When is a monitor not just a monitor? When it doubles as a Thunderbolt 3 docking station. The latest 27-inch 4K display from BenQ is called “PD2720U,” and yes, it essentially has an integrated TB3 dock. In fact, with a single cable, this monitor can charge your laptop, display video, and provide USB ports (USB 3.1 gen 2) for things like mice, keyboards, and more.
Taking things even further, the PD2720U has a second Thunderbolt 3 port for connecting a TB3 device. In other words, you can daisy chain an external GPU, TB3 SSD, or even another display to the computer — still having just one wire connected to it.
With my MacBook Pro, I often utilize a Thunderbolt 3 docking station, which then connects to my monitor and other devices. This monitor from BenQ lets me cut out the “middle man” for a more elegant approach. A single wire goes into the display and that’s it!
And boy, oh boy, what a monitor it is! This 4K display offers HDR10, LED backlighting, 60Hz refresh, 96 percent P3 color, and 100 percent sRGB. In other words, whether you are a photographer, videographer, or just an enthusiast that appreciates beautiful imagery, the quality is sure to impress.
|Screen Size||27 inches|
|Backlight Technology||LED backlight|
|Viewing Angle (L/R;U/D) (CR>=10)||178/178|
|Response Time||5ms (GtG)|
|Display Colors||1.07 billion colors|
|Color Gamut||96% DCI-P3/100%sRGB/100% Adobe RGB|
|Display Area(mm)||596.74(H) x 335.66(V)|
|Pixel Pitch (mm)||0.1554|
|DCR||20,000,000 : 1|
|Color Bit||10 bits|
|Picture Mode||DCI-P3/Display P3/HDR/sRGB/Adobe RGB/Rec. 709/CAD/CAM/Animation/Low Blue Light/Darkroom/M-book/DICOM/User|
|Gamma||1.8 – 2.6|
|OSD Language||18 Languages – English, French, Deutsch, Italiano, Spanish, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Korean, Romanian, Netherlands, Russian, Swedish, Portuguese, Japanese, Chinese (traditional), Chinese (simplified), Arabic|
|VESA Wall Mount||Yes|
|Display Screen Coating||Anti-Glare|
|Low Blue Light||Yes|
|Hotkey Puck G2||Yes|
|Factory Calibration Report||Yes|
|Daisy Chain Technology||Yes (Thunderbolt 3 Technology)|
|HDMI||HDMI (v2.0) x 2|
|DisplayPort||DisplayPort (v1.4) x 1|
|USB 3.1 Hub||USB Downstream x 2|
|USB 3.1 Hub||USB Upstream x 1|
|Thunderbolt 3||Thunderbolt 3 x 2
(1xPD65W, 1xPD15W; DP Alt mode, Data)
|Voltage Rating||100 – 240V|
|Power Consumption (on mode)||200W|
|Power Consumption (standby mode)||0.5W|
|Power Consumption (sleep mode)||0.5W|
|Power Consumption (based on Energy Star)||42W|
|Dimension and Weight|
|Dimensions (HxWxD mm) (w/o Base)||366 x 614.4 x 87.39|
|Dimensions (HxWxD mm)||H: 593.71 x 614.4 x 186.31
L: 443.71 x 614.4 x 186.31
|CTN Dimensions (HxWxD mm)||620 x 170 x 693|
|Net Weight (kg) (w/o Stand)||5.7kg|
|Net Weight (kg)||8.3kg|
|Gross Weight (kg)||10.5kg|
|Tilt (down/up)||-5˚ – 20˚|
|Height Adjustment (mm)||150 mm|
|Windows Compatible||Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7|
Now, the monitor is “only” 27 inches, which some may say is too small. I beg to differ. It’s a matter of personal preference, really. For instance, a larger screen size means more room being taken up on your desk, and an increase in turning your neck. Some folks, including yours truly, would like to have all these pixels in no larger than 27-inch. It keeps me focused and allows me more desk space.
There are integrated speakers that are usable in a pinch, but as you can expect, they sound rather terrible for movies and music. With that said, this is true of pretty much every monitor I have tried. Thankfully there is a 3.5mm audio port, which you can use for headphones or speakers. My advice would be to invest in some decent speakers if you plan on consuming media.
Also on the back of the BenQ PD2720U is a mini USB port. Yes, I said mini — not micro. What is this for? Connecting the super-cool hotkey puck. This is a wired control unit that allows you to easily access settings without fiddling with the little joystick. You can place it right under the monitor, and with it, access the settings menu, but also, quickly change the color mode. It’s quite genius, and I don’t know why every monitor doesn’t have such a thing.
The stand is very premium-feeling, made with a cold-to-the-touch aluminum. It is very versatile too, allowing you to move the display up and down, tilt it forward and back, plus rotate it 90 degrees for a vertical mode.
But wait, there is another cool aspect here — a KVM switch! Yes, you can connect two computers to this monitor simultaneously. For instance, you can connect your MacBook Pro to it using Thunderbolt 3 and your Windows (or Linux) machine using HDMI. The machine using HDMI would also need to connect to the USB upstream port on the monitor. You would then plug a USB keyboard and mouse into the monitor’s two USB ports.
Amazingly, with the press of a single button on the hotkey puck, you can switch between machines! When you switch, the video source, 3.5mm audio port, keyboard, and mouse will be transitioned to the other computer. It works quite brilliantly too, making it easy for me to move between multiple computers without having to unplug or plug in cables. It’s an elegant feature that is a dream for productivity and for entertainment.
Where does the BenQ PD2720U fall short? Well, there aren’t many negatives, but there are a few things missing that I would have liked — none of which are dealbreakers. The biggest disappointment is the lack of Ethernet. True, many folks just use Wi-Fi these days, but it means using a USB dongle to add the functionality.
Another feature that would have been welcome is an integrated webcam. True, most enthusiasts would rather add their own high-end camera, but propping one up on the top of this display will take away the overall beauty of the PD2720U. It would be much appreciated had a tiny webcam been built into the top bezel.
Unfortunately, there are only two USB-A ports on the monitor, so if you did want to add both the aforementioned Ethernet and webcam, you’d be left with no ports. Want to plug in a USB keyboard and mouse? Sorry! This is particularly bad if you wanted to utilize the KVM switch. So, yeah, a lack of USB ports is an annoyance, but an inexpensive hub should solve the dilemma. For many, the two ports will be plenty.
From a design standpoint it looks great — for the most part. I must say, while it is beautiful, it is also a bit thick compared to many “regular” monitors on the market. I suspect its lack of thinness is likely because of the integrated Thunderbolt 3 dock and KVM switch. It truly doesn’t bother me in the slightest, though.
So, do I recommend the BenQ PD2720U 27-inch 4K UHD IPS Designer Monitor? Absolutely, and without hesitation. If you want superb picture quality for both professional use and media consumption, this display is a winner — for both Windows and Mac. When you factor in the docking station, KVM switch, and useful hotkey puck, it becomes an absolute no-brainer. This monitor is something special.
The BenQ PD2720U can be had here from Amazon now for $1099.99. In other words, it is just $100 more than Apple’s upcoming monitor stand — lol! Seriously, folks, a buck under $1,100 is a steal for such an impressive piece of hardware. Get it.