At what point do manufacturers make the choice between style over substance. With Benq's latest monitor the wonderfully named FP785, the content is there, it's just let down by the packaging.
It's a shame, because you can see that the Korean company once owned and then spun off by Acer has tried hard to produce a monitor that isn't beige and from a distance the results are pleasing. The metal case and the brown speaker cover on the front look the part, as does the stand, which has been designed to be flattened so you can carry the monitor around with you.
The only trouble is that up close that metal case turns to cheap plastic and the brown speaker cover something that your Nan might have knitted on a night in watching Coronation Street. The stand too, once that fantastic idea for carrying the monitor around, becomes an over large stand that gets in the way. Anyway, how many people do you see walking down the street with a monitor under their arm like a handbag (the fact that the unit doesn't ship with a case either means that it will be scratched in seconds). It might have worked for the launch on the catwalk, but like so many things you see on the catwalk in real life the idea just doesn't translate.
Get past the casing and the monitor is good but nothing special. You get the standard analogue and digital video inputs, a nice 1,280 x 1,024 resolution, and the ability to display crisp, clean vibrant colours, there are a variety of modes that set up the screen for watching movies or doing photo work but nothing that you can't seem to get from any other standard 17in monitor available on the market for a cheaper price.
The inclusion of the speaker is obviously there for the presentation folk, but really won't appeal to anyone actually looking to play music and enjoy it.
When it came to gaming the screen lets the side down with its rather shoddy refresh rate. 25ms response time just isn't fast enough for fast-fingered first person shooter gamers, and in tests we found some disorientating ghosting during speedy on-screen movements. Our suggestion for gaming would be the FP 783 with its faster 12ms response time.
It's clear to see that the £500 price tag is for the supposed styling of this model, yet the styling in our minds just isn't up to scratch and certainly not worth the extra cash. If you're looking for a model that performs and performs well there are other monitors on the market that will do the same job without the price tag. Even BenQ's own FP783 is a cheaper and better model. A nice try, but unless you work or live in an environment where style from a distance is more important that substance then this is probably a no go.