Looking back at the data, the BenQ XL2720T actually scores pretty well. The pre-calibration numbers are decent, and post calibration they come out far better, though not as good as some recent IPS panels. The design is nice and ergonomic, and the OSD has been radically improved to be one of the best on the market. It also has the quick access buttons to change modes which could appeal to many if you want to easily switch between settings for gaming and work, or even different settings for a console.

However, when it comes down to my subjective impressions, I’m just not a huge fan of the BenQ XL2720T. The 1080p TN panel just has a washed out, slightly soft look to it. After spending years with IPS displays most of the time, going back to TN was much harder than I expected it to be. The only other 120 Hz display I reviewed previously, the S23A750D from Samsung, had a really bad ergonomic design, a poor OSD, and a really glossy finish, but it also had a screen that I enjoyed looking at more than I do the BenQ. I don’t think TN panels should really get up to 27” as the color and contrast shifts are easy to see at that point, and are distracting.

From a gamer point of view, I can somewhat see the value in having a 120 Hz display, but at the cost of $480, I am really not sure. The LG 29EA93 I reviewed previously lists for $600 right now, which is only $120 more than the BenQ. It offers an IPS panel instead of TN, higher resolution, a wider field of view, internal calibration with an optional meter, and lower measured input lag. I find the wider field-of-view to be a bigger advantage than the higher refresh rate for gaming, and the LG is much easier to look at on a day-to-day basis.

It is entirely possible I’m just not in touch enough with the hardcore gamer to see the benefits of the BenQ, but to me those benefits don’t outweigh the negatives that are offered up by using a lower resolution, TN panel in the display. If it was more affordable, perhaps in the $350-400 range, I can see recommending it more easily. As it is, I’d be far more likely to say  make the jump up to the LG monitor, or drop back down to the 24” model that comes in at $90 less but still has the same resolution and won’t have as many TN related issues since the viewing angle will be smaller.

It’s unfortunate that BenQ seems to get so much right aside from the TN panel itself, but hopefully they can either find an IPS panel that can work at 120 Hz in the future, or perhaps switch to a glossy finish next time if it helps to improve the overall look of the display. As it is now, I looked forward to finishing this review so I could get back to my IPS display, and I can’t really recommend the XL2720T based on my experience with it.


Gaming Use Comments and Lag Tests


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  • ViperV990 - Monday, June 17, 2013 - link

    I'm not seeing any mentions of Lightboost (strobing backlight). IMO that is the most important selling point of this monitor. If you think the differences between 60Hz to 120Hz is huge, you'll be blown away by the differences between Lightboost on and off. Reply
  • ViperV990 - Monday, June 17, 2013 - link

    If you're not familiar with Lightboost, this is a good place to start reading up:

  • A5 - Monday, June 17, 2013 - link

    Strobing backlight is the same thing "240 Hz" LCD TVs use to achieve their effect.

    Is the difference noticeable in anything besides specifically designed motion resolution tests?

    Considering most games have motion blur shaders on these days anyways, I hardly see the point.
  • chizow - Monday, June 17, 2013 - link

    No, it's not the same thing as 240Hz LCD TVs, instead of counting an inserted black frame or interpolated frame as a new "frame" to accomplish 240Hz, the backlight pulse ONLY strobes when an actual new frame is ready to be displayed, resulting in MUCH less image blur while allowing intermediate or transitional frames to clear.

    So instead of a constantly lit, muddy picture full of transitional ghosting and image retention, you get a crisp, true 120Hz image that pulses double-bright only when a true, new frame is ready to be displayed. Really a huge difference, it's why many fast-paced gamers won't go back to anything else but a 120Hz LightBoost panel, despite some of the trade-offs like 1080p limitation, TN panels etc.
  • Galford007 - Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - link

    @A5, @Chizow:

    I initially thought this "lightboost" thing was a gimmick but I recently bought an ASUS 144hz lightboost-capable monitor (VG248QE, ~$300 on Newegg) and I'm now a true believer. It's capable of 3D but I prefer to use it in 2D lightboost mode. There ARE some tradeoffs such as loss of color accuracy and brightness, but it looks AMAZING, especially in games like Battlefield 3. In order to get the full effect, you need to match in-game FPS with the refresh rate, so even with a GTX 580 I have to turn BF3 settings to low and 100Hz. The graphics still look pretty good but it's worth the tradeoff IMO. I'd definitely recommend to check out the Blurbusters site for more info on the technology (as ViperV990 suggested). Basically this "lightboost" thing is a happy accident, but I'm sure it'll gain traction soon.
  • chizow - Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - link

    Oh and blur shaders are a huge part of the problem, designed to cover up the muddy ugliness that is the norm with 60Hz non-LightBoost monitors. You'll want to turn all that crap off if you're using a 120Hz panel with LightBoost, if you value a clear, fluid image anyways. Reply
  • mdrejhon - Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - link

    TFTCentral's Motion Blur Reduction Backlights (Including LightBoost)
    They said that LightBoost outperformed all scanning backlights they have ever tested.

    A good 60Hz vs 120Hz vs LightBoost image comparision is:

    There's also a large LightBoost FAQ at:

    Also, see the improved Battlefield3 score graphs at:

    You will notice that about 20% of amazon.com customer reviews for the ASUS VG248QE monitor (popular LightBoost monitor) have rave reviews about the LightBoost motion blur elimination. Go check out the rave LightBoost reviews:
    Within that webpage, hit Control+F and find "LightBoost" in all the Amazon customer reviews!
  • mutantmagnet - Monday, June 17, 2013 - link

    I clicked this article just to see if they were going talk about this as well. They talk about sacrificing color correction for smoother gameplay as a mundane thing which isn't the case. Reply
  • cheinonen - Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - link

    I've been testing Lightboost today after reading the comments and will go in and add some commentary on it. Using lightboost for 2D is undocumented (at least as far as BenQ is involved) and requires some messing around with settings, and never came up in my discussions with BenQ as something to be aware of with the display. I didn't notice any commentary on it online until now either, which is how it didn't get mentioned.

    Also, I have no idea how the stats didn't make it into the review, that's just a dumb mistake on my part that needs to be remedied here really quick.
  • mdrejhon - Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - link

    BTW, great to recognize the attention needed because LightBoost apparently now sells a significant fraction of 120Hz monitors ever since the extreme enthusiast community figured out how to use it (without needing 3D).

    Some good news -- ToastyX is developing a new LightBoost utility (I'm beta testing) that makes it easy to enable/disable. No inf/reg files -- just an easy utility. Finally, it will be easy to enable/disable LightBoost -- with a hotkey shortcut! -- even on multiple monitor setups.

    Some tips:
    - If you don't have a Titan/780, then Lightboost often benefits older games a lot more (try source engine games, Quake Live, test with both VSYNC ON, and with VSYNC OFF), as it behaves like a 120Hz CRT and needs 120fps to make it sing.
    - XL2720T Lightboost color seems better with drivers 320.18
    - For picture adjustments, see LightBoost FAQ at http://www.blurbusters.com/zero-motion-blur/lightb...
    - I've sent you an email with a link to a new motion test

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