
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Display Colors: 1.07 billion colors
Color Gamut: 99% Adobe RGB, 97% P3, 100% sRGB
Display Area(mm): 596.7×335.6
Pixel Pitch (mm): 0.2331
PPI: 109
DCR (Dynamic Contrast Ratio) (typ.): 20M:1
Color Bit: 10bits
Headphone Jack: Yes
Segment: Photographer
Product Color: Gray
Color Mode: Adobe RGB / sRGB / B&W / Rec. 709 / DCI-P3 / Display P3 / M-book / HDR / DICOM/Calibration 1 / Calibration 2 / Calibration 3 / Custom 1 / Custom 2
HDR: HDR10
Display Mode: Full, Aspect Ratio, 1:1
Color Temperature: 5000°K / 6500°K/ 9300°K / User Mode
Gamma: 1.6 – 2.6, sRGB
K Locker: Yes
OSD Language: 18 Languages (English / Francais / Deutsch / Italiano / Espanol / Polish / Czech / Hungarian / Romanian / Netherlands / Russian / Swedish / Portuguese / Japanese / Chinese / S-Chinese / Arabic/Korean)
PIP/PBP: Yes
HDCP: 2.2
VESA Wall Mount: 100x100mm
AMA: Yes
Display Screen Coating: Anti-Glare
3D-LUT: 16bits
Delta E: <= 2 (avg)
Uniformity Technology: Yes
Hardware Calibration: Yes
Video Format Support: Yes
Gamut Duo: Yes
Black & White mode: Yes
Black Level: Yes
Hotkey Puck G2: Yes
Factory Calibration Report: Yes
HDMI: HDMI (v2.0)x2
DisplayPort: DisplayPort (v1.4)
USB 3.1 Hub: USB Downstream x 2, Mini USB x 1
USB 3.1 Hub: USB Upstream x 1
USB Type-C: Yes (PD60W, DP Alt mode, Data)
Card Reader: SD/MMC type
Support Format: SD/SDHC/SDXC/MMC
Voltage Rating: 100~240V
Power Supply: Built-in
Power Consumption (based on Energy Star): 36.1W
Power Consumption (stand by mode): 0.5W‎
Power Consumption (sleep mode): 0.5W
Dimensions (HxWxD mm) (w/o Base) (with shading hood): 372.2 x 626 x 238.04
Dimensions (HxWxD mm) (without shading hood): Landscape: 504.5-611 x 613.8 x 213.4; Portrait: 733.4 x 380.7 x 223.2
Dimensions (HxWxD mm) (w/o Base): 368.9 x 613.8 x 62.65
Dimensions (HxWxD mm): Landscape: 504.5-614.3 x 626 x 334.8; Portrait: 744.6 x 381.1 x 334.6
Software: Palette Master Element
Support Calibrator: X-Rite i1 Display Pro / i1 Pro /i1 Pro 2 /i1 Studio , Datacolor Spyder 4/5
Hor. Frequency (kHz): 27~140Khz
Ver. Frequency (Hz): 24~76Hz
Video Bandwidth (MHZ): 600M Hz
Compatibility: Mac Compatible, Windows® Compatible, Windows®10, Windows®8.1, Windows®8, Windows®7

The monitor base is a relatively large and weighty base that provides a firm platform for the monitor. In the middle towards the rear, there is a circular cutout that is the receiver for the monitor stand. Underneath there is a wing screw that screws into the monitor stand to lock the two together.

The picture below shows the monitor stand with the locking plate at the top the connects into the VESA receptacle on the back of the monitor to connect the two. Right below the VESA plate, you can see 2 tracks that are the sliding tracks that allow for height adjustment, and below that there is a pass-through hole for cable management. Underneath the stand, there is the plate that connects to the monitor base. There is also a circular slot to accommodate the Hotkey Puck.



The next picture shows the Hotkey Puck in the monitor stand.


Underneath the monitor, there are the connectivity ports. As shown below from left to right they are the headphone jack, USB port (upstream; connecting to the PC), USB-C port, DisplayPort socket, 2 x HDMI socket, Hotkey Puck / Hotkey Puck G2
socket, and the AC power input jack.

When facing the front of the monitor there are 3 ports on the left side. As shown below, they are from top to bottom, an SD card slot and 2 USB ports.

On the bottom right of the front of the monitor, there are the control buttons. From left to right they are 5 control buttons and the on/off power button.


1. Press any of the control keys.
2. The hotkey menu is displayed. The left three controls are custom keys and are designated
for specific functions.
3. Select (Menu) to access the main menu.
4. In the main menu, follow the icons next to the control keys to make adjustments or for
selections.

