Brightness and contrast
Speaking of quirky behavior, the XL2730Z has a feature with the unintentionally hilarious name of Black eQualizer. BenQ claims it can "brighten dark scenes without over-exposing the bright areas." Sounds a bit gimmicky and more than a bit racist, but whatever. I figured I could play around with later and see what it did. Then I went to test the display at its default settings, and, well, look at this gamma response measurement.
What is supposed to be a nearly flat line at about 2.2 across the board is instead a logarithmic curve. I'm pretty sure that's the Black eQualizer feature at work, attempting to make sure that no baddies can hide in the dark shadows during a game. Trouble is, this feature is enabled by default on the XL2370Z, and it doesn't come without a price. This gamma response curve has negative consequences for black levels and contrast ratios, which is no surprise when you think about it. This feature intentionally reduces color fidelity in order to do its thing.
I was able to disable Black eQualizer in the monitor's settings, but frustratingly, the feature kept coming back on after I calibrated the display. Ultimately, I had to disable ADC in my calibration software in order to keep Black eQualizer from resurrecting itself. Once this feature was turned off, the BenQ's overall fidelity and contrast improved, bringing it closer in line with the ROG Swift PG278Q, which is based on a similar LCD panel.
Because it's a default setting rather than a menu option, the Black eQualizer goes from being a harmless gimmick to something worse. This "feature" makes the XL2730Z a less capable display, out of the box, and requires intentional tuning to overcome.
We put in that work before taking the measurements below, so the BenQ display was able to put its best foot forward. Black eQualizer was disabled and the display was calibrated prior to these tests. The other monitors were calibrated, as well.
As you can see, the XL2730Z compares favorably on this front to the two other monitors we have on hand for comparison. We've already introduced the ROG Swift PG278Q, the BenQ's obvious rival based on G-Sync and perhaps the exact same LCD panel. Our other contestant, the Asus PB278Q, is the same size and resolution as the two variable-refresh monitors but is based on an IPS-type panel, generally considered the standard for image quality among LCDs.
Click through the buttons below to see the color gamut ranges for the displays, both before and after calibration. Color gamut has to do with the range of colors the display can produce, and it can vary widely from one monitor to the next. The gray triangle on each diagram below represents the standard sRGB color space.
The XL2730Z's gamut almost completely encompasses the sRGB color space. The IPS-based PB278Q is capable of displaying some deeper reds and purples than our two TN panels, but those hues are largely beyond the bounds of the sRGB standard.
The BenQ monitor's default color temperature isn't far off of our 6500K target, and then it snaps into line almost perfectly after calibration.
Remember, these measurements are affected by the Black eQualizer feature I discussed above. I've included three sets of results for the BenQ: at the default settings, after calibration with Black eQualizer enabled, and after calibration with Black eQualizer disabled. As you can see, Black eQ wreaks havoc with the monitor's gamma response even after calibration. Fortunately, turning this feature off yields a nice, flat gamma response across the board.
Delta-E is a measure of color difference—or error—compared to a reference. Smaller delta-E values generally mean more accurate colors. We measured delta-E in the sRGB color space with a D65 white point, both before and after calibration.
Once calibrated (and with Black eQ disabled), the XL2730Z offers the most faithful color reproduction of the group. Reds are the largest source of error for this display, as they are for the PG278Q.
The XL2730Z just barely trails the PG278Q in grayscale color accuracy after calibration, but both outperform the IPS panel we have on hand. This is not your father's TN panel, folks. It's pretty darned good.
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