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Old 20th Jul 2013, 03:08   #1
Joined: Dec 2010
Location: Washington D.C.
Posts: 590
Lightboost Monitor Shootout!

Just a small comparison in Lightboost mode between the 24" 144 Hz Asus VG248QE (this one has matte film removed), the new 24" 144 Hz BenQ XL2420TE with zero-PWM and the 27" 120 Hz BenQ XL2720T.

I was interested in doing a little comparison due to the seemingly wide variances in picture quality and ghosting between monitors in Lightboost mode. I've just received three XL2420TE which are new models and I hoped would bring good image quality and low Lightboost ghosting in one package.

Please be advised that pictures and videos usually cannot do justice versus "real world" viewing and comparison of the monitors, so I will be adding commentary to the media. All monitors are set to 120 Hz, 10% Lightboost mode (the fastest) and 50% contrast ratio. I found on all three models if you strayed too far off from 50% contrast, the picture quality suffered too much.

These tests are done with driver 326.19. I also tested a much older driver to see if it helped the 24" monitors picture quality, but it did not.

Firstly, the XL2420TE does in fact use the same exact panel as the BenQ XL2411T and the Asus VG248QE. This is good in the regard of least ghosting, but is also bad in the picture quality department.

All images and video are the XL2720T on the left, the XL2420TE in the center and the VG248QE on the right.

This is a completely dark room and once again I would like to point out a camera will overexpose black levels and back light bleed versus real world viewing. For a point of reference, the Xl2720T in real world viewing has a nice, quite black and very uniform black screen. It is very impressive for it to look that good in Lightboost mode.

The XL2420TE in the center has the worse "blacks" and are actually more of a dark grey than anything. The VG248QE on the right was about 60% the strength of the Xl2420TE, so still quite far from the blacks on the XL2720T. One annoying aspect of the "grey-ness" of the blacks on the 24" models is that it isn't very uniform and for some unusual reason I have yet to discover, only happens in LB mode.

In this video you can see the XL2720T's better blacks and contrast:


You can also see the same thing in this next video. The XL2720T does a very good job with this black test with deep blacks and proper subtle differences between the darkest blocks. The other two overexposing and showing off their poor contrast with large bright gradients to the black boxes with the XL2420TE once again trailing the pack:


Surprisingly, whites are quite accurate in this photo. Even more surprising is that the best "whites" come from the Xl2420TE. The other two monitors were a bit "muddier-red" in their whites, but no adjustment's were made in NVIDIA control panel to keep the comparison on an even footing.

Xl2720T showing off it's better contrast in the white test, with blocks 247 through 251 outpacing the other two:


In this picture is the contrast on a white web site. Although the Xl2420T in the center had the best whites, it also had the most "bleached out" contrast and was less pleasing on the eyes to read said web site.

Image quality test:


Rank: #1 XL2720T, #2 de-matted VG248QE, #3 XL2420TE.

Moving on to motion quality and ghosting. All monitors tested at a 1.4ms MPRT as they should. I tried taking "ghosting" video but at 60 FPS, the camera did not capture what I feel is a good enough representation. Although, I did get some fairly good images of particular effects see.

All motion tests are courtesy of www.testufo.com from Mark, the designer of www.blurbusters.com

Here is the XL2720T under the very demanding "Marquee" test that is very unforgiving for ghosting on all display types:

This is where the Xl2720T starts to run into some issues. It does have a quite pronounced ghost and in real life actually looks a bit worse than this image.

Both the XL2420TE and the VG248QE are almost perfect in this test:

Here, in the vertical scrolling the XL2720T once again falls behind the other two in these images:

The 24" models coming out crystal clear:

More ghosting tests in order from monitors left to right using a very high shutter speed:

Next set:

And the last set:

So once again, what we have here is a compromise and what do you prioritize more. The 24" models are clearly the best if ghosting is of a concern to you. The Xl2720T has quite a bit better picture then the 24" models, but you do pay a price with the ghosting. One thing to note with the Xl2420TE is it did have some "scan lines" in the corners, and also produced a strange "ripple effect" during movement that the two other display did not have. This "ripple" is hard to describe, and the only reason I can think that the Xl2420TE has it is because of the new LED's or controller they used in this model. It was quite annoying and another reason to not recommend this model for Lightboost.

As for the XL2420TE, I would not recommend the monitor if you are going to be using Lightboost mode. The Zero-PWM feature does not help here and it's more than money the VG248QE. The Xl2420TE did look fine in normal 144 Hz mode and didn't have the huge blacks/contrast issues. It will be up to you if the zero-PWM flicker feature is worth the extra money and you want to run normal non-Lightboost 144 Hz.

Personally, I view the jump from 144 Hz non-LB to 120 Hz LB about as big of a jump in motion clarity as going from 60 Hz to 120 Hz non-LB.

