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BenQ XL2420T and 120Hz monitors

Bemused One

Distinguished Member
Hello everyone, :)

I'm currently on the hunt for a new monitor and the BenQ XL2420T has come to my attention. This model has one of those 120Hz screens and the reviews I've read about it are fairly good. Indeed it's considered to be one of the premium gaming monitors available at the moment.

The main use I'll have for my new monitor would be for gaming, both on PC and consoles, however given I won't be going above 60fps in my PC games and as I understand it console games cannot exceed 60fps, would there be much point in me purchasing this particular monitor, or should I just continue my search? What benefits exactly does such a monitor offer? Are 120Hz monitors strictly for hardcore gamers with high end rigs?

Any help or advice offered would be much appreciated. Thank you. :)
 
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Deleted member 79803

Guest
I'm no expert but the benefits I'm aware of are (there may be others):

- can run games or watch movies etc. in 3D (but 3D needs a good card as it effectively halves the framerate, so you'd only get 30fps per eye when running a game at 60fps)

- because the screen refreshes 120 times per second it should generally offer a smoother experience even when running at 60fps (each frame will be displayed twice though)

- reduced screen tearing

- reduced input lag


I have a 120Hz monitor and have to say that whilst there is a subtle difference in smoothness when I run games that are locked to 60fps compared to those that run at or near 120fps, it's not massive so you'd still get some of the benefits. That said it's a fairly big bump up in price and if it was me I'd probably be tempted just to go for a good 60Hz monitor and either save the cash or put the money towards some other pc upgrades.

120Hz displays are becoming much more commonplace and prices will no doubt fall further so you could always make the upgrade when you have a more capable card.

You are right about console games. At best they run at 60fps and it's not uncommon for games to run at 30fps, and sometimes they'll dip down a lot lower in more demanding situations.
 

Bemused One

Distinguished Member
Thank you so much for replying, jellofund. :) After 100+ views and zero replies I was beginning to wonder whether anyone was going to offer a response in this thread. I'm so glad you chose to do so. :)

It's great to hear from somone that actually owns a 120Hz monitor (your Sammy is a cracker by the way) and I really appreciate your advice.

I've spent many hours on the internet doing research on 120Hz monitors for the last few weeks trying to determine whether or not I should invest in one, in this case the BenQ XL2420T. Actually it's only because of the aforementioned monitor I started looking into 120Hz monitors. I've been trying to ascertain whether or not their benefits justify their hefty price tag and your post has been a great help. :smashin:

So here's where I'm at. The whole 3D aspect of 120Hz monitors isn't a big draw for me. It's that smoother gaming experience I've been more curious about. Of course reduced screen tearing and lag is always good too. :D

Whilst I'm sure the whole smoothness of gameplay issue is a subjective thing (I've read some people on the internet raving about it), is it worth such a price premium, especially given, as you've said, how subtle it is? If that were the only consideration then I'd definitely say no. However things aren't as simple as that for me. You see to date BenQ's XL2420T is the only monitor that a) satisfies all my requirements and b) has reviewed so well across the board. I'll explain.

Basically what I'm looking for is a monitor in the 24-27 inch range that has a decent, sturdy stand (adjustability isn't mandatory, but would be nice), presents colours well, has atleast DVI and HDMI connections and an audio out socket (this is mandatory), fast response time and low input lag. Until now BenQ's monitor is the only monitor I've found that ticks all those boxes. The fact that it does 120Hz is merely a bonus, but a very expensive one. :(

Right now I'm in quite the pickle. I need a monitor as soon as possible, but I'm not too keen on spending so much on the BenQ monitor which seems to be my only choice, as far as I know.

I don't suppose anyone knows of any other monitors available that can meet all my requirements? Any suggestions are welcome.
 
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Deleted member 79803

Guest
You're very welcome. Whilst my post was fairly limited (I'm not an expert) I'm glad it was at least of some help.

The XL2420T was top of my list too because of the screen size, stand and positive reviews but the price was hard to justify, especially if I wanted to try some 3D gaming. The Sammy came along at the right time and taking advantage of a VAT back offer from Samsung I was able to pick it up for approx. £180 including glasses...some people got it even lower as the price fluctuated a bit on OCUK.

Other than the stand I have to say that I'm very happy with it. Whilst the difference in 60fps - 120fps (both @ 120Hz) to my eyes is quite subtle I do find the monitor much smoother than my old 60Hz HP monitor. However, that was approx. 4 years old and had a slightly higher response time so I'd be reluctant to say it's all down to the higher refresh rate.

