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Review: BenQ’s New Zowie Monitor Promises And Delivers On High Performance

On paper, as well as in practice, it’s often the case that the market for gaming monitors comes down to small incremental increases in picture quality. Tempered by a reluctance to detract from the all-important refresh rate of a display, gaming monitors haven’t really changed that much over the last few years.

As a result, it’s easy enough to find a gaming monitor that looks not just good but great, whether you’re buying LG, Samsung, BenQ or Acer. What’s difficult, oddly enough, has become finding a display that offers something beyond that standard.

BenQ’s new Zowie-branded XL2540 eSports monitor fits nicely into that larger context as a display that tries to offer up some really interesting innovations and performance gains in lieu of cutting edge picture quality.

The key detail here is, without a doubt, the 240Hz refresh rate. It’s the first gaming monitor of its kind to offer the heightened performance and during our time with the monitor, it proved itself worthy of the innovation. Without getting too technical, the enhanced refresh rate made games look noticeably smoother. While it’s not exactly going to address any major performance issues your gaming machine of choice might have, it’s certain to elevate already-good gaming experiences to great ones. For FPS games like Overwatch and DOOM in particular, we found it made the most significant impact. The only caveat here is that to get the most out of this feature, you’re going to want to have a graphics card that supports it.

The other big feature here is the Black Equaliser. This nifty addition applies targeted brightness to darker parts of the screen without raising the luminescence of the panel as a whole. Within stuff like atmospheric horror or shooter games, this proves particularly useful when moving through darker environments by allowing you to see more of it,

In comparison, the improvements for everyday use like web browsing or watching videos weren’t nearly as drastic. Everything has a palpable brightness to it that can sometimes make video content look a little off. Regardless of what display profile you settle on, the picture quality here isn’t really in the same ballpark as what you’d get out of a Samsung, LG or Acer gaming monitor. However, that said, if you’re in it for the performance and price-point, it’s hard to complain too loudly about this.

It helps that the XL2540 also comes with a number of intuitive and effective hardware improvements. It boasts an elevated stand that’s as stable and sturdy as it is easily adjustable. Packing just the right amount of ports and customization options, it even comes with the Zowie S-Switch packed in. Sort of like a remote control, the S-Switch lets users easily toggle menus and settings for the display and even save and move your configuration between compatible BenQ monitors.

On a hardware and design level, the XL2540 feels like it’s been built from the ground up with heavy use in mind. Nothing is ever harder than it needs to be and when used for its intended purpose, it delivers an edge that both competitive and casual players alike will find difficult to pass up on. For the former, the XL2540 even comes with two adjustable “wings” that create a barrier between your game experience and any exterior distractions. Beyond professional uses, they can also act as partial barriers to glare – which is always nice – and if you don’t like them, they can always be detached without too much fuss.

While the 24.5-inch display is going to be a little small for some players, BenQ’s Zowie XL2540 eSports monitor comes with few caveats outside of that. It sits at a price-point that’s not quite compelling but definitely considered. It slips well below the premium pricetag you’ll find in larger or curved monitors but at the same time it’s a little expensive when you consider things from a dollar-per-inch of screen space point-of-view.

Conclusion

There are definitely cheaper 24-inch displays out there. However, at the core of the XL2540 experience, lies a commitment to quality over quantity. And if you’re looking for a quality gaming experience that puts you ahead of the competition, this is one monitor not worth passing over lightly.

4.0/5.0

BenQ’s Zowie XL2540 monitor is available now at an RRP of $699 through limited online resellers and JB Hi-Fi.

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