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BenQ XL2420T gaming monitor - Review/competitive gaming discussion

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February 25, 2012 9:01:07 PM

Here is a nice lengthy gamer oriented review for the BenQ XL2420T. I realise a lot of gamers are interested in learning more about low latency displays and after a fair amount of research I did not find enough opinions/reviews from hardcore gamers that I could really buy into. Prior to purchasing I found myself taking a bit of a gamble rather than making a well informed and confident decision.

I think this should be taken subjectively. I am not a casual gamer by any means, but there are also others a lot better than me. For reference I very easily perceive anything above ~30ms input latency. Perception and actual reaction time should be considered separately but as another point of reference, I score around 190ms on the following test using a lag free (CRT) display:

http://www.humanbenchmark.com/tests/reactiontime/

Take the test. If you score higher than 190ms you can be confident my opinion is worth paying attention to! If you score lower than 190ms, then you may perceive latency problems that I don't. Remember, even a display with 10ms latency does not mean that game play should be completely "unaffected". As it is adding that 10ms to your response time regardless of whether you can feel it or not. Your actions are going to be slowed down 10 milliseconds by the display.

XL2420T Review

It's the screen I've needed, for the past 5+ years. I've used dozens of LCD/TFT displays including the "Samsung P2450H -2ms". I expected similar results from the XL2420T. But it comfortably surpasses it with regard to input latency. There is no perceivable input latency at all and in the right game it can feel more responsive than my 10 year old CRT TV, thanks to the fast 120Hz refresh rate. The 120Hz refresh rate really shines in football games like PES or Fifa taking a goal kick to the halfway line, which causes a fast horizontal panning. This has always induced a significant blurring on any non-CRT display but the XL2420T handles it just fine. A massive plus in my books.

Tested with mouse (logitech MX518). Crysis 2, Battlefield 3. Gamepad (xbox 360 controller wireless) Halo Reach, Sonic, Street Figther. And played a fair amount of guitar hero/rockband (wired guitar controller peripheral). Really pleased with the performance.

Xbox 360 via HDMI:

HDMI connection has not affected the input latency nor does running 1080p on the console.

A particular test I like to do which can expose real-world input latency:

1) launch an FPS like Halo Reach
2) setting the look sensitivity to maximum (10 in this case)
3) looking in circular motions by quickly rotating the right thumb stick

The XL2420T results were very close if not on par with a CRT display. On a CRT display this response is instant. On my brothers P2450H (2ms) I could feel a slight pull on my actions. On the UE55D7000 TV and Dell U2711 there is very significant latency in this test.

Image Quality

Viewing angles, uniformity, detail and colour gradients are as expected nothing compared to my Dell U2711, or my Samsung UE55D7000 television. However when this is weighed in against the almost non existent input lag... it isn't going to be an object for gamers. I think it is fair to say that even those who prioritise image quality higher than myself are going to find the picture is "as good as it needs to be" for their gaming.

I've read about dead pixels, back light bleed, banding and clouding issues. Fortunately I have a very good panel in this department. No dead pixels or backlight bleed, but I have experienced banding/clouding on very particular images and actually, I haven't been able to perceive any banding/clouding trying to reproduce such an image in photoshop. I do not believe this is enough to put anyone off. If you get any significant display problems then return it until you get a decent model. It's 2012, every manufacturer uses the consumer as quality control these days just keep throwing stuff back at them.

everythings perfect? Nope.

the Headphone jack... tried several pairs of headphones and they just "spring" back out. I need to have the headphones in at a particular (and loose) angle to hear 2-channel sound, and even then there is some noise/static. This is a huge disappointment for me, as everything else about the display is excellent and for Xbox 360 I intend on using the audio jack. Although there is a workaround, I may end up returning my display if I find that the problem is not widespread and exclusive to my model. Of course a replacement may well have bleed/dead pixel issues that my one does not.

