Preferred monitor store
Reviewed on Dec 12, 2018 , Eric Bousquet, Yannick Khong

BenQ EL2870U
MONITOR REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.0

Test Benches:

  • 1.0: Fall 2017
7.2
Mixed Usage
Score components:
Size : 28 "
Resolution : 3840x2160
Refresh Rate : 60 Hz
LCD Type
What it is: Type of LCD technology used by the monitor.
When it matters: Different technologies have different viewing angle properties.
:
TN
Variable Refresh Rate
What it is: Feature that allows the monitor to synchronize its refresh rate with the input device's output and reduces stuttering and screen tearing.
When it matters: Almost every usage, but is most noticeable in gaming where constant fluctuation in framerate cause distracting artifacts.
:
FreeSync

The BenQ EL2870U is a decent 4k monitor. It has great gaming features, including FreeSync support, a fast response time, and excellent low input lag. It also has great accuracy out of the box. Unfortunately, it has disappointing dark room performance due to the sub-par native contrast ratio and disappointing black uniformity. It supports HDR, but there is little benefit to this mode, as it can't get very bright and can't display a wide color gamut.

Test Results
Design 7.0
Picture Quality 6.7
Motion 8.0
Inputs 9.0
Pros
  • Great gaming features, including low input lag and FreeSync support
  • Great accuracy out of the box
Cons
  • Disappointing dark room performance
  • HDR doesn't add much
Update 1/15/2019: We tested the monitor's compatibility with NVIDIA's new FreeSync driver. See our full investigation into NVIDIA's FreeSync Drivers here.

Check Price

7.0

Design

Score components: Subjectively assigned
BenQ EL2870U Design Picture
Curved : No
Curve radius : N/A
Weight (without stand)
What it is: The weight of the monitor when mounted. This is with the stand removed, and if necessary any VESA mounting bracket attached.
When it matters: When choosing a mount for a monitor/
:
9.7 lbs (4.4 kg)
Weight (with stand)
What it is: The weight of the monitor including the stand any any input covers.
:
12.3 lbs (5.6 kg)

The BenQ EL2870U has a decent design, identical to the larger EW3270U. It is thicker than average for monitors of this size, and the panel is surrounded by a noticeable bezel on all sides. Despite being almost entirely made of plastic, it has good build quality, and shouldn't cause any issues down the road. Unfortunately, like the EW3270U, the stand has terrible ergonomics, making it difficult to place it in an ideal viewing position.

Stand
BenQ EL2870U Stand picture
Width
What it is: The width of the stand.
When it matters: When using a small desk, for those who require a monitor with a small footprint.
:
12.6" (32.0 cm)
Depth
What it is: The depth of the stand.
When it matters: When using a small desk, for those who require a monitor with a small footprint.
:
7.7" (19.6 cm)

The stand is mostly made of plastic, and it has a matte finish, which unfortunately tends to show fingerprints and dust a bit more. The stand supports the monitor well, and it only wobbles a bit when the monitor gets nudged.

2.2 Ergonomics
What it is: How much the position of the screen can be adjusted to match the viewing preference of the user.
When it matters: All usages, but especially office and gaming use.
Score components:
  • 46% Height Adjustment
  • 18% Switch portrait/landscape
  • 18% Swivel Range
  • 18% Tilt Range
BenQ EL2870U Ergonomics picture
Height Adjustment
What it is: The amount of vertical travel or adjustment of the display.
:
N/A
Switch portrait/landscape : No
Swivel Range : N/A
Tilt Range : -15° to 5°

The stand can only tilt, there are no height adjustments and it cannot swivel, which is disappointing. If you want to be able to adjust the monitor, a VESA stand would be a better choice.

Back
BenQ EL2870U Back picture
Wall Mount : VESA 100x100

Like the EW3270U, there is no cable management on the EL2870.

Borders
BenQ EL2870U Borders picture
Borders
What it is: The distance from the left edge of the display to the start of the image.
When it matters: When using multiple monitors side-by-side.
:
0.7" (1.8 cm)

The borders are a bit thicker than average, with a thicker bezel that surrounds the entire panel.

Thickness
BenQ EL2870U Thickness picture
Thickness (with stand)
What it is: How far the front of the screen protrudes when placed as far back as possible against a wall.
When it matters: When the monitor is placed back against a wall.
:
5.6" (14.2 cm)
Thickness (without stand)
What it is: How far the front of the screen protrudes when the stand has been removed. For monitors which require a bracket to VESA mount this measurement includes the thickness of the bracket.
When it matters: When mounting a monitor with the stand removed.
:
2.5" (6.4 cm)

The BenQ EL2870U is slightly thicker than the EW3270U, which is unexpected. When removed from the stand, it is quite thin and will look good when VESA mounted.

7.5 Build Quality
What it is: How well built and sturdy the monitor is, and how good the materials used to build it are.
When it matters: All usages.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
BenQ EL2870U Build Quality picture

Good build quality. There is a small gap around the outer edge used for heat dissipation, but it shouldn't cause any issues. The monitor itself is mostly made of plastic, but there are no points of concern.

The BenQ EL2870U produces decent overall picture quality. It has an excellent SDR color gamut, and great out of the box accuracy. It shows no signs of temporary image retention and produces excellent gradients. Unfortunately, HDR doesn't add much, as the HDR color gamut is almost identical to the SDR color gamut, it has a disappointing native contrast ratio, and it doesn't support local dimming. Overall, the picture quality is much worse than the larger BenQ EW3270U.

5.8 Contrast
What it is: Brightness difference between white and black. This is the main component of picture quality.
When it matters: Always, but especially when watching dark scenes.
Score components:
BenQ EL2870U Checkerboard Picture
Native Contrast
What it is: Ratio of the white brightness divided by the blacks measured on our checkerboard test pattern with a white target of 100 cd/m².
When it matters: Dark scenes in a dark room.
Good value: > 3,000
Noticeable difference: 500
:
915 : 1
Contrast with local dimming
What it is: Ratio of the white brightness divided by the blacks measured on our checkerboard test pattern with local dimming turned on (maximum) with a white target of 100 cd/m².
When it matters: Dark scenes in a dark room.
Good value: > 3,000
Noticeable difference: 500
:
N/A

Disappointing contrast ratio. Blacks appear gray in a dark room. These results are about average for TN monitors, but much worse than the larger EW3270U, which has a VA panel.

