Tech Review: BenQ ZOWIE XL2546 Esports Monitor is a strong contender in a crowded market

The BenQ Zowie range of esports monitors has become something of a quiet achiever in the world of PC gaming. They represent a viable alternative to bigger, sometimes much more well-known brands and place a higher premium on user consideration than any of them. The Zowie XL2546’s full name, the “BenQ Zowie XL2546 240Hz DyAc 24.5 inch e-Sports Monitor”, is about as long as the device is feature-rich, which is to say “very.”

The biggest reason for purchasing a 240Hz monitor is squeezing that little extra ounce of visual juice from your rig. Moving from a considerably older BenQ esports monitor from the StarCraft II days to the XL2546 was an eye-popping experience. The brightness is dazzling, the colours are stellar, and everything moves with a fluidity that makes my older monitor seem like it’s juddering and tearing. On initial inspection, this is a fine monitor indeed.The monitor’s muscular first impression is backed by its specs. Its native 240Hz refresh rate keeps everything moving silky smooth, allowing for a greater degree of motion tracking over even 144Hz.

The built-in black equaliser and colour vibrance tools allow you to tweak the monitor’s very lush colour palette for a higher degree of visibility, crucial for success in fast-paced shooters like Call of Duty and CS:GO, and many of these tweaks can be bound to the circular profile wheel that comes with the unit. This wheel sits at the bottom right of your monitor base and can jump between profiles with the push of a button. But the big draw is DyAc, BenQ’s Dynamic Accuracy technology. The idea behind DyAc is that it smoothes out errant motion so, even if you’re taking the old spray-and-pray strat in-game, you should still be able to see everything without motion-blur, tearing or cross-hatching.

There are a few bugbears. Mostly, it’s that the DyAc both works and doesn’t at the same time. The thing that I noticed the moment I jumped into Overwatch was a minor amount of motion blur. It was initially quite distracting and I discovered an entire community of people online for whom its a real issue. They’ve designed an entire app for trying to minimise the amount of blur created by not only the Zowie. Be all of that as it way, over the course of the two weeks I had to review the monitor, I did find that I got used it to it. So much so that, by the time I sent it back, I wasn’t noticing it at all anymore. Your mileage may vary depending on your tolerance for such things.

The design of the monitor is possibly my favourite part of the entire kit. It comes with an adjustable riser at the rear so you can not only tilt the angle of the monitor back and forth, but also slide it up and down to sit at the correct height for your eye line. There’s also some minor cable management holes back there too — it’s a small thing and wholly unnecessary, but I appreciate BenQ going that extra step. What’s more, the monitor can also be rotated from landscape to portrait mode. This is fantastic news for anyone who runs a dual monitor setup and requires something a little more versatile. Streamers covet monitors with portrait mode ability as its the ideal shape for Twitch chat, so I can see why they’d be attracted to the XL2546.

Taken on balance, BenQ have created a strong contender in the high-end gaming monitor space. Its performance is robust, its features are both sensible and useful and it looks extremely mean on your desk. For those looking to jump up to the 240Hz bracket, the BenQ Zowie XL2546 makes a very strong argument for itself.

 

FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Highlights: Great image; Great features
Lowlights: Minor motion blur may irritate some users
Manufacturer: BenQ
Price: $779 AUD
Website: Zowie.BenQ.com

Review conducted with a loaned retail model provided by the manufacturer.

David Smith

David Smith is the games and technology editor at The AU Review. He has previously written for PC World Australia. You can find him on Twitter at @RhunWords.

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