For a decade now gamers have been lamenting the death of the CRT monitor. LCDs have better uniformity and sharpness, and are often easier on the eyes, but lack the motion clarity that CRTs offer. For fast-twitch gamers, the extra blur or lag that an LCD introduces are the difference between winning and losing. Now we are seeing true 120Hz LCD monitors that cater directly towards gamers. I take a look at one of these displays in my BenQ XL2720T review that is posted at AnandTech.
The BenQ Xl2720T is aimed directly at gamers with many special features just for them. There are different preset gaming modes designed to illuminate shadows. These really raise the gamma curve and make shadows gray instead of black, but it does make things more visible. With a hotkey accessory that ships with the XL2720T, you can switch between these modes, and more accurate general use modes, with a single button press. For general use these modes might not look great, but for gaming they can really help you out.
What people really wanted to hear about was Lightboost when used with a compatible video card and in 2D mode. Lightboost is designed to be used with 3D to overcome the darkness of the active glasses, but people have figured out how to use it with 2D content as well. It requires a program to edit the registry, an NVIDIA graphics card, and causes a significant drop in light output and color quality, but does lead to very good motion. If you’re after the clearest motion you can get from a non-CRT display, Lightboost might be it. Blurring is virtually absent with it enabled, though your peak light output is now pretty dim. For gaming in a light controlled room, it will work well but might need to be disabled for regular display use.
In the end, I found the BenQ XL2720T to be a bit of a mixed bag. I value color quality and contrast ratio more than most gamers, and felt the BenQ XL2720T came up short in these areas. I also am not a fan of TN panels at this point and found myself wanting an IPS panel at the end of the day. For people that really game and care about that more than I do, the BenQ XL2720T might be a great display. The Lightboost technology is very impressive with motion, but will be more useful when you can enable and disable it with a simple button click. It will also be hard to find one on display with Lightboost enabled, but you can make sure to purchase it from someone with a good return policy to make sure it works for you.
The full review is posted at AnandTech, and goes into far more depth than this summary does. Head over there to read the full performance report, including calibration details, color quality, input lag, and more.