0 Local Dimming
What it is: The lights behind the LCD layer adapt to the picture displayed, improving the contrast ratio.
When it matters: Dark scenes viewed in a dark room.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Local Dimming
What it is: Whether it has a feature that controls the LEDs behind the LCD layer, to match the picture and darkens the dark portion of it.
When it matters: On LED TVs only. Dark scenes viewed in a dark room.
:
No
Backlight
What it is: Configuration of the lights of the backlight.
When it matters: Effectiveness of the local dimming.
Good value: Full-array/direct lighting is better for local dimming. As for the uniformity of the screen, it depends on the implementation. Some edge-lit monitors have more uniform blacks than some full-array monitors.
:
Edge

Local dimming is not supported on this monitor. The above video is for reference only.

7.3 SDR Peak Brightness
What it is: How bright the screen can get. Measured with local dimming and with SDR content.
When it matters: Bright living rooms; bright objects; SDR content.
SDR Real Scene
What it is: The maximum luminosity the monitor can obtain while playing a movie or while watching a TV show. Our Real Scene was selected to represent a more regular movie condition. All measurements are made with the TV set to be as bright as possible, but with a 6500k white. Measured with local dimming on, max backlight and with an SDR signal. Scene: here.
When it matters: When watching movies and TV shows in SDR.
Good value: > 300 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 30 cd/m²
:
273 cd/m²
SDR Peak 2% Window
What it is: The maximum luminosity, even if only maintained for a short time, of a white square covering 2% of the screen, with the monitor set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over SDR signal.
When it matters: Bright highlights, present on screen for a short time
:
292 cd/m²
SDR Peak 10% Window
What it is: The maximum luminosity, even if only maintained for a short time, of a white square covering 10% of the screen, with the monitor set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over SDR signal.
When it matters: Bright objects, present on screen for a short time
:
292 cd/m²
SDR Peak 25% Window
What it is: The maximum luminosity, even if only maintained for a short time, of a white square covering 25% of the screen, with the monitor set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over SDR signal.
When it matters: When watching in a bright room.
:
291 cd/m²
SDR Peak 50% Window
What it is: The maximum luminosity, even if only maintained for a short time, of a white square covering 50% of the screen, with the monitor set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over SDR signal.
When it matters: When watching in a bright room.
:
290 cd/m²
SDR Peak 100% Window
What it is: The maximum luminosity, even if only maintained for a short time, of a white square covering 100% of the screen, with the monitor set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over SDR signal.
When it matters: When watching in a bright room.
:
290 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 2% Window
What it is: The lowest maximum luminosity (usually after it has stabilized) of a white square covering 2% of the screen, with the monitor set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over SDR signal.
When it matters: Bright highlights, persistent during a scene.
:
291 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 10% Window
What it is: The lowest maximum luminosity (usually after it has stabilized) of a white square covering 10% of the screen, with the monitor set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over SDR signal.
When it matters: Bright objects, persistent during a scene.
:
291 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 25% Window
What it is: The lowest maximum luminosity (usually after it has stabilized) of a white square covering 25% of the screen, with the monitor set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over SDR signal.
When it matters: When watching in a bright room.
:
291 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 50% Window
What it is: The lowest maximum luminosity (usually after it has stabilized) of a white square covering 50% of the screen, with the monitor set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over SDR signal.
When it matters: When watching in a bright room.
:
290 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 100% Window
What it is: The lowest maximum luminosity (usually after it has stabilized) of a white square covering 100% of the screen, with the monitor set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over SDR signal.
When it matters: When watching in a bright room.
:
289 cd/m²
SDR ABL
What it is: The standard deviation of the SDR sustained brightness, after linearizing for noticeable differences in luminosity
When it matters: Content with large bright areas, such as for PC or video game use, and sports such as hockey
:
0.001

Decent peak brightness, in the same ballpark as the EW3270U. There is very little variation between scenes, so the brightness won't change while you're using it, unless B.I.+ mode is activated.

5.6 HDR Peak Brightness
What it is: How bright the screen can get. Measured with local dimming and with HDR content.
When it matters: HDR content
HDR Real Scene
What it is: The maximum luminosity the monitor can obtain while playing a movie or while watching a TV show. This scene was selected to represent a more realistic movie condition. All measurements are made with the monitor set to be as bright as possible, but with a 6500k white. Measured with local dimming, max backlight and over HDR signal. Scene: here.
When it matters: When watching movies or watching TV show in HDR.
Good value: > 550 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 80 cd/m²
:
246 cd/m²
HDR Peak 2% Window
What it is: The maximum luminosity, even if only maintained for a short time, of a white square covering 2% of the screen, with the monitor set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over HDR signal (if supported).
When it matters: Bright highlights, present on screen for a short time; especially for HDR content.
Good value: > 550 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 80 cd/m²
:
271 cd/m²
HDR Peak 10% Window
What it is: TThe maximum luminosity, even if only maintained for a short time, of a white square covering 10% of the screen, with the monitor set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over HDR signal (if supported).
When it matters: Bright objects, present on screen for a short time; especially for HDR content.
Good value: > 550 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 80 cd/m²
:
271 cd/m²
HDR Peak 25% Window
What it is: The maximum luminosity, even if only maintained for a short time, of a white square covering 25% of the screen, with the monitor set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over HDR signal (if supported).
When it matters: Bright rooms; bright objects in HDR video.
Good value: > 550 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 80 cd/m²
:
272 cd/m²
HDR Peak 50% Window
What it is: The maximum luminosity, even if only maintained for a short time, of a white square covering 50% of the screen, with the monitor set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over HDR signal (if supported).
When it matters: Bright rooms.
Good value: > 550 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 80 cd/m²
:
272 cd/m²
HDR Peak 100% Window
What it is: The maximum luminosity, even if only maintained for a short time, of a white square covering 100% of the screen, with the monitor set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over HDR signal (if supported).
When it matters: Bright rooms.
Good value: > 550 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 80 cd/m²
:
272 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 2% Window
What it is: The lowest maximum luminosity (usually after it has stabilized) of a white square covering 2% of the screen, with the monitor set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over HDR signal (if supported).
When it matters: Bright highlights, persistent throughout a scene; especially for HDR content.
Good value: > 550 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 80 cd/m²
:
270 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 10% Window
What it is: The lowest maximum luminosity (usually after it has stabilized) of a white square covering 10% of the screen, with the monitor set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over HDR signal (if supported).
When it matters: Bright highlights, persistent throughout a scene; especially for HDR content.
Good value: > 550 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 80 cd/m²
:
271 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 25% Window
What it is: The lowest maximum luminosity (usually after it has stabilized) of a white square covering 25% of the screen, with the monitor set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over HDR signal (if supported).
When it matters: Bright highlights, persistent throughout a scene; especially for HDR content.
Good value: > 550 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 80 cd/m²
:
272 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 50% Window
What it is: The lowest maximum luminosity (usually after it has stabilized) of a white square covering 50% of the screen, with the monitor set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over HDR signal (if supported).
When it matters: Bright rooms.
Good value: > 550 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 80 cd/m²
:
272 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 100% Window
What it is: The lowest maximum luminosity (usually after it has stabilized) of a white square covering 100% of the screen, with the monitor set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over HDR signal (if supported).
When it matters: Bright rooms.
Good value: > 550 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 80 cd/m²
:
272 cd/m²
HDR ABL
What it is: The coefficient of variation of the HDR sustained brightness, after linearizing for noticeable differences in luminosity
When it matters: HDR content with large bright areas, such as HDR gaming
Good value: <0.07
Noticeable difference: 0.01
:
0.001

