To start off with the older monitor of the two; the Benq XL2735 is a 27-inch model with a resolution of 2560x1440 pixels or (w)qhd and was introduced in September. The combination of resolution and diagonal results in a pixel density of 110 ppi, sharp and useful for gamers that always want to experience 144 frames per second, even this means that the resolution has to be lowered to 1280x720: this is exactly one-quarter and therefore scales pixel perfect. The monitor also offers the possibility to show multiple resolutions without scaling, which means that the un-used pixels remain black. This is a function that is valued by professional gamers.
The XL2735 uses a tn-panel. This is an interesting choice, because more and more manufacturers choose to use a panel based on ips-technique. This is because it usually has a better colour quality and better viewing angles. However, Benq states that for gamers speed is the most important aspect, and the characteristics of ‘twisted nematic’ panels are unsurpassed in that regard.
The XL2735 distinguishes itself from most other 144HZ wqhd-monitors available on the market because of a technique that is called ‘DyAc’ by Benq, short for ‘Dynamic Accuracy’, which in turn is a marketing term for a so-called scanning backlight. This means that the backlight of the tn-panel turns itself off- and on again with a frequency that corresponds to the supplied signal. We questioned Benq about this, but unfortunately they were not willing to share the specific details with us. In any case, in part it does not work the same as the previously used anti-ghosting technique and is also different than ULMB, a technique derived from Nvidia Lightboost. The basic principle is the same: the backlight is dimmed a few times per second, synchronous to the shown signal. This (partly) compensates for the ‘sample-and-hold’ attribute of lcd-technology, and means you experience the monitor more as you would a classic CRT monitor, where the pixels are not continuously lit either. Below you can find two videos that show the effect, made by Benq.
We spend quite some time trying to reproduce this, but this did not turn out to be easy. Finding a situation in a game where the advantage was clearly visible was difficult, although we did succeed in the end. Multiple editors, both gamers as well as non-gamers, used the monitor and compared it with a ‘regular’ 144Hz wqhd-monitor, with different impressions – but with situations that have a relatively low contrast and moving objects it is definitely visible. When we turn DyAc off and on again the difference is visible as well. The sensitivity to the motion blur caused by sample-and-hold varies on a per person basis; we presume that the real added value is only noticeable after using it for a longer period. For now we settle on the cautious point of view that the effect is noticeable, albeit limited.
Aside from DyAc, Benq did more in order to make the monitor attractive for gamers. It uses a height adjustable base and has a slider that allows you to point out the height that is ideal for you. This makes it easier to find the setting. It is a small but convenient addition that we find on more and more gaming monitors. You can also rotate, tilt and pivot the panel which is very fluid thanks to the high quality of the used hinges. The ‘ears’ of the monitor, called Shield by Benq, should shield you from the environment. According to Benq this addition was made in collaboration with professional gamers; they do not want any form of distraction. The adjustable flaps can be screwed on to the monitor and should make sure you stay focused on your game. Therefore, trend of thinner bezels is not present here. Speaking of bezels, they are made from matte plastic, which means that the panel does not reflect in them. Benq mentions this separately, but to be fair we do not see this with a lot of monitors anyway, whether they are designed for gaming or not.
The retractable headset holder is very convenient and is placed next to two usb 3.0-ports and audio in- and outputs. These are more reachable than usual. In our opinion the best ‘extra’ from Benq remains the S Switch, or the ‘puck’ that can be used to switch between monitor settings and inputs and is connected via mini-usb. When operating a monitor this is preferred to using unlabeled buttons that are hidden in the edge of the panel. Aside from the previously mentioned ports the monitor also has two hdmi-inputs, displayport 1.2 and dual-link dvi.
Furthermore the XL2735 also offers some possibilities that offer you a tactical advantage in certain games. The well-known Black Equalizer allows you to increase the brightness of darker parts in order to see enemies faster. This is done without increasing the brightness of the rest of the image, meaning details are kept. Nevertheless the image looks pretty pale at maximum setting, but that cannot be avoided. This function is found in other gaming monitors as well. The Color Vibrance setting is something that is unique to Benq monitors and offers you the possibility to change the colour intensity and contrast in 20 steps, again with the goal to show more details. You can also partly compensate for the Black Equalizer effect, although it obviously does not help for the colour fidelity. In the menu you can define multiple presets and directly use them with the usb-switch.
All things considered the XL2735 is a very well-considered monitor. We should also mention the relatively small ‘footprint’ or the space that the base takes up on the desk. Because professional gamers usually want to sit as close to the monitor as possible while still having to place the mouse and keyboard on the desk, a compact base is essential. Of course this results in quite a challenge for the stability, but the XL2735 does not have any problems when it comes to this – the weighted base adds to this, although this does result in a higher cost- and transport price. In any case, it should be clear that the steep price of this monitor has its reasons, both in terms of technical innovation as well as in terms of physical execution.