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Thread: [Reader Review] BenQ XL2730Z Review

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    [Reader Review] BenQ XL2730Z Review

    Firstly, thanks to Hexus and BenQ for providing me with the monitor.

    This is my first review so let me know if I’ve left anything out and I’ll circle back around to it.

    I should also preface the review by saying I was unable to test Freesync on this monitor, having sold my R9 290s at the tail end of last year, and being unable to get my hands on a couple more for the review.
    I was, however, able to borrow a friend’s original ROG Swift for comparison, as well as having my own BenQ XL2720Z, the predecessor to this monitor.

    *image courtesy of BenQ*

    So starting with the main features of the monitor, you get:

    • 27 inch display
    • 2560x1440 resolution
    • 144Hz refresh rate
    • 1ms response time (grey to grey)
    • Freesync (40-144Hz)
    • TN panel



    For a lot of you, that will be all you need to make up your mind but for the rest, here are my thoughts.

    In the box

    In my excitement, I didn’t think to take pictures of the monitor disassembled and boxed up, so I’ll just list what comes in the box:
    • Monitor
    • Stand
    • Base
    • S Switch (controller for the monitor)
    • Dust cover
    • USB pass-through cable (for the built-in USB 3.0 hub)
    • Power cable
    • DisplayPort 1.2 cable
    • Dual Link DVI cable
    • Quick Start Guide/CD ROM

    *image courtesy of Newegg via eBay*

    Coming from the XL2720Z, I wasn’t surprised but definitely still impressed with just how much BenQ include with their monitors. It’s not unheard of for manufacturers to include the panel, the stand, the power cable and leave it at that.

    So far, so good.

    Design

    The XL2730Z takes a no-frills approach to design which I like but of course, your mileage may vary.
    Apart from the stand, it’s near identical to the older XL2720Z model. Compared to the ROG Swift, the XL2730Z takes a much more toned down approach. No red ring on the base of the stand or unnecessary angles like other gaming-focused monitors on the market.
    Speaking of the stand – I’m glad to say that BenQ have gone for a rectangular base that takes up much less space on the desk than both the ROG Swift and the older XL2720Z. The stand also allows for the usual tilt, swivel, pivot and height adjust. You also have the option to forego the stand altogether as the monitor features a standard Vesa mount.



    *image courtesy of TFT Central*

    The stand also features a robust carrying handle and a cable management hole to keep those cables tidy behind the monitor.
    BenQ have also made it so that the S Switch is now a part of the base, rather than having it attach on the side – this is one thing that always bothered me about its predecessor. Users have the option to control the OSD with the S Switch or the navigation buttons on the front of the monitor.



    Speaking of the navigation buttons, I'm glad to say that BenQ has opted for physical buttons here, as opposed to the touch sensitive ones found on the older XL2720Z model. They’re firm with a satisfying click.

    Coming around to the left side of the monitor, you’ll find a retractable, flimsy-feeling but surprisingly strong headphone stand, two USB 3.0 ports, as well as a microphone pass-through jack and a headphone jack.
    Do not use the headphone jack.



    Underneath the monitor, you’ll find the various inputs, along with the microphone pass-through, the mini USB port for the S Switch and the port for the USB cable for the USB 3.0 hub.

    Inputs

    The monitor features a total of 5 inputs:
    • DVI
    • 2x HDMI (1x HDMI 2.0)
    • DisplayPort
    • VGA

    *image courtesy of TFT Central*

    I’d be surprised if anyone actually used the VGA port but it’s nice that it’s there, just in case. Honestly though, if you intend to connect your PC to this monitor using VGA then it’s maybe time for a GPU upgrade.

    OSD
    The OSD is where you’ll find game settings such as blur reduction, low blue light, auto game mode, as well as your brightness, contrast and colour temperature.

    It’s easy to navigate but be prepared to spend some time in it, there are a lot of options.



    Display
    The monitor features a 2560x1440 QHD display. It took me a few days to get used to it, having only used 1080p monitors before, but now I can confidently say that I get it. 1080p at 27 inches is not bad by my book, but 1440p at the same size is the sweet spot.

    As mentioned earlier, the XL2730Z uses a TN panel. The panel is better than the one on the XL2720Z and in my opinion, better than the one on the ROG Swift.
    It still suffers from colour shift, like any other TN panel, but in my time with the monitor up to this point, I haven’t found the colour shift to be nearly as noticeable as the other two panels. Horizontal viewing angles are fine, but if you intend to have the monitor above you, I’d reconsider.

    If not for the red ring, would you have been able to guess which was the XL2730Z?

    It may be just my unit, but calibration out of the box was solid. All I had to do was turn the brightness down – on full brightness, the display was brighter than anyone would ever need it to be - almost warranted sunglasses.
    As far as I could tell, the screen was perfectly uniform and backlight bleed was also a non-issue, just like with my older BenQ.


    Performance
    The monitor also has a response time of apparently 1ms. I was unable to accurately test this but coming from the XL2720Z which also advertises a 1ms response, the XL2730Z didn't feel any more or less responsive – thumbs up there.
    Setting the refresh rate is as easy as picking it from the dropdown and hitting apply - no overclocking required.



    FreeSync
    As mentioned at the beginning of the review, I was unable to test FreeSync, which is a shame considering its a major feature of this monitor; however I do know that the FreeSync range on this monitor is 40-144Hz which should be just right for anyone seriously considering this monitor.

    Conclusion
    The BenQ XL2730Z isn't the perfect monitor, but it’s the best monitor I've personally ever used. It’s not without issues but for me, it stands as a worthy successor to the XL2720Z and also edges out the original ROG Swift everything from design to panel quality to price.
    The performance of the panel, along with the resolution and features such as Blur Reduction and FreeSync should warrant consideration from anyone in the market for a premium gaming panel.

    The monitor loses marks for poor vertical viewing angles, even though they’re good for a TN, and also for the sound quality from the headphone jack.
    The monitor is also undeniably expensive – at the time of writing, it’s listed at £455.99 on Amazon.
    The ROG Swift is listed at £515.99. Make of that what you will.

    Pros:
    • Solid performance in games (even without FreeSync)
    • Robust yet compact stand
    • Hits the sweet spot for resolution at 2560x1440
    • FreeSync range meets the max refresh rate of the monitor
    • Wealth of inputs
    • Excellent display (TN or not)

    Cons
    • Poor vertical viewing angles
    • Poor audio quality from the headphone jack
    • Price
    Last edited by 1kca; 05-02-2016 at 08:39 PM. Reason: Pictures added

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    MrRockliffe (06-02-2016),peterb (02-02-2016)

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    Re: [Reader Review] BenQ XL2730Z Review

    Thank you, I look forward to the pics, but good review!
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    Re: [Reader Review] BenQ XL2730Z Review

    Quote Originally Posted by peterb View Post
    Thank you, I look forward to the pics, but good review!
    Thanks!

    Pics up now

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    peterb (05-02-2016)

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    Re: [Reader Review] BenQ XL2730Z Review

    Excellent!
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