One last video of the monitors, this time in Falcon 4 BMS:


How much did the matte-removal on the VG248QE help it out versus the XL2420TE? Since they have the same panel, apparently quite a bit. I did not have a stock VG248QE to test against. Some online like Mark have mentioned that adjusting the contrast to certain values can alleviate some of the ghosting on the Asus VG278HE model that undoubtedly has the same panel as the XL2720T. I did not find this the case with the BenQ. The ghosting was at all contrast levels, and straying too far from the middle mark in either direction negatively affected image quality.

After playing some games on all three monitor's, I have decided that the image quality increase on the BenQ XL2720T was worth the trade-off with the ghosting. This came in no small part to the ghosting only happening on light colored images, and the ghosting was actually sometimes less apparent than the 24" models on dark images. In no small part to the XL2720T being 27", which will allow me to push the 3x portrait setup further back on my desk. This will allow a U2413 IPS panel to swing in front of it an a monitor arm for web surfing as it has zero-PWM, great picture quality and a wonderful "semi-gloss" AR film.

One thing to note is ghosting is actually different across the top to the bottom on the 24" panels. This is a strange phenomenon I found out once I rotated all three monitors to portrait. The XL2720T ghosting stayed the same. Pretty universal across the screen. The center of the 24" models still has zero ghosting, but at the very sides "top and bottom in landscape", ghosting similar to the normal Xl2720T's appeared. Since the ghosting was no longer universally better in portrait mode, that also had me lean towards the better picture quality of the big BenQ.

To recap:

My 3x XL2420TE's are going back. I'd only recommend this monitor if you don't want Lightboost and are sensitive to PWM Flicker.

The Asus VG248QE is still the best value. This is some half the cost of the XL2720T.

I have a Asus VG278HE arriving tomorrow to pit against the XL2720T. The victor will end up as my 3x 120 Hz portrait Lightboost setup replacement. Stay tuned!
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Old 20th Jul 2013, 03:09   #2
Joined: Dec 2010
Location: Washington D.C.
Posts: 590
Well, this will be quick!

Got the Asus VG278HE in to compare against the BenQ XL2720T for the king of Lightboost monitors. I started to take some pictures until I realized the screen differences were so subtle that you couldn't even tell them apart in the photo's.

Pretty much makes sense, since the panels used are identical. Firstly, the contrast reference points for the screens are different. When I first turned on the Asus, it's contrast was set at 50 just like the BenQ. The Asus looked pretty bad and dim-muddy. I then realized both manufacturers just used a different contrast reference. Setting the contrast on the Asus to 84 pretty much matched the contrast setting on the BenQ of 50 to the T. So the BenQ has a wider contrast setting range.

With the Asus at 84 contrast and the BenQ at 50, the motion trailing/ghosting characteristics etc were fairly identical. For overall picture quality, I would ever so slightly give the edge to the BenQ. Both monitors have really impressive blacks in Lightboost mode with little back light bleed and great uniformity, especially compared to all of the 24" Lightboost monitors out there. Really between these two, the only differences are:

1. Contrast reference points, with the BenQ having a much better "center" reference.
2. Both have nice height adjustable/rotatable stands so it's a wash there. I personally like the BenQ design better.
3. On screen controls and buttons. Asus using mechanical buttons and BenQ using touch sensitive. I prefer the Asus mechanical as they always just work.
4. BenQ has a little green LED that shows when Lightboost is working. The Asus does not. Very handy!
5. The BenQ has a Displayport which makes the monitor more flexible which I like (and I wager more expensive). The only 120Hz capable interface the Asus has is Dual Link-DVI which could limit you in configurations and future GPU's.
6. The BenQ has a little base control "gadget", but I don't find it fairly useful now that ToastyX's utility is out in which you can change all Lightboost monitors brightness right from the task-bar. Basically the only control you ever have to touch once you get your LB monitor set up is the power button if you want to turn them on and off and not just power save mode.

Well, there you have it. Vega's top Lightboost monitor as of summer 2013 is the BenQ XL2720T. Now I am off to remove the matte-film and de-bezel three of these bad boys for my new NVIDIA Surround setup.

(PS, if anyone knows a shop that can do custom work with glass/mirror shapes, or knows how to cut glass plate at a 45 degree angle for a bezel-mask project please let me know).
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Old 22nd Jul 2013, 12:53   #3
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Not read it yet but looks very informative, as usual good job vega.

i7 2600K 4.2 P8Z77-VLX 8GB DDR3 GTX 980Ti ZxR S27A950D 8.1 64 Steam Twitch: Creomortis
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Old 27th Jul 2013, 19:43   #4
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Originally Posted by Frenzy View Post
Not read it yet but looks very informative, as usual good job vega.
Thanks, just spreading the word about Lightboost "goodness" to our across-the-pond friends.
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