BenQ ZOWIE XL2720; An In-Depth Review

We have witnessed quite a lot of innovative improvements in Full HD monitors in the past couple of years, especially in eSports scene. 1080p seems to be the minimum platform for most games, as it allows monitors to provide decent graphics quality and pair it with excellent gaming performance due to TN panels that runs with the highest refresh rates. The prevalence of accurate IPS panels and Samsung’s Quantum Dot panel technology still has gamers craving for more. BenQ heard about this demand, so they made a monitor aimed for competitive gaming in BenQ ZOWIE XL2720 – a fully equipped 27-inch gaming monitor that runs at a whopping speed of 144Hz Refresh Rate and 1ms Response Time. What else makes this gaming display tick? Check out this in-depth review form Dual Monitors Guide to know more.

Note that this monitor is formerly known as BenQ XL2720Z, and has only been rebranded as BenQ ZOWIE XL2720. For this review, we shall call it with its latest name.

 

BenQ ZOWIE XL2720 (image from Amazon)


Who is it for?

BenQ ZOWIE XL2720 is designed for competitive gamers; it’s an extremely fast monitor equipped with all the features you need for superb and immersive gaming experience. It also delivers outstanding colors, despite the limitations of its TN panel.

 

Benefits

Packed with User-Friendly Features

This monitor is large, and packed with features specifically designed for better gaming experience, such as motion-blur reducing mode, ultra-low input lag, and the remote control to easily navigate through the on-screen display. It may be a step down from the higher resolution, but with the FreeSync technology in place, a good lower-cost gaming display such as this is really difficult to beat.

 


Inherent TN Panels Issues, Compromising Image Quality for Excellent Gaming Capabilities

Image quality is usually the first thing people will check when it comes to choosing a display, above all, resolution. Resolution for this monitor is a little disappointing, as it only runs at 1920x1080p. It’s a pretty basic resolution, and as with any other Twisted Nematic (TN) panel monitors, it also comes with its inherent viewing angle issues. Anyone can easily pick up a monitor of the same size that uses IPS panel and runs at 2560x1440p resolution with better viewing angles for the same amount of money. But then again, such monitors were not meant for competitive gaming.

As a monitor designed and marketed for gaming, we understand if the sub-par performance of this monitor when it comes to colour accuracy. Despite the TN panel though, the visual performance of this screen is still fantastic, both for intense games and movies.

Brightness and color shifting associated with poor viewing angles in TN panels is not as bad though. Test results shows the brightness of the screen actually increases when viewed from above, and reduces when viewed from below. When viewed on either side, it pretty much stays consistent.

For the backlight, you would be glad to know that there are no backlight bleeding, which again, keeps the screen consistent.

Contrast is also good. At highest brightness level, the monitor scores a decently white level of 317 nits and black level of 0.3 nits, making a contrast of 1034. 200 nits maximum brightness causes the black level to drop to an impressively inky level of 0.18 nits, which slightly increases the contrast to 1046. These digits may be decent, but they’re considered good for TN monitors.

Out-of-the-box colour temperature of BenQ ZOWIE XL2720 is reasonably set at 7208K, which can go all the way down to 6541K with calibration. That’s only less than 1% away from the ideal 6500K. Colour differentiation is quite impressive, which Delta E reported at 0.16 – something we normally see in professional monitors. Colour space coverage however, is only at 89% for sRGB and 64.9% for Adobe RGB. A little setup tweaks can improve these digits to 98.1% and 72% respectively.

 

Impressive and Immersive Gaming Experience

BenQ ZOWIE XL2720 (image from Amazon)


As said earlier, gaming is where this screen really excels. To kick off, it has an input lag of 10.2ms, that’s way on par of some of the best gaming displays out there. This however, is only achieved when set at ‘Instant Mode’. If not, input lag will be at 27.3ms.

 

BenQ ZOWIE XL2720 (image from Amazon)


Also, there’s the Flicker-free feature the eliminate flickering at all brightness levels, and the blur-reduction mode, which results to a drop in brightness, making images appear clearer and more immediate. Both features reduce eye fatigue and improves gaming performance. It may not be a slam-dunk of a feature that we would use every day, but definitely a convenient advantage for gaming, especially for scenarios where you need both clarity and speed to be paramount.

 

Dual Monitor and Multiple Monitor Setup Options

This monitor may already come with a good monitor stand complete with adjustment options, but if you're looking for more ergonomics, if not dual monitor setup, then you should consider making use of the VESA compliant mounting holes.

For dual monitor setup, there are a couple of good options, the Ergotron LX Dual Side-by-Side Arm and  AmazonBasics dual side-by-side monitor arm.

