BenQ SW270C review: 27-inch 2K monitor with a feature set geared for photographers

If 4K is too expensive or overkill for your needs, the 2K BenQ SW270C should make a great choice for photographers.

BenQ SW270C
(Image: © Cale Hunt / Windows Central)

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BenQ's SW270C is a 27-inch monitor built for photographers, and it acts as a successor or upgrade to the popular SW2700PT that's been around for a few years. The SW270C is by no means cheap and will no doubt appeal only to those who need the specific feature set, but it's undeniably a fine piece of hardware with an outstanding picture. I used it for about a week to see what it's all about and whether or not it makes the grade as your next monitor.

What you'll love about BenQ's SW270C monitor

The SW270C has seen some minor design changes to the overall build, though it could still be mistaken for the SW2700PT at a glance. A wide, sturdy base holds a rotating vertical arm to which the monitor attaches, and there's about six inches of movement for height adjustment. You can adjust the display for tilt and orientation, allowing you to work in landscape or portrait mode. All actions are smooth, and it's clear you're dealing with a high-quality build. The stand is heavy enough to balance the display no matter how it's sitting, and everything can be adjusted with one hand. If you'd like to attach the monitor to a wall or adjustable arm, it's compatible with a 100mm x 100mm VESA mount.

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Size27 inches
Refresh rate60Hz
Response time5ms
Brightness300 nits
LED backlight
Aspect ratio16:9
Native contrast1000:1
Dynamic contrast20M:1
Colors1.07 billion
Gamut99% AdobeRGB
97% DCI-P3
100% sRGB

The majority of ports are located along the back of the display in a dedicated cutout, although there are two USB-A ports and an SD card reader for easy file transfers in a small cutout on the left side. The bottom includes two HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.4, Micro USB for the hotkey puck, and USB-C. There's no Thunderbolt 3 like some other pro monitors, but this is still a good selection for connecting multiple devices. The power supply unit is contained within the case, so there's no extra bulky piece to have below your desk.

Because of an included hood that you can snap on to block external light and shadows, display controls are contained to six buttons along the front bottom-right corner of the monitor. For added convenience, BenQ's second-gen hotkey puck is included, allowing you to keep convenient controls on your desk next to your keyboard and mouse. Within the on-screen display (OSD) menu you'll find plenty of adjustments and color modes, including HDR, DCI-P3, AdobeRGB, Black and white, sRGB, Rec. 709, M-book (for working with Apple products), and custom calibration presets you can set up.

BenQ's SW270C monitor is ideal for any photography pros who don't need 4K.

The display has a 2560x1440 resolution (considered 2K or QHD), which many photographers prefer for editing images, as 4K can be overkill depending on the content at hand. Something like BenQ's PD2720U that we also reviewed brings a higher 4K resolution with many of the same features found here, though it costs far more money.

Switching through color presets before getting into any calibration of my own, it's clear this monitor is ready to work. Color is absolutely dazzling, and you can expect color reproduction to hit 99% AdobeRGB, 97% DCI-P3, and 100% sRGB. The 10-bit display display means the SW270C can put up more than a billion colors, and it has a 16-bit 3D lookup table (LUT) for accurate translation of color between gamuts. Each monitor comes with a calibration report, showing you what to expect straight from the factory.

Because of the IPS panel there are wide viewing angles that don't distort the image, and a 60Hz refresh rate with 5ms response time keeps things smooth. You could no doubt use the monitor for a bit of fun while you're not invested in professional work, though there are far better gaming monitors out there. Like most of BenQ's pro monitors, there's a three-year warranty to help swallow the price.

What you'll dislike about BenQ's SW270C monitor

Laptop manufacturers are slowly moving away from the 16:9 aspect ratio, and even a small move to 16:10 here would no doubt be appreciated by a lot of people who want just a bit more screen real estate to work with. BenQ even makes a 24-inch SW240 photography monitor with 16:10 aspect ratio, so it's clear they're not closed to the idea.

As mentioned, the 2K resolution might not appeal to everyone, especially if you're getting into design and development work on top of photography. If you'd rather go 4K, be sure to have a look at our roundup of the best 4K monitors.

Should you buy BenQ's SW270C photography monitor?

The BenQ SW270C essentially nails everything it sets out to do, and if you're in the market for a 2K photography monitor, it's easy to recommend. You get accurate color reproduction straight from the factory, and the combination of 10-bit color and a 16-bit 3D LUT offers an overall stunning picture.

It has a high-quality build with versatile stand and VESA compatibility, and you get easy control thanks to the second-gen hotkey puck. There are ample ports along the back and side, and the inclusion of an SD card reader is welcome. As long as you're not interested in a higher 4K resolution, consider checking out the BenQ SW270C as your next pro photography monitor.

Cale Hunt

Cale Hunt brings to Windows Central more than eight years of experience writing about laptops, PCs, accessories, games, and beyond. If it runs Windows or in some way complements the hardware, there’s a good chance he knows about it, has written about it, or is already busy testing it.