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BenQ GW2490 review: King of the super-budget monitors

Our Rating :
£97.49 from
Price when reviewed : £90
inc VAT

Despite its £90 price tag, the BenQ GW2490 makes a fine, affordable display for work and play


  • Outstanding value
  • 100Hz refresh rate
  • VESA MediaSync certified


  • Very basic stand
  • Limited range of ports
  • Tinny speakers

The Huawei MateView SE has long been our favourite budget monitor at Expert Reviews. It was a great blend of style, quality and performance for the money. Sadly, the MateView SE is no more, or at least no more for the UK: Huawei’s international site features an updated model.

This begs the question: Which monitor should you buy if you want something competent but cheap? And by “cheap,” we mean getting enough change from £100 for a decent-sized pizza. Riding to the rescue of the impecunious monitor hunter comes BenQ with its new super-budget GW2490 and GW2790 monitors.

The two models are identical in every way except the physical size of the screen. The smaller model can be picked up for under £90, and the larger for under £115. That makes them both quite the bargain.

BenQ GW2490 review: What do you get for your money?

The spec sheet for the GW2490 makes for impressive reading for such a cheap monitor. For your money, you get a 24in 1,920 x 1,080 IPS panel with a 100Hz refresh rate, a pair of built-in speakers and a claimed 99% coverage of the sRGB gamut.

BenQ maintains a high build standard even on its cheap and cheerful models. The cabinet is entirely plastic but it’s still smart and solid with no creaks or squeaks. It’s compact, too – just 61mm deep without the stand – and weighs only 3.5kg without the stand or 3.9kg with it.

The stand is, however, very basic when it comes to adjustability. You can tilt it, from 5-degrees forward to 20-degrees backwards but there’s no height, swivel or pivot adjustment whatsoever. Thankfully, there is a 100 x 100mm VESA mount under a plastic clover on the back, so you can easily attach it to a desk arm or third-party stand.

The ports are all at the rear and downward facing, while the two buttons and tiny joystick that control the on-screen menu systems are located on the bottom right edge of the cabinet.

These are well laid and easy to use. The right button controls the input selector, the next along the blue light level, while the joystick does everything else. Tap the joystick and an upper-level menu lets you adjust the colour profile, the blue light level, brightness and volume.

None of the controls are lit, and the icons on the front edge of the cabinet are hardly self-explanatory, but I never managed to push the wrong control. That’s not something you can say about many monitors.

Where the GW2490’s budget underpinnings show through is with the port selection. You only get two v1.4 HDMI inputs and one DisplayPort 1.4, and there’s no USB connectivity at all. There is at least a 3.5mm audio jack, so connecting external speakers or headphones is straightforward.

READ NEXT: Best monitors for work and gaming

BenQ GW2490 review: How good is the image quality?

You’re not going to get wide colour coverage for this sort of money, but the GW2490 doesn’t do too badly on this front, with 99.8% of the sRGB gamut accounted for; that’s equivalent to 70.7% of DCI-P3 and 68.8% of AdobeRGB. Measured against the sRGB profile, the Delta E colour variance came in at a highly creditable 1.9. That’s not perfect, but perfectly acceptable.

Peak brightness registered at 228cd/m2, which is slightly below par even for a budget monitor, but sufficient for most indoor needs. And the measured black luminescence came in at 0.2cd/m2, resulting in a contrast ratio of 1,118:1, which again is a solid result. There’s no support for HDR.

The GW2490 has eight picture modes, none of which is particularly useful. The ePaper mode gives an ersatz ebook look, while the Coding mode increases contrast and makes colours stand out for easier readability. The M-book mode, meanwhile, is designed to match the colour profiles of Apple laptops – the Color LCD profile, to be precise.

The other modes – Standard, Cinema, Game and User – don’t make much difference, while Care Mode lowers the brightness and saturation to prevent eye strain during prolonged use.

What’s more useful is that the BenQ GW2490 carries VESA’s MediaSync certificate and supports VRR adaptive sync over DisplayPort. While not as all-encompassing as the VESA AdaptiveSync stamp, the MediaSync certificate guarantees the absence of jitter, flicker, overshoot/undershoot and frame drops during video playback.

It also means the panel will work with Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync, eliminating the annoying screen tearing that blights the experience of using a cheap productivity monitor for gaming.

Motion fidelity is impressive for a budget monitor. There is some ghosting to be seen, but it’s by no means excessive or distracting. I’ve seen similar on cheap 144Hz gaming monitors and the GW2490 lacks anything in the way of overdrive so you are stuck with it.

Uniformity is often the Achilles’ heel of cheap monitors, but the GW2490 performed well, with no huge variations in brightness across the screen. Out of the box, the gamma registered at a near-perfect 2.19, while the visual daylight temperature of 6148K was just a little on the warm side – but that’s again nothing particularly serious.

READ NEXT: Best PC speakers

BenQ GW2490 review: Are there any other features I should know about?

The GW2490’s built in 2W speakers won’t win any awards for sound quality or volume, but given the price bracket just having built-in audio that doesn’t sound like two tin cans connected by a piece of string is a win.

As measured against a pink noise source at a distance of 1m, the maximum volume was a rather quiet 71.2dBA, and there is very little bass to be detected. The sound is clear and detailed, though, and perfectly good enough for voice calls, game sound effects and notifications, if not serious music enjoyment.

Check price at BenQ

BenQ GW2490 review: Should I buy it?

It’s churlish to level any serious criticisms at the BenQ GW2490 given that it can be yours for less than £90. The IPS panel is colourful and colour-accurate, while the motion fidelity, complete with MediaSync, is excellent for a cheap display, making it ideal if you want one low-cost monitor for work and play.

Granted, connectivity is limited and the stereo speakers are a little on the tinny side but that’s to be expected. If anyone asks me to recommend a small, cheap, general purpose monitor it’s the BenQ GW2490 I’ll now be pointing them towards.

BenQ GW2490 – Specifications
Panel size23.8in, flat
Panel resolution1,920 x 1,080, 92.5ppi
Native Colour Depth8-bit, 16.7 million colours
Panel refresh rate100Hz
Panel response time5ms (GtG)
Panel typeIPS
Adaptive Sync SupportYes
HDR SupportNo
PortsHDMI 1.4 x 2, DisplayPort 1.4 x 1, 3.5mm audio
Speakers2 x 2W
Stand ergonomics-5/+20-degrees tilt
Dimensions (with stand)540 x 182 x 408mm (WDH)
Weight (with stand)3.93kg

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