BenQ FP202W V3 monitor

The BenQ FP202W V3 is an affordable, 20-inch wide-screen LCD monitor. It features both analog and DVI connectors, but little else in terms of extras. And though the cost may be attractive, the images onscreen suffer from very limited viewing angles, and the displayed text is marred by an oversharpened appearance.

The FP202W V3 sports a black case with a thin bezel and a very clean and simple appearance. In fact, the only details on the front to distract from the images onscreen are a small silver logo at the bottom left and a tiny green light at the bottom right. This clean and simple design is great, unless you want to use the onscreen menus to control brightness or tweak the colors. The buttons are on the side, you see, as are the descriptive icons that indicate what each button does. The menus appear on the screen, and it can be a little frustrating moving your head back and forth from the front of the monitor to the side while tuning up your display.

The display also keeps it minimal when it comes to features. The FP202W V3 doesn’t include a USB hub, pivot capability, a card reader, or speakers. None of these are must-haves, but some are nice-to-have features, especially if you’re using a Mac Pro, for instance, and keep the tower under your desk.

I connected the display to my 2.66GHz Mac Pro using a DVI cable. The display booted into its native 1,680-by-1,050 resolution automatically. As with most displays, the default settings were a little too blue and bright right out of the box. I used a Gretag Macbeth Eye-One Display 2 to calibrate the monitor; afterwards, the colors were much more in line, and the grays were more neutral.

Two things I couldn’t fix were the somewhat over-sharpened appearance of text on the display and the monitor’s limited viewing angle. Text had a broken appearance, and the individual pixels making up the characters were easy to see. It wasn’t very easy to read text at small point sizes, but our jury did give the monitor an overall Good rating for text.

The horizontal viewing angle is rated at 170 degrees, but there was major loss of contrast and some color shifting well within that rated area. If you work alone and sit directly in front of the screen, this shouldn’t be much of a problem. If you have coworkers gathering around your screen to collaborate, chances are pretty good that they won’t be seeing the same details onscreen when viewing from the side as you do when sitting in the center. I suppose this limited viewing angle could be a blessing, protecting your screen from the prying eyes of passersby.

jury tests

Viewing angle Fair
Color fidelity Good
Text legibility Good

Scale = Superior, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor

How We Tested: We connected the display to a 2.66GHz Mac Pro with 1GB of RAM and an Nvidia 7300GT graphics card, running Mac OS X 10.4.10. We noted the performance of the display with its default, out-of-the-box settings and then calibrated it to 6,500 Kelvin with a gamma of 2.2, using a Gretag Macbeth Eye-One Display 2 colorimeter. The Macworld Lab viewed a number of on-screen test images and rated each display as Superior, Very Good, Good, Fair, or Poor on its color, text, and viewing angle compared with a sampling of similar displays.—Macworld Lab testing by James Galbraith

specifications

Size 20 inches
Native resolution 1,680 x 1,050 pixels
Connections Analog and DVI
Viewing angle 140 degrees
Brightness 300 cd/m2
Response time 5ms on/off
Contrast ratio 1,000:1
Dimensions (height x depth x width, in inches) 15.6 x 6.7 x 18.9
Warranty 3 years

Macworld’s buying advice

The BenQ FP202W V3 is a decent, affordable, 20-inch wide-screen LCD. But with its oversharpened text, limited viewing angle, and frustrating-to-use on-screen menu system, you’d be better off with the Dell E207WFP (   , which costs less and looks better.

[ James Galbraith is Macworld ’s lab director. ]

BenQ FP202W V3

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