BenQ XL2720T review

The BenQ XL2720T is a full featured 27-inch gaming monitor that delivers blazing pixel response, sharp colors, and inky blacks. It's a bit pricey but it offers every video input you'll need and is packed with features.
Photo of BenQ XL2720T

BenQ knows what gamers crave. Earlier this year its 24-inch BenQ XL2420TX monitor snagged an Editors’ Choice award for its great performance and robust feature set. BenQ’s latest effort, the BenQ XL2720T, offers the same feature set but this time around you get to stalk your prey on a massive 27-inch screen. You’ll need relatively deep pockets to afford this big boy, but if you take your gaming seriously it’s worth every penny.

Design and Features
If the XL2720T looks familiar that’s because it uses the same design as its smaller siblings, the XL2420T and the XL2420TX. The 1920 x 1080 TN (twisted nematic) panel has a 120Hz refresh rate and is Nvidia 3D Vision ready, but as with the BenQ XL2420T, it does not come with the necessary 3D transmitter and glasses. You’ll have to shell out another $130 or so if you want to make this a multi-dimensional gaming monitor. The panel is housed in a black cabinet with thin matte black bezels and a glossy rear panel. There’s a BenQ logo on the lower bezel and a larger logo etched into the rear of the cabinet.

The unique T-shaped stand hasn’t changed either, although it too is bigger than the one used on the 24-inch XL monitors. It has the same wedge-like base and red accents, including a red hook that you can hang your headphones on and a red cable organizer slot. The mounting arm offers height, pivot, and tilt adjustments and swivels at the base.

The right-hand bezel holds six touch sensitive proximity buttons that light up when your finger gets close. Pressing any button activates on-screen labeling with menu options and navigation arrows that correspond to each button. As with the earlier models, the XL2720T comes with the S-switch, a cool little gizmo that you can attach to the base. It contains three programmable buttons and a toggle wheel and can be used to change picture settings and activate up to three customized display modes.

There’s no shortage of I/O ports on the XL2720T. It offers two HDMI inputs, DisplayPort, VGA, and dual link DVI ports. There’s also one USB upstream port, three USB downstream ports, and a port for the S-switch. Two of the downstream ports are mounted on the left side of the cabinet along with a conveniently placed headphone jack.

As always, BenQ offers a generous selection of picture settings. There are eleven available picture modes, including Standard, Movie, Photo, sRGB, Eco, RTS (optimized for Real Time Strategy games), two FPS (optimized for First Person Shooter games), and three Gamer (customized) modes that can be activated using the S-switch. Basic settings include brightness, contrast, sharpness, gamma, color emperature, and a Black eQualizer setting that helps accentuate black levels for enhanced shadow detail. The Advanced settings menu offers dynamic contrast, overscan, smart scaling, and aspect ratio settings as well as RGB and YUV color formats and HDMI RGB range settings.

The XL2720T ships with a quick start guide, a resource CD, a protective cover, and cables for USB, DVI, and VGA connections. BenQ covers the monitor with a three-year parts, labor, and backlight warranty.

Performance
With a blazing 1-millisecond (gray-to-gray) pixel response, the XL2720T delivered excellent gaming performance on our Far Cry 2 and Need For Speed gaming tests. Motion blur was non-existent and there was no perceptible lag, smearing, or ghosting.

Color accuracy was quite good. As shown on the chromaticity chart below, reds, greens, and blues were all very close to their ideal CIE (International Committee on Illumination) coordinates, represented by each corresponding box. Colors also transitioned evenly on the DisplayMate Color Scales test and there was no indication of tinting in the grayscale. The panel’s exceptional black level gives the colors some extra pop while providing relatively good grayscale reproduction.

As with most TN monitors, the XL2720T doesn’t provide very wide viewing angles. Horizontal viewing performance is tolerable with only a slight trace of color shifting at around 80-degrees from center, but when viewed from the top and bottom the screen becomes dim and color shifting is more pronounced. This comes into play when the panel is rotated to portrait mode; the view from the side is significantly darker and colors are skewed.

The XL2720T used 29 watts of power during testing in standard picture mode. In Eco mode, power consumption dropped to 19 watts, which is very efficient for a 27-inch TN panel. The IPS-based HP Envy 27 required 30 watts of power, as did the AOC i2757fh, while the Dell S2740L used 21 watts.

With the BenQ XL2720T you get outstanding motion performance, solid color quality, and tons of gamer-friendly features in a big screen monitor. It’ll cost you a bit more than most 27-inch displays and it doesn’t offer the wide viewing angles of an IPS monitor, but if you want a monitor that can keep pace with your high-end gaming system, the XL2720T is your best option. As such, it is our Editors’ Choice for big-screen gaming monitors.

Specifications
Native Resolution 1920 x 1080
Supported Video Formats 1080p
PC Interfaces Analog VGA, Dual-mode (DVI-I), HDMI
Video Inputs DVI, HDMI
Diagonal Screen Size 27 inches
Widescreen Yes
Aspect Ratio 16

Verdict
The BenQ XL2720T is a full featured 27-inch gaming monitor that delivers blazing pixel response, sharp colors, and inky blacks. It's a bit pricey but it offers every video input you'll need and is packed with features.
Published under license from Ziff Davis, Inc., New York, All rights reserved.
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