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). If you need a monitor with wider Adobe RGB coverage, check out the LG 32UL500-W.
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.