In summary. I can recommend this to anyone who wants the best of HD resolution and CRT response with the added bonus of 120Hz motion. Without hesitation. If you are reading this you are serious about gaming. If you game on the PC too, you will appreciate 120Hz. I was close to buying the Dell U2312HM which has a lower response time of 0.6ms and although I haven't tried it, this display might be ideal (and significantly cheaper) for console gamers who are looking for low latency and HD. I can't account for other 120Hz displays but I would encourage anyone to look into them all because the XL2420T is at the more pricey end. Take it from this review though, the XL2420T in particular satisfies my (strict) requirements just fine.

Thanks for reading I hope this information has been useful! If you have any questions about gaming displays or want to know more about the XL2420T leave a response and I'll try to help.

note: I apologise for not using the Official Flat Panel Monitor Reviews Thread. I do not intend for this to be a conventional monitor review. I am reviewing it from a competitive gaming perspective for competitive gamers. I did not wish to follow the format of the reviews thread. In my research prior to buying, information and opinions I was looking for was hidden and difficult to find. The subject of input latency is often brief and usually graphs/scientific measurements, rather than real world performance and user feedback
March 1, 2012 5:48:03 PM

And "as good as it needs to be" in drawings,if we dont talk about IPS,what are your impressions?...are black 100% in drawings,for example?
March 5, 2012 3:16:39 AM

Good review, but I am not sure I agree with the initial premise that LCD is the way to go for serious gamers. I strongly disagree.

You realize that for 1080P gaming (esp. for consoles), Plasma blows LCD/LED right out of the water. Plasma has been superior for image quality and response time for 5 years, at least. It's unfortunate that marketing myths about LCDs/LEDs being superior still persist.

You get:

1) Almost instantaneous response time with no ghosting (Plasma is a gas, which means thousands of times faster response time). Any consumer Plasma screen has faster response time than any consumer LED/LCD in the world simply because of how the 2 technologies work;

2) Deeper blacks, more accurate colors than 99% of LCD/LED monitors. There are a few excellent LEDs that can actually produce deep blacks such as the Sharp Elite but it runs $4.5k a pop and suffers from inaccurate colors...

3) Image quality for Gaming on a 50-60 inch Plasma is FAR superior than gaming on a small 20-24 inch PC LCD monitor. Consumer LCD monitors don't hold a candle to Samsung or Sony LEDs on the market. In turn, those Samsung and Sony LED TVs still lag far behind Plasma. That leaves PC-centric LCD monitors dead last for overall image quality.

Right now the only 2 key benefits LCD has over Plasma are higher resolution and 120Hz refresh rate. However, the term refresh rate is a meaningless one for Plasma technology.

A little more detail on the "fake" 600Hz refresh rate that some plasma manufacturers tout:

Panasonic subdivides their plasma display panels into 10 sub-fields. Each sub-field is refreshed at a 60 Hz rate. 10 sub-fields refreshed at 60 Hz (10 x 60 = 600) produces a 600 Hz sub-field drive figure.

Is a 600 Hz sub-field drive better for fast motion? NO. It neither helps nor hurts fast motion on a plasma display panel. Plasma pixels switch at 1 micro-second; thousands of times faster than the fastest LCD response time. Because of this speed difference, a plasma TV operates different than a LCD/backlit LED TV and, therefore, does not produce the motion blur and jitter produced by a LCD/LED display panel. Plasma TVs do NOT need 120 Hz refresh rates to compensate for these motion artifacts because they do not produce these motion artifacts.

As a side note, I use a 2560x1600 30 inch LCD for my PC gaming. I play my consoles on my 60 inch Plasma and find that it still has FAR superior image quality even to my 30 inch PC LCD. Obviously the Xbox360's graphics are very poor compared to PC. But any time I get a chance to hook up the PC to the Plasma and play some Dirt 3 or Metro 2033, it's amazing.

That's because as a technology, both in terms of image quality and response time (movies, sports, videogames), Plasma is the gamers/videophile's choice over LCD/LED technology. Once you game on a Plasma, it's difficult to like any LCD/LED screen if you want to game on 50 inches or larger.

Now if only we could get 60 inch 4K TVs with contrast ratios of LEDs, amazing response time, colors and deep blacks of Plasma for $3,000. 4k OLEDs can't get here fast enough.

