Premium Performance At A Premium Price
If you researched the XL2420G before reading this review, then you know its price is fairly high. BenQ's current MSRP is $650, and at the time of writing, this monitor sells for roughly $560 online. We’ve already lamented the premium Asus' ROG Swift PG278Q still commands, and we hope BenQ’s new display will come down in price over time. Like the Asus, this is a top-shelf product in every way.
Big money should translate to excellent performance, and the XL2420G certainly delivers, earning its way onto our list of monitors that don’t require calibration. If you do make adjustments, you’ll be rewarded with professional-level color accuracy. Contrast levels are high as well, at least in Classic mode, with both calibrated and ANSI results touching the underside of 1000:1.
Our complaints are fairly minor. First, the gamma tracking could use improvement. In Classic mode, we measured an aberration at the upper brightness levels that robs the image of depth. In G-Sync mode, tracking is a little better. But the entire gamma curve rides slightly above 2.2, which also reduces image depth. This flaw seems to affect overall contrast as well. When you’re using the DisplayPort input, the picture loses a tiny bit of its dimensionality. We acknowledge that these are small issues. However, at the XL2420G’s asking price, perfection should at least be close at hand.
Feature-wise we love this monitor. The S-Switch is by far our favorite way to control an OSD. When we get a display with traditional push buttons, it seems like a throwback in comparison. It’s a nice added touch that is currently exclusive to BenQ. We also applaud the inclusion of three user-programmable profiles. The ability to create your own picture modes should be standard on every computer monitor, regardless of its target audience. And assigning those memories to dedicated buttons on the S-Switch is a great bonus.
Of course the main reason to spend extra on a gaming monitor like this is for its G-Sync support. We’ve already extolled the virtues of frame rate-matching in previous reviews, so you know we enjoy the experiential improvement G-Sync introduces. Adding a 144Hz refresh rate just increases quality and usability. Even working in Windows looks and feels smoother when the stutter is mitigated.
We expect the XL2420G to be a tough sell though, given that there are other 24-inch G-Sync-capable screens available for less money. As far as gaming monitors go, its main draw is that final one-percent performance factor. Most displays will perform to the 99th percentile when they have similar feature sets. But to get that last bit - that slightly better color, contrast or build quality - you have to spend disproportionally more cash.
We do expect affluent enthusiasts to give the XL2420G a serious look. And perhaps if the price drops in a few months, more gamers will consider it. BenQ makes an excellent effort with its first G-Sync screen by building on the strengths of the company's other displays. For excellent performance and build quality, we’re giving the XL2420G our Tom’s Hardware Approved award.
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