BenQ XL2420G Review: Matte 144hz TN with G-Sync

NCX

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Does calibration help?

Just started measuring the colour presets with G-Sync enabled @ 60/85/100/120/144hz @100% brightness. Next step is to change the gamma settings, then reduce the brightness, then test the ULMB mode's presets.
 

chenw

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Got it, thanks!

Looking forward to seeing the results.

EDIT: Just saw the results, doesn't look too good... So you feel this TN panel is a bit substandard?
 
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RPGWiZaRD

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Doesn't sound too convincing yet but then again color quality and BenQ usually doesn't match. :p
 

chenw

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almost 1k:1 contrast ratio though, that doesn't look bad.
Btw, is the nVidia signal bug at 60hz you mentioned a hardware thing or driver thing? Does swift have it also? (Sorry, just the first time I have heard about it).
 

RPGWiZaRD

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almost 1k:1 contrast ratio though, that doesn't look bad.
Btw, is the nVidia signal bug at 60hz you mentioned a hardware thing or driver thing? Does swift have it also? (Sorry, just the first time I have heard about it).

Well yea BenQ has always done fairly well in terms of contrast ratio between the gaming monitors but too bad the BenQ devs are fairly color blind. :p For me the color balance is much more important than good contrast ratio, I can live with poor contrast ratios (my current ViewSonic has like just under 750:1 or something along those lines at the settings I use) but I cannot live with a color balance which makes certain shades feel off since I'm particularly picky about that (yes there can be TN panels which also get color balance right).
 
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What is this colour signal bug?

You're not referring to the HDMI video levels "feature" are you, where if HDMI is detected, the NVIDIA card will clamp 0-255 output as 16-235? If so, there is a registry patch for that. Although that affects all refresh rates, not just 60.
 

dmonkey

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You guys know these gaming profiles that come with it aren't meant for desktop use, right? The panel and monitor itself is no worse than any other TN without the ridiculous settings. This goes for all BenQ gaming monitors, pretty much.
 

Odellus

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almost 1k:1 contrast ratio though, that doesn't look bad.
Btw, is the nVidia signal bug at 60hz you mentioned a hardware thing or driver thing? Does swift have it also? (Sorry, just the first time I have heard about it).

1000:1 is average
 

NCX

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You're not referring to the HDMI video levels "feature" are you, where if HDMI is detected, the NVIDIA card will clamp 0-255 output as 16-235? If so, there is a registry patch for that. Although that affects all refresh rates, not just 60.

I am, and It applies to Displayport at well @60hz+1080p (increasing the refresh rate is the only fix). Aside from the fact that the monitor is defaulted to 60hz when first connected, it's not an issue for obvious reasons (high hz monitor).

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It is possible to get decent colours out of it by vastly reducing the brightness (from 100 to 26% for 140cdm/2 in my case) using the Standard Mode and Gamma 1 (ULMB) or Gamma 2 (G-Sync) when the user colour temperature setting is chosen, but the default settings are truly abysmal. It can not match the vibrancy the 4 year old Asus VG236H and 3 year old Samsung series 7 & 9 monitors offered out-of-the-box, but there is nothing particularly offensive (for a TN) about the XL2420G once the settings are changed (has to be done 3x, once is classic mode, when G-Sync is enabled and when ULMB is enabled).

Aside from the mediocre contrast (still better than the VG248QE), the ULMB modes colours are good (for a TN) once the above settings are used.

I dislike how hazy whites and light colours look compared to semi-glossy coatings, the viewing angles (can't lean back) and obvious reduced vibrancy compared to my glossy X-Star, but I do like how smooth G-Sync feels in Skyrim (I usually play it while leaning back with a controller) @120hz (performance takes a hit @144hz), though the game is glitchy when near water and makes odd noises. I also tried Serious Sam: The 2nd Encounter and enjoyed the additional smoothness, plus I could not make the monitor overshoot (it's obvious in PixPerAn) during fast camera pans in the few games I've tried.

The engineers obviously put effort into including accurate colour settings, however it seems like the clowns from marketing get the final say and keep making them add these horribly washed out (and purple in the case of previous monitors) 'gaming friendly' settings.
 