The fact that you can never get true blacks on an LCD/LED significantly diminishes image quality in games with dark environments such as Gears of War, FEAR or Batman games, etc. Also, in terms of "motion smoothness", there is just no comparison. Plasmas also have superior viewing angles and the colors pop out much more especially in darker lit environments. The fact that plasmas have a glass coating on top helps the colors jump out more (similar to how Apple's LED screens have much better colors than most Ultrabooks). Most 24 inch PC LCD monitors do not have glossy finish which diminishes their contrast ratio somewhat.

For PC, I could see how one might want 120Hz and / or 2560x1600, but for consoles, it's not even close imho. You really should check it out.

You might be an amazing gamer and have insanely fast response time, but the fact that you have chosen a Samsung UE55D7000 over their PN models makes me seriously question how in the world did you buy that TV in the first place if you care for smooth gaming experience? There is practically nothing besides Whites and lower power consumption that Samsung's UE series do better for movies/sports/games than their PN series do. That's not even discussing Panasonic plasmas.

Basically why sacrifice image quality at all when Plasma offers the best response time + image quality at the moment for gaming on a large screen? And then there is the emersion factor of a gun that looks "lifelike in size" on a 60 inch screen vs. the tiny gun on a 24 inch monitor :) 
Related resources
March 8, 2012 6:42:42 PM

DV2 said:
And "as good as it needs to be" in drawings,if we dont talk about IPS,what are your impressions?...are black 100% in drawings,for example?


No, black levels and uniformity in dark areas is not perfect nor on par with my other displays. Different angles massively affect the image quality and you will experience degradation on the edges of an image even with your head in the optimal position. As I have said though, if you are willing to sacrifice this for the low latency performance then I do not think it is any object. I will game on the XL2420T over my U2711 and UE55D7000 in a heartbeat and when I am into the game the inferior picture will not affect me at all. As good as it needs to be is exactly how I'd put it


BestJinjo said:
You might be an amazing gamer and have insanely fast response time, but the fact that you have chosen a Samsung UE55D7000 over their PN models makes me seriously question how in the world did you buy that TV in the first place if you care for smooth gaming experience? There is practically nothing besides Whites and lower power consumption that Samsung's UE series do better for movies/sports/games than their PN series do. That's not even discussing Panasonic plasmas.

Basically why sacrifice image quality at all when Plasma offers the best response time + image quality at the moment for gaming on a large screen? And then there is the emersion factor of a gun that looks "lifelike in size" on a 60 inch screen vs. the tiny gun on a 24 inch monitor :) 


Hey thank you for reading my review and for your lengthy reply. Are you arguing that Plasmas are superior even compared to the XL2420T when it comes to input latency then? I never mean't to argue that either LCD or plasma were superior in my review with regards to televisions. I am sorry if there was a misunderstanding there.

I have been considering an exchange for the Panasonic 55VT30 plasma. Before purchasing my UE55D7000 I did do endless amounts of research. I was not able to demo one in person as I live in a small town without many TV stores. As much as I tried digging for information on gaming latency/performance I did not once hear anything bad about the UE55D7000's gaming performance. I went out of my way to contact owners of the UE55D7000/8000 series and in fact, everyone I asked said "no input lag at all". I really didn't have anything to go on other than what I had read online. I also read several accounts in which plasma displays were not recommended over LCD for gamers, most likely older articles that somehow continue to make their way to the top of google search queries. I basically conceded that lag free LCD/Plasma 1080p displays did not exist and accepted what I had. After gaming on my XL2420T for a few weeks now, I can't play anything competitive on the UE55D7000.

From what I have found the benefits of LED edge lit LCD are:

ultra-thin form factor
lower energy
brightness levels
looks (I do not think any television looks better than the D7000/8000 series with that slick bezel)

I never prioritised any of this when searching for a TV. I don't mind higher energy bills for better performance, I don't mind a bulkier chassis for better performance, and I use the television in a dark environment so a plasma would be no problem in this respect.

