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June 25, 2015

Review: BenQ XL2430T Gaming Monitor


When it comes to display monitors that are tailored for gaming, it's always about G-SYNC, FreeSync or high refresh rates. All of the mentioned technology comes with the same purpose, to minimise tearing issue without having much impact to the overall performance. 


You might already know that the common tearing issue can be minimised with VSync enabled, but that will limit your maximum achievable FPS to only 60. G-SYNC and FreeSync are the latest in technology to overcome the short comings of VSync without having to limit the maximum achievable FPS, However, it's not something that anyone can afford. The most notable gaming monitor we've reviewed so far is the ASUS ROG Swift PG278Q that is equipped with NVIDIA G-SYNC is retailed at a whopping RM 2769.00.

The cheaper way to achieve similar result is to opt for monitor that is capable of high refresh rates (100Hz, 120Hz, 144Hz); so we're taking a close inspection on the BenQ XL2430T in today's review, million thanks to www.goldfries.com and BenQ Malaysia in making this review possible!
(The BenQ XL2430T retails at RM 1,699 when this article is prepared.)


Specifications

Click here if you need more technical details of the BenQ XL2430T.

Content

This is pretty much everything you'll get from the box; the XL2430T, the monitor stand and its base, power cord, USB 3.0 type B cable, DVI cable, a mysterious looking box with the S Switch Arc (??), user's guide, drivers CD and a dust cover.


The S Switch Arc is a quick access to the service menu. If you take a closer look at the base of the monitor stand, BenQ actually made a round slot specifically for the S Switch Arc. 


At the left of the monitor, you'll find 2 additional USB 3.0 ports and audio jacks for headphone and microphone.


Apparently there's a built-in headphone hanger located just right above the USB 3.0 ports on the left of the monitor - yes, that suspicious little red button is a headphone hanger. It might look a little odd at first but personally we find it to be a pretty sweet feature to have, especially when desk space is limited. 


In terms of I/O, starting off from the left, USB mini B port for the S Switch Arc, display output ports like the DisplayPort, VGA, DVI-D, 2 x HDMI and the USB 3.0 type B port for the 2 x USB 3.0 ports located at the left of the monitor. 


As usual, BenQ kept the locking mechanism tool free for the ease of assembly and installation. 


We've noticed that BenQ has included something that appears to be a position marking feature to allow you to adjust the height of your display with pin point accuracy. A feature that is odd to have but does comes in handy when you really need it.



There's a handle on the monitor stand that allows you to carry the monitor single handed without any worries on dropping the monitor, very useful for LAN Parties and Gaming events where monitors are carried around.


Similar designs implemented for monitors in the office, one is to make cable management easier and another one is to reduce tangled cables on your desk by routing all the necessary cables through the hole. Just in case if you don't have a mouse bungee, the height seems to be just right for that!


Although rotatable display, swivel, etc has been a commonly seen feature on most gaming monitor, it's still good to see that these feature can be found on the BenQ XL2430T. 



Dust cover helps to reduce dust accumulation on the monitor, but we're pretty sure that 90% of users will just ignore it. Why is that? Well, covering or taking it off from your monitor will become very tedious overtime and not many will actually keep it as a daily practice, not even us.  


User Experience



Servicing Menu

Starting off with the menu, there's a total of 4 options that can be accessed either through the S Switch Arc or the buttons located at the bottom right of the monitor bezel.

Blur Reduction

Motion Blur Reduction, BenQ claims that this new technology further enhances and provides ultra-smooth, free-of-blur gaming experience, particularly for action-packed FPS games where every millisecond counts. 

We gave this feature a few shots with several FPS games and the result isn't as what we have expected. The difference that we noticed isn't really the performance, but brightness of the display itself. Enabling this feature lowered the brightness of the display as if we have it at the lowest possible value, especially when the 'Intensity' and 'Area' level is increased. 

Picture Mode


The picture mode contains a large option of display output types with different contrast, and color intensities that can be selected according to your current activity. We've tested each and every mode with all the matching scenarios as the name of the mode and we must say BenQ did a pretty good job on this as everything fits just right, very pleasurable to the eyes indeed.


Display Mode

Display mode allows you to adjust the view of the monitor to the ratio just as stated in the options. Doesn't seem to be useful at first, but we've noticed that changing the view to certain modes allows you to access to higher refresh rate.

Menu


There are 4 more options in the Menu tab, but we'll have our focus on the Game Settings here and find out what kind of feature does it have that can benefit gamers.