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From what I read, the levels issue should only affect displayport if the driver/card detects it as HDMI. That may be dependent on the monitor (EDID I presume), as implied in the article I linked. I do not have any issue with levels on my Dell 4K monitor at any resolution and refresh rate over DisplayPort.
 
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Anyhow, it's too bad the XL2420G is no different than my XL2411Z for poor default settings. When I first got the XL2411Z it looked exactly as bad as you described it! Stupid gamer settings...pffffft.

Thanks for the review!
 

chenw

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While I personally have no problems with calibrating monitors (I probably would need to anyway regardless of what monitor it is), it would seem to me that the prices difference of $200 doesn't do this monitor justice over Swift.

If the difference was bigger, like $300 however...
 

Tomahawk

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Mine arrived yesterday.

Gsync is awesome (no going back now), but the panel I got is a piece of shit.

The top left quadrant is extremely dark and crushes all colors, while the bottom third is too bright. The only spot that looks normal is the upper right.

This waste of $600 is going back to newegg on Monday.
 

Q-BZ

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Mine arrived yesterday.

Gsync is awesome (no going back now), but the panel I got is a piece of shit.

The top left quadrant is extremely dark and crushes all colors, while the bottom third is too bright. The only spot that looks normal is the upper right.

This waste of $600 is going back to newegg on Monday.

That's a shame. Are you going to attempt one swap for grins or give up entirely? It might just be a lemon unless of course NCX comes in here and tells us he sees the same thing. Then that might mean something else.
 

Tomahawk

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That's a shame. Are you going to attempt one swap for grins or give up entirely? It might just be a lemon unless of course NCX comes in here and tells us he sees the same thing. Then that might mean something else.

Returning it for a refund.

The real shame is they don't make CRTs anymore.

This was my first TN panel in 12 years, and, from what I saw, I wouldn't be happy.

Gsync is awesome though. Maybe in 40 or 50 years they'll have something better to put it on.
 

Q-BZ

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Returning it for a refund.

The real shame is they don't make CRTs anymore.

I agree. I think that tech was abandoned way prematurely.


This was my first TN panel in 12 years, and, from what I saw, I wouldn't be happy.

Gsync is awesome though. Maybe in 40 or 50 years they'll have something better to put it on.

Feels that way sometimes.
 

Comixbooks

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I can see bright G-sync monitors going down the assemble line at BENQ. I noticed that
the Dell 24" one they carry at Walmart has the same bezel as the BENQ I have so I wonder if they are made at the same factory.
 

NCX

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The top left quadrant is extremely dark and crushes all colors, while the bottom third is too bright. The only spot that looks normal is the upper right.

I'll check mine for this. I thought it was too dark in the top portions compared to my PLS panel, but assumed it was normal gamma shift since this is the first TN I have used in over a year.

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Colour preset measurement charts will go up tonight. I'll include 5 measurements: default setting>Standard with default gamma and colour temperature (@144hz since 60hz+DP=fail), Standard with custom gamma and user colour temperature setting, ULMB default and ULMB with the best gamma setting and user colour temperature setting.

I played a custom L4D2 map and enjoyed the amazing G-Sync smoothness which I vastly prefer over ULMB. When I pan the camera it usually fast enough that things remain blurry and I stop and stare when I want to since I frequently take screenshots, so ULMB has never been that tantalizing to me.

I'm 90% sure the BenQ's matte coating is MORE reflective than my semi-glossy Qnix which is why I don't understand why they use them on TN's. The Qnix is obviously less hazy when viewing whites and light colours, but the BenQ is tolerable.

When ULMB is enabled, this is monitor is nearly ghosting free. Usually normal camera pans and sweeps made previous 120hz+ TN's overshoot (BenQ) or streak a bit (Asus, Samsung), but I could not make the BenQ streak at all. Overshoot does show up in PixPerAn, but those familiar with the program know how fast the blocks, flags and cars move @high hz (much faster than anything in games).
 
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Nikyo

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Will you apply the registry patch (in the link I supplied) to fix the "color signal" output?

