When building a PC, you need to keep a multitude of things in mind. This includes the budget as well as the parts best suited for the task you want to perform on the PC. Besides the graphics card and the CPU, one of the most important aspect that one needs to keep in mind is the monitor. A monitor needs to perform on multiple sectors to make it the ideal choice of component for a wide range of purposes people might use it for, including editing, watching videos, or gaming.
BenQ, one of the leaders in the world of monitors, have something to offer for every segment depending on the budget. For people who want a gaming monitor, but don’t want to spend enough for an IPS panel, the XL2720 is the perfect monitor to get. The XL2720 performs extremely well in all fields for its price.
Out of the Box
The XL2720 box contained the BenQ LCD monitor, monitor stand, monitor base, a protective cover, the DVI-D cable, USB connector from monitor to CPU, and the main power chord.
Design and Comfort
The monitor comes with a stand that allows one to mount the monitor on it. The mount allows up to 90 degrees of fluid movement in either direction. The stand comes with adjustable heights so that the monitor can be moved up or down to maximize comfort and for achieving the perfect viewing angle. The stand doesn’t exactly boast the best material to be made of, but it is quite sturdy and gets the job done.
The monitor comes with a stand on the left side of the frame. This stand is for the headset, to be kept there after long hours of usage. There is a 3.5mm port for connecting the headset directly to the monitor. This is a nice way for reducing the length of connections required for the headset, making handling the headset much easier.
The monitor comes with a useful ‘remote’ called the S Switch. The S Switch is a useful addition to the BenQ XL monitors that can be used to change various aspects of the display without having to reach out for the buttons on the monitor. This is especially useful in the case of the XL2720 since its buttons are small and run the risk of getting damaged when handled in a rough manner. Unlike the other XL27xx monitors, which come with a cylindrical S Switch, the XL2720 comes with a wedge-shaped S Switch with three preconfigured gamer profiles as well as a wheel for moving through the options.
The XL2720 does not come with a hood out of the box, unlike the premier XL27xx monitors. The XL2720 and the XL2730 are the only XL27xx monitors that come without a hood, and frankly, it isn’t a feature that people are likely to miss. The hood does block glare from lights that are likely to interfere with the monitor’s display, but it makes the monitor much bulkier. Simplicity is the key feature the entry XL27xx monitors are based on, and Zowie delivers on quality pretty well.
The XL2720 is a 27 inch TN panel. Admittedly TN panels aren’t really the best when you want a monitor for excelling in everything it does (IPS panels are the best for them, but a decent IPS panel doesn’t exactly come in the same price bracket as a decent TN panel), so that’s a downside. However, the XL2720 does come with several features to help make it a decent option to own and use.
The XL2720 deploys a special LCD frame to reduce light reflection from the screen. This is a very small addition, but a very useful one – as it ensures that the user gets to focus on whatever they are doing without getting distracted. The monitor’s ‘Low Blue Light’ feature, a special feature unique to BenQ monitors, is a decent way to reduce eye fatigue (the feature basically reduces the saturation of blue colors on display when it is increased). The monitor also comes with protection from flickering, which prevents damage to the eye, so that the user can work for long hours without getting strained. (nice to see that someone actually cares about our retinas even though we probably don’t)
The XL2720 fails to provide decent color quality, something which isn’t really unexpected from a TN panel. While this isn’t really visible in games, while watching videos or even viewing a picture, one can clearly see certain ‘errors’ in color reproduction. This issue becomes more noticeable when the colors are overly saturated or washed out. If one can overlook that, the color reproduction is quite decent for a TN panel, making it better than other TN panels in the same budget.
The monitor has several options for adjusting color and image quality. Color temperature helps to adjust the amount of Red, Green or Blue on the screen, which a user can tweak to their own comfort. ‘Blue Reduction’ is a pretty decent feature that improves the image quality by reducing the output almost to half (it works with the insertion of black frames) . This is an useful feature especially when one is working in a dimly lit room or in the late hours of the night, as it reduces the glare while improving the quality of display, thus reducing stress on the eyes. ‘Black eQualizer’ is a feature which reshades the screen to improve gamma output. This is an immensely useful feature for gamers, especially in FPS games, where the feature helps the user spot enemies in areas of low brightness which could not be spotted otherwise. The XL2720 does not have the ‘Color Vibrance’ feature, but that’s a feature whose absence is barely noticeable, especially since it tampers with color reproduction in certain applications (the issue was most prominently seen on the XL2546 with ‘Color Vibrance’ in the game of Hearthstone, where some colors seem out of place).
The monitor really shines in the gaming department, which is the demographic BenQ is targeting with the XL2720. A refresh rate of 144 Hz is pretty much a standard requirement if one is into competitive games or esports, making motion look more fluid (due to the fact that the screen is refreshed a large number of times per second). This increase in responsiveness gives a huge advantage to players over ones that stick to 60 Hz panels, and the difference is visible in a wide range of games, most prominently FPS and RTS games where monitoring motion matters a lot. The ‘Advanced Motion Accelerator’ helps improve responsiveness for objects in motion even more, making games feel like they have been scaled artificially up to 240 Hz. The difference isn’t very noticeable when you’re on 144 Hz, but a majority of players claim to see little difference between 144 Hz and 240 Hz – that’s the beauty of it. Instant Mode improves the response time for the monitor, reducing input lag greatly. Like the AMA, this feature can be better observed when one is on a lower refresh rate like 60 Hz.
The ‘Black eQualizer’ helps in spotting enemies hidden in dark corners in FPS games. There’s nothing better than being called a hacker in Counter Strike: Global Offensive or Rainbow Six: Siege when all you actually have is better gear (and not ‘word.exe’ or ‘skype.exe’ or anything similar). The monitor’s image quality is pretty good too, especially keeping the TN panel in mind. This means that while the monitor is mostly a match for the gamers who like multiplayer games, it is also a decent purchase for gamers who play singleplayer games. This makes the XL2720 cater to a much more diverse base of users, making it compete directly not with other monitors but also with Zowie’s own models, most prominently the XL2546, which is the flagship gaming monitor for the company. One technology that competitive gamers would definitely feel the lack of is the special ‘Dynamic Accuracy’ feature. ‘Dynamic Accuracy’ affects FPS games the most, since it helps one detect objects in rapid motion by virtually eliminating all the blur, making it an useful tool for tracing bullets and maintaining spray patterns.
Zowie’s XL2720 has quite some potential to shine as a dedicated gaming monitor that does quite a lot within its price range, and it’s definitely a recommended buy for anyone who wants to give their gaming experience a huge boost.