The 24.5-inch BenQ Zowie XL2546 is a gaming monitor that’s targeted at the demanding niche of the community that is esports professionals. The XL2546 boasts a blistering 240Hz refresh rate, a 1ms grey-to-grey response time, and a 1,920 x 1,080-pixel resolution TN panel.
To be honest, the difference between a 144Hz and 240Hz screen is subtle at best, and it’s really only useful when your graphics card can keep up with it. Fortunately, many esports titles, such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Overwatch, are fairly easy to run, so you should have little trouble pushing out the required frames with a decent card.
Its features are aimed squarely at FPS players, where things like flicking, tracing a target, and controlling recoil feel more fluid and natural with a high refresh rate. I paired the monitor with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition and took it for a spin in Overwatch and Apex Legends, where everything from sprinting to tracing felt smooth as butter. Still, I’m no pro, but I imagine someone playing at the highest levels of a twitch-reaction shooter like CS:GOor Quake Champions would be able to benefit even more from the 240Hz refresh rate. And even if you’re just a filthy casual, this screen will be a huge upgrade if you’re still playing on a 60Hz monitor.
Further burnishing the monitor’s FPS credentials are features like DyAc and Black eQualizer. DyAc, short for Dynamic Accuracy, is BenQ Zowie’s proprietary technology for reducing eye-tracking motion blur. This is what happens when an object is moving so fast onscreen that the display cannot respond quickly enough to accurately represent its trajectory, resulting in your eyes being at a different position at the start and end of the frame as you track the object. The difference between where the object shows up on the display and where your eye ends up tracking is what creates the perception of motion blur.
The two USB ports and headphone holder are located at the left.
One way to overcome this is by enabling a higher refresh rate, which the XL2546 already has. Another method is something called backlight strobing, which turns the backlight off in between frame refreshes, thus shortening the time that a frame persists on the display. This is basically what DyAc does. It was created specifically to reduce blur on fast and erratic objects, so think of when you’re firing a gun with high recoil or when you’re trying to track that pesky Tracer.
In practice, while I can’t say that the XL2546 appears markedly sharper than the 144Hz monitor I’m used to, what I can affi rm is that I didn’t notice any blur or smearing when playing. That’s particularly useful in fast-paced shooters, where you don’t want anything to interfere with your aim and any added bit of clarity will come in useful.
The S-Switch puck lets you navigate the OSD really easily.
The Black eQualizer feature essentially helps you see better in dark areas. It works best when your brightness isn’t already at maximum, at which point it’ll just make the overall picture look more washed out than it already is. What it does is lighten or remove the shadows from the image, creating the effect of a grey veil being lifted from the picture. Compared to simply pumping up the brightness, increasing the Black eQualizer does a better job of improving visibility and brightness while preserving contrast.
In terms of picture quality, the XL2546 will require some adjustments out of the box. Images can appear too bright and washed out, but things improve significantly after some tweaking. The TN panel was of course nowhere close to replicating the rich hues of an IPS display, but the overall experience in-game was pretty decent, with reasonably vibrant colors. Still, viewing angles weren’t the best, and there are obvious color shifts when looking at it from the side.
Having said that, even though picture quality is not a priority here, the OSD menu is one of the easiest to navigate. The monitor comes with the S-Switch, a puck-shaped control that sits in its own indentation on the base of the monitor. It features a scroll wheel, three preset buttons, and a back button. Pressing on the scroll wheel also lets you access the OSD menu on-the-fly.
As a final touch, BenQ Zowie included two screw-on flaps at the side that are supposed to help you block out distractions in your peripheral vision (presumably, things like camera flashes at a tournament).
A great esports monitor for FPS gamers who want every possible advantage.
AT A GLANCE
DISPLAY 24.5-inch 1,920 x 1,080-pixel TN panel
RESPONSE TIME 1ms (GtG)
CONTRAST RATIO 1,000:1
DISPLAY OUTPUTS 1x DVI-DL, 2x HDMI, 1x DisplayPort 1.2