BenQ XL2411T vs ASUS VG248QE
For users interested in a 24” monitor for fast-paced PC gaming, the choice will inevitably include these two models. There may be others you’ll be considering, perhaps larger models and those with different panel types, but these will likely be your hot favourites. Both of these models use the same 144Hz panel and are highly capable in their own rights. There is more to a display than just its panel, however. If you take a look at our in-depth reviews of both the XL2411T and VG248QE some differences will become apparent. The purpose of this post is simply to summarise some key differences between the two models and help you make a choice between the two. Be aware that since this comparison has been published a flicker-free (PWM free) backlight has been added to the 11T as well. The VG248 still uses a PWM-regulated backlight.
Aesthetics, ergonomics and ports
The BenQ model features a fully adjustable screen with matte bezel and tactile control buttons on the underside of the screen. There is a forward-facing green power LED. It has a rectangular stand and a fairly solid matte plastic build throughout, weighing in at 6kg in total. At the left side you can see its hulking stand and a headphone jack. At the rear you will see that the stand is detachable and a 100 x 100mm VESA mount sits centrally. There is a VGA, DVI Dual-Link and HDMI input as well. The XL2411T is essentially very similar, aesthetically, to the XL2410T from 2010.
The ASUS is also fully adjustable with tactile control buttons in the same place. The power light is blue rather than green and is neatly tucked away on the underside of the screen. The most obvious difference is that the bezels are glossy rather than matte – the screen itself is exactly the same on both; regular matte. The stand is also glossy and circular rather than rectangular. There’s also a red stripe around the edge of the stand which continues a sort of black and red theme (similar to the XL2420T) alongside the cable tidy at the rear and red matte plastic on the stand’s inner surface.
The stand is a little less solid-looking than on the BenQ but actually offers slightly smoother adjustment whilst keeping the weight down a little (5.5kg rather than 6kg). The swivel mechanism is quite interesting, too, as it allows you to swivel the monitor 90 degrees one way if you like and isn’t locked to just 45 degrees either side. The ports are a little more generous on the ASUS. Again there’s a headphone jack, DVI Dual-Link and HDMI. The VGA port disappears and is replaced with a more modern DisplayPort. There’s also an audio in port (PC line-in).
On Screen Display (OSD)
Both the XL2411T and VG248QE feature OSDs (On Screen Displays) which are intuitive and easy to navigate. It is a bit easier and quicker on the ASUS to select different presets, although you can save 3 customised presets on the BenQ which are easy enough to flick between. On the BenQ the OSD looks like this:
And on the ASUS, it looks like this:
When it comes to adjusting the image both monitors can be annoyingly restrictive at times. On both models certain settings are locked to certain presets. On the BenQ, for example, you can’t adjust the ‘Black eQuilizer’ (Black EQ) feature or indeed disable it entirely on some presets and on others you can’t change the gamma mode. On the ASUS you can’t even adjust the brightness in one of the presets (sRGB) and you have no control over gamma modes as such. There is no Black EQ type setting, either. All that this really does, though, is raise the brightness of near-black tones so that dark areas are more visible. The ASUS is set up in such a way as to feature this sort of ‘enhanced look’ as standard in all of its presets. The A-team has their own unique feature that is ‘GamePlus’ which can draw on-screen crosshairs or timers. Some users will find this useful, others will find it gimmicky.
As you might expect given that they use the same panel, static contrast performance is similar on both and slightly exceeds the 1000:1 specified using the ‘Standard Mode’ of either. With the ASUS you need to play around with the settings a bit more and adjust things such as contrast as well as colour channels to get anything approaching decent balance to the image. This inevitably drops the contrast a bit to somewhere around 800:1. When considering the contrast in a broader context the most noticeable aspect of both was the aforementioned ‘low end’ enhancements, ensuring visibility was good in dark areas at the expense of the intended and natural look. The example below shows the sort of ‘extra detail’ that is brought about by this sort of configuration.
As with all monitors there is also the possibility of sometimes significant variation at different parts of the screen. Uniformity issues such as luminance variation and backlight bleed are two common complaints that can plague a monitor. The uniformity of both of the XL2411T and VG248QE was far from perfect. Our BenQ sample was slightly more consistent on the black screen, though, and had noticeably less clouding than the ASUS. It was also free from bleed, whereas the ASUS had a small strip at the bottom. It’s worth remembering that this is something that affects some units more than others. It does seem that the relatively reasonable black uniformity on our review sample is fairly typical for the XL2411T. At the time of writing the VG248QE is really too new to make a proper assessment of how likely poor uniformity, backlight bleed and clouding is on a given unit.