Unfortunately, the EW2870U can't get very bright. While this can still deliver a decent experience when playing PC games in HDR that are mastered for lower brightness levels, it still falls short of the minimum DisplayHDR 400 requirements. It is far too dim to show off the creator's intent when watching movies in HDR.

5.3 Horizontal Viewing Angle
What it is: Color accuracy when viewed from the side.
BenQ EL2870U Horizontal Color Shift Picture
Color Shift from Left
What it is: Angle where the colors noticeable shift compared to when viewed from directly in front of the monitor. 0 ° means directly facing the monitor. Measurements are up to a maximum of 75 °.
When it matters: When sharing your monitor with people on your left
Good value: > 50°
Noticeable difference: 10°
:
28 °
Color Shift from Right
What it is: Angle where the colors noticeable shift compared to when viewed from directly in front of the monitor. 0 ° means directly facing the monitor. Measurements are up to a maximum of 75 °.
When it matters: When sharing your monitor with people on your right
Good value: > 50°
Noticeable difference: 10°
:
30 °
BenQ EL2870U Horizontal Brightness Picture
Brightness from Left
What it is: Angle where the brightness drops to 50% of the brightness directly in front of the monitor. 0 ° means directly facing the monitor. Measurements are up to a maximum of 75 °.
When it matters: When sharing your monitor with people on your left.
Good value: > 50°
Noticeable difference: 10°
:
45 °
Brightness from Right
What it is: Angle where the brightness drops to 50% of the brightness directly in front of the monitor. 0 ° means directly facing the monitor. Measurements are up to a maximum of 75 °.
When it matters: When sharing your monitor with people on your right.
Good value: > 50°
Noticeable difference: 10°
:
51 °
BenQ EL2870U Horizontal Black Level Picture
Black Level from Left
What it is: Angle where the black level drops to 50% of the black level directly in front of the monitor. 0 ° means directly facing the monitor. Measurements are up to a maximum of 75 °.
When it matters: When sharing your monitor with people on your right.
Good value: > 50°
Noticeable difference: 10°
:
28 °
Black Level from Right
What it is: Angle where the black level drops to 50% of the black level directly in front of the monitor. 0 ° means directly facing the monitor. Measurements are up to a maximum of 75 °.
When it matters: When sharing your monitor with people on your right.
Good value: > 50°
Noticeable difference: 10°
:
27 °
Curve Radius : N/A

Like most TN monitors, the EL2870U has disappointing horizontal viewing angles. When looking at the monitor at an angle, colors lose accuracy rapidly beyond about 30°, and at the same time, the contrast increases drastically. The brightness remains fairly consistent though, dropping to half at about 47°.

5.9 Vertical Viewing Angle
What it is: Color accuracy when viewed from the top or bottom.
BenQ EL2870U Vertical Color Shift Picture
Color Shift from Below
What it is: Angle where the colors noticeable shift compared to when viewed from directly in front of the monitor. 0 ° means directly facing the monitor. Measurements are up to a maximum of 75 °.
When it matters: When looking at a monitor from below.
Good value: > 50°
Noticeable difference: 10°
:
11 °
Color Shift from Above
What it is: Angle where the colors noticeable shift compared to when viewed from directly in front of the monitor. 0 ° means directly facing the monitor. Measurements are up to a maximum of 75 °.
When it matters: When looking at a monitor when standing up.
Good value: > 50°
Noticeable difference: 10°
:
38 °
BenQ EL2870U Vertical Brightness Picture
Brightness from Below
What it is: Angle where the brightness drops to 50% of the brightness directly in front of the monitor. 0 ° means directly facing the monitor. Measurements are up to a maximum of 75 °.
When it matters: When looking at a monitor from below.
Good value: > 50°
Noticeable difference: 10°
:
15 °
Brightness from Above
What it is: Angle where the brightness drops to 50% of the brightness directly in front of the monitor. 0 ° means directly facing the monitor. Measurements are up to a maximum of 75 °.
When it matters: When looking at a monitor while standing up.
Good value: > 50°
Noticeable difference: 10°
:
45 °
BenQ EL2870U Vertical Black Level Picture
Black Level from Below
What it is: Angle where the black level drops to 50% of the black level directly in front of the monitor. 0 ° means directly facing the monitor. Measurements are up to a maximum of 75 °.
When it matters: When looking at a monitor from below.
Good value: > 50°
Noticeable difference: 10°
:
20 °
Black Level from Above
What it is: Angle where the black level drops to 50% of the black level directly in front of the monitor. 0 ° means directly facing the monitor. Measurements are up to a maximum of 75 °.
When it matters: When looking at a monitor while standing up.
Good value: > 50°
Noticeable difference: 10°
:
39 °

The vertical viewing angles are almost as bad as the horizontal viewing angles. When looking at the EL2870U from above, you shouldn't have any issues, as it manages to stay accurate to a fairly wide angle of about 40°. From below though, colors shift rapidly beyond 11°, and the brightness drops by half at only 15°.