Performance

The monitor arrived well packaged and padded. Out of the box, the components are easy to assemble and putting the monitor together only took a few minutes. Adding the hood took a bit longer but was easy once I figured out how the pieces connect to form the hood and how they attach to the monitor. Youtube videos helped me to better understand the process.  Before I added the hood, I took the time to play around with the monitor rotation. Since the hood attachments that come with this model only work for use in landscape mode, I took a picture without the hood to show the rotation capability. (This monitor rotates 90 degrees to be used in either portrait or landscape mode.)

Once I set up the monitor with the hood attached, I took the following pictures from both the left and right perspectives to show how it looks installed.


On the top of the hood, there is the sliding door that provides access to the screen for using a calibration device without having to remove the hood.



I connected my iPad Pro 12.9″ to the monitor and edited some pictures using Adobe Lightroom on my iPad with the BenQ connected via USB-C  as an extended monitor. Having the larger real estate along with accurate colors is great especially as my eyes get older.


To try to illustrate some of the visual benefits of the monitor including the color representation and the hood effect, the picture below shows the same picture twice. On the left, it is opened via Photo Viewer on my BenQ PD3200U, and on the right is it opened in Adobe Lightroom on this BenQ SW270C monitor.

I also edit photos in PortraitPro, and the experience with this monitor including the amazing colors is also great.

What I like

  • The build quality
  • The connectivity options
  • The stability
  • The features
  • The color accuracy
  • The detachable hood
  • The overall functionality

What I’d change

  • Include the extra hood sections needed to use the hood in Portrait Mode as well
  • (Personal wish) – A 32-inch or 35-inch version would be greatly appreciated!! 🙂

Final thoughts

I am a huge fan of BenQ monitors, and the BenQ SW270C Photographer Monitor does not disappoint. As a photographer, I spend a lot of time editing photographs on my iPad and my studio PC. This monitor allows me to connect my iPad to it via USB-C and also to use it as an extended monitor on my desktop PC. When connected to my iPad, the Power delivery feature ensures that my iPad remains charged. Whichever way I decide to use the monitor, the colors are precise and brilliant and it is just a joy to use even more so when I have hundreds of photos to edit and in some cases color-correct. I am currently using it with its stand on my desk but I plan to mount it on the wall with an arm that allows for even more movement. The included hood is perfect for viewing true color representation, and for increasing accuracy, especially since ambient lighting or stray lighting becomes less of a factor. The sliding opening in the hood is perfect if there is a need to use a color correcting tool. I have such a tool, but I have had no issue with the colors right out of the box. The Hotkey Puck is also a nice convenient tool albeit that I do not use it very often. I give the BenQ SW270C Photographer Monitor a very well done, and two thumbs way up!!!

Price: $799.99
Where to buy: Amazon
Source: The sample for this review was provided by BenQ

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BenQ SW270C Photographer Monitor review originally appeared on The Gadgeteer on August 26, 2019 at 8:00 am.

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HP’s latest gaming headset delivers active cooling, noise cancellation

HP has unveiled a host of new gaming products for Gamescom 2019, starting with the Omen Mindframe Prime, a high-end gaming headset with features that should make competitive play more comfortable. Your ears will heat up less thanks to HP's "Frostcap"...

Samsung’s 32-inch Space Gaming Monitor makes room for your PC

Giant gaming monitors have a conspicuous problem: all that visual real estate usually swallows up desk space, leaving limited room for your speakers, elaborate peripherals or the PC itself. Samsung might have a simple fix. Its newly unveiled Space...

Lepow 15.6-inch USB-C portable display review

REVIEW – I switched from a huge 27″ iMac to a MacBook more than 7 years ago and although I still use an external monitor with it when I work in my office (Gadgeteer HQ), I sometimes wish for some extra screen real estate when I’m working away from home. One solution is to buy a bigger MacBook, but that’s not a solution I want to take. Another solution is a portable monitor like the Lepow USB-C display. Let’s check it out.

What is it?

The Lepow USB-C display is a 15.6-inch portable display that connects to laptops and mobile devices with a USB-C cable.

Hardware Specs

Screen size: 15.6 inch
Visual area: 344.16 x 194.59mm
Panel type: IPS
Dimensions: 368 x 225 x 8.8 mm
Aspect ratio: 16:9
Resolution: 1920×1080
Display color: 16.7M
Color temperature: 6800K
Visual angle: H: 85/85Min V:85/85Min
Contrast ratio: 1000:1
Brightness: 300cd/m2
Output interface: 3.5mm headphone jack
Speaker: 1Wx2

What’s in the box?

