Friday, 20 January 2012

BenQ E42-5000 Review


LED LCD televisions have become hugely popular in the past year and this is mainly due to the considerable price drop. Previously, one would have to buy an LED TV after paying an arm and a leg. Hence, the market was mainly dominated by LCD televisions without LED backlighting technology. Once LED televisions became mainstream, the Edge-LED backlighting technology caught on the most, as it allowed manufacturers to launch this segment of TVs with a very slim depth. BenQ, a brand mainly known for monitors, projectors and optical drives for PCs have launched the E42-5000, an LED LCD TV with features such as full HD 1080p video playback, a USB interface, Edge-LED backlighting and other interesting features. Read on to know more about this LED TV offering from BenQ.
Extremely slim side profile
Extremely slim side profile


Design and Build Quality
As noted before, BenQ is a brand that is better known as the manufacturer of desktop monitors and for some strange reason they have designed this HDTV, in a style similar to a monitor. When one enters the room in which it has been placed, they may mistake this television for a high end monitor. It is not that this HDTV is ugly, in fact it is quite stylish with a glossy black bezel and a chrome plated stand. The depth of the television, which is an inch thick at its deepest is the design aspect that appealed to us the most.

The bezel, at the bottom features a brushed aluminium strip, which adds a contrast to the rest of the glossy black bezel. The controls located at the front are touch sensitive and the controls here feature options for switching between the channels, adjusting the volume, selecting the different inputs, menu and power. Located to the left of these controls is the power indicator and BenQ could have done better in designing this. When off, the indicator is bright red, which reminds us of some of the LCD televisions that were available a few years ago. The indicator when off is yellow and overall a bit distracting if you're seated in a dark room.
Brushed aluminium finish on the stand
Brushed aluminium finish on the stand


Connectivity options for the television are found at the back and they are side and downward facing. HDTVs using Edge-LED technology tend to align the connections in this way, so it can be wall mounted without any cluttering of cables. This TV has three HDMI ports, component ports, two USB ports, PC audio port and a 3.5mm audio jack, which are located at the side. The down facing connectors featured here, include component, SPDIF, antenna and a port for VGA. The back panel is made of metal and it looks really sturdy. The remote that came bundled with it has a glossy finish with some hints of red.

The build quality of the television is really good and the bezel along with the back panel feels strong. The base of the television is extremely sturdy and the chrome-finished stand supports the television well. Though the television may resemble a monitor, it is stylish and we were quite impressed with the build quality as well.

Features
The primary and most notable feature of the BenQ E42-5000 is the Edge-LED backlighting and with it in turn the slim profile. A feature, which BenQ has not overlooked and is extremely common is the ability to playback full HD 1080p content.
Neat interface
Neat interface


The television boasts of a 120hz refresh rate. This helps in giving that smooth effect to content, especially scenes in which there are fast paced action sequences. This feature can be reduced in the settings. However, even when turned off completely, there is still a slight amount of blurring taking place. The interface of this television is really neat and we liked the layout a lot. The font size was perfect and the widgets have a slight animation to them. It is not too congested and rather minimalistic, which appealed to us quite a lot. Companies have a tendency of adding a lot of colour and images to the interface of their televisions, which may be quite distracting. But, BenQ has done a good job using a simple interface with this television.

The USB interface is good as well with it having a blue background. One can view contents in the form of thumbnails and have access to all contents on the drive at once. Some brands tend to add HD media player-like interfaces with it being divided into photos, videos, music, etc. BenQ has not done this and made it quite simple like accessing files from a Windows folder. Alternatively, one has the option to view a particular media type as well with there being options for photos, music and videos. The television can read only FAT32 drives. We plugged in a number of NTFS drives, but we were greeted with the message saying unsupported device. The television can support a number of video formats and it can play video files of USB flash drives on the fly.Performance
The television was tested in a number of ways, such as running our DisplayMate test, video playback using a Blu-ray player as well as video playback from a USB flash drive. The television was calibrated using the Spyder3 Elite software by connecting it to our in-house test rig. This is what we found from the BenQ E42-5000.
Primary colours
Primary colours


Starting off with the DisplayMate test, we observed that after calibrating the television in the brightness and contrast adjustment test, we saw that no more settings needed to be tweaked and greys and whites were accurate. During the Intensity Range Check, we saw that darkest greys and brightest whites were properly reproduced and there was a clear distinction between each of the bars. While checking the black level, we observed that almost all the dark grey blocks were visible and the blocks were uniformly grey, there was no green tinge noticeable as well.

In the pixel tracking test, we observed that there was a lot of noise much more than what we have previously observed, while running this test on any other HDTV. While checking the backlighting, we noticed that there is the consistent issue faced by televisions with side backlighting where there is bleeding on the screen. While checking primary colours, we noticed that most colours appeared accurate, except for red, which appeared brighter than normal and blue, which was duller. In the colour intensity range check, there was no bleeding between any of the bars and all colours appeared accurately. Summing up the DisplayMate test, we feel that the television has not fared so well, when compared with other LED TVs available in the market nowadays.
Primary colours
Primary colours


Blu-ray Playback
Contrary to the settings already available, one would be better off using the ‘Personal’ settings, as compared to the ‘Movie’ preset available. With the television calibrated to settings, such as the brightness set to 65 percent, contrast at 75 percent, colour set to 50 percent, tint turned off completely and sharpness set to 2 percent, one would be able to get a good movie experience off the television. Another setting to get good Blu-ray playback is turning the Sense-eye settings off completely. This setting basically helps in smoothening the video playback by adding interpolation between the scenes. This is ideal, while watching sports or action scenes in a movie. But, the addition of this feature adds to blur after every movement in the process making the images on-screen appear unnatural. An issue that we noticed was that even though this setting was turned off completely, there was still an amount of ghosting happening. The Blu-ray playback is very crisp and all colours appear natural. While running our in-house ‘The Dark Knight’ Blu-ray, we saw that in the dark scenes especially, the TV fared well. Skin tones appeared natural and there were no issues noticed, whatsoever.

USB Playback
The television can read USB drives well and there is no delay in the playback of video clips. Scenes appeared on the television as they should be with colours and skin tones appearing natural. In well-lit scenes, the television does well, with there being a lot of detail seen.
Input selection mode available as well
Input selection mode available as well


Performance Continued
While connected to the PC, what we noticed was that there was around a half second lag, while using the mouse. The speakers, one of the main features of the television are not so great and to enjoy a video, one would need to crank the volume up to around 70 percent. This is not good and one would need to pair it up with a soundbar or a speaker system to get good quality audio. The remote control that came along with the television responds well and one does not need to point it directly at the sensor for the functions to work.

Verdict
The BenQ E42-5000 sells in India at a market price of Rs. 49,999. BenQ is not a brand name that is associated with televisions in the Indian market, just yet, but they’ve chosen to price this television pretty high compared to some models by other brands present in the market. The television is quite stylish in appearance and does pretty well, performance-wise. However, we feel that BenQ needs to be more aggressive with their features and their pricing, while making an entry in this market. A price closer to Rs. 40,000 would have been ideal.
Stylish glossy finish on the BenQ 42-inch HDTV
Stylish glossy finish on the BenQ 42-inch HDTV


Perhaps, more features, such as the ability to read NTFS drives or some smart TV features would have helped. There were some issues, like the blurring of movies with motion in it, which we cannot ignore. Still, if you buy this, you won’t have too many regrets. The television is designed for those looking to upgrade from a CRT TV or even from a standard definition LCD TV to a high definition LED TV. However, if one is a hardcore video enthusiast, they may find this television inadequate.

No comments:

Post a Comment