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Hands-on: This 27-inch 4K BenQ Thunderbolt 3 display should pique your interest [Video]

We all know that the UltraFine displays from LG are some of the best out there for those looking for a high-end Mac display, but if you’re looking for something more tailored for graphic design or a display with more port flexibility, the 27-inch 4K BenQ Thunderbolt 3 display is worth looking into.

This is the PD2720U from BenQ. It’s a 27-inch 4K UHD IPS Thunderbolt 3 Display and it’s quite simply really good. And there are a handful of reasons for that opinion, starting with the specifications.

This display has a 10-Bit IPS Panel with a 5ms response time, a max refresh rate of 60Hz, and a maximum brightness of 350 nits. It’s got support for 100% of the sRGB, Adobe RGB, and Rec. 709 gamuts, as well as support for up to 96% of the DCI-P3 color gamut.

It’s also got HDR10 compatibility and is driven by BenQ’s AQColor technology. It’s different from an UltraFine display in the sense that it’s got a matte instead of a glossy finish.

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The design is nothing crazy by any means. It’s got a pretty minimal and ignorable design. The 2720U’s sporting a thin-bezel frame with a chin at the bottom which is acceptable, but I would have preferred for it to not have a bottom chin like the larger 32-inch version of this monitor.

The monitor is on the thicker side, but that’s mostly because it has an internal power supply, so you won’t need to use a power cable with a huge brick like you would with countless other displays.

When comparing its build quality to something like the LG UltraFine 5K, it’s a night and day difference. The design concept is almost the same, with it having a rectangular base and a circular stand that you can raise. But on the BenQ, you can clearly see and feel that it’s made of metal. And when talking about a monitor, build materials aren’t as critical as it would be for a mobile device, but I definitely won’t say no to a more premium build.

As far as port selection goes, you’ve got two USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports, two HDMI 2.0 ports, a DisplayPort 1.4 input, two USB A 3.1 Gen 2 ports, a USB Type-B 3.1 Gen 2 port and a 3.5mm port for headphones or speakers.

Port versatility is pretty important; I can easily hook up my USB 3.0 Hub, speakers, a keyboard & mouse and more. And of course, with the power of Thunderbolt 3, you can easily daisy chain. That’s something I plan on demonstrating for the review of the 32-inch version.

In addition, the monitor supports power delivery up to 65W with the USB Type-C port. It means that modern-day MacBook’s can charge and sync with a single cable.

This monitor has three different modes for different workflow scenarios. You’ve got Darkroom mode which essentially drops the brightness and adjusts the contrast for when you’re working within a really dark environment. Then there’s animation mode which allows the display to significantly boost shadows without blowing out the highlights. This is made especially for animators who are working with very intricate details within darker images.

Then lastly you’ve got CAD mode which enhances the contrast for lines, shapes, and sharpness for people working within CAD who need the most detail possible.

You can easily switch between these three modes using the included hockey puck. It’s got three custom function keys, so you can choose what key executes a certain command. For people with multiple workflows, this is definitely something that should come in handy.

My only problem with the monitor thus far is that by default, it doesn’t provide power to USB ports when the display is off. To provide context on why that can be bad, for example; you’re exporting a video to a scratch disk connected directly to the monitor, as soon as the display falls asleep, that disk is going to be ejected, which is not good. But thankfully you can easily enable power delivery in the settings.

9to5Mac’s Take

For $1099, the BenQ PD2720U is not cheap. But it is a solid display for those with a parallel use-case for a display of this caliber. For what the monitor was intended to do, I have no major complaints with its performance, even at this price point.

Even though the LG UltraFine 5K is only $200 more and gives you more resolution, I’d personally still pick this monitor for its versatility. Of course, there’s also the smaller 4K UltraFine Display, but the port selection of BenQ’s display makes it more broadly useable. I’d recommend checking this monitor out for those interested in a Thunderbolt 3-compatible productivity monitor with lots of flexibility. What do you think? Sound off in the comments below with your thoughts and opinions.

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