Buyers remorse? Maybe, I don't know. The D7000 is a wonderful television and I have not seen better with my eyes. I'm going to have to demo a plasma display to see what all the fuss is about though.
March 26, 2012 7:14:25 PM

Thanks for posting your thoughts on this BenQ monitor. From the research I've done, it seems like the superior LCD monitor for fast gaming. I really want one and can certainly afford it but find it really really hard to justify the $400 price tag considering it's still just a 1080 TN panel and I don't do a ton of gaming anymore because when you get a little older other things in life become (or should at least) a higher priority.

But it does feel wrong to be gaming on a 1680x1050 monitor that has a good 40ms or so of input lag when I've got a new PC with a 7950 in it, LOL. Especially when I'm playing CS:GO beta.
May 28, 2012 7:46:19 PM

thepieguy said:
Thanks for posting your thoughts on this BenQ monitor. From the research I've done, it seems like the superior LCD monitor for fast gaming. I really want one and can certainly afford it but find it really really hard to justify the $400 price tag considering it's still just a 1080 TN panel and I don't do a ton of gaming anymore because when you get a little older other things in life become (or should at least) a higher priority.

But it does feel wrong to be gaming on a 1680x1050 monitor that has a good 40ms or so of input lag when I've got a new PC with a 7950 in it, LOL. Especially when I'm playing CS:GO beta.


I don't play games often myself (total workaholic) but I had no hesitation dropping £280 for a "games" display. Likewise I have a bunch of expensive peripherals for games like street fighter even though I'm not playing them every day. I dislike the idea that games aren't for adults and how it's silly to invest money on high quality stuff. What you said about other things in life becoming a priority wasn't really necessary. I think it's a shame that some people still see games as a casual and laid back affair when they have evolved into a highly artistic art form and on a competitive basis offer as much as anything out there. I take my gaming "seriously" like anything else I do to be quite honest. If I want the best performance and can afford it then I'll take it thanks! ;) 
August 22, 2012 11:05:50 AM

Just read your review, and it was refreshing to read something from a purely gaming angle... It's been really frustrating finding anything non biased (advertorial) written by someone who knows what gamers want.

"serious" gamers, especially fps gamers, want the "edge"... imperceptible colour varients and viewing angles mean absolutely ZERO... and it's really frustrating coming across "gaming" reviews that then go on to say:

"Input lag for x monitor was zero, 120fps, and 2ms ... but I had to rate this 3 out of 5 stars because I can't see every available shade of colour in the spectrum to my exacting standards and the picture is distorted when viewing whilst standing on your head at a 45° angle" - It's like seriously?! When I step around a corner my mind makes one calculation, friend or foe, and then I blow his head off... I really don't care what colour hat he was wearing.

Anyway... I also found BestJinjo's lengthy reply on Plasma screen very interesting. Not being a videophile myself and having limited technical knowledge I was unaware that Plasma was actually better for refresh rate and well.. overall.

One question though - what kind of input latency do you experience with a Plasma?

Thanks.
a b 4 Gaming
August 22, 2012 6:27:41 PM

The problem with Plasma is that they don't make monitors that are plasma, and you can't get 120hz input. Without 120hz, you actually incur latency due to the limited frames that are able to be displayed.

I have found that low input and 120hz to be a big deal, though not necessarily for a competitive reason. I hate tearing for starters, so I do use v-sync. Even at 60 FPS on a 60hz monitor, you will have a bit of latency between your action and what you see. This delay causes me simulator sickness, which has the same symptoms of motion sickness. This simulator sickness is much worse below 60, but still very present at 60 FPS/hz. Having 120hz and over 80 FPS removes this simulator sickness for me. With less delay between your movement, and the next vertical retrace mode, there is lower latency and I don't get sick.

I've been curious about this monitors quality for a while now. It's good to see a review. I also agree, a monitor has no need for good viewing angles. You sit in front of it, always. This isn't a TV where you have people spread across a couch looking at it. Color accuracy is also rather unimportant. Unless comparing it to something, you can't hardly tell the difference between 18 bit and 24 bit color. If I was a graphics artist, I would care, but not in a game.
October 30, 2012 1:48:28 PM

BestJinjo said:
Good review, but I am not sure I agree with the initial premise that LCD is the way to go for serious gamers. I strongly disagree.