 

Ergotron LX Dual Side-by-Side Arm (image from Amazon)


The Ergotron LX Dual Side-by-Side Arm is a premium dual monitor mount option from one of the world's leading names in ergonomics. It can support two 27-inch monitors simultaneously, and can even hold one display on top of the other. It is made up of solid polished aluminum construction and high quality materials. Each arm can be adjusted independently, allowing users to reposition their display; up, down, forward and back, with one simple touch, and still keep the displays secured and stable in place, as it also comes with the patented Constant Force (CF) technology.

AmazonBasics dual side-by-side monitor arm (image from Amazon)


AmazonBasics dual side-by-side monitor arm on the other hand, works almost exactly the same. It's the more affordable option and it is fully capable of delivering quality performance.

 

 

Design and Features

BenQ ZOWIE XL2720 (image from Amazon)



BenQ ZOWIE XL2720 comes in a standard design, nothing fancy. As a matter of fact, the design replicated some of BenQ’s previous gaming models, namely 2430 and 2730. It comes with thin matte black coating that runs around the screen which effectively blocks out reflections and glares. The only thing that stands out design wise is the style of its stand and the cable management holes with odd red details on the neck of the stand. For competitive gamers, that’s good news, as last thing you want is a distracting design.

 

Buttons and Controls

While most monitors in the market use physical buttons that you can press and reveal the OSD (on-screen display) options, this BenQ gaming monitor uses an S-Switch, a control feature especially designed for their products which provides easy and convenient access to Menu settings and switching between saved picture modes and presets. This means picture can be quick and easy to setup for different games and preferences.

Most Menu systems require multiple presses to get you where you want. The S Switch on the other hand, cuts down the navigation, giving users shortcuts for the most commonly used settings.

 

Connectivity Options

BenQ ZOWIE XL2720 (image from Amazon)


The back houses the ports, which is a nice selection of I/O ports, mostly everything you need for gaming, namely D-sub, DVI-DL, 2 HDMI ports, DP1.2. There are also lots of USB ports for your gadgets and smartphone, plus a headphone jack for audio.

 

Fully Adjustable Stand, With VESA for Ergonomics Plus Cable Management Hole

BenQ ZOWIE XL2720 (image from Amazon)


As with most high quality gaming monitors in the market today, BenQ ZOWIE XL2720 is supported by a fully articulating stand. It tilts, swivels, adjusts in height and pivots, giving you all the freedom to setup and adjust the screen to your preference.

BenQ ZOWIE XL2720 (image from Amazon)


Those who find the fully adjustable stand lacking can always opt for a more ergonomic option by getting rid of the stand and using the VESA-compliant mounting holes of this monitor. This gives way to the use of aftermarket monitor stands with fully articulating arms or even for dual monitor setups.

BenQ ZOWIE XL2720 (image from Amazon)


The backside of the monitor has a red handle which can flip out and hold wires or headphones. Clearly, BenQ hates untidy desks.

 

Tech Specs

Bottom Line

Indeed, there’s a ton of competition in the gaming market, and many reviewers would be inclined to recommend other monitors for those into casual gaming and want a display that can double as a work monitor. This display is indeed expensive, and there are lots of cheaper alternatives out there, of course, those cheaper ones have their expected trade-offs in terms of gaming performance and quality.

However, there’s truly no denying that the BenQ ZOWIE XL2720 is specifically designed and well-suited for the competitive gamers. As far as gaming is concerned, this one is easily one of the best you can find in the market; low input lag, high refresh rate and fast response time all combines for an excellent and top-notch gaming experience. This screen is perfect for high-paced acton packed games such as FPS (first person shooter) or racing games. Elements in RPG games of course, look amazing in its fast and smooth performance.


Plus, its nimble color-accurate and products quality picture that is a pleasure to look at, even for hours of gaming. Thanks to gaming-centric features and eye-friendly features, especially the built-in blue light filter.

Also, unlike most monitors of its size, this BenQ gaming display doesn’t come with built-in speakers. Though this may be a bad news for gamers who don’t have the luxury of space on their desk, we truly understand BenQ’s decision to omit this feature, as most users output their audio directly from their PC or runs consoles directly into an audio receiver, while competitive gamers use their trusted headphones for better audio quality and immersive gaming experience. Thus, since there is no audio output, be ready to route audio signal directly from its source to your speakers without the monitor’s assistance.

Resolution indeed, is the thing we compromise for high-speed gaming capabilities. Moreover, this BenQ display doesn’t claim to have the utmost image quality. Rather, it’s simply a gaming monitor that is fully equipped with all the things you need for competitive gaming. All in all, BenQ ZOWIE XL2720 is a monitor that delivers decent image quality – fine for watching videos and great for gaming. Obviously, it’s not the best choice for accurate colours performance for photo editing, graphics design, video editing, etc. It is however, an unapologetically a premium gaming monitor. Design wise, it looks sleek, slim and aesthetically pleasing. Though its Full HD don’t quite compete with sharper screens in the same price range, its 1ms response time and 144Hz refresh rate, plus gaming features makes it a good buy for avid gamers.

For more in-depth reviews like this, check out Dual Monitors Guide today!



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