QHD, FreeSync And More
Once again, BenQ delivers an excellent gaming monitor to the marketplace. Not only does the XL2730Z offer lots of player-oriented features and FreeSync support, it comes with performance that almost qualifies it as a professional screen.
Of course FreeSync is the star here, and it’s the main reason to consider purchasing one of these for your high-end gaming rig. We say high-end because, like all cutting-edge products, the tech isn't cheap. Expect to spend nearly $300 more than the excellent XL2720Z. That extra coin buys you QHD resolution and frame rate-matching. But this is still a TN panel, which will turn some users off. Its nearest competition is the Asus ROG Swift PG278Q. After spending some time priced near $1000, that display is back down in the $750 range. Still, once you’ve experienced the smoothness of G-Sync or FreeSync, it’s really hard to go back to a vanilla 144Hz screen.
To further distance itself from the competition, BenQ takes huge strides with its blur-reduction technology. The earliest gaming monitors with the feature had on/off switches, which meant dropping light output by more than half. Unless you started with a panel rated at over 450cd/m2, you had a barely-usable image when strobing was active. Asus includes a pulse width adjustment with its ROG Swift, and other manufacturers have followed suit. Our favorite implementations, though, come from BenQ and LG. Both manage to strike an ideal balance between light output and blur-reduction to the point where you can actually use the feature all of the time. And it bears mentioning that the XL2730Z is one of the few screens that can do it at 144Hz.
Other value-adds include the OSD controller, which we just can’t say enough good things about. Typically, you'd configure the display and never visit its menus again. For gaming, however, it is sometimes necessary to move outside the strict parameters of calibration when you need better detail rendering or more saturated color in specific situations. The XL2730Z allows that with useful gamma presets, a Color Vibrance control and the aforementioned blur-reduction adjustments.
And we can’t finish this review without again mentioning BenQ’s excellent build quality. When you unpack the XL2730Z, you can’t help but be impressed by the solid aluminum upright coupled with a super-rigid base and a panel chassis completely devoid of flex. As an assembled unit, it moves with precision into whatever position you desire. To top it off, you get a handy headphone hook (also made from aluminum), a sturdy carry handle cast right into the upright and even a nice dust cover to keep your new purchase clean. It all adds up to a package that, while pricey, delivers a lot of quality both behind and in front of the screen.
For its excellent performance, no-fuss FreeSync implementation, top-shelf motion blur-reduction and solid build quality, we’re giving the BenQ XL2730Z our Tom’s Hardware Editor Recommended Award.
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