BenQ VW2430H VA-LED monitor
Inexpensive; DVI and HDMI inputs
No DisplayPort; mediocre brightness
BenQ’s VW2430H VA-LED monitor will boost your screen real estate without breaking the budget, but it might not impress those with an eye for picture quality.
One of the VW2430H’s claims to fame is its ‘eco-friendly’ design, with a white casing free from coatings and dyes. Unfortunately, this leaves the monitor with a cheap plastic look and feel, which won’t appeal to everyone.
Add to this an ‘unconventional asymmetric form’ (marketing speak for ‘odd-looking design’), with the monitor arm off to one side and a strange recess in the base supposedly for storing paper clips or other knick knacks. The screen tilts back and forth, but you can’t adjust the height or swivel it from side to side.
Look at the back of the monitor and you’ll find D-Sub, DVI and HDMI video inputs, but not the Mini DisplayPort or Thunderbolt connector that is most likely on your Mac. Unfortunately, BenQ only includes a D-Sub cable in the box, so you’ll probably need to invest in a DVI cable and a Mini DisplayPort to DVI adaptor in order to get the best picture from your Mac.
This is a 1920 x 1080 pixel matte- finish display, sharp enough to do Blu-ray justice, and you could hook up a Blu-ray player or other AV player to the HDMI input (which supports HDCP for watching Blu-ray movies). The monitor features a headphone jack, but not built-in speakers. This means you’ll also need to invest in standalone desktop speakers, with several audio inputs if you want to take the sound from AV gear as well as your Mac.
When it comes to picture quality the VW2430H benefits from LED backlighting, reducing power consumption while improving picture quality over traditional CCFL lighting.
Despite the LED tag, you wouldn’t classify this as a top-of-the-line display. These days top shelf monitors generally use some variation of IPS (In Plane Switching), whereas this BenQ relies on older Vertical Alignment technology. IPS tends to deliver more vivid colours, but in return VA can deliver excellent contrast – producing deep blacks to improve picture quality.
At first, the picture quality is underwhelming compared to the IPS- LED screen on a MacBook Air – bright colours aren’t as vivid and images don’t look as deep. The monitor’s mediocre 250 cdm2 brightness means whites are a little dull.
This monitor’s high contrast ratio starts to prove its worth when you switch to video content with dark scenes. Action is smooth and you don’t lose fine details in the shadows as you do with some cheap and nasty monitors, which crush shadows to solid black. Even so the picture still doesn’t pop out of the screen like it might on a more expensive IPS-LED monitor. BenQ offers advanced Mac calibration options, which help, but if you’re really that fussy about image quality you’re probably looking for a more expensive monitor than this.
Considering the price tag we shouldn’t be too harsh on BenQ’s 24in offering. We’ve certainly seen budget IPS-LED screens that look worse, but if you’re prepared to spend an extra $100 you’ll find a decent 24in IPS-LED monitor with a better picture and extra inputs. If your funds won’t stretch that far, BenQ’s VW2430H is a worthy contender in the budget 24in market.