In the past, a regular 60hz TV or monitor might have been okay for gaming, but as games have become more competitive and hardcore, we need something better. While it’s true that most people can make do with 60hz, you’d be better off with something that has a higher refresh rate 120hz is more common now but for the ultimate gamer, why not pick up something with 240hz, such as the BenQ Zowie XL2546K. But why is a higher refresh rate better for gaming? Basically, the higher the refresh rate, the smoother the motion will look because more data is being shown to you. If you happen to game with something like a PC, PS5, or Xbox X|S, then you’re able to play at higher framerates which means, you need a display with a higher refresh rate to make use of that extra data, making games look smoother and feel more responsive.
Gaming is a huge thing these days, even more so than before. More and more people are playing games on their PC and consoles and if you really want games to look their best, you should pick up a proper monitor or TV. In this case, we’re looking at BenQ’s new Zowie XL2546K 240hz gaming monitor with DyAc/DyAc+technology, but more on that later.
The version of the monitor sent to us is a 24.5″ widescreen (16:9) unit with a max resolution of 1920×1080. The max of 240Hz is only available for use with a PC while PS5 and Xbox Series X|S can make use of 120Hz. I must mention that the full 240Hz is only accessible with the right PC hardware and the software must support it as well. Anyways, BenQ labels this monitor as an eSports monitor, so it better be good for gaming.
The BenQ Zowie XL2546K monitor is a handsome unit that doesn’t really feature anything fancy or eye-catching. Instead, it’s more of a function over form design that doesn’t offend and will still look right at home in any game setup. The Zowie XL2546K is made almost entirely of plastic in a matte black finish, though a portion of the back panel is gloss black with an interesting almost chainlink type pattern underneath.
On the front panel, there really isn’t much to look at. The display has a thin plastic border around it and there are no buttons or indicators upfront. Instead, all the buttons are on the back on the lower right-hand side. You’ll have to remember what the buttons are because you obviously can’t see them from the front and need to just remember what they feel like. At least when you tap the buttons, a little mini menu will show up on the bottom right-hand corner.
The display itself is a TN panel with Fast Liquid Crystal LCD and an anti-glare finish. That just means there’