7.5 Gray Uniformity
What it is: Evenness of colors onscreen (not just gray).
When it matters: Solid colors. Sports, panning shots.
Score components:
BenQ EL2870U 50% Uniformity Picture
50% Std. Dev.
What it is: Average squared difference of pixels when displaying a mid 50% gray.
When it matters: Solid colors. Sports, panning shots.
Good value: < 2.5%
Noticeable difference: 1%
:
5.406 %
50% DSE
What it is: Dirty Screen Effect. High-frequency variance of uniformity. Dark spots on the screen.
When it matters: Solid colors. Sports, panning shots.
Good value: < 0.165%
Noticeable difference: 0.025%
:
0.134 %
BenQ EL2870U 5% Uniformity Picture
5% Std. Dev.
What it is: Average squared difference of pixels when displaying a mid 5% gray.
When it matters: Dark scenes.
Good value: < 1.15%
Noticeable difference: 1%
:
2.131 %
5% DSE
What it is: Dirty Screen Effect. High-frequency variance of uniformity. Dark spots on the screen.
When it matters: Dark scenes.
Good value: < 0.116%
:
0.082 %

Decent gray uniformity overall. There is above-average variation in the overall gray, but there is only slight dirty screen effect near the center, which shouldn't be too noticeable when browsing the web or streaming sports.

In near-dark scenes, the uniformity improves, but is still worse than average. There is very little dirty screen effect, which is good.

5.1 Black Uniformity
What it is: Evenness of blacks.
When it matters: Dark scenes viewed in a dark room.
Score components:
BenQ EL2870U Native Black Uniformity Picture
Native Std. Dev.
What it is: Average of the squared difference of the blacks.
When it matters: Dark scenes viewed in a dark room.
Good value: <2%
Noticeable difference: 1%, but keep in mind that it varies a lot by unit, even of the same model; yours likely will not end up exactly like ours.
:
2.580 %
Std. Dev. w/ L.D.
What it is: Average of the squared difference of the blacks with Local Dimming enabled
When it matters: Dark scenes viewed in a dark room.
Good value: <2%
Noticeable difference: 1%, but keep in mind that it varies a lot by unit, even of the same model; yours likely will not end up exactly like ours.
:
N/A

Disappointing black uniformity. There is noticeable edge bleed around the edges of the monitor. There are significant uniformity issues throughout the screen, and these are noticeable in some content.

8.0 Pre Calibration
What it is: Monitor's color accuracy before a full calibration. The measurements are taken with out of the box 'factory setting'.
When it matters: All video on an uncalibrated TV. This represents most people's use cases.
Score components:
BenQ EL2870U Pre Calibration Picture BenQ EL2870U Pre Gamma Curve Picture BenQ EL2870U Pre Color Picture
Picture Mode
What it is: The picture mode that was used to do the pre-calibration reading. We usually go for the picture mode that gives us the more control over all the picture quality setting.
:
User
Luminance
What it is: The luminance at which the pre-calibration reading was done. This represents the luminance of the monitor when it is at the factory default settings.
:
273 cd/m²
Luminance Settings
What it is: The luminance settings, often named 'Brightness' on monitors, usually range from 0 to 100.
:
100
Contrast Setting
What it is: The monitor contrast setting, usually ranging from 0 to 100.
:
50
RGB controls
What it is: This is the value for each color (red, green, and blue) used in the monitor internal RGB cuts/gains controls. If the monitor does not have an internal RGB cuts/gains controls, then the color temperature setting will be used instead, and the color temperature that gives us the best result will be used.
:
Normal
Color Temperature
What it is: The color temperature is a measure of the color of light. A colder color temperature (7000K) will look bluer and a warmer color temperature (4000K) will look yellower/redder. 6500K is the standard color for PC monitors and also for the sRGB color standard.
When it matters: When you care about color reproduction and accuracy.
Good value: 6500K
Noticeable difference: 400K
:
6396 K
White Balance dE
What it is: Average inaccuracy of shades of gray.
When it matters: Overall color temperature of all video.
Good value: < 3
Noticeable difference: 1
:
2.88
Color dE
What it is: Average inaccuracy of colors.
When it matters: All colors.
Good value: < 3
Noticeable difference: 1
:
2.16
Gamma
What it is: Brightness of shades of gray.
When it matters: Shadows.
Good value: Between 2.1 and 2.3 (our target is 2.2)
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
2.24

Out of the box, the EL2870U has great accuracy. White balance and color dE are both below 3, and even enthusiasts are unlikely to notice any inaccuracies. The color temperature is a bit warm, but not far from the target 6500 K. Gamma follows the target curve well, but some scenes appear a bit dimmer than they should.

