BenQ XL2730Z 27-inch FreeSync Monitor Review

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Packaging, Physical Layout And Accessories

BenQ packs the XL2730Z in a large lay-down-style box with a generous amount of Styrofoam to protect the contents. It’ll take serious effort to damage one of these in shipping. In addition to a printed quick-start guide and CD-ROM with full manuals and drivers, you get DVI and DisplayPort cables along with a USB 3.0 connector. Lastly, there’s a nice thick vinyl dust cover to keep your screen clean when it's not in use.

Product 360

After attaching the base to the solid-aluminum upright, simply snap the assembly onto the panel for a nice tight fit. Movements are firm and solid with no play at all. The panel is of average weight and will stay precisely where you want it. A red indicator on the upright makes it easy to restore your height setting if it changes. Like all XL-series screens, this display has superb build quality.

The XL2730Z has a nice thin bezel of only 18mm, which makes it ideal for a two- or three-screen installation. It’s only broken up by a power button plus five control keys. They’re push-buttons rather than the more common touchpads. Once you plug in the OSD controller, however, you’ll never touch them again.

The screen’s front layer is a traditional 3H-rated anti-glare shield. The panel’s extra pixel density is shown with excellent clarity and no trace of graininess. It does a good job of preventing reflections as well.

We love BenQ’s OSD controllers. They come on all the XL-series screens either as a puck (like the one above) or a ramp-shaped S Switch. The wheel is what makes it work so well. You can zip through menus in no time at all when you want to change a setting. It plugs into a dedicated mini-USB port on the input panel. You can leave it in its little nest on the baseplate or put it close to your mouse like we did. The large numbered buttons are hotkeys for the three user-programmable settings memories.

From the side, the XL2730Z isn’t the thinnest panel. But at 2.5 inches thick, it still works well on the wall. Just unsnap the factory upright to expose a 100mm VESA mount. You can see the side input panel in this photo with its two USB ports, headphone and mic jacks. The red dot at the top is a retractable headphone hook made from anodized aluminum.

Here’s a better view of the headphone hook and red-trimmed cable management hole. You can also see red text labels over the inputs. Again, the upright is solid aluminum with an integrated handle at the top. It can be safely used to carry the XL2730Z if you wish.

The down-facing input panel includes both version 1.4 and 2.0 HDMI ports. The 2.0 port supports 144Hz operation if you have a compatible video card. Otherwise, you can use either DisplayPort or DVI. BenQ also includes a legacy VGA input. Of course, for FreeSync support, you must use DisplayPort along with a compatible Radeon graphics card. Finally, you get a USB 3.0 upstream port along with two side-mounted downstream connectors.

Christian Eberle
Contributing Editor

Christian Eberle is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He's a veteran reviewer of A/V equipment, specializing in monitors. Christian began his obsession with tech when he built his first PC in 1991, a 286 running DOS 3.0 at a blazing 12MHz. In 2006, he undertook training from the Imaging Science Foundation in video calibration and testing and thus started a passion for precise imaging that persists to this day. He is also a professional musician with a degree from the New England Conservatory as a classical bassoonist which he used to good effect as a performer with the West Point Army Band from 1987 to 2013. He enjoys watching movies and listening to high-end audio in his custom-built home theater and can be seen riding trails near his home on a race-ready ICE VTX recumbent trike. Christian enjoys the endless summer in Florida where he lives with his wife and Chihuahua and plays with orchestras around the state.

  • norseman4
    I don't understand why the price is so high. The only things I see that are different (in any meaningful way) from the Acer XG270HU (which I have, and am a fan of) is hight adjustment and an external puck to load configurable screen settings. (that is pretty cool though)

    The Acer also doesn't have the raised bezel that is actually about 8mm (Top, Left and Right)

    The Benq looks like a good monitor, I just don't see what justifies the premium price.
  • Xajel
    I'll wait for 29" 21:9 1440p instead, the only option available is curved, which is pricey, I don't see the curvation worth the extra cost... FreeSync is a plus but this will drive the cost up again ( to have a 144Hz panel at that resolution )... and please add a USB 3.1 hub with 2x Type-A & 2x Type-C ports
  • eklipz330
    i may have missed it in the article, but what is the range of frames freesync covers on this monitor?
  • I Hate Nvidia
    i may have missed it in the article, but what is the range of frames freesync covers on this monitor?
    First thing I was thinking of is FreeSync Range , and I double checked the article and there is no mention of it at all! I think the writer is not well informed regarding FreeSync - GSync Range.
  • ceberle
    The frame-rate range is 40-144Hz.

  • JTWrenn
    This was a good article for a monitor was a very bad article for one of the first Freesync monitors to be released. Many of us wanted more info on that and you acted like all monitors are the same as long as the tech works...that is just not true. Please add more about the Freesync tech, how it worked and what it's limitations were.
  • singemagique
    Why does the author not add a comparison to the Acer XB270HU? Instead they make reference to the ROG Swift? At ~$740, the XB270HU offers 1440p, 144hz, and Gsync on an IPS panel and is definitely at the top of my list at this price point. Could Toms please add info on the Acer panel to this review?
  • Falkentyne
    Christian, I sent you an email about Version 4 firmware for the previous monitor you reviewed--the XL2720Z.
    And "Area" is the same thing as "strobe phase" is on the older Z series.
  • Bondfc11
    He says it's 40-144, but has that been tested? Or is that just the normal statement? Recall plenty of FS monitors state a range and then the panel won't oblige once it was properly tested.
  • Falkentyne
    That's the refresh rate capability, NOT the blur reduction rate capability. The older Z series can't even single strobe at 50hz without a Vertical Total tweak which tricks the scaler into using 60hz backlight pulse widths (if you try single strobe at 50hz without it, the backlight becomes overdriven with voltage and the current makes the monitor reset from overcurrent protection.

    It can "double strobe" at 50hz and 60hz but that's only because the single strobe option is missing from the service menu (it was there in all of the previous benq blur reduction monitors including the 2430T).