Black eQualizer Test



Black equalizer allows you to see the hidden dark details that isn't visible on most monitors. The screen above is a scene from Call of Duty:Advanced Warfare where the character is currently in a low light environment.


Raising the gauge slowly reveals what's hidden in the low light area. Pretty handy we'd say, especially when you're playing an FPS where enemies blends into the shadows. Take that you filthy dwellers of the dark!  

Color Vibrancy Test


Color vibrancy, something that is pretty personal we'd say. The screen above shows the original color without any adjustments. We might find it comfortable to view, but there's always someone else that finds it to be too tough to their eyes or vice versa.





With the Color Vibrance option, you can adjust the color tone to your preference. A pretty sweet feature to have on a monitor.

Low Blue Light Test 


BenQ's Eye-Care feature that is found on other of its monitor lineup i.e the EW2440L is available on the XL2430T as well.



Raising the gauge of the Low Blue Light feature will reduce the intensity of the blue color on the display to achieve the low blue light state. We've experienced it previously on the EW2440L and it does have effect to reduce fatigue to the eyes on long hours usage.


Software: Display Pilot
Software for display monitor? Here's the BenQ Display Pilot, specially tailored for BenQ gaming monitors to allow you to easily customize the monitor to behave according to your preferred settings.

Game Tab



Guess what? The 3 features from the monitor servicing menu that we've focused on previously can be accessed from this tab as well. Just in case if you're wondering what the Instant Mode is, it's a feature that is aim to reduce the input lag so user can enjoy the best experience possible.





The 'Auto Game Mode' is a pretty sweet feature that allows you to customize the display mode for each any every game that you'll be playing and automatically switch to the defined Picture Mode when the game is launched. 





The 'Game Mode Loader' allows you to load settings into the preset and can be used for your games later on. There's also a feature that allows you to check for new game modes from BenQ itself to be matched to your preference.





'Game Mode To Go' feature allows you to import and export the game modes and shared with others. In a gaming event or a LAN party, other users of compatible BenQ monitors could just use the same game mode if they like.





Display



The input displays the current ports you're using on the monitor, just in case if you're curious to know, without having to bend over at the back of your desk.





Enabling the Auto Pivot feature allows the monitor to detect its current orientation and adjusts its display accordingly.


Color







The options available here is pretty much the same as the ones on the monitor servicing menu, but things are much more easier as you can adjust the monitor settings directly with your mouse.


Audio



The option itself is pretty much self-explanatory, you can enable audio through HDMI and DisplayPort on your graphics card.


Tools



The 'Desktop Partition' feature allows you to set partition to your desktop from the list of options.





'Extended Taskbar' allows you to extend your taskbar to the consecutive display on a multi-monitor setup instead of just having 1 or 2 extra screens that displays only a blank desktop background. 



System



The information tab displays the information of your current system, including of the operating system, hardwares, etc.




In the options tab, you can configure for auto power off when the monitor is left unattended for a certain period of time for power saving; toggle the AMA (Advanced Motion Accelerator) feature to give greater voltage to the LCD in order to improve the gray to gray response time to allow clearer and more vivid image and toggle the LED Indicator on the power button.


Verdict
From our first view, the BenQ XL2430T did somewhat resemble the ROG Swift but it's less flashy when it comes to the design and not as edgy as the ROG Swift. It has pretty much everything we need, not only for gaming but also for daily usage as well, i.e USB 3.0 ports, lots of display input where we can just connect it to multiple machines, etc.

The picture mode is a commendable feature that makes the display enjoyable on every occasion and it'll be even better with a little tweak. The only thing that we won't recommend here is the Motion Blur Reduction feature as it lowers the brightness of the display tremendously to a very uncomfortable state.

While the price of RM 1,699 appears to be a little pricey, it is actually quite a sweet monitor to own considering the useful features such as software control, very high refresh rates, Black eQualizer, Low Blue Light, Color Vibrance, S Switch Arc, etc. The BenQ XL2430T is worthy to be recommended. 

Pros
  • Sleek and stylish design
  • Quick and easy access to monitor servicing menu with the S Switch Arc
  • Lots of picture mode for various occasions
  • Black eQualizer allows you to reveal hidden details in dark area without having too much impact to the overall quality
  • Rich featured software for various adjustments to the monitor
Cons
  • Costly
  • Motion Blur Reduction feature lowers the brightness tremendously

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