9.6 Post Calibration
What it is: Monitor's color accuracy after a full calibration with a spectrophotometer.
When it matters: All graphics and video content on a monitor that has been professionally calibrated.
Score components:
BenQ EL2870U Post Calibration Picture BenQ EL2870U Post Gamma Curve Picture BenQ EL2870U Post Color Picture
Picture Mode
What it is: The picture mode that was used to do the calibration reading. We usually go for the picture mode that gives us the more control over all the picture quality setting.
:
User
Luminance
What it is: The luminance at which the calibration was executed. We aim for a luminance level of 100 cd/m².
:
100 cd/m²
Luminance Settings
What it is: The luminance settings, often named 'Brightness' on monitors, usually range from 0 to 100.
:
25
Contrast Setting
What it is: The monitor contrast setting, usually ranging from 0 to 100.
:
50
RGB Controls
What it is: This is the value for each color (red, green, and blue) used in the monitor internal RGB cuts/gains controls. If the monitor does not have an internal RGB cuts/gains controls, then the color temperature setting will be used instead, and the color temperature that gives us the best result will be used.
:
100-94-96
Color Temperature
What it is: The color temperature is a measure of the color of light. A colder color temperature (7000K) will look bluer and a warmer color temperature (4000K) will look yellower/redder. 6500K is the standard color for PC monitors and also for the sRGB color standard.
When it matters: When you care about color reproduction and accuracy.
Good value: 6500K
Noticeable difference: 400K
:
6442 K
White Balance dE
What it is: Average inaccuracy of shades of gray.
When it matters: Overall color temperature of all videos.
Good value: < 3
Noticeable difference: 1
:
0.44
Color dE
What it is: Average inaccuracy of colors.
When it matters: All colors.
Good value: < 3
Noticeable difference: 1
:
0.59
Gamma
What it is: Brightness of shades of gray.
When it matters: Shadows.
Good value: Between 2.1 and 2.3 (our target is 2.2)
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
2.18

After calibration, the EL2870U is nearly perfect. The white balance dE and color dE are so low, specialized equipment is needed to spot any inaccuracies. Gamma follows the target curve nearly perfectly. The overall color temperature is a bit closer to the target of 6500 K, but still a bit warm.

You can download our ICC profile calibration here. This is provided for reference only and should not be used, as the calibration values vary per individual unit even for the same model due to manufacturing tolerances.

8.6 SDR Color Gamut
What it is: The palette of colors the monitor can display
When it matters: General content consumption or production
Score components:
BenQ EL2870U Color Gamut sRGB Picture
sRGB xy
What it is: Coverage of the sRGB colorspace on CIE 1931 xy.
When it matters: Almost all content. Includes websites, standard windows environment and SDR movies
Good value: > 95%
Noticeable difference: 5%
:
96.7 %
BenQ EL2870U Color Gamut ARGB Picture
Adobe RGB xy
What it is: Coverage of the Adobe RGB colorspace on CIE 1931 xy.
When it matters: Professional photography.
Good value: > 90%
Noticeable difference: 5%
:
74.9 %

Excellent SDR color gamut. It covers nearly all of the s.RGB color space, which is good, but the Adobe RGB coverage is limiting for professional photo and video editing (see our recommendations for the best monitors for photo editing).

8.7 SDR Color Volume
What it is: How much of the SDR color spaces the monitor can reproduce
When it matters: General usage and SDR media creation
Score components:
BenQ EL2870U sRGB Color Volume ITP picture
sRGB in ICtCp
What it is: How much of the sRGB colorspace a monitor can display at different luminosity levels
When it matters: Most content, including web, SDR video games, and SDR media creation
:
94.7 %
BenQ EL2870U Adobe RGB Color Volume ITP Picture
Adobe RGB in ICtCp
What it is: How much of the Adobe RGB colorspace a monitor can display at different luminosity levels, normalized to the monitor's peak brightness.
When it matters: Professional media creation
:
78.4 %

Excellent SDR color volume. It has nearly perfect coverage in the s.RGB color space, which is great, but it can't produce deep, dark colors very well.

5.7 HDR Color Gamut
What it is: The monitor's ability to reproduce HDR color spaces
When it matters: HDR content consumption or media creation
Score components:
Wide Color Gamut
What it is: Whether the monitor can support wider color gamuts
When it matters: HDR content and media creation
:
No
BenQ EL2870U Color Gamut DCI-P3 Picture
DCI P3 xy
What it is: Coverage of the DCI P3 colorspace on CIE 1931 xy
When it matters: When consuming or producing HDR content.
:
62.4 %
BenQ EL2870U Color Gamut Rec.2020 Picture
Rec. 2020 xy
What it is: Coverage of the Rec.2020 colorspace on CIE 1931 xy.
When it matters: When consuming or producing HDR content.
Good value: > 90%
Noticeable difference: 5%
:
51.5 %

Disappointing HDR color gamut. There is very little difference in the gamut between HDR and SDR, so HDR content will not look as vibrant as it should.

4.8 HDR Color Volume
What it is: How much of the HDR color spaces a monitor can display at different luminosity levels.
When it matters: HDR content consumption and production. Includes streaming services, UHD Blu-rays and HDR games.
Score components:
BenQ EL2870U P3 Color Volume ITP Picture
DCI-P3 in ICtCp
What it is: How much of the DCI-P3 colorspace a monitor can display at different luminosity levels, normalized to the monitor's peak brightness output.
When it matters: HDR content.
Good value: 80%
Noticeable difference: 5%
:
50.5 %
BenQ EL2870U 2020 Color Volume ITP Picture
Rec. 2020 in ICtCp
What it is: How much of the Rec. 2020 colorspace a monitor can display at different luminosity levels, normalized to the monitor's peak brightness output.
When it matters: HDR content.
Good value: 80 %
Noticeable difference: 5 %
:
45.8 %

The EL2870U has bad HDR color volume. It is limited by the HDR color gamut, the disappointing HDR peak brightness, and the contrast ratio. These results are much worse than the EW3270U.