I'm surprised there hasn't been more replies to this thread and it might be worth posting in the PC Gaming section. There are a number of guys there who have test driven a lot of monitors (60Hz, 120Hz, TN, IPS etc. etc.) who can give you some first hand impressions and recommendations based on your requirements :thumbsup:

The only thing I can really add is that if you don't have a high end card then you probably wouldn't want to look at anything above 1920x1080 res or 24". 1920x1080 doesn't really cut it at 27" (looks quite low res) and a more mid-range card would quite likely struggle to maintain 60fps if you up the resolution.
 
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EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
Basically what I'm looking for is a monitor in the 24-27 inch range that has a decent, sturdy stand (adjustability isn't mandatory, but would be nice), presents colours well, has atleast DVI and HDMI connections and an audio out socket (this is mandatory), fast response time and low input lag. Until now BenQ's monitor is the only monitor I've found that ticks all those boxes. The fact that it does 120Hz is merely a bonus, but a very expensive one. :(

I'm not the BenQ will satisfy the colour criteria, being a TN it'll almost certainly have inconsistent colours across the screen, particularly vertically, due to the sensitivity of the technology to the small changes in viewing angles between the edges of the screen.

It does sound like you're suffering from review overdose as a lot of the things in your list are general flaws of LCD technology, or certain types of LCD. You won't get an LCD that does all of them well, you just have to decide what is good enough for you (or go for a different screen technology and accept a different set of flaws).

1920x1080 doesn't really cut it at 27" (looks quite low res)

That all depends on the distance you sit from it, move it 20-30cm further back and it'll look exactly like a 24" 1920x1080.

Also, 23" is the size most closely corresponding to the standard 96dpi for 1920x1080, I guess 24" is popular because 1920x1200 screens are 24".
 
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Deleted member 79803

Guest
I'm not the BenQ will satisfy the colour criteria, being a TN it'll almost certainly have inconsistent colours across the screen, particularly vertically, due to the sensitivity of the technology to the small changes in viewing angles between the edges of the screen.

I guess this really depends on the OPs expectations and what to his mind constitutes 'good' colours. If he has only used TN panels in the past and has generally been happy with the colours and inconsistency than I doubt he'd be disappointed with the BenQ as it seems to be one of the better TN panels in this regard. If however, he is used to other monitor technologies or wants to use the monitor for either photo editing or work that demands colour accuracy then he could well be disappointed.

It does sound like you're suffering from review overdose as a lot of the things in your list are general flaws of LCD technology, or certain types of LCD. You won't get an LCD that does all of them well, you just have to decide what is good enough for you (or go for a different screen technology and accept a different set of flaws).

It gets to that point doesn't it? Ideally you'd be able to sit down and test a few of them out (set up properly rather than on shop settings) and come to your own conclusions but when you have to rely on reviews it gets hard to see the wood for the trees!!

Completely agree that there isn't a perfect monitor out there. Each of the respective technologies has it's own +'s and -'s and it's a case of finding the one that does most of the essentials well and as many desirables as possible, without any negatives you can't live with.


That all depends on the distance you sit from it, move it 20-30cm further back and it'll look exactly like a 24" 1920x1080.

That's a fair point. The average viewing distance is supposedly approx. 30 inches (the average adult male's arm length) which for me is just right for a 23"-24" monitor but to my eyes to close for a 27" at 1920x1080.

If the OP has the desk space then moving it back is of course an option.....although you could argue that if it looks exactly like a 24" monitor then he may as well pay less for a 24" and sit a bit closer.


Also, 23" is the size most closely corresponding to the standard 96dpi for 1920x1080, I guess 24" is popular because 1920x1200 screens are 24".

23" does seem to be the most common size for 1920x1080, and there are very few monitors that aren't that size. The BenQ is very much an exception at that size in the 120Hz market.

24" is 1920x1200 territory and I have to say that I prefer having the extra pixels a 16:10 ratio offers when I'm on the desktop or using office etc. Sadly they seem a bit of a dying breed. :(


A couple of things I've been thinking of that might help the OP. Whilst you can't do much about things like response times, colours etc. there are a couple of 'negatives' you can work around if you find a monitor that otherwise looks perfect for your needs:

i) add an after market stand (assuming the monitor supports VESA mounting) e.g. Novatech Single Monitor Stand - Height Adjustable 15" - 22" | NOV-MSSING

ii) install a cheap sound card so you can hook up speakers, a 5.1 system or headphones e.g. https://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=SC-011-AS
 
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Bemused One

Distinguished Member
Uber post incoming! Get ready! :D

The XL2420T was top of my list too because of the screen size, stand and positive reviews but the price was hard to justify...

