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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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°.
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°.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
There are no signs of temporary image retention, even immediately after showing our high contrast static torture test for 10 minutes.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The EL2870U has a few additional features, very similar to the EW3270U:
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.
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.
|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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Dell U2719D is a bit better than the BenQ EL2870U. The U2719D has significantly better ergonomics, wider viewing angles, and better gray uniformity. The EL2870U, on the other hand, supports HDR, although this doesn't add much, and it has better black uniformity and a higher resolution screen. The EL2870U also supports FreeSync, for a nearly tear-free gaming experience.
The LG UltraFine 4k is a bit better than the BenQ EL2870U for most uses. The LG has better viewing angles, better uniformity, and slightly better ergonomics. The BenQ EL2870U, on the other hand, supports HDR, has better reflection handling, and has a flicker-free backlight.