  • Lepow USB-C monitor
  • Magnetic cover
  • Screen protector
  • USB-C to USB-C cable
  • HDMI to mini HDMI cable
  • USB-A to USB-C cable
  • User Guide

Design and features

The Lepow 15.6-inch USB-C portable display immediately reminded me of a supersized iPad Pro with an Apple smart cover. It’s designed like a slab/tablet, without a built-in stand. That’s what the case is for.

The display has slim bezels and a dark grey shell that holds a matte screen that unfortunately is not a touchscreen.

Both sides have ports and speaker vents. The left side has a mini HDMI port, the main USB-C port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

The right side has another speaker vent, a power button, a roll key for menu selections, and a PD USB-C port.

The monitor does not have a built-in battery so it requires an outside power source. It can pull power from a laptop, a smartphone, a tablet, or you can connect a USB-C cable and an AC adapter to the USB-C PD port on the side and use that to power the monitor and charge the device (laptop, phone, etc.) connected to the other USB-C port on the opposite side of the monitor.

As mentioned above, the Lepow monitor does not have a built-in kickstand, but the included smart cover not only protects the screen when you’re not using the display, but it can fold into a stand.

The cover has grooves so you can customize the viewing angle and small magnets at the edges hold the cover to the monitor for ease of use.

Using the Lepow USB-C portable monitor with a laptop

I tested the Lepow monitor with my 2016 12in MacBook and my Huawei P30 Pro smartphone, both of which have a USB-C port for easy connection. The Lepow also has a mini HDMI port that you can use with the included mini HDMI to HDMI cable to connect the monitor to full-sized HDMI port.

One of the best things about the monitor is that it doesn’t require its own power source because it pulls the power it needs from the connected device. That means that you won’t need to carry a bulky power supply with you or need to be near a wall outlet to use the display because it powers on as soon as it’s connected to the laptop or phone.

By default, the monitor is in landscape orientation when connected to a macOS or Windows laptop.

However, you can go into the settings on the computer to rotate the display like you see above. The only problem is that when you physically rotate the Lepow USB-C monitor, the folding cover doesn’t make a very sturdy stand in that orientation. And even worse is the fact that there’s the cable sticking out of the top of the monitor when it’s in this orientation and the monitor will rest on the roll key which when pressed, will bring up the onscreen menu. All that said, it is doable in portrait orientation, just not very convenient compared to a traditional landscape orientation.

The monitor’s built-in speakers on both sides of the display are not impressive when it comes to volume or audio quality. Even at full volume, the audio is weak and definitely not loud enough if you’re using the monitor in a noisy environment.

Using the Lepow USB-C portable monitor with a smartphone or tablet

If you happen to own a smartphone or tablet that allows for video out though USB-C like the Huawei P30 Pro (shown above) or a Samsung Galaxy device, the Lepow monitor can turn your mobile device into a computer-like device with a full screen experience.

Depending on the device that you use, it really does feel like your phone becomes a computer. With the Huawei connected to the Lepow, it becomes a touch pad.

I tested the monitor with normal everyday activities like using it to surf my favorite sites, work in spreadsheets, work in documents, editing images using Photoshop, and watching videos. Note that I did not use the monitor for gaming as I don’t play games. But for all the tasks that I did try with the Lepow, it worked fine.

The colors are good, the image was clear and crisp, and viewing angles are decent. I’m not going to say that the Lepow is better than my BenQ 27inch monitor which has a resolution of 2560×1440, but the Lepow’s 1920×1080 resolution is perfectly adequate for its intended use as a portable companion monitor for travel or small workspaces.

One thing I did notice early in the review process was that the monitor defaults to 30% brightness and doesn’t save changes to the brightness setting or other settings. So even if the computer times out and the monitor goes idle, when you wake it back up, the Lepow screen’s brightness goes back down to 30%.

I also noticed that routing all the audio through the Lepow monitor’s built-in speakers was not a very good experience. Volume levels are low even with the volume setting cranked to the max.

What I like

  • No power adapter needed
  • Portable
  • Pass through power port

What I’d change

  • It would be nice if settings were saved between sessions
  • Volume through the built-in speakers is very weak

Final thoughts

There are 100’s of excellent full-sized monitors on the market but the selection of ultra-portable monitors is limited, especially monitors that only need a USB-C connection to work. No bulky AC adapter needed.

If you don’t mind that the monitor doesn’t save settings like brightness and volume, the Lepow 15.6-inch USB-C portable display has a lot going for it. It has a nice screen, with vivid colors, and crisp text. It’s portable enough to fit in a gear bag along with your laptop and it comes with a magnetic case that doubles as a stand.

Price: $169.99
Where to buy: Amazon
Source: The sample for this review was provided by Lepow.

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Lepow 15.6-inch USB-C portable display review originally appeared on The Gadgeteer on August 14, 2019 at 9:00 am.

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