10 Image Retention
What it is: How much a static image is retained on a monitor screen after a certain amount of time.
When it matters: When working or playing video games on your PC monitor.
BenQ EL2870U Image Retention Picture
IR after 0 min recovery
What it is: Image retention measured right after the static image exposure, without recovery time.
When it matters: When changing use or right after changing the type of on screen content (i.e. stopping playing video game to watch a movie).
Good value: 0 is perfect.
Noticeable difference: 0.015%
:
0.00 %
IR after 2 min recovery
What it is: Image retention measured after a recovery time of 2 minutes.
When it matters: When changing use or right after changing the type of on screen content (i.e. stopping playing video game to watch a movie).
Good value: 0 is perfect
Noticeable difference: 0.015%
:
0.00 %
IR after 4 min recovery
What it is: Image retention measured after a recovery time of 4 minutes.
When it matters: When changing use or right after changing the type of on screen content (i.e. stopping playing video game to watch a movie).
Good value: 0 is perfect.
Noticeable difference: 0.015%
:
0.00 %
IR after 6 min recovery
What it is: Image retention measured after a recovery time of 6 minutes.
When it matters: When changing use or right after changing the type of on screen content (i.e. stopping playing video game to watch a movie).
Good value: 0 is perfect.
Noticeable difference: 0.015%
:
0.00 %
IR after 8 min recovery
What it is: Image retention measured after a recovery time of 8 minutes.
When it matters: When changing use or right after changing the type of on screen content (i.e. stopping playing video game to watch a movie).
Good value: 0 is perfect.
Noticeable difference: 0.015%
:
0.00 %
IR after 10 min recovery
What it is: Image retention measured after a recovery time of 10 minutes.
When it matters: When changing use or right after changing the type of on screen content (i.e. stopping playing video game to watch a movie).
Good value: 0 is perfect.
Noticeable difference: 0.015%
:
0.00 %

There are no signs of temporary image retention, even immediately after showing our high contrast static torture test for 10 minutes.

9.8 Gradient
What it is: How finely levels of color can be displayed.
When it matters: Details in shadows, sky and skin tones. Matters more for HDR content.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
BenQ EL2870U Gradient Picture
Color Depth
What it is: Number of bits per pixel to represent a specific color. Note: we consider 8-bit with dithering to be equivalent to 10-bit, as long as the 10-bit gradient looks smooth.
When it matters: HDR content like HDR video games or HDR UHD movies. Won't matter for regular Blu-ray movies, SDR video game or desktop environment content displayed from a Windows PC. Those are limited to 8-bit color.
Good value: 10-bit.
Noticeable difference: 1 bit.
:
10 Bit

Outstanding gradient performance. There is some banding in dark shades, but this shouldn't detract from the viewing experience in any way. These results are among the best, and better than most TN monitors, similar to the Samsung UE590 and AOC AG271QX

10 Color Bleed
What it is: How much the color from one area of the screen affects the color in another area of the screen.
When it matters: All usages, but especially media creation.
Score components:
BenQ EL2870U Color bleed horizontal
Pixel row error
What it is: The amount of bleed that appears across the screen horizontally.
When it matters: General usage of a PC monitor, can appear when browsing the web or with media creation like graphics.
Good value: <0.2%
Noticeable difference: 0.1%
:
0.000 %
BenQ EL2870U Color bleed vertical
Pixel column error
What it is: Amount of color bleeding that appears across the screen vertically.
When it matters: Most uses of a PC monitor. Can appear while browsing the web or when editing images or graphics.
Good value: <0.2%
Noticeable difference: 0.1%
:
0.000 %

There is no color bleed at all, which is great.

7.5 Reflections
What it is: How much light is reflected by the TV.
When it matters: Bright rooms.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
BenQ EL2870U Average room BenQ EL2870U Average room off picture BenQ EL2870U Bright room off picture

Overall, the EL2870U has good reflections handling, similar to the Dell S2417DG. There shouldn't be any issues with indirect lights, but light sources directly opposite the screen may cause some issues.

8.0

Motion

Score components:

The BenQ EL2870U has great motion handling. It has a great response time that produces only a short blur trail behind fast-moving objects, and there is only a bit of overshoot. It also supports FreeSync over HDMI and DisplayPort, which is great, and the backlight is flicker-free. It has a maximum refresh rate of 60 Hz, which is okay for casual gamers, but may disappoint more experienced users.

8.8 Motion Blur
What it is: The performance of the pixel response time. Poor response time causes trails to follow moving objects. Response time is one of a few sources of motion blur.
When it matters: When there's fast movement on screen, such as during video games and sports.
Score components:
BenQ EL2870U Motion Blur Picture BenQ EL2870U Response Time Chart
80% Response Time
What it is: How quickly pixels can reach 80% of a full transition from one color to another.
When it matters: When there's fast movement on screen, such as during video games and sports.
Good value: < 8 ms
Noticeable difference: 4 ms
:
3.4 ms
100% Response Time
What it is: How quickly pixels can fully transition from one color to another.
When it matters: When there's fast movement on screen, such as during video games and sports.
Good value: < 20 ms
Noticeable difference: 10 ms
:
17.3 ms
Best Overdrive Setting
What it is: If the monitor has adjustable pixel overdrive settings, which one produces the best response time with minimal overshoot.
When it matters: When adjusting the monitor's settings to get the least possible motion blur.
:
High

Response Time Off
Response Time High
Response Time Premium

The BenQ EL2870U has an excellent fast response time. There are three different settings for the response time, and we recommend the 'High' setting, as it produces the fastest response time with the least amount of overshoot. The 'Off' setting results in significant undershoot in most transitions, resulting in a slower overall response time, and the 'Premium' setting results in significant overshoot.

7.5 Image Flicker
What it is: Luminosity pattern when displaying images
When it matters: Nearly all the time during PC monitor use, but especially during fast movement such as video games
BenQ EL2870U Backlight Picture
Flicker-free : Yes
PWM Dimming Frequency
What it is: Flickering pattern at different luminosities.
When it matters: For people sensitive to flickering.
Good value: N/A or high frequencies (> 300 Hz). Frequencies that are multiples of 60Hz are better.
:
0 Hz
Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
What it is: Option to turn screen black between frames
When it matters: Reduces eye tracking blur in motion
Good value: Yes
:
No
BFI Maximum Frequency
What it is: Highest possible frequency of flickering pattern
When it matters: Reduces eye-tracking blur in motion
Good value: Matches the native refresh rate
Noticeable difference: 20 Hz
:
N/A
BFI Minimum Frequency
What it is: Lowest possible frequency of flickering pattern
When it matters: Reduces eye-tracking blur in motion
Good value: 60 Hz
Noticeable difference: 20 Hz
:
N/A

The EL2870U, like the EW3270U, is completely flicker-free, which is great. Unfortunately, there is no option to add flicker in order to reduce persistence blur.

