Review: BenQ XL2420T

Our score: 5/5
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April 9, 2012 2:38 PM
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Published: April 9, 2012 2:28 PM
By Alexandre Botella
Translated by: Catherine Barraclough
The BenQ XL2420T is a 24-inch Full HD monitor that's first and foremost aimed at gamers. So in this particular model, it's not the 3D capabilities (3D glasses not included) that BenQ is keen to promote, but the high 120 Hz refresh rate for smooth, seamless images, and the fast response time. On paper, this monitor has plenty of features that should win over gamers, but how does it shape up in practice? Let's take a look.

Hardware and Design: Excellent ... Well, Almost!

Although it's made entirely from plastic, the XL2420T casing doesn't feel cheap and nasty. A few red details here and there help add a touch of pizazz to what could otherwise be quite a plain product. While the stand isn't the most stylish piece of kit we've ever seen, it does at least have a distinct and original design compared with most other monitors. The product finish is good and none of the parts wobble or feel loose.   

BenQ XL2420T monitor review - swivel stand


The stand has all the features we like to see—it's height-adjustable, mounted on a swivel base and the screen can be spun around into portrait mode. However, with a TN screen panel, the portrait mode isn't always that practical, since the poor vertical viewing angles can become even more problematic when horizontal. Connections comprise two HDMI (1.4) ports, a DVI input, a DisplayPort input, a three-port USB hub and a headphones socket. This headphones socket can be used to pick up an audio input from some of the video entries listed above.

BenQ XL2420T monitor review - remote


On the back of the monitor there's a mini-USB port for hooking up the remote control that comes with the XL2420T. The remote can be used to access the menu without having to use the buttons on the monitor itself. It also has three buttons for selecting three different user profiles that can be programmed in the menu. BenQ has made sure that the remote integrates well with the monitor itself too—it can be clipped onto either side of the stand and is held in place by a small magnet so it won't clutter up your desk.

Contrary to what BenQ's rep suggested when they stopped by to show us this monitor, the mini-remote can't be used to switch between screen settings on the fly right in the middle of a game. In fact, when you switch from one profile to another, the screen goes black for about a second, which, in most games, is long enough to get you killed or at least seriously beaten up. 

These user-defined settings profiles are more suitable for changing the screen set-up between games. You could, for example, configure one profile for playing Counter Strike and when you fancy playing Diablo II, which features darker scenery, instantly switch to a second profile that you've already programmed with the best settings for that particular game. It's therefore a little less revolutionary than we had initially thought, but it's still a practical addition that could prove handy for some gamers.

Colours: Change The Settings!

Out of the box, colour reproduction is pretty catastrophic. Flesh tones have a purple tinge, and the gamma (which determines the brightness of colours) is verging on crazy. In other words, you'll need to make a few changes in the menu! 

BenQ XL2420T monitor review -  colours


In the OSD, switch to Standard colour mode then set the Gamma from 3 to 1. Then, change the colour temperature from Normal to Reddish. This gets rid of all the problems outlined above and brings the delta E (colour fidelity—the lower the delta E the better) of the XL2420T down from 6.1 to 3.2. Colours will then be accurate enough for the vast majority of users. However, those of you looking for perfection will need to download and install a calibration profile.

The contrast is just slight above average compared with the other displays we've tested (850:1) at around 890:1.

Responsiveness: Overdrive Leads to Reverse Ghosting

With the factory settings, our ghosting tests showed up every gamer's worst nightmare—traces of reverse ghosting (moving objects followed by a trailing ghost image in opposite colours). While this is fairly pronounced with the monitor's out-of-the-box set-up, it's drastically reduced when you switch to the colour settings we recommend above.


Responsiveness
BenQ XL2420T monitor review - responsiveness
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This graph shows the monitor's ghosting time (in ms) with the AMA function on. Ghosting time measures the time it takes for the screen to totally remove an image. The faster the ghosting time, the smoother moving objects will look onscreen.

In fact, the effect is reduced so much that some users might not even notice it. However, if you want to eliminate all traces of reverse ghosting, you'll need to switch off the overdrive function. This mode is supposed to improve a monitor's responsiveness and is called AMA in BenQ displays. The average ghosting time is in turn upped from 7 ms to 12.5 ms. Even with the extra smoothness of the 120 Hz refresh rate, that could be a little slow for the most serious gamers.

Responsiveness
BenQ XL2420T monitor review - responsiveness overdrive off
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This graph shows the monitor's ghosting time (in ms) with the AMA function off. Ghosting time measures the time it takes for the screen to totally remove an image. The faster the ghosting time, the smoother moving objects will look onscreen.

There are no problems with input lag in this monitor. Any delay between a command and its corresponding onscreen action is too small to have any real impact.
5/5 BenQ XL2420T DigitalVersus 2012-04-09 15:28:00

Pros

  • Design: remote, practical stand, three USB ports, good connections
  • Colours and contrast after changing the settings
  • Refresh rate: 120 Hz (moving objects and onscreen action looks smoother than in 60 Hz monitors)

Cons

  • Slight reverse ghosting in 2D mode and crosstalk in 3D mode
  • Changing settings profiles while gaming isn't really an option

Conclusion

The BenQ XL2420T is a 24-inch monitor that's full of good ideas. Unfortunately, some of these could do with a little more attention to detail. The remote, for example, ultimately isn't as useful as it initially seemed. Similarly, the overdrive mode leads to reverse ghosting with moving objects. So while the XL2420T has a great design, a 120 Hz refresh rate and accurate colours once you change the settings, it isn't quite a five-star monitor.

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