You realize that for 1080P gaming (esp. for consoles), Plasma blows LCD/LED right out of the water. Plasma has been superior for image quality and response time for 5 years, at least. It's unfortunate that marketing myths about LCDs/LEDs being superior still persist.

You get:

1) Almost instantaneous response time with no ghosting (Plasma is a gas, which means thousands of times faster response time). Any consumer Plasma screen has faster response time than any consumer LED/LCD in the world simply because of how the 2 technologies work;

2) Deeper blacks, more accurate colors than 99% of LCD/LED monitors. There are a few excellent LEDs that can actually produce deep blacks such as the Sharp Elite but it runs $4.5k a pop and suffers from inaccurate colors...

3) Image quality for Gaming on a 50-60 inch Plasma is FAR superior than gaming on a small 20-24 inch PC LCD monitor. Consumer LCD monitors don't hold a candle to Samsung or Sony LEDs on the market. In turn, those Samsung and Sony LED TVs still lag far behind Plasma. That leaves PC-centric LCD monitors dead last for overall image quality.

Right now the only 2 key benefits LCD has over Plasma are higher resolution and 120Hz refresh rate. However, the term refresh rate is a meaningless one for Plasma technology.

A little more detail on the "fake" 600Hz refresh rate that some plasma manufacturers tout:

Panasonic subdivides their plasma display panels into 10 sub-fields. Each sub-field is refreshed at a 60 Hz rate. 10 sub-fields refreshed at 60 Hz (10 x 60 = 600) produces a 600 Hz sub-field drive figure.

Is a 600 Hz sub-field drive better for fast motion? NO. It neither helps nor hurts fast motion on a plasma display panel. Plasma pixels switch at 1 micro-second; thousands of times faster than the fastest LCD response time. Because of this speed difference, a plasma TV operates different than a LCD/backlit LED TV and, therefore, does not produce the motion blur and jitter produced by a LCD/LED display panel. Plasma TVs do NOT need 120 Hz refresh rates to compensate for these motion artifacts because they do not produce these motion artifacts.

As a side note, I use a 2560x1600 30 inch LCD for my PC gaming. I play my consoles on my 60 inch Plasma and find that it still has FAR superior image quality even to my 30 inch PC LCD. Obviously the Xbox360's graphics are very poor compared to PC. But any time I get a chance to hook up the PC to the Plasma and play some Dirt 3 or Metro 2033, it's amazing.

That's because as a technology, both in terms of image quality and response time (movies, sports, videogames), Plasma is the gamers/videophile's choice over LCD/LED technology. Once you game on a Plasma, it's difficult to like any LCD/LED screen if you want to game on 50 inches or larger.

Now if only we could get 60 inch 4K TVs with contrast ratios of LEDs, amazing response time, colors and deep blacks of Plasma for $3,000. 4k OLEDs can't get here fast enough.

The fact that you can never get true blacks on an LCD/LED significantly diminishes image quality in games with dark environments such as Gears of War, FEAR or Batman games, etc. Also, in terms of "motion smoothness", there is just no comparison. Plasmas also have superior viewing angles and the colors pop out much more especially in darker lit environments. The fact that plasmas have a glass coating on top helps the colors jump out more (similar to how Apple's LED screens have much better colors than most Ultrabooks). Most 24 inch PC LCD monitors do not have glossy finish which diminishes their contrast ratio somewhat.

For PC, I could see how one might want 120Hz and / or 2560x1600, but for consoles, it's not even close imho. You really should check it out.

You might be an amazing gamer and have insanely fast response time, but the fact that you have chosen a Samsung UE55D7000 over their PN models makes me seriously question how in the world did you buy that TV in the first place if you care for smooth gaming experience? There is practically nothing besides Whites and lower power consumption that Samsung's UE series do better for movies/sports/games than their PN series do. That's not even discussing Panasonic plasmas.