7.8 Refresh Rate
What it is: How frequently the monitor can refresh and show new frames, and whether it can vary its refresh rate in real time using technologies like G-sync and FreeSync.
When it matters: Mostly for gaming, but does provide a little better motion during normal usage.
Native
What it is: The frequency at which the monitor is capable of displaying images every second
When it matters: General usage, but better results are most important for gaming
Good value: >100 Hz
Noticeable difference: 15 Hz
:
60 Hz
Factory Overclock
What it is: The frequency at which the monitor's can be boosted to using its internal menu.
When it matters: Gaming and other usages where high frame rate content is consumed.
Good value: >100
Noticeable difference: 15
:
N/A
Variable Refresh Rate
What it is: Feature that allows the monitor to synchronize its refresh rate with the input device's output and reduces stuttering and screen tearing.
When it matters: Almost every usage, but is most noticeable in gaming where constant fluctuation in framerate cause distracting artifacts.
:
FreeSync
G-SYNC Compatible
What it is: We test for FreeSync compatibility with an NVIDIA GTX1060. We check for any excess blur, screen blanking, or excess tearing, and confirm the variable refresh rate range.
When it matters: If you have an NVIDIA graphics card.
Good value: Yes
:
Yes
VRR Maximum
What it is: The maximum frequency covered by the Variable Refresh Rate feature of the monitor.
When it matters: Any time the VRR feature is enabled.
Good value: Matches Refresh rate
Noticeable difference: 10 Hz
:
60 Hz
VRR Minimum
What it is: The lowest frequency covered by the monitor's Variable Refresh Rate feature.
When it matters: When using the VRR feature of the monitor at lower frame rates.
Good value: 30 Hz
:
40 Hz
VRR Maximum With OC
What it is: The maximum frequency covered by the Variable Refresh Rate feature when the monitor's overclocking feature is used.
When it matters: When both the overclocking and VRR features are used.
Good value: Matching the overclocked refresh rate.
Noticeable difference: 10 hz
:
N/A
VRR Supported Connectors : DisplayPort, HDMI

The BenQ EL2870U supports a maximum 60 Hz refresh rate, which may be disappointing to more serious gamers. It does support FreeSync though, which is great, and the full VRR range is available to both HDMI connections and the DisplayPort connection. Unfortunately, low framerate compensation (LFC) is not supported, so you may still experience some tearing when the frame rate drops below the VRR minimum.

Update 01/15/2019: We have tested the EL2870U with the new NVIDIA G-Sync compatible drivers. FreeSync can be manually enabled from NVIDIA Control Panel with the EL2870U, and it works without any major issues.

9.0

Inputs

Score components:

The BenQ EL2870U has excellent low input lag in any mode, which is great. It has a large 28" screen, and the 4k native resolution is great for multitasking, although it doesn't provide as much screen real-estate as larger Ultrawide monitors. It has a good selection of inputs, so you can easily connect your PC and a console or two, great if you don't have enough space for a TV and monitor.

8.9 Input Lag
What it is: Delay between input and onscreen reaction.
When it matters: General usage of the mouse and gaming.
Native Resolution
What it is: Lowest input lag possible at the center of the screen, when the monitor is displaying its native resolution at its native refresh rate.
When it matters: General usage and while playing video games.
Good value: < 15 ms
Noticeable difference: 5 ms
:
8.8 ms
Non-Native Res @ Native Refresh
What it is:

Lowest input lag possible at the center of the screen, when the monitor is displaying an alternative resolution at its native refresh rate. The non-native resolution tested depends on the native resolution of the monitor, following this pattern unless otherwise specified in the Input Lag text:

Native Resolution Non-Native Resolution Tested
4k UHD QHD
QHD FHD
FHD 1600x900
3440x1440 2560x1080
2560x1080 1920x1080
When it matters: General usage as well as gaming.
Good value: < 15 ms
Noticeable difference: 5 ms
:
9.1 ms
Native Resolution @ 60 Hz
What it is: Lowest input lag possible at the center of the screen, when the monitor is displaying its native resolution at a refresh rate of 60 Hz.
When it matters: General usage as well as gaming.
Good value: < 15 ms
Noticeable difference: 5 ms
:
8.8 ms
Variable Refresh Rate
What it is: Lowest input lag possible at the center of the screen, when the monitor is using its Variable Refresh Rate feature at its native resolution.
When it matters: General usage as well as gaming.
Good value: < 15 ms
Noticeable difference: 5 ms
:
9.7 ms
HDR
What it is: Lowest input lag possible at the center of the screen, when the monitor is displaying an HDR signal at its native resolution and refresh rate.
When it matters: General usage as well as gaming.
Good value: < 15 ms
Noticeable difference: 5 ms
:
8.8 ms
Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
What it is: Lowest input lag possible at the center of the screen, when BFI is enabled and the monitor is displaying a signal at the highest supported BFI refresh rate.
When it matters: General usage as well as gaming.
Good value: < 15 ms
Noticeable difference: 5 ms
:
N/A

Excellent low input lag, typical of 60 Hz monitors. Unlike most monitors, there is slightly higher input lag when using FreeSync, although it is still low enough to be good for most gamers.

9.1 Resolution and Size
What it is: The number of pixels the monitor can display, and the surface area of its screen.
When it matters: All usages, but especially for office and media editing.
Score components:
Native Resolution : 3840 x 2160
Aspect Ratio : 16:9
Megapixels : 8.3 MP
Pixel Density : 161 PPI
Screen Diagonal : 27.9 inches
Screen Area : 329 sq inches

The 28" screen and 4k native resolution is great for multitasking, as you can easily place multiple windows side-by-side.

Inputs
Total Inputs
DisplayPort : 1 (DP 1.4)
Mini DisplayPort : No
HDMI : 2 (HDMI 2.0)
DVI : No
VGA : No
DisplayPort Out : No
USB : No
USB C : No
Analog Audio Out 3.5mm : 1
Microphone In 3.5mm : No
Digital Optical Audio Out : No
Analog Audio Out RCA : No

Both HDMI ports support the full bandwidth of HDMI 2.0, great if you are planning on connecting a 4k console to it. It also supports HDCP 2.2, so you won't have any issues watching 4k UHD Blu-rays on it. There is a single audio out port with controllable volume, which is useful for a quick headphone connection.

