BenQ's swank FP783 17-inch LCD will give your work space a dose of high style, although its image quality is less attractive.
BenQ's FP783 looks quite unlike most LCDs we've come across, many of which have a conventional white, black, gray, or silver colour scheme and a mundane, cookie-cutter design. The FP783, on the other hand, comes in an edgy combination of beige and off-white, with highlights that BenQ says are blue, but which look to us to be dark purple (as opposed to Deep Purple). The four-legged stand is another inspired touch that serves to make the FP783 one of the sturdiest and most wobble-free LCDs we've ever seen. The design is certainly striking, but unlike other, more flexible displays, the FP783 isn't particularly adjustable. You can't swivel it, pivot the panel to Portrait mode, raise a neck for additional height, or remove the panel for wall or arm mounting. You can, however, tilt the panel about 35 degrees forward and a whopping 90 degrees backward, ostensibly making it easier to carry and store.
As you'd expect with such an expensive 17-inch LCD, the FP783 offers good connectivity options. It provides both an analog and a digital input, and BenQ supplies cords for both. A detachable panel on the back of the monitor does a terrific job keeping cables organised and hidden. Stashed behind the display's left edge are two downstream USB inputs, into which you can plug a keyboard, a digital camera, or another peripheral without reaching around to the back of your PC. On top of the panel is a third USB port for BenQ's detachable Webcam. BenQ also offers a set of 2-watt speakers with SRS surround sound, which we did not test. The FP783's standard image-adjustment controls, subtly tucked into the bezel's wavy right edge, are fairly easy to use, and we like that they include a dedicated auto-adjustment button.
Tested on the digital connection at its native resolution of 1,280x1,024, the FP783 was a mediocre performer in CNET Labs' DisplayMate tests. Text looked readable and reasonably sharp, and colours looked vibrant and true enough for typical productivity use. But while BenQ claims a contrast ratio of 500:1 for the FP783, we found the contrast to suffer from somewhat washed-out blacks. We also found the display's viewing angles fairly limited, and we saw distortions when tilting the screen even slightly. Unlike that of BenQ's FP767-12, the FP783's 12ms pixel-response rate seemed to benefit its DVD-motion performance. Streaking and ghosting were minimal, and colours looked good, although we detected a bit of digital noise. Still, Samsung's SyncMaster 172X, one of the few other LCDs on the market with a 12ms response time, delivered above-average DVD playback, better overall image quality, and a comparably slick design for considerably less money.