This 16:9-format monitor is one of the least expensive ways to enable your desktop PC to display 1080p content, but while the G2220HD has enough style and quality to satisfy the casual user, it omits a few notable features.
It's remarkably compact for such a high-resolution screen, and light enough to easily pick up and move around. It comes with dual DVI and VGA inputs but, crucially, lacks an HDMI port, which would have made it useful as a second display for a games console or Blu-ray player when your TV is in use. It doesn't have any speakers either, another factor that helps to keep the monitor's size and weight down, and the bezel extremely thin. The G2220HD comes with a basic tilting stand with no height- or swivel-adjustment options. There are also no premium features, such as USB ports or ambient-light sensors.
The G2220HD's image quality is generally quite impressive, although, during our testing, we noticed moderate backlight bleeding when displaying dark images. We've definitely seen monitors that have a worse backlight-bleeding problem, but we've also seen plenty that don't suffer as badly in this respect. The monitor's colour response, on the other hand, is very good indeed, with very little adjustment required during the calibration process. This results in life-like flesh tones and natural-looking photos and video.
BenQ calls its image-processing technology "Senseye+Photo". Five preset viewing modes are available. The "standard" mode is apparently intended for reading novels, while BenQ suggests you use the "movie" mode for hosting a film night, which is perhaps rather ambitious for a 21.5-inch screen. The "dynamic" mode boosts and enhances the image for viewing in brightly-lit environments, and the "photo" mode is designed specifically for viewing photographs. There's also an "sRGB" mode for basic colour matching with other sRGB-capable devices, including printers. This monitor is certainly capable of some impressive results, despite its low price.
Unfortunately, these monitor settings are operated via a series of control buttons mounted on the underside of the bezel. Small legends are printed above but they're tricky to read, making the whole adjustment process rather frustrating, unless you're working in a bright environment, in which case it's easier to read them. Illuminated controls would have been much more usable, but also more expensive. Thankfully, the menus themselves are rather simple, and you can cycle through the Senseye+Photo modes easily, without entering the menu, by pressing the middle control button repeatedly.
As with all 1080p monitors of this size, screen elements such as text can often appear very small. If you're planning on buying a monitor mainly for work purposes, but you're still keen to have a 1080p resolution, consider stepping up to a 23-inch or 24-inch model, which will offer the same definition but with larger pixels. Alternatively, you could go for a 22-inch panel in the 16:10 format. Such a monitor will usually offer a lower-resolution, 1680x1050-pixel screen, which should also be more readable.
If you're after a 1080p display on a tight budget, you could do much worse than the BenQ G2220HD. It makes no compromises on quality, although you'll have to do without an HDMI port. You may also want to consider stepping up to a larger model to improve readability.