Pros: The best Motion Clarity in a gaming Monitor, True 8 Bit, High Quality Feel, Blur Reduction up to 144Hz, The Stand is the best I've ever seen,
Cons: Headphone Stand feels gimmicky, Horrible out of the Box preset calibration, Medium AG Coating.
I'm a hardcore gamer, and I want Blazing Fast reaction time, but that doesn't mean I want my image quality to be all grey and poor, I also like some eye candy, which is why I have a Fury X and an overclocked 5820K, now I know what you're thinking, eye candy on a TN, that's a good joke... Is it?
The BenQ XL2730Z is the 2nd Monitor to be released featuring a TRUE 8 Bits Color Depth Panel, making those colors really come to life, I've owned BenQ Monitors in the past, the good Old BenQ XL2420TE, and even when they were the fastest around I was always kind of disappointed by their color reproduction or image Quality after calibrated, but no more.
First I swapped to an Acer XG270HU which is probably the best Bang for the Buck TN in the market at such low prices, this monitor handily bested my XL2420TE in color reproduction thanks to its 6 Axis Saturation calibration tool integrated into the Monitor OSD, although both BenQ XL2420TE And the Acer XG270HU Were 6 Bits panels with FRC Dithering, which is no match for this new BenQ Beast.
the BenQ XL2730Z handily beats down its old predecessor and the XG270HU thanks to its TRUE 8 bit Panel not using this disgusting Dithering (I always hated it) to simulate more colors by vibrating the pixels at a really fast pace, some benchmarks also suggest that dithering can increase input lag a notch, so not having it is a plus, I also have an Acer XF270HU which is a High End IPS Piece of Garbage with Good Color reproduction (The problem with the XF270HU is that the OSD Is broken, many features don't work, but all in all its a beautiful display with great colors) comparing the XL2730Z with the XF270HU both calibrated its really hard to decide for a Winner regarding image quality, considering this BenQ is a TN Panel that's definitely incredible, not long ago TN panels were frowned upon because their "Poor and Horrible image quality", but after the BenQ XL2730Z not anymore.
Also, comparing the XL2730Z and the XF270HU is easy to pick a winner regarding Input lag and Motion Clarity, the Overdrive on the XF720HU is broken when using DisplaPort, and there's tons of Blur in moving images, the XL2730Z on the other hand have the best Motion Clarity I've ever seen when setting the overdrive to Premium, while only showing little overshoot artifacts.
1-) It is BenQ, you can expect High Quality Components, robust support, and working features, everything just works perfectly.
2-) This specimen have Blur Reduction integrated into the monitor, its like ULMB but better because you can use it with any GPU, regardless if it is Nvidia or AMD as it is made by BenQ and it can strobe at 144Hz! Amazing feature that wasn't found with Lightboost before, also you can control the clarity and intensity of the Strobing.
3-) Viewing Angles: Yes, this is a TN so it is bound to have poor viewing angles compared to an IPS Panel, but I must put this one into the "Pros" section because its got the best Viewing Angles of all TNs I have ever tried before, the side to side gamma shift is Minimal, although the vertical shift could improve a lot.
4-) No Glowing, As I said before, I also have an XF270HU and its IPS Glow is absolutely atrocious, don't get me started with its Backlight Bleed, this BenQ have no Glow whatsoever making dark scenes a pleasure to watch, not so much as a VA panel, but that's for another review I guess.
5-) No backlight Bleed, one of the main Problems with monitors like the XF270HU, Acer XB270HU, Or ASUS MG279Q is that they all exhibit general issues with backlight bleed, you just wont get a sample without Backlight Bleed, no matter how hard you try unless you're very Lucky, I resent my XF270HU 5 times without luck, every sample had even worse Bleed than the last, with this BenQ monitor my first sample was 100% free of Backlight bleed, I did have a Bright Pixel though, but this is a Non-Issue for me it is not noticeable even when searching for it, I only noticed it because I had a white screen testing white saturation levels on a 255 background.
6-) The stand is the highest Quality Stand I've every tried, period. Would not change it for any other VESA Stand ever, its got marks as to where you set your monitor Height from 0 to 15 and a little pointer to leave it on even if you take the screen out for whatever reason like going into a gaming tournament. It also have (for me a t least) a useless headset thingy, I don't use it because it tilt my screen like 0.5 of a Millimeter when hanging my headphone on it a little since my Heavy SennHeisers HD 700 weight too much, I'm just that Picky about my setup positioning.
