With 4K playing the role of poster child for the high-resolution display generation and "cinematic" 21:9 monitors providing an intriguing alternative, you could be forgiven for thinking that 2560 x 1440 pixel-resolution panels have been left in the dark in recent times.

However, despite no longer being the flashiest panels on the block, they still have a place among professionals who need ample desktop real-estate without having to worry about Windows 8.1's scaling issues when used at higher resolutions. They're also much more affordable than in recent years.

Aimed squarely at a particular subset of professionals, BenQ claims that the 27-inch BL2710pt has been designed with CAD/CAM users in mind and has been manufactured for pinpoint colour accuracy.

While the monitor was initially retailing at around £600 (around $988, or AUS$1,057), it has seen a price drop in recent months and you can now pick it up from certain online outlets for around £390 (around US$642, or AUS$688).

Design

The BL2710PT doesn't possess the most eye-catching design you'll ever find on a monitor, clad heavily in matte black plastic with a thick bezel that houses the silver BenQ logo. Best described as "workmanlike", it could be either viewed as ugly or - on the other hand - exactly what you might want from a professional panel.

A space-ious display

The stand rotates to lock into the heavy rectangular base, which features a recessed tray that, although part of the design, comes in useful for storing pens, notes and other items that inevitably accumulate under monitors over time. The stand also features a circular cut out that can be used to feed through cables in a tidy manner.

The panel can be rotated 90 degrees into portrait mode and raised and lowered on its stand by around 5.5 inches, in addition to being ttilted forwards and backwards (by -5 degrees and -20 degrees respectively). It can also be tilted side-to-side by 45 degrees, allowing content to be easily shared with another person.

Connectivity and menus

There are no shortage of options on the connectivity front, with two USB 3.0 ports sitting on the left-hand side of the device and two USB 2.0 ports at the rear. Input options include HDMI, DVI-D, VGA and audio-in.

Menu controls
What do these do again?

Along the bottom-right hand bezel are the monitor's menu controls, which are touch-activated and light up when pressed. Among their functions are the ability to view picture presets - including sRGB, Present (presentation), Standard, Photo, Movie, Reading, Eco and User (which is user configurable). There's also an M-book mode for optimisation when used with a MacBook.

They're easy enough to use and are plenty responsive, but because there are no labels either on the bezel or on the screen until you delve into the second tier of menus, sp you'll have to make a mental note of what each one does.

Performance

The BL2710PT boasts vibrant colours and deep blacks. At 27 inches, 1440p delivers a PPI of 109, which may seem low compared to "Retina" displays that sport PPI measurements of 300 and beyond. However, as the monitor is viewed from a further distance than smartphones or tablets that PPI is adequate, and text and images are rendered adequately crisp and sharp.

The monitor uses in-plane-switching (IPS), which has been known to afford better viewing angles than TN and TFT panels. Viewing angles are very good both horizontally and vertically, living up to BenQ's 178-degree claims without resulting in any colour shift, over or under saturation.

More important for CAD/CAM professionals is the display's colour accuracy, an area that the panel scored top marks in. When tested with our colour calibration tool, the BL2710PT was found to cover 100% of the sRGB colour space, giving it top marks out of the box. This was achieved under the CAD/CAM picture setting pre-set, which provided the richest and most vibrant colours over other picture modes.

Final verdict

An unremarkable-looking monitor with a rich set of connectivity options and high colour accuracy out of the box, the BenQ BL2710PT is a much more attractive option following recent price drops in the face of increasingly affordable 4K monitors. It's also one of the most flexible IPS monitors we've come across that delivers some of the best viewing angles, and its low 4ms response time makes it an option for multimedia professionals who delve into gaming from time to time.