Boasting dynamic contrast adjustment for better gaming, BenQ's offering seems impressive -- we test it out.
By Bennett Ring on December 7, 2012 at 4:53 pm
BenQ’s XL2420T monitor set a new benchmark for 24-inch gaming monitors, not least in the pricing department. At $500 it’s around twice the price of competing displays, but your wallet won’t feel molested when you wrap your loving gaze around its compelling image quality, with razor sharp response times and image presets custom built for first person shooters.
Sadly half a grand is still out of the reach of most mere mortals, despite the amazing feature set, so BenQ has released another 24-incher that won’t see you sleeping in the dog house if your other half finds the receipt. The RL2450H retails for just $199, yet BenQ claims it shares many of the same qualities that its pro-gamer cousin includes. Let’s see if it can live up to the family name.
- Screen Size: 24”W
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Resolution (max.): 1920×1080
- Pixel Pitch (mm): 0.276
- Brightness ( typ.): 250 cd/m2
- Contrast ( typ. ): 1000:1
- DCR (Dynamic Contrast Ratio) (typ.): 12M:1
- Panel Type: TN
- Viewing Angle (L/R;U/D) (CR>=10): 170/160
- Response Time(Tr+Tf) typ.: 5ms, 2ms GTG
- Display Colors: 16.7million
- Color Gamut: 72%
The ‘RTS Monitor’
BenQ enlisted the aid of StarTale, a bunch of Korean gamers famous for dominating the StarCraft II scene, to help make this the perfect monitor for RTS gamers. Now, given the slightly slower pace of RTS games, you’re probably wondering what makes for a good strategy monitor. The answer is a dynamic contrast booster which BenQ calls the “Black eQualizer”, which is meant to allow you to spot bad guys tucked away in the shadows. It basically adjusts black levels on the fly, which gives it a slightly washed out look — however, it also actually works as advertised.
Most pro-gamers already run with jacked up contrast or brightness to achieve the same effect, but on the RL2450H you can achieve the same result without making your game look quite anywhere near as bad.
Another nice touch is the ability to scale the screen to various resolutions other than the native resolution of 1920 x 1080. If you find your old GTX 560 is struggling with Far Cry 3 at 1080p, simply bump the resolution down to 1650 x 1050 and the monitor will only display those pixels, rather than stretching the resolution across the full 24 inches. It’s great for those who don’t have the grunt to run at HD all the time, yet hate the blocky image that usually happens when you run your LCD at a non-native resolution.
Frames and construction
At this price we didn’t expect the fanciest of frames, and weren’t surprised when we discovered a rather rudimentary stand. There’s no way to adjust the height of the display, which could prove to be a neck-straining bother for those with gaming dens that ignore ergonomics. It can be tilted though, which will be handy for those with a monitor stand just a tad too high.
Inputs are taken care of by a single HDMI, DVI-D and D-sub input, so you won’t be able to attach both your PC and consoles without using a HDMI switcher. Again, at this price we can’t expect more than the basics. The On Screen Display (OSD) was easy enough to navigate, but only includes the most rudimentary of tweaks; professional designers won’t find the colour calibration options up to snuff for their demands. Physical buttons are used to move around the menus, with touch sensors prohibitively expensive at this bargain basement pricing.
BenQ has fitted the RL2450H with the older style of TN panel rather than the newer, more expensive IPS panels that are now becoming the norm. As a result the viewing angle isn’t nearly as good as other IPS 24 inchers, but this issue is moot for gamers, who wouldn’t share their gaming screen even with a Glock pointed at their noggin. The benefit of the TN panel is a rapid-fire response time of just 2ms, which leaves most IPS screens for dead.
We noticed absolutely zero ghosting on the RL2450H, with crisp motion even when playing hyperactive games like Quake 3. Unlike its more expensive brethren, the TN panel used here is limited to 60Hz rather than 120Hz, which means it can’t do 3D. While 120Hz is incredibly smooth, the vast majority of gamers don’t have the horsepower to churn out such a high frame rate, so again this problem won’t be noticed by the majority of the population. On the subject of 120Hz, we suggest avoiding seeing games run at this speed, as it’ll make your lowly 60Hz screen seem positively sluggish. And once you’ve seen the incredible fluidity of 120Hz, it’s impossible to un-see it.
Another issue with TN panels is their colour reproduction, and the RL2450H scrapes by with relatively average colour quality. Colours appeared to be overly saturated, leading to a very garish image quality on the default values. These can be toned down a little by tweaking some of the image options, but overall we’d describe the colour reproduction as just a little too vibrant. Having said that, we prefer a monitor with richer tones than those with flat, dull colours, so it’s not a deal breaker of an issue.
The LED backlighting looks fine during games, but running a pure black screen did indicate a few uneven areas that were a little too bright. However, grey scale test results were excellent, showing that this monitor is a beast when it comes to contrast performance. It’s not too surprising given the fact that BenQ is pushing contrast as its defining feature, but it’s always nice to see the real world performance living up to the marketing claims.
At this price point we didn’t expect retina-gouging performance, but BenQ has delivered yet another able gamer display despite the meagre budget. Compared to similarly priced offerings this screen offers superior contrast performance, a crucial feature for making out detail in darker games. The RTS mode is actually useful for competitive play, and not just a load of marketing bollocks, but the RL2450H is just as comfortable playing shooters and action games as it is strategy games. Colour quality might not be perfect, but with a little tweaking it’s more than adequate for all but the most demanding of users.
It’s still no match for the XL2420T, but at less than half the price it’s also a much easier purchase to justify to the other half. Recommended for those on a budget.
- Won’t cause your wallet to implode
- Excellent contrast performance
- Impeccable response time with no ghosting
- Solid overall image quality
- Average colour reproduction
- No height adjustment
- RTS mode is a little washed out for our liking