Out of the box the colours were rather lacklustre and frankly zany on both models. When it came to configuring them, though, it was easier to get a half-decent image on the BenQ. The gamma modes helped achieve a reasonably rich image from the ‘Standard Mode’. This allowed a gamma of 2.2-2.3 on average to be obtained with reasonable tracking of the ideal curve shape (aside from those near-black shades). On the ASUS gamma was all over the place at the native 144Hz refresh rate, never reaching higher than 2.1. There was also quite unusual gamma tracking with the curve below being fairly typical for many Splendid presets.
No matter how you configured the ASUS, you were essentially stuck with some noticeably oversaturated shades and stunted shade variety. Or a washed-out look. Although not ideal, as we explore in the review, it is possible to apply an ICC profile to give a much richer and more natural look on the desktop in particular. We actually provide some sample ICC profiles for the ASUS on our review. This was unfortunately not something we got around to doing for the BenQ; although the BenQ is slightly less in need of them. Rather frustratingly the gamma behaviour and overall image was altered significantly depending on the refresh rate on the VG248QE – with best results at 60Hz. This isn’t typical behaviour for a 120Hz+ monitor and obviously 60Hz isn’t much good for PC gamers when there’s a lovely 144Hz refresh rate sitting there. And that brings us on the extremely important aspect of responsiveness.
Both of these monitors gave an extremely fluid 144Hz experience which, no doubt, is what people really want from them. The VG248 has a plethora of ‘Trace Free’ (TF) response time options and although some of them were fairly useless (in particular TF100) it’s a nice freedom to have. As we’ve seen from comparing the XL2420T and XL2411T, it was good to see BenQ reduce their overdrive trailing by introducing an intermediate ‘Advanced Motion Acceleration’ mode, ‘AMA High’. Even using this intermediate mode you can see that the overdrive on the BenQ is very aggressive and as such you get slight RTC (Response Time Compensation) errors and artifacts such as inverse ghosting.
This sort of thing is a lot easier to see in snapshots than in real life. It is actually very faint and extremely short-lived so not to bother the vast majority of users. To put things in perspective we’ve recommended the BenQ to and received feedback from dozens of users and only a couple actually noticed the inverse ghosting. They only noticed it when looking for it and found it too faint to be bothersome. On the ASUS we used a new and much more sensitive camera which is better at picking up this sort of thing (even in cases where it wouldn’t be visible by eye). In all of our testing with the camera and subjectively using games and movies it was clear that some of the intermediate modes, particularly Trace Free 80, gave an even better balance to the pixel responses than anything on the BenQ. RTC errors did still occur but were even fainter and less frequent than on the BenQ – which in turn was improved compared to their previous model. It’s important to emphasise, again, that they don’t bother most users of the XL2411T anyway. And there is really nothing to separate the two when it came to input lag with both models hovering around 2ms in our testing. That’s actually imperceptibly low and when coupled with the high refresh rate gives a brilliant connected feel to games and movies.
In this comparison between the two monitors it is really very difficult to pick a clear winner. It is certainly worth looking through our reviews of both models for a more thorough analysis. The XL2411T has a slight edge in its colour quality with better gamma handling at 144Hz. It is possible to improve things on the desktop, where most users would find these issues most noticeable, by applying an ICC profile. We provide one for AMD and another for Nvidia users in our VG248QE review.
Both monitors are exceptionally responsive and can also be used (in a hacky way, currently) by Nvidia users with LightBoost in 2D for a ‘CRT-like’ blur-free experience. LightBoost aside, the ASUS does have a slight edge here in that it has more flexible pixel overdrive options. In its intermediate settings it maintains excellent pixel responsiveness and very low levels of ‘conventional trailing’, whilst suffering from less inverse ghosting than the BenQ (AMA High or Premium). Very few people actually notice this faint and short-lived ghosting on the BenQ, though, and most of those who do notice don’t find it bothersome. For most users it isn’t something to worry about at all.
With both having their pros and cons the real clincher could be the price and availability. In the United States only the ASUS is currently available – and is available at an excellent price of under $300. In many other regions the price is a bit higher and the BenQ model is actually available to consider. In the UK, for example, the ASUS typically costs around £300 whereas the BenQ typically costs £240 or under. The only real reason to plump for the VG248QE, for £60 more, would be if you know that the inverse ghosting would bother you. Or you prefer how it looks. Or, perhaps, that your graphics card lacks a DVI output but offers DisplayPort or Mini DisplayPort.