BenQ XL2720T review
27in screen size, 1,920x1,080 resolution, DVI: yes, VGA: yes, HDMI:
The XL2720T is the big brother of BenQ’s flagship gaming monitor, the XL2420T. This height-adjustable 27in TN panel is Nvidia 3D Vision 2-ready, and has a huge refresh rate of 120Hz for supremely smooth visuals. The main advantage of a high refresh rate is that it allows the screen to output more frames per second to produce a more seamless gaming experience. In this case, it can reach up to 120 frames per second as long as your graphics card is capable of outputting that many frames, and this means you get none of the tearing (two or more frames appearing onscreen simultaneously) that can occur when your graphics card is outputting more frames than your monitor can display.
A high refresh rate is also important for 3D gaming. The XL2720T doesn’t come with any 3D equipment, but you can use Nvidia’s 3D Vision kit (£100, from www.amazon.co.uk). This uses an active shutter system, which creates a 3D effect by showing alternate frames to each eye. Effectively, 3D cuts the XL2720T’s overall maximum frame rate to 60fps. It’s worth noting that you’ll need a pretty powerful graphics card to enjoy 3D gaming properly.
On its back panel, the XL2720T has single VGA, dual-link DVI-D and DisplayPort inputs, as well as two HDMI inputs. You must use the bundled dual-link DVI-D cable to take advantage of its high refresh rate. It also has a headphone jack and a three-port USB2 hub, which is useful for connecting your mouse and keyboard, should you prefer to keep your PC tucked away on the floor.
The XL2720T fared well in our technical tests, but its overall image quality was fairly average. You can tell it’s a gaming monitor, as its default settings were set to one of its two FPS modes for first-person shooting (FPS) games. However, the contrast and brightness were clearly too high for normal use, so we changed it to Standard mode for our testing.
Colour accuracy was fairly average. It’s not unusual for gaming monitors to opt for older, less accurate TN panels due to their higher response times, but our X-Rite i1Display Pro colour calibrator revealed it was showing 93 per cent of the sRGB colour gamut on its Standard settings. It had very good green and blue coverage, but its reds were quite short, which led to colours feeling a little cool. We managed to increase this to 94.8 per cent after calibration, reclaiming a small amount of warmth, but this is still a little low compared to other 27in TN monitors we’ve tested, such as the award-winning Iiyama ProLite E2773HS’s score of 97 per cent.
Thankfully, our subjective image tests were more encouraging, as we recorded a pleasingly high contrast ratio of 1187:1. This was reflected in its excellent reproduction of our high contrast test photos, as both light and dark areas of each image had very good levels of detail. We were also pleased to see that its high brightness of 262.95cd/m² didn’t over-expose our images and spoil its deep black levels of 0.24cd/m². Primary colours weren’t particularly vivid, though, with reds, in particular, looking quite dull next to our reference screen. We also noticed a small amount of backlight bleeding along the bottom of the screen and its whites were a little grey.
If you don’t have a calibrator to hand, there are plenty of preset modes to help you find the best settings. There are two FPS modes, as well as an RTS mode for real-time strategy games. You can also choose from Movie, Photo, sRGB, and Eco modes. The mode you choose depends on your personal preference.
The two FPS modes, for instance, can take advantage of the monitor’s black equaliser settings, which shows more detail in darker areas of the screen. Sadly, the extra brightness was spoiled by noticeably oversaturated colours when we tested it with Half Life 2. Thankfully, there are three customisable “Gamer” modes, whose settings can be saved and mapped to a bundled switch that attaches to the side of the XL2720T’s stand. This switch means you don’t have to search through the monitor’s menus to find the setting you want.
The BenQ XL2720T is a great monitor whose high refresh rates really help you get the most out of your games. It’s expensive and doesn’t have the greatest colour coverage, but with so many modes, flexible settings and the potential for 3D, It certainly has a lot of features.
|Viewable size||27 in|
|Contrast ratio||1,000:1 (12,000,000:1 dynamic)|
|Horizontal viewing angle||170°|
|Vertical viewing angle||160°|
|Response time type||black-to-black|
|Wall mount option||yes|
|USB hub||3-port USB2|
|Integrated power supply||yes|
|Kensington lock lug||yes|
|Display extras||Nvidia 3D Vision support, headphone port|
|Power consumption standby||1W|
|Power consumption on||27W|
|Warranty||one year RTB|