Tested: BenQ 27-inch SW271C photo-editing monitor


BenQ’s latest image-editing monitor promises accurate colours, improved workflow tools, and better features than its predecessor. We brought one in to see how it performs.

If there’s one thing COVID-19 has shown us, it’s the importance of having your home office setup optimised for photography and editing.

Up until recently, the weakness of my own arrangement at home would easily be my monitor, and long hours hunched over a 13-inch Macbook Pro had shown me that my images (and my back) could really benefit from having something more established on my desk for both my own image-editing and work – enter the BenQ SW271C.

The sweet spot

The SW271C is BenQ’s latest 27-inch image-editing monitor and its headline specs include 99% of the Adobe RGB colour gamut, and support for more vibrant and true-to-life colour through Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) in addition to HDR10.

The monitor also has a number of new features for videographers, including the ability to display 24p, 25p, and 30p video at native frame rates. And usefully, a number of SDI to HDMI devices are compatible with the SW271C, allowing videographers to transfer uncompressed video to the display.

We’ve long advocated the benefits of image-editing monitors for photographers, but in a nutshell the ability to edit with accurate colour can be the difference between an image that pops as the photographer intended and one that doesn’t. One of my lockdown projects has been teaching myself the basics of colour grading and doing this on a monitor like the SW271C that’s optimised for this exact type of thing has been a godsend. But it’s really printing where a monitor like this is especially useful for photographers.

A wide gamut monitor, the SW271C is Pantone validated, and comes both Calman Ready and Calman Verified – two important indicators of colour uniformity. As an upgrade over its predecessor, the monitor also now supports third-party calibration as well.

BenQ’s ‘Paper Colour Sync’ software is included with the SW271C. This produces simulated previews for different colour settings, printers, and paper types, allowing you to preview a photographic print on your display. It’s especially useful to use in the final steps before you print.

However, the other reason you might consider an image-editing monitor for your own editing is the oodles of fine detail suddenly revealed in your work. For assessing sharpness throughout your frame or just eyeballing the fine feather details on a bird’s wings, the jump from a typical LCD monitor to something like this is so dramatic I’d go as far as to say once you’ve experienced it, you’ll never go back to a lesser monitor. And this is coming from someone who’s used a MacBook Pro and its hi-res Retina screen for a number of years.

Out of the box

Once unpacked, setting up the SW271C is a doddle. There’s a variety of cable options included: USB-C/Thunderbolt, USB 3, HDMI, and DP to Mini DP. The addition of USB-C is a welcome one, especially for video editors who want to take advantage of 4K video, along with MacBook Pro users like myself, and USB-C 60W power delivery is also supported. This means your monitor can also charge your USB-C laptop while connected – a great feature.

Because photographers will often need to change settings on their monitors more frequently than the average user, BenQ includes a hotkey ‘puck’, with the newest Hotkey Puck Gen2 included here. This connects via its own dedicated port and now has a more premium feel and design over the earlier generations.

The device is used to make changes to the OSD (on screen display) straightforward and simple, and allows for quick switches between sRGB, Adobe RGB, and black and white modes, however these can be reassigned to your own mix if you prefer. The Hotkey Puck also gives access to GamutDuo mode, which lets you preview the same image in two colour gamuts side-by-side.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that the SW271C was very colour accurate using its generic profile in both the SRGB and Adobe colour spaces right out of the box. I really appreciated that the monitor came with its own calibration report from the factory, which indicates the defaults and is a useful reference if calibration is new to you.

The 27-inch monitor can be easily switched between landscape and portrait orientation.
The 27-inch monitor can be easily switched between landscape and portrait orientation.

The panel

At 27 inches, the size of the BenQ SW271C is really in the sweet spot for editing – it’s not so big that it takes up your whole desk, and it plays nicely with most software too – some bigger monitors run into issues with software that isn’t designed to be natively exported at such a large size.

It can be easily switched between landscape and portrait orientation on its mount, there’s a neatly integrated holder for the puck, and the monitor’s overall styling is quite nice in an industrial way.

BenQ have done a fantastic job of designing a monitor that’s usable even when in very bright conditions. The anti-glare/anti-reflection matte finish of the screen helps control glare effectively. Having said that, the included shade hood is a fantastic addition helping to reduce any stray light that may impact your editing.

The wrap-up

BenQ have hit a home run with the SW271C. It’s a great size, displays fantastic yet customisable colour uniformity, is beautifully sharp, and has very little glare. With an RRP of $2,499 it’s no small purchase, but if you’re serious about editing and exporting your work to the highest level, you’ll find the SW271C a more than capable partner.

The specs

 Screen Size

 27 inches (diagonally)

 Resolution (max.) 

 3840 x 2160 pixels

 Panel Type




 Response Time


 Refresh Rate


 Aspect Ratio


 Display Colours

 1.07 billion colours


 300 nits

 Colour Gamut

 99% AdobeRGB, 90% P3, 100% sRGB, 

 Display Area

 596.16 x 335.34mm‎

 Pixel Pitch


 Viewing Angle

 178° (left/right), 178° (up/down)


 HDR10 / Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG)

 Colour Temp

 5000°K / 6500°K/ 9300°K / Custom / User Defined


 HDMI (v2.0) x 2, DisplayPort (v1.4), USB 3.1 Downstream x 2,
 USB 3.1 Upstream x 1, USB Type-C, SD/SDHC/SDXC/MMC card reader

 Display Screen

 Anti-glare / Anti-reflection

 (eye care)



 16 bit


 $2,499 RRP

 More info