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BenQ XL2720Z Monitor Review: A 27-Inch, 144 Hz Gaming Display

OSD Setup And Calibration Of The BenQ XL2720Z

OSD Tour

There are many options in the XL2720Z’s vast OSD, and most of them are aimed at gamers. As we mentioned on the previous page, you can control the menu with five touch-sensitive buttons on the bezel, or do what we did and use the slick S Switch and its scroll wheel.

By the way, the S Switch is ambidextrous. It can be installed on either side of the monitor’s base via magnets.

Pressing any bezel or S Switch button brings up a quick menu.

Depending on your task or game, you’ll be turning the Blur Reduction on and off. And with an on-screen utility you can control the amount of reduction with a slider.

Switching between the picture modes is a little slow because it changes with each click of the wheel.

Display Mode refers to the screen size. The XL2720Z can mimic anything from 17-inch 4:3 aspect up to the full 27-inch native widescreen.

Selecting Menu brings up the full OSD.

The first sub-menu, Display, is for analog signals only. If you use the VGA input, you're able to adjust the position, pixel clock, and phase. Or click Auto Adjustment for a hands-off setup.

Next we have the main calibration controls, plus a number of other options.

When you click an option in the second column of items, a slider or more options will appear. They are always vertically arranged, so scrolling the S Switch's wheel is the fastest way to make choices. In the upper-right corner, you can see the current picture mode. And on the extreme right are icons that indicate the functions of the bezel buttons.

Low BlueLight is a feature unique to some BenQ monitors. It has the same effect as lowering the Blue slider in the color temp window. It goes from 0 to 10, and each click higher reduces blue, thereby making the white point warmer. It’s designed to combat eye fatigue, though a proper calibration yields the same result.

Black eQualizer adjusts gamma at the low end of the brightness scale. If you’re having trouble seeing shadow detail, raising this control should help.

Blur Reduction is an on/off option and activates the XL2720Z’s black frame insertion feature. Output is cut by almost 58 percent, but motion resolution is visibly improved.

Hue and Saturation only work with analog signals. They’re like the color and tint controls on an HDTV. The XL’s color is pretty accurate in the Standard picture mode, so we suggest leaving these sliders alone.

The Picture menu has a second screen full of options.

AMA stands for Advanced Motion Accelerator. It works like trace-free to reduce ghosting behind moving objects. It doesn’t seem to make any difference when running at 144 Hz.

InstantMode bypasses some video processing to improve input lag. It helped in our 60 Hz tests. But at 144 Hz, it had no effect.

Sharpness is set to a default value of 5 and should be left as-is. Reducing it softens the image and upping the slider creates unnecessary edge enhancement.

There are five gamma presets. The default setting is 3, but we found that to be a little low. Option 4 is right on the correct 2.2 value.

Here are the color temp presets.

Normal is the closest to 6500 Kelvins. If you select User Mode, you can adjust the RGB sliders to your preference. They start at 100 percent, so you can only reduce them. The result will be a small drop in output; just be sure to make Brightness your final adjustment.

The Picture Advanced menu has the rest of the image options.

There are eight picture modes plus three user memories. They differ in color, white point, and gamma, and some gray-out certain controls. Standard gives you access to everything. measuring closest to our standards without calibration. sRGB is very good too. However, it doesn’t offer any RGB adjustments. The FPS and RTS modes alter gamma and should be used as a personal preference. In our response and lag tests, Standard was as fast as any of the gaming presets, though.

Display Mode can change the screen size to suit a particular game application. When you do so, the image is displayed in a window at the center of the screen. There are various size and aspect ratio options from 17” 4:3 to 24” widescreen.

When we unboxed our press sample, it was set to RGB 16-235, which is incorrect for PC applications. Switch it to the 0-255 option to see the full-range signal. Video content is truncated to 16-235, so if you hook up a Blu-ray player, change the option back to its default setting.

SmartFocus is an unusual feature that highlights a user-controlled portion of the screen by darkening and desaturating the surrounding area. It’s designed for use with things like YouTube videos or games played in a windowed mode.

Having user memories on any monitor is extremely handy. Then you can have multiple configurations to switch between depending on application. The three numbered buttons on the S Switch recall those presets with a single click.

There are no speakers on the XL2720Z, so the volume control is for the headphone output. Buzzer refers to the little beep that accompanies each press of the bezel and S Switch keys. You can turn if off if you wish.

The final menu has an input selector and OSD options. The menu always displays in the lower-right corner of the screen so it won’t interfere with most test patterns. You can increase the timeout to as much as 30 seconds and choose between 17 languages.

The Custom Keys refer to the bezel buttons only. The top three can be set for quick access to many monitor functions like brightness or picture mode.

Here is the signal information. We would like to see firmware info as well for reasons we’ll explain later.

BenQ XL2720Z Calibration

After measuring the Standard, sRGB, and FPS1 modes, we settled on Standard as the best starting point for calibration. You have access to all of the necessary controls and it’s pretty close to accurate out of the box. In fact, if you don’t calibrate, just change the gamma preset from 3 to 4 and you’ll be within a stone’s throw of our instrumented results. sRGB locks out the RGB sliders and gamma presets, and the FPS modes lock out the gamma adjustment. Standard also happens to offer the best color gamut accuracy.

To maximize dynamic range at 200 cd/m2, we did a fair amount of back and forth adjustment of the brightness and contrast sliders. The default contrast setting of 50 won’t clip any detail, but it does reduce the accuracy of the 100-percent brightness level. We dropped it to 43 for an almost-perfect grayscale tracking result. Aside from tweaking the RGB controls, the only other change we made was to select the number 4 gamma preset.

BenQ XL2720Z Calibration Settings
Picture ModeStandard
Color Temp UserRed 100, Green 98, Blue 96

Other settings like Low Blue Light, Sharpness, and Dynamic Contrast should be left at their defaults for best results.

Christian Eberle
Christian Eberle is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He's a veteran reviewer of A/V equipment, specializing in monitors.