That's exactly how I feel about it. However even with that said I haven't completely ruled it out of contention.

The Sammy came along at the right time and taking advantage of a VAT back offer from Samsung I was able to pick it up for approx. £180 including glasses...


That is awesome. :smashin: I could do with a similar kind of deal coming my way right about now.

I'm surprised there hasn't been more replies to this thread and it might be worth posting in the PC Gaming section.


Okay, thanks for the tip. :) I'll give it a try.
The only thing I can really add is that if you don't have a high end card then you probably wouldn't want to look at anything above 1920x1080 res or 24"...

...a more mid-range card would quite likely struggle to maintain 60fps if you up the resolution

I've currently got an Nvidia Geforce 560Ti, so you're right, a 24" monitor with 1920x1080 res should probably be my limit.

I'm not the BenQ will satisfy the colour criteria, being a TN it'll almost certainly have inconsistent colours across the screen, particularly vertically, due to the sensitivity of the technology to the small changes in viewing angles between the edges of the screen.

Well, according to techradar - 'First up, the basic image quality kicked out by the BenQ XL2420T is truly exceptional. Thanks to rich and vivid colours, good contrast and relatively little evidence of colour compression on any of the scales, it might just be the best TN panel we've ever seen.' I was pretty impressed by this.

With regards to limited viewing angles, I view all my monitors straight on so that's not an issue for me.

It does sound like you're suffering from review overdose...


Yeah, ain't that the truth. :rolleyes:
You won't get an LCD that does all of them well, you just have to decide what is good enough for you (or go for a different screen technology and accept a different set of flaws).


Wise words indeed, Endless. I appreciate the reminder. Thanks. :)
I guess this really depends on the OPs expectations and what to his mind constitutes 'good' colours. If he has only used TN panels in the past and has generally been happy with the colours and inconsistency than I doubt he'd be disappointed with the BenQ as it seems to be one of the better TN panels in this regard.

I've only ever used TN panels up until now. I've been gaming on both PC and consoles on a Viewsonic VX2260wm for the last three years, and the colours it produces have always been acceptable to me.

Of course I'm always happy to try new things, if budget allows ;), and I've been curious enough to want to try out an IPS monitor to see how much better the colours they produce are compared to TN. However given I'm predominantly looking for a gaming monitor this pretty much rules out IPS because of their slower response times. Mind you the Dell U2412M does well in that regard and if it only had an audio out port I'd have snapped one up weeks ago.

That's a fair point. The average viewing distance is supposedly approx. 30 inches (the average adult male's arm length) which for me is just right for a 23"-24" monitor but to my eyes to close for a 27" at 1920x1080.

If the OP has the desk space then moving it back is of course an option.....although you could argue that if it looks exactly like a 24" monitor then he may as well pay less for a 24" and sit a bit closer.

To be honest the only 27" monitor I was considering was the Asus VE278Q, which reviews well. Sat on my desk I could sit back from it when console gaming, but not so much when PC gaming. Also I think that 1920x1080 res on a 27" monitor is a bit of a waste. Surely bigger monitors should come with higher res's?

A couple of things I've been thinking of that might help the OP. Whilst you can't do much about things like response times, colours etc. there are a couple of 'negatives' you can work around if you find a monitor that otherwise looks perfect for your needs:

i) add an after market stand (assuming the monitor supports VESA mounting)

ii) install a cheap sound card so you can hook up speakers, a 5.1 system or headphones

Thank you so much for pointing these things out to me, jellofund. I had never even thought about after market stands, so that's a great help.

As for a cheap sound card though, that would be fine if I was only going to be gaming on my PC. However I want to hook up my consoles to my new monitor too, so I really need that audio out/headphone socket on the monitor so I can get the sound through HDMI.
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
If the OP has the desk space then moving it back is of course an option.....although you could argue that if it looks exactly like a 24" monitor then he may as well pay less for a 24" and sit a bit closer.

Depends what you use the desk for, having the monitor at the edge does give you more usable space in front of it than having it in the middle.

