Since it bought the gaming brand Zowie, BenQ has set about re-releasing almost its entire gaming monitor range with a few added Zowie tweaks. In several instances, these revisions have meant little more than spraying a Zowie logo onto the monitor and adding a new box, and such is the case with the BenQ XL2411. This monitor can trace its roots back to the XL2411T, a display that was released in 2013. It looks identical and has nearly the same feature set.
This situation is evident in several areas, the most obvious of which is the slightly dated design. The bezel is chunky by modern standards, and although the extended section on the right that houses the OSD buttons has a fun jauntiness to it, the overall impression is still one of yesterday.
The same goes for the selection of connections. You don’t get any DisplayPort, for example, with the XL2411 instead relying on DVI to provide its 144Hz refresh rate, while the HDMI and VGA inputs add a few extra options. Not having DisplayPort on a display in this league just isn’t acceptable today, not least because it contributes to the BenQ’s lack of FreeSync support, but also because some graphics cards don’t even have DVI connections any more.
In most other regards, though, this monitor holds up fairly well. The sturdy stand offers a full complement of adjustments, and notably, the height adjustment goes far higher than most 24in displays. What’s more, there’s a handy recessed section in the base for storing your knickknacks. The stand can also be removed, with the option to use the 100 x 100mm VESA mount instead.
On the audio front, you don’t get speakers but there’s a headphone jack so that you can listen to audio passed through the monitor, and there’s an analogue audio input for use with the DVI and VGA inputs as well.
Meanwhile, the on-screen display (OSD) uses physical buttons on the underside of the bezel, which work reasonably intuitively in conjunction with the menus, although it isn’t always easy to pinpoint each button by feel alone. The menus themselves are also clearly laid out and quick to respond.
You get plenty of image presets and a couple of custom options, and there are oodles of image-tweaking options. These options include BenQ’s Black Equalizer, which can be used to boost the visibility of dark areas in games, as well as an overdrive boost called AMA and an Instant Mode that aims to reduce input lag by minimising processing. Plus, there are all the usual colour, contrast, gamma and brightness settings.
All of this makes it doubly strange that BenQ ships the monitor set to an awfullooking FPS1 preset that halves contrast to just 574:1 and has a colour temperature of 8,293K – that’s 1,793K off the ideal of 6,500K. Thankfully, switching to the Standard preset completely sorts out the image quality. We then only needed to drop the brightness to a sensible level and slightly drop the blue RGB channel, from 100 to 93, to get this monitor performing very well indeed.
We have few complaints when it comes to gaming either. There’s no FreeSync support, but upping the refresh rate from the default of 60Hz to 144Hz resulted in next to no change in image quality and the panel performed admirably at high frame rates. What’s more, this monitor also has a backlight-strobing blur reduction setting, which works well, making for an even clearer image than conventional 144Hz displays. For pure gaming, it’s the bestlooking screen on test.
The BenQ XL2411’s good overall image quality and blur reduction technology are great for gaming, and the latter tech is generally reserved for pricier displays. However, the lack of DisplayPort and FreeSync, as well as the awful default colour temperature, takes off the sheen. It has an appealing price, though, making it a solid pure gaming monitor for the money, as long as you’re happy to tweak the OSD and you’re aware of its shortcomings.