Features

The BenQ EL2870U has a few additional features. It supports HDR and has internal speakers, which is great. It has an optional B.I. + mode, that uses an integrated ambient light sensor to adjust the color temperature automatically. There is also a separate OS-independent Blue-light filter, if you only want to remove blue light at night, without the color temperature changing throughout the day.

Additional Features
What it is: Additional features found on the monitor
Speakers
What it is: Whether or not the monitor features standalone speakers.
When it matters: When using your computer without headphones or a dedicated pair of speakers.
:
Yes
HDR10 : Yes

The EL2870U has a few additional features, very similar to the EW3270U:

  • M-book mode: This mode adjusts the picture settings to closely match the look of a Macbook.
  • Super Resolution: Like the feature of the same name found on LG monitors, this adjusts the upscaling of lower resolution content
  • B.I. +: There is a sensor protruding from the bottom bezel of the monitor that is used to adjust the color temperature based on the ambient lighting.

On-Screen Display (OSD)
Controls
BenQ EL2870U Controls picture

The controls are identical to the EW3270U. There is a dedicated HDR control button that enables HDR simulation when not in HDR, and can also be used to toggle the B.I.+ sensor on or off.

In The Box
BenQ EL2870U In The Box picture

  • Manual
  • Driver CD
  • Power Cable
  • HDMI Cable

Differences between Sizes and Variants

We tested the 28" EL2870U, which is the only size available in this model. There are other models in the same family of BenQ monitors, some which are listed below, but we do not expect them to perform the same as the EL2870U that we've tested.

If someone comes across a different type of panel or if their BenQ EL2870U doesn't correspond to our review, let us know and we will update the review. Note that some tests such as the gray uniformity may vary between individual units.

Model Size Resolution Refresh Rate Notes
EL2870U 28" 4k 60 Hz FreeSync, HDR, B.I.+ Sensor
EW3270U 32" 4k 60 Hz FreeSync, HDR, B.I.+ Sensor
EX3203R 32" 1440p 144 Hz FreeSync, B.I.+ Sensor, Curved
EW2775ZH 27" 1080p 60 Hz B.I. Sensor
EW2770QZ 27" 1440p 60 Hz B.I.+ Sensor

The EL2870U we reviewed was manufactured in August 2018.

Compared to other Monitors

BenQ EL2870U Group Shot Picture
Left: LG 27UK650. Middle: BenQ EL2870U. Right: LG 27UD68P-B
Unlike our other photographs, this picture wasn't taken under a controlled environment, so do not draw conclusions from it.

The BenQ EL2870U is a decent monitor, but there are better choices in the same price range. See our recommendations for the best 28-32 inch monitors, the best 4k HDR monitors, and the best 4k monitors.

LG 27UK650-W

The LG 27UK650 is significantly better than the BenQ EL2870U. The two monitors have different panel type, but very similar motion handling and equally low input lag. However, the LG is better overall as it has better picture quality, with wider viewing angles, better uniformity, and you can position it comfortably with ease. Finally, the LG has a better HDR performance as it can get brighter and display a wider gamut of colors.

BenQ EW3270U

The BenQ EW3270U is better than the BenQ EL2870U. The EW3270U has a much better native contrast ratio, and better black uniformity. The EW3270U also has better HDR performance, as it can display a wide color gamut.

Samsung UE590

The BenQ EL2870U is much better than the Samsung UE590. The EL2870U supports HDR, although this doesn't add much. The EL2870U also has slightly better motion handling, as the backlight is completely flicker-free at all brightness settings. Although both monitors support FreeSync, the EL2870U supports it over DisplayPort and HDMI, whereas the UE590 only supports FreeSync over DisplayPort.

LG 32UD59-B

The LG 32UD59-B is better than the BenQ EL2870U. The LG has a larger screen, and the VA panel delivers better dark room performance. The LG also has a slightly more versatile stand, and the image remains accurate when viewed at an angle. The EL2870U supports HDR, although this doesn't add much.

LG 29UM69G-B

The BenQ EL2870U and LG 29UM69G-B use different panels, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. The 29UM69G-B uses an IPS panel, which delivers wider viewing angles, and it has a higher native refresh rate. The EL2870U has a TN panel, with a much higher resolution 4k screen that is better for multitasking, and it supports HDR, although this doesn't add much.

+ Show more

Conclusion
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7.2Mixed Usage
Score components:
The BenQ EL2870U is a decent monitor overall. It performs well as a casual gaming monitor since it supports FreeSync and has excellent low input lag. Unfortunately, it doesn't look as good in a dark room, and although it supports HDR, there is little benefit to enabling it, and the narrow viewing angles make it a bit less versatile.
Decent monitor for office use. The 28", 4k screen is great for multitasking, and it has a good selection of inputs. Unfortunately, it has disappointing viewing angles, and the stand has terrible ergonomics, making it difficult to place in an ideal viewing position.
Good gaming monitor for casual gamers. It has great motion handling, and it has excellent low input lag. It supports FreeSync, which is great, but it has a maximum 60 Hz refresh rate, which may disappoint more serious gamers. It gets bright enough for even a well-lit room, but it isn't as well suited for dark rooms.
Decent monitor for multimedia. The 4k, 28" screen is great for watching UHD movies, but unfortunately, HDR support is limited and it can't show movies the way the creator intended. Unfortunately, it isn't as well suited for watching movies at night due to the sub-par native contrast and disappointing black uniformity.
Decent monitor for creating media. It has low input lag and a fast response time, giving the monitor a very responsive feel. It has an excellent SDR color gamut, but coverage of the wider Adobe RGB color space is less than ideal for professional photo or video editing.
Mediocre monitor for HDR gaming. It has good overall gaming performance, but HDR doesn't add much, as it can't get very bright and can't display a wide color gamut. For a better HDR gaming monitor, check out the Samsung CHG70.

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