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 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.
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.
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.
The borders are a bit thicker than average, with a thicker bezel that surrounds the entire panel.
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.
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.
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.
Local dimming is not supported on this monitor. The above video is for reference only.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
There is no color bleed at all, which is great.
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 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.
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.
The 28" screen and 4k native resolution is great for multitasking, as you can easily place multiple windows side-by-side.
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 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 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 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 BenQ EX2780Q is much better than the BenQ EL2870U. The EX2780Q's IPS panel has much better viewing angles, contrast ratio, and black uniformity. It also has a much higher refresh rate, as well as a lower input lag. On the other hand, the EL2870U has a 4k resolution, which is better for productivity, and better color accuracy out of the box.
The Dell U2720Q performs significantly better than the BenQ EL2870U for most uses. The Dell has much better ergonomics, it gets much brighter, and it has wider viewing angles due to its IPS panel. Also, the Dell supports HDR, its black uniformity is much better, and it has more connectivity options. However, the BenQ has a faster response time and is more color accurate out of the box.
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 Acer Predator XB273K and the BenQ EL2870U have different panels, each with advantages and disadvantages. In this case, however, the XB273K is much better in most aspects. The XB273 has a faster native refresh rate, better viewing angles, a faster response time that delivers crisper motion, and you can position it to your liking with ease. The BenQ is slightly larger.
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.