On the very first monitor review I did for AnandTech, I skipped over the input lag tests. I didn’t have a CRT I could use for a reference, and as someone that isn’t a hard-core gamer themselves, I wasn’t certain how much overlooking them would really be missed. Well, I was wrong, and I heard about it as soon as it was published. Since that initial mistake I’ve added two CRT monitors to the testing stable and tried to find the ideal way to test lag, which I’m still in search of.

To serve the large, and vocal, community of hard core gamers, there are plenty of monitors out there that directly target them. One such display is the BenQ XL2720T, a 120 Hz LCD that’s also used in many sponsored gaming tournaments. Beyond its gaming pedigree, I was interested to see if it also performed well as a general purpose display, or if it really is just designed for a small subset of the market.

Probably the key feature on the XL2720T is its 120 Hz refresh rate, which as usual means that it is a TN-panel. The other key feature on it is a quick select switch that it includes to let you switch between monitor presets with a single button press. For their gaming target, BenQ sees you utilizing this to have different presets for different games, and they even provide some specific profiles for popular games that you can load and use for these. Another use would be to use one for daytime settings, one for nighttime, and one for gaming. The quick access to switch modes makes it easy to do so, and providing “optimized” settings for games might be a very beneficial use.

The included stand for the XL2720T is very well done, with a full range of ergonomic adjustments and you can assemble the whole thing without a single tool. I’d use a screwdriver at the end to make sure it is really tight and secure, but the overall stand design is great. One feature I’d still like to see from a monitor company is inputs that either rotate or are angled at 45 degrees to make it easier to hook up cables than to have to reach underneath. Thankfully since it pivots to vertical, it is still easy to hook up the BenQ XL2720T to your computer or video game system. It has a pair of HDMI ports, so it is well equipped for both PC and console gaming.

One disappointment is that the USB ports are still just USB 2.0 and not 3.0 as most new, higher end monitors have now. Another disappointment in the monitor design is the touch sensitive buttons that control the on-screen display.

As with the Dell U3014 that I just reviewed, I find the touch screen buttons to be less responsive than actual buttons, and wish companies would go back to standard buttons. It doesn’t look quite as nice but it is far more functional. This is somewhat alleviated by the S Switch that BenQ includes. Though mostly used to switch between three preset modes, you can also use the wheel to control the OSD, and here it does a great job. The OSD has been redesigned from previous BenQ displays so it is much better to use, with all selections going Up and Down, without any Side-to-Side inputs. This combination is one of the better interfaces that I’ve used; I just wish controlling it without the S Switch worked as well.

As mentioned, the on screen display from BenQ has been totally redone from the last display that I used. Previously you would move Left to Right to select a category, Up and Down to select a function to adjust, and then Left to Right to adjust it, all with just two buttons to move all four directions. The OSD now resembles the ones that Dell has, where all selections and inputs are Up and Down, making it very easy to adjust the display. It also lets you see all the levels of sub-menus on the screen at once, which makes it easy to see what you are working on and not get lost in the menu system. BenQ has moved from having one of the worst menu systems for user controls to having one of the best that I’ve used. Bravo for that!

On the exterior and the on screen display, BenQ has gotten most everything right with the XL2720T. Sure I would change a couple little things, but they manage to get the overall user experience with the monitor as correct as anyone else has right now, and that’s much different than I said about their displays two years ago. I wish every monitor vendor would take this feedback and improve their products as much as BenQ did in these areas.

BenQ XL2720T
Video Inputs 2xHDMI, 1xDisplayPort, 1xDVI-DL, 1x D-sub
Panel Type TN
Pixel Pitch 0.311mm
Colors 16.7 million
Brightness 300 cd/m2
Contrast Ratio 1000:1
Response Time 1ms GTG
Viewable Size 27"
Resolution 1920x1080
Viewing Angle (H/V) 170/160
Backlight LED
Power Consumption (operation) 27W
Power Consumption (standby) <0.5W
Screen Treatment Anti-Glare
Height Adjustable Yes (140mm)
Tilt Yes (-5/20 Degrees)
Pivot Yes
Swivel Yes (45/45 Degrees)
VESA Wall Mounting Yes (100mm)
Dimensions w/ Base (WxHxD) 21.5" x 25.3" x 10.8"
Weight 16.5 lbs.
Additional Features USB 2.0 Hub (3 port), S Switch, Headphone Jack
Limited Warranty 1 year
Accessories Power cable, USB Cable, D-Sub Cable, DVI-D Cable, Protective Cover
Price $482 (on 5/17/2013)


Viewing Angles, Pre-Calibration Numbers and Gamut
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  • metril - Monday, June 17, 2013 - link

    Now that others have pointed out, I see the 1080p tag. I agree that a table would have been beneficial. I guess, I'm so used to see tables like in the other reviews that I've come to expect one in any review. It provides a quick overview before I go and read the review. Nonetheless, thanks for the review. :)
  • brucek2 - Monday, June 17, 2013 - link

    The list of tags right under the article's title includes "1080p", and then there's the discussion on the next to last page how all current 120hz monitors are 1080.

    Of course the table is a good idea. I feel like there usually is one? Maybe something got lost in the editorial pipeline?
  • thwaak - Monday, June 17, 2013 - link

    I agree, this was a major oversight. I had to skim the article till the second last page to determine that it was 1080p, and even then it's really not even directly stated.
  • Rob94hawk - Monday, June 17, 2013 - link

    Yeah had to read it a few times to figure out what the resolutions was.
  • r3loaded - Monday, June 17, 2013 - link

    Are there any 120Hz IPS monitors? I'm sure many people would want one.
  • jackstar7 - Monday, June 17, 2013 - link

    Overlord is one of the places you can get the closest thing to 120Hz IPS (at 1440p). Takes some gfx horsepower, but is worth it.
  • Rob94hawk - Monday, June 17, 2013 - link

    No offense but 2560x1440, 2560x1600 gaming is where it's at. Reviewing a 1080p monitor is like reviewing socket 775 all over again.
  • birru - Monday, June 17, 2013 - link

    That's a complete exaggeration. High resolution gaming is awesome, and there's real value there, but 1080p is absolutely relevant. Especially when you factor in trying to maintain 120fps or 144fps to keep up with these high refresh LCDs while avoiding tearing. Even with my GTX 780 I've found that with some recent titles I have to scale back the eye candy a touch to keep the experience at a solid 60fps. And that's at 1080p. So with a top of the line single GPU you'd certainly have to reduce visual fidelity a bit more at higher resolutions. And of course it gets worse with triple screens if you want to go that route. 3x1080p is feasible with one GPU. 3x1440p and you're looking at SLI or Crossfire.

    Resolution costs money; how sharp do you want to go?
  • sxr7171 - Monday, June 17, 2013 - link

    Same issue here. 780GTX and I need to turn settings down in Crysis 3. This is at 1080p. Can't imagine how that would work out at 1600p. I guess SLI is a must with those resolutions along with all the problems.
  • brucek2 - Monday, June 17, 2013 - link

    Per Steam, 1080p and under is something like 98%+ of all gamers (and this is billed as a "gaming monitor" review.)

    Sure I'd expect that the percent of newly purchased monitors may be somewhat higher, but I bet it's still well south of 10%.

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