TL;DRThis is monitor is among the best of options for 144 hz refresh rates monitors. With great colour accuracy, flicker free back lighting, 1 ms response time and blur reduction technology. It would be a struggle to find a better monitor in the price range
I’ll start by admitting that as of today 14/06/2017 the BenQ XL2420z is still my daily use monitor. I’ve had both this one and the 27-inch variant for a little over a year. However, I prefer this smaller 24 inch as my main monitor for a number of reasons I’ll get into later. Gaming on a high refresh rate monitor remains in my eyes a far superior experience as long as your gaming rig can pump out the frames required to hit the 144hz refresh rate. There are always the naysayers who still believe “our eyes can’t see more than 60fps”, while this may be true for a casual gamer, myself and friends who have tried higher refresh rates can still tell the difference between 60hz and 120+hz monitors 10 times out of 10. To me, a high refresh rate monitor makes all the difference in the world and I don’t think I’ll ever go back - willingly.
This newer XL series monitor continues on from the older XL2410T and XL2420T, which marked BenQ’s first foray into high refresh rate monitors. The older monitors were solid entries into the market of which both offered a high-quality gaming experience, but there were still plenty of improvements to be made. The first improvement I’m going to touch on is the increase in refresh rate from 120hz to 144hz, personally side by side the difference is almost negligible, while there’s a huge contrast in smoothness going from 60 to 120hz the same can’t be said for 120 to 144hz. Beyond the increase in refresh rate, BenQ has also reduced the response rate to 1ms which is the ideal for any gamer who plays FPS or any game that requires lightning fast reactions. This monitor also does away with the PWM of cheaper monitors and uses flicker-free backlighting, which is supposed to reduce eye fatigue, I feel like that’s more marketing than anything else but flicker-free monitors prevent me getting frequent headaches so that’s a bonus. The main benefit of this monitor vs the older in the series is the Blur Reduction features and the Low Blue Light settings for comfort. Blur reduction has a huge impact for FPS you should notice the differences straight away when playing flick shotting on CSGO becomes more science than art as you can actually make out the pixels. You can test the blur using this simple tool from testufo.com.
I love the thought that went into the engineering of the design on this monitor they clearly have hardcore gamers in mind when it comes to daily use and even travelling to LAN events. The vertical adjustments have a great range being able to adjust it from about 7 inches (don’t quote me on that, I don’t have my tape measure) to nearly touching the desk, although I don’t know why you would need a monitor that low. The tilt also has a decent range of motion although it’s not significantly better than any other tilt function you might have experienced. My favourite feature in the ergonomics of this monitor has to be the full 90-degree rotation you can turn the monitor, this makes plugging in any cables SOOO much easier. There is a handy red hook on the back to hold your headset when not in use. On top of the hook there’s also a handle to make carrying much easier, most of us won’t need to move our monitors a lot but this feature made attending Insomnia LAN events easier for me. The bezel around the monitor is about 20mm thick which is about what you would expect from a TN panel monitor although I’d like to see this reduced in later models to give it a cleaner look, but I feel like that’s just looking for things to critique. On the bottom right-hand side of the bezel is where you will find the on-screen display controls which are touch sensitive giving the monitor a nice premium feel. If you prefer a more tactile experience BenQ has you covered, the monitor ships with a magnetic attachment called the “S-Switch” which snaps onto the right-hand side of the base. All in all, I really enjoy the aesthetics of this monitor, the standard black plastic comes with a matte finish to prevent fingerprint buildup and accented red plastics thrown in to give it a bad ass look. If however, you prefer to wall or arm mount your monitor, it’s VESA 100 ready which is easy to setup.
As for input options on the back you will find input options for Display Port, HDMI (x2), VGA and DVI. There is space for 3 USB 2.0 connections and an audio jack if you need that sort of thing. This gaming monitor also uses a standard kettle lead connection which is included in the box along with your standard DVI and VGA cables which is nice however I would have liked them to include at least 1 HDMI cable. I primarily use the Display Port connection anyway but I’ve tested it with all the available outputs and all work well.
The out of the box settings were, in my opinion, a bit mediocre, at first the screen brightness was turned up way too high it almost hurt my eyes turning it onto the purple BenQ screen a quick few taps on the S-Switch fixed that straight away, but I did spend the better part of half an hour finding colour settings which I thought gave the monitor a more natural look than the washed out settings it shipped with. The settings option allows you to change almost every aspect of the monitor's settings without much trouble. It also has factory inbuilt options for different profiles like the standard:
The BenQ XL2420z certainly has a hefty price tag, especially when it's closest rival in performance is the ASUS VG248QE which is considerably cheaper. But personally, I feel the addition of greater colour accuracy and blur reduction technology makes the BenQ worthy of the premium. I'll wrap up by continuing from my original statement, the XL2420z is my daily use monitor and probably will be for a long while. This monitor is perfect for gamers looking to etch out all the performance they need in an online environment. As for why I prefer the 24 inch monitor to the 27 inch monitor, it's simply a case of aesthetics, I sit reasonably close to my monitor and with the 27 inch at 1920x1080 resolution I can make out individual pixels which are an annoyance to get used to and being so close makes it hard to focus on the whole screen without having to shift my head.