First impressions are that this design is one of the more successful ones to grace the monitor market in the past few years. The lines are clean, and the folding arm and undercarriage design owe more than a nod to the ancient NeXT monitor. Visually, the FP91R will fit easily into any design studio.
The basic feature set is unexceptional with standard DVI and D-Sub connections, and a couple of USB ports. It’s the professional features that take it to another level, and there’s quite a lot more here than you’ll find on a standard monitor. Most obvious is a clip-on light screen, which helps designers avoid ambient colour and brightness distractions. Also available is an independent six colour (red, green, blue, cyan, magenta and yellow) adjustment process, plus independent calibration and control of luminosity. The colour settings can be changed manually. There’s also a luminance calibrator, which compensates for backlight drift but isn’t, unfortunately, a fully fledged calibration tool. This comes in a box that doubles as a controller and can set the various operating modes, colour temperatures and gamma (Mac 1.8 is supported.) Colour accuracy out of the box is very good, but you’ll need to understand different colour standards to get the best from this model.
However, it’s not all good news. The 250 cd/m2 brightness is modest, even with excellent 700:1 contrast. The supplied Visual Optimizer software, which makes calibration even simpler, is PC only, so Mac users won’t get the full benefit of this monitor. And when you consider that you can get a professional 21in display with 1,600 x 1,200 or 1,680 x 1,050 resolution and full colour calibration for not much more, it’s difficult to see any value for money.
Technically this is a very competent monitor but BenQ is going up against established competition from the likes of Eizo and NEC. And even with the included colour calibration this is one of the most expensive 19in monitors money can buy. Is it worth it? Realistically, we’d have to say no.