BenQ ew2430

On paper and at first acquaintence, the BenQ EW2430 really socks it to you. The spec list is frankly to die for. First there's that VA panel packing an LED backlight and 1920 x 1080 pixels. Of course, full HD is nothing special in 2011. But dig a little deeper and some outrageously good numbers emerge.

Most impressive is the 3000:1 static contrast – among the best we've seen. Next up are 178 degree viewing angles in both planes, and pixel response of 8ms. The latter may be ordinary rather than revolutionary but, overall, it's an awfully promising package.

The BenQ EW2430 is an imposing physical specimen, of a PC monitor too. OK, the stand offers only tilt adjustment. But the combination of glossly black bezel with brushed and anodised surfaces communicates quality in a manner that few, if any, competing sub-£200 screens manage. The feature set, which includes two HDMI ports, DVI and VGA along with a four-port USB header, is solid, too.

All of this makes it all the more disappointing to report that the image quality isn't what we were expecting. Out of the box, it's immediately apparent that the BenQ EW2430 is short on visual punch. The LED backlight is rated at 250cd/m2. That's pretty modest, but if anything maximum brightness feels nearer 200cd/m2.

The result is a slightly dingy overall feel, along with dull white tones. The viewing angles are relatively poor for a VA panel monitor, too. But the real killer involves pixel response. We've not seen a screen with blurring and smearing this bad for several years.

We liked

BenQ's use of VA panel technology for this PC monitor has plenty of benefits. Black tones are far deeper and inkier than any TN screen could possibly hope to achieve. The colours are much more realistic and detailed, too.

BenQ has also bequeathed the EW2430 a lovely chassis and plenty of video input options.

We disliked

After the glories of the older EW2420, the EW2430 is a crushing disappointment. The LED backlight is dull, the viewing angles ordinary and the pixel response frankly shonky. We hope BenQ addresses these issues rapidly, or the risk is that all cheap VA screens will get a bad name.

Final verdict

The VA panel in this LED monitor promised so much, but the reality is a distinct disappointment.