Pretty sure he's only referring to the displayport color bug @ 60hz which the registry patch does not fix. Displayport is required to actually run G-sync.
 
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NCX

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Will you apply the registry patch (in the link I supplied) to fix the "color signal" output?

As Nikyo mentioned, the patch only works with HDMI and the bug is irrelvent since it only applies to 60hz, a refresh rate no one who buys this monitor will use.
 

Tomahawk

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Within 5 seconds of watching that I noticed his panel is clearly different than the one I received.

On mine, panel uniformity was horrendous.The upper portion of the screen would look dark and crushed, while the bottom was bright and washed out.

His looks pretty even and not bad.

This is why I hate buying LCDs because its such a lottery.
 

Eugene Kuo

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Hey NCX, I also have bought this monitor. Any idea as why my S switch does not work in Gsync mode?
 

NCX

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Hey NCX, I also have bought this monitor. Any idea as why my S switch does not work in Gsync mode?

The S Switch only works when the Classic Mode is enabled according to the Official Specification page.

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My 1,000:1 contrast measurement was the result of an unexplainable error, good thing I always reset and re-measure monitors colour presets a few times (in this case 4x measuring 4 modes x 5 different hz settings!).

I went away for a few days and am now re-measuring everything as well as testing the Classic Mode+G-Sync. The monitor has 4 modes:

Classic Mode+Blur Reduction Disabled (Default, it is preset to the abysmal Gamer Mode)
Classic Mode w/ Blur Reduction Enabled
G-Sync Mode>100-120-144hz G-Sync (Preset to the Fast Gaming Mode)
G-Sync Mode>ULMB 100-120hz

I have a lot of measurements to sort through and need to decide which results to post. I think I will include a section for the presets, recommended settings+hz and calibration results for all but the Classic Mode with Blur Reduction Disabled. This monitor is annoying to test since some modes colours change when the hz is changed.
 

Q-BZ

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Linus reviews it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSinC_yIaT4

Generally pretty enthusiastic and he even sounds pleasantly surprised on some points.

Biggest complaint: Price because of G-sync. Like a lot of us have said: $100 off list would go a long ways. As it is I see it at $570ish at Amazon USA right now via sale price. $499 would be killer.

I'll be interested to see how NCX's shakedown matches up against this.
 
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Q-BZ

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NCX: When are you aiming to have your review for this monitor completed?
 

NCX

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NCX: When are you aiming to have your review for this monitor completed?

Probably by the end of next week. Had exams, work and played too FC4 recently, plus a surprise final paper was assigned this week. I don't have any text but there are a bunch of TN vs. PLS pictures and the colour preset chart might go up tonight.

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How do the colours look once calibrated compared to an AHVA/IPS/PLS Panel? Click here to find out! (click on images to enlarge them)
 
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Q-BZ

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Probably by the end of next week. Had exams, work and played too FC4 recently, plus a surprise final paper was assigned this week. I don't have any text but there are a bunch of TN vs. PLS pictures and the colour preset chart might go up tonight.

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How do the colours look once calibrated compared to an AHVA/IPS/PLS Panel? Click here to find out! (click on images to enlarge them)

Cool, thanks!


Judging by all that so far I'm guessing you would not recommend a purchase although it does look like there is some promise there post calibration.

I may very well take one of these for a test spin myself soon and get the itch (high refresh rate, Gsync, etc.) out of my way with all the caveats noted. I'm willing to pay Amazon's restock fee if I decide not to keep it because unfortunately I live out in the sticks and I don't have access to any of these types of products even remotely near me. It will be a one shot. I'm either satisfied with it or I'm not and that will be it.
 
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NCX

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Judging by all that so far I'm guessing you would not recommend a purchase although it does look like there is some promise there post calibration.

I don't know...it's fine when using the best colour settings, but it's hard to forgive the out-of-the box presets and weird issues I've encountered considering how expansive it is.

NCX, which ICC profile did you use?

Only one is included on the included CD and it doesn't do anything. No 'gaming' profiles are available from BenQ's site for the XL2420G which is fine since they are usually horrible, just like the Gaming and FPS modes.
 
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