Well, according to techradar - 'First up, the basic image quality kicked out by the BenQ XL2420T is truly exceptional. Thanks to rich and vivid colours, good contrast and relatively little evidence of colour compression on any of the scales, it might just be the best TN panel we've ever seen.' I was pretty impressed by this.

This review? I tend not to distrust any monitor review that doesn't go into details as you get no sense of whether the author has any actual grasp of what he should be objectively commenting on or is just being subjective and giving a good review to a feature he likes regardless of how others might accept it.

In this case it looks like the latter, the TFTCentral review for example makes the following comment at the start of the section on general image quality:

"The out of the box performance of the XL2420T was poor in terms of accuracy. You will notice that the screen is setup in the 'FPS1' preset by default which is one of the modes aimed at fast 'first person shooter' gaming. For gaming, screens are often preferred to be bright, colourful and more vivid as opposed to truly accurate and so it is not surprising to see the default setup is not really very well suited to more general use or anything requiring a higher level of accuracy. Here the screen did feel bright (although not too severe in FPS1) and colours looked quite oversaturated and cartoony. We will test the other preset modes in a moment as well to see if they return a better setup out of the box."

However given I'm predominantly looking for a gaming monitor this pretty much rules out IPS because of their slower response times.

Remember it's only 'hardcore' (i.e. FPS) gamers that'll notice the difference except in extreme(ly bad) cases. Basically if you can tell the difference between Team Fortress 2's shooting and bullet mechanics and those in the Battlefield series (at least up to BF2, I'm not sure about BF3) then it may be worth being a little concerned, and if you can articulate those differences yourself then I would definitely stick with TN. On the other hand if your idea of a fast action game is World of Tanks, The Witcher 2 or Mount and Blade then I'd definitely not discount IPS and fast VA screens.

The fact that you haven't noticed your current TN's colour shift between top and bottom of the screen and sensitivity to exact head position does suggest you may not be bothered by other minor issues like ghosting or a small delay.

Also I think that 1920x1080 res on a 27" monitor is a bit of a waste. Surely bigger monitors should come with higher res's?

It's down to price, you can get 2560x1440 27" monitors for £350-400+ but some people want size instead of resolution so until they come down to the same price the lower resolution will continue to be sold as a cheaper alternative.
 

Bemused One

Distinguished Member
Yeah, that was the one. The TFT Central review you linked to kind of obliterates it in terms of detailed analysis. Much more helpful to be sure.

...the TFTCentral review for example makes the following comment at the start of the section on general image quality:

"The out of the box performance of the XL2420T was poor in terms of accuracy. You will notice that the screen is setup in the 'FPS1' preset by default which is one of the modes aimed at fast 'first person shooter' gaming. For gaming, screens are often preferred to be bright, colourful and more vivid as opposed to truly accurate and so it is not surprising to see the default setup is not really very well suited to more general use or anything requiring a higher level of accuracy. Here the screen did feel bright (although not too severe in FPS1) and colours looked quite oversaturated and cartoony. We will test the other preset modes in a moment as well to see if they return a better setup out of the box."
Thanks to thoroughly researching the XL2420T I was aware that out of the box it could make a pretty bad first impression because of the way it's been preset, but thankfully, and as the TFT Central review confirms, it is possible to calibrate it so that it ends up performing really well.

Remember it's only 'hardcore' (i.e. FPS) gamers that'll notice the difference except in extreme(ly bad) cases. Basically if you can tell the difference between Team Fortress 2's shooting and bullet mechanics and those in the Battlefield series (at least up to BF2, I'm not sure about BF3) then it may be worth being a little concerned, and if you can articulate those differences yourself then I would definitely stick with TN.
FPS games are my favourite genre on PC (they are the best platform to play them on in my humble opinion), but I'd hardly say my senses are as honed as those of the hardcore.

On the other hand if your idea of a fast action game is World of Tanks, The Witcher 2 or Mount and Blade then I'd definitely not discount IPS and fast VA screens.
An example of a fast action game for me is more along the lines of Serious Sam and the like. Should I still not discount IPS or fast VA screens then?

The fact that you haven't noticed your current TN's colour shift between top and bottom of the screen and sensitivity to exact head position does suggest you may not be bothered by other minor issues like ghosting or a small delay.
I can't say I've ever picked up any ghosting or lag issues in all the time I've been gaming, but I do choose my hardware very carefully so I don't encounter these kind of things. If I ever did, I know for sure they would irk me.
 

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