Basically why sacrifice image quality at all when Plasma offers the best response time + image quality at the moment for gaming on a large screen? And then there is the emersion factor of a gun that looks "lifelike in size" on a 60 inch screen vs. the tiny gun on a 24 inch monitor :) 


Your post is informative but completely off point. The op has made the review in a competitive gaming aspect. No, we do not prefer a 60inch plasma over a 24inch lcd. Image quality takes the backseat. We care about input lag, and the ability to see enemies ingame faster, and max frames per second. The immersion factor is not even a concern for a competitive gamer. Also, most if not all serious fps comp players use 120hz monitors since the movement is so much smoother. It might be placebo, but on 120h is far easier to predict some things like enemy movement in a close quarter firefight.
December 1, 2012 4:37:15 PM

Have you tried out some of the OSD profiles provided by review websites like prad.de (they make great and detailed reviews) or even better some calibration profiles? They say they actually managed to get an image quality and colour fidelity close to that of a good IPS panel.
March 18, 2013 11:39:20 AM

I know this post is a bit old but I just bought the BenQ TL2420TX model with the built in IR emitter and 3D glasses. The difference between the T and TX is that the TX comes with the built in IR emitter and Nvidia 3D Vision 2 glasses and the T doesn't. For the T model you'll have to get you own IR emitter and glasses. I used to have an HP 1920x1200 monitor that cost me 260$. So I thought the HP monitor was suppose to be pretty good in color and everything. But the BenQ is a lot better when it comes to colors I find. I can actually see different shades of purple and blue than I used to see. And when your dealing with a matte finish display sometime color can take a hit. But I find the color on the BenQ monitor to be on par with my brothers 21 inch MAC all-in-one at 1920x1080. His Mac was bought in 2011 but if you know MAC then you know their screen are pretty.

Personally I can't really tell the difference between 60hz and 120hz. I just haven't tested it out a whole lot as I've just got the monitor last week. I really absolutely love the looks of this monitor though. It's beautiful. Not the screen itself, just the entire thing. It has an awesome menu for changing colors and stuff also. It can also adjust any which way. High, Low, Left, Right, Tilted Up, Tilted Down. And I love the tilt feature because I have my monitor up high, and now I can tilt it down to my liking.

Now, let me get to the best part. The 3D experience. In 2D I find the color on this monitor to be pretty darn good. I doubt a gamer can tell a difference between this and a higher end one. But in 3D the colors change up a lot and everything comes at you like, well 3D. It's absolutely beautiful, I have to say. I can't imagine having a more beautiful 3D image. It's just perfect. And with the built in IR emitter you don't have to worry about wires and setting up a little box. Just put your glasses on, make sure their charged, and turn them on. Make sure you check the Stereoscopic 3D box in the Nvidia control panel and your ready to go. It's that easy. And did I mention it's beautiful?

So overall I'd say

Picture 8.5/10 (It's better than my 250$ matte HP monitor and on par with a 2,000$ MAC, but they do have better screens out there)
Viewing Angle (7.5/10) (What do you expect? How many angles are you gonna be looking at this monitor from? I only use one angle so IDC. You can still look at it from quite a few angle though, don't misunderstand me, it is rated a 7.5)
Overall Look 10/10 (Great build quality, Everything snaps together, Seems solid, just looks cool as hell, it took my system to a new level)
Menu 10/10 (The menu just couldn't be any better)
Gaming 9/10 (there are better picture's out there, although pretty expensive, if they would have used a shiny screen the picture would be better but then I'd be able to see myself, I can't imagine Far Cry 3 looking any better than this really and it's low lag and 120hz)
Overall 9.0/10

Let me just reiterate. The picture is pretty awesome. Better than any 200$ monitor. But there is better picture quality out there. Not much better, but a little better.

With this review I was being completely honest. So what you will get with this monitor is fast lag time, 120hz, matte finish display, really good picture quality, really good colors, perfect menu w/remote control settings changer, perfect 3D, comes with black equalizer(it works).
July 5, 2013 4:15:01 PM

I do a lot of gaming, including FPS style in Battlefield 3. I have a fast computer, but with a Dell/Phillips IPS panel model 'U2410' monitor. It is a high-quality monitor but not the fastest in terms of latency/refresh.

BenQ's latest 120hz refresh gaming monitor is the XL2420TE, which at this point is only available at their website for @ $400. It's also a TN panel like the XL2420T. I may get this.

It seems the Warranty is better/more liberal if you buy direct than if you get it through Newegg or Amazon, etc.
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