7-) The OSD Controls and the looks for the monitor: Its beautiful and simple, both the OSD Controller and the Monitor.
With every single product there's a CON, there has to be, nothing is perfect, the things I hate will be listed from less to higher, the higher the number the more I hate it.
1-) The Headphone stand, this is gimmicky, doesn't feel solid and it tilts my screen like half a Millimeter, I would like BenQ to include something like a Screen Blocker as well, something that wont allow the screen to move at all at any direction.
2-) It doesn't have a Refresh Rate Checker, my cheaper Acer XG270HU can check the operating refresh rate of the monitor on the Fly, say I'm using freesync and my game is running at 50 FPS, then my monitor will be running at 50Hz, I can use the Refresh Rate checker to monitor the FPS I have In-Game or for research purpose.
3-) Why in seven heck did BenQ abandoned the magnetized OSD Controller? I find this one to be lacking with its little hole placement spot.
4-) I find it dumb that the Preset on Which this BenQ is set to when first turning it on is one of the Worst Looking presets ever made, Yes, I know this is a Gaming Monitor, and that people would like to have CS:Go, Starcraft and LoL presets, but many people just buy these montiors because its amazing, with color reproduction and blazing fast response time, some people must be put off by the horrible colors that resembles an old milenial TN, the only preset worth something is the Standard preset, that you later have to also calibrate.
5-) The Screen Anti Glare Coating: I just hate it, I HATE IT, I want a glossy Screen, I have controlled lightning in my work/Gaming Space, why do we need to have an Anti Glade Coating? IT MURDERS THE COLORS!, all the gaming monitors on the market have them, I wish companies would make two models of the same panel, one with Glossy and the other with AG Coating, would have given it 5 starts if it was Glossy.
Alright, if you made it this far you're probably serious about buying this monitor, which means you have one being shipped to you right now or soon, first fo all you need to ignore all the crap presets included on this Monitor, go and set it right to Standard, I have mine configurated for vibrant colors without color clipping and while still being able to tell all the different grey shadows, feel free to use my configuration:
GAME SETTINGS SECTION:
Blur Reduction: OFF
Black Equalizer: 0
Color Vibrance: 14 (You may be tempted to go higher, Don't, you'll start to see color clipping and lose details)
Low BlueLight: OFF (This is obviously situational)
Instant Mode: ON (This setting is responsible for the low Input Lag response, it bypass many processing paths on the monitor into a more direct approach.)
Auto Game Mode: OFF
Now, remember that the last setting of this section is "Save Settings" When you get out of the OSD the settings will be reseted if you don't choose to save the settings on "Save Settings" You can choose Gamer 1, Gamer 2 or Gamer 3 which you can access with the little Controller with the Keys 1, 2 and 3, the next section to calibrate is "PICTURE"
Picture Mode: that's the preset you're on right now, when you're finish you should be on gamer 1, which will become your calibrated standard preset
Brightness: 100 (Brightness also affects contrast, some people find a 100 Brightness to be too bright, personally I can't have it any lesser)
Contrast: 50. (Any higher and you lose details with our calibration settings)
Sharpness: 5 (Any higher and you get artificial sharpening around the edges not true Native Sharpness)
Gamma: 2 or 3 (See, we need to set it the closest to 2.2, with default gamma on Windows, but preset 2 and 3 are equally far away from 2.2, so I can safely say that this setting is taste based, I personally went with 3)
Color Temperature: RED: 95 - GREEN: 99 - BLUE: 99 (this one was hard to tune for accuracy, you can use Blue 100 if you like it)
AMA: Premium (That is the highest Voltage Output to each pixel that makes them switch states super fast, this do create a little artifact called Overshoot which is noticeable in dark backgrounds, if you're annoyed by this use the High preset, which is a lot slower, but doesn't present any artifact.
Dynamical Contrast: Just turn this dang thing off
After you're finished with all this go to the System Category - Other Setting - Input Auto Switch and Auto Pivot Sensor, these setting off unless you're really using it to further save some Milliseconds of input lag.