BenQ XL2411Z and XL2420Z
Update: Note that the ‘XL2411Z’ is now referred to as the ‘ZOWIE XL2411’. This is a simple rebrand, the monitor itself is the same (with updated firmware on the new model). News piece below initially published 9th December 2013.
BenQ have been steadily upgrading their monitor line-up across the range (from gaming to professional) to include ‘flicker free’ (PWM free) backlights to enhance visual comfort. Not too long ago they released the XL2420TE in North America and upgraded the XL2411T and XL2420T to include flicker free backlights and for the 20T to gain a 144Hz refresh rate option like the 11T. The BenQ XL2411Z and XL2420Z are the next evolutions of their popular gaming screens. From the outside both monitors retain the familiar look of their predecessors. Some attributes seen on the 20Z but not 11Z at the front include; touch sensitive buttons, a straight bottom bezel, red accents and the ‘S-Switch’ rapid preset selector and OSD controller. Both models have fully adjustable stands.
Internally the monitors use what is undoubtedly the same 24” TN panel with the same basic specifications. These have a 1920 x 1080 resolution, support a 144Hz refresh rate and use a flicker-free LED backlight offering 350 cd/m2 typical maximum brightness and approximate coverage of the sRGB colour space. BenQ’s usual AMA (Advanced Motion Acceleration) is included with a 1ms grey to grey response time quoted. Some ‘popular’ features such as 3D Vision 1 and 2 support, the Black eQualizer to raise visibility in dark areas and the ‘Smart Scaling’ feature to simulate various resolutions have been carried over and some new features added to the mix. The first and for most people most exciting feature is simply dubbed ‘Motion Blur Reduction’. This is a strobe backlight mode similar to LightBoost which is designed specifically to reduce motion blur during 2D gaming. By blinking the backlight on and off (with longer ‘off’ periods than ‘on’) your eyes spend less time tracking motion on the screen, which is itself a major cause of motion blur. This can work not only at the native 144Hz refresh rate but also as low as 75Hz – useful if you can’t maintain the 144fps required for smooth performance when using the strobe mode at 144Hz. The second feature is the inclusion of ‘Low Blue Light’ modes. Ignoring BenQ’s rather misleading marketing or dare we say scaremongering on this one (see this thread) we have tested a monitor with these modes and actually quite enjoyed this feature for relaxing evening viewing.
So leaving the internal wizardry aside, the monitors have the same ports and functionality at the rear as their predecessors did. The 11Z offers; VGA, Dual-Link DVI and HDMI at the rear alongside a headphone jack at the side. The 20Z offers these in addition to another DisplayPort, HDMI port and a USB 2.0 port (plus upstream) at the rear and 2 USB 2.0 ports at the side. Both models have 100 x 100mm VESA holes as well. An interesting point to note, with the 11T being a somewhat stripped down version with fewer ports, is that BenQ specifically note only for that model “ultra low 0.001-frame input lag”. Let’s be honest here; both models are likely to have extremely low input lag that most mere mortals will take no issue with. But for the number crunchers out there (even if they don’t fully understand the numbers they’re crunching) the 11Z may have slightly lower input lag.
The ’20Z’ and ’11Z’ have been discontinued in most regions, replaced by a rebranded ‘ZOWIE’ model without the ‘Z’. As per the update above, the monitor is identical to the older one but the firmware has been updated (minor tweaks).