BenQ T701 17" LCD Monitor

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A Great Opportunity to go LCD...

Oct 16, 2005 (Updated Jul 7, 2006)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Excellent

  • Ease of Use:

Pros:Great price, good picture quality, good design

Cons:Technology is a little behind the times; black levels aren't great.

The Bottom Line: A worthy successor to the FP731.


My current employment has me responsible for digitizing a reserve of 35 000 files, with the earliest miscellany being from the late 1940’s. On top of being a mind-numbing job, it requires some rather fancy computer equipment, topping out with a specially-designed and ridiculously overpriced $8000 scanner. On the lower end of all this equipment is but a mere entry-level LCD monitor, the BenQ T701.

A year ago I purchased a new personal computer, and with it opted for the BenQ FP731 LCD monitor. The T701 is simply its successor, released at about the time I purchased the FP731, and is now discontinued but still available in a few places at a great price. I can’t seem to conclusively find out what has officially taken the T701’s place (best guess is the FP71G), and I also have searched long and hard to find out what’s different about the T701 from the FP731. I looked at spec sheets and have played around with the monitors and don’t have much to say. As far as I can tell, the only difference is that the contrast ratio went down from 500:1 to 450:1, and the physical dimensions changed by about a tenth of a millimeter. For all intensive purposes, the T701 is identical to the FP731, and for that reason parts of this review are identical to that of my earlier review of the FP731, but with comparisons made.

Out of the Box
The T701 has a slim bezel that comes in either black or silver, removing the cheap-looking white version that existed in the days of the FP731. On the lower part of the bezel are six buttons, one of which is the i Key auto-calibration (vertical & horizontal position, size, etc). The other buttons control power and the basic menu functions – like brightness, which you’ll probably want to tone down a bit.

Though I did not have to set up and install the monitor, I would say it is a safe assumption that it remains a case of simply plugging it in and having it work. There’s nothing to suggest otherwise. The auto-calibration feature eliminates the need to mess around with the settings to get the picture just right. The base is quite stable, and provides two hooks on the back to put the cables through, just to keep things a little cleaner looking. Again, the base only tilts, but on the T701 it doesn’t require as much physical strength. It weighs in at a gross weight of 12 pounds, so it’s easy to move around, and can be hanged from a wall with a VESA attachment. It may not be the lightest monitor out there, but it’s hardly the sort of thing that’d cause your desk to buckle. The changes in the dimensions are impossible to detect with the naked eye, so it still takes up less desk space than a keyboard. It’s always nice to have that extra desk space that comes with any LCD monitor.

Just like the FP731, the T701 kept its price and size down by not coming with speakers of any sort. The power supply is built-in to the back of the monitor, helping to minimize clutter around the plug-in, although adding to the weight and size of the monitor.


Picture Quality
I have been quite impressed with the picture quality from the D-sub input, and am sticking with my thoughts that the picture quality between this and more expensive monitors is negligible to the everyday user. In my job I have to do some very precise image editing, and for that I use a slightly higher end monitor on a different computer, but the T701 works out just fine most of the time. The image is crisp and clear, with the only real problem coming when motion is involved – like in a video or game. Even then, it doesn’t do a bad job, with no ghosting. Only the hardcore gamer or somebody that’s constantly into graphic intensive things would need something of higher quality, with something better than the 25ms response time. LCD technology is constantly improving, and so the technology in the T701 is a little dated at this time, with most new entry-level LCD monitors having a very slight advantage in overall picture quality.

The black levels remain the biggest fault, but I find with general use that I don’t even notice it. The altered contrast levels didn’t appear to make a detectable difference to my eyes. Colours aren’t a big issue with the work I’ve had to do on the T701, as it’s primarily the clarity I’m concerned with, so I haven’t encountered any problems with colour appearances as of yet. Given that the work I do tends to get repetitive, it’s great that this monitor doesn’t cause eyestrain, as that’s the last thing I’d need. The natural resolution for the 17” screen is 1280 x 1024, but 800x600 works if you prefer. None of the other resolutions work too well though.


Price
The price is the major selling point of the BenQ T701, and I would say this is a good opportunity to make the switch to an LCD monitor if you’re still stuck with a clunky CRT. Of course, the problem is finding a place that still has the T701 up for sale, but those that do are charging between $200 and $300. You may not be getting state-of-the-art technology with your money, but this price puts it down in the range of CRT monitors and is a real bargain as far as I’m concerned. If just word processing and surfing the internet, this thing is more than sufficient. However, the price of higher-end monitors has also come down, so if you’ll be playing games or watching videos, I would recommend going with something a little pricier and more advanced.


Overall
The 17" T701 does a good job as an entry-level LCD monitor. It’s simple, inexpensive, and provides me with more than acceptable picture quality for most needs. Despite getting to be a little out-of-date, the price still makes it a good option if you’re looking for a basic LCD monitor. If you want to free up some desk space and are looking for an LCD of good quality, keep an eye out for a T701 that’s kicking around. If you’re a gamer or are really into graphics though, you’ll definitely want to consider something of a little higher quality and price. In terms of a 17" entry-level LCD monitor, the T701 is a very attractive choice.


Recommend this product? Yes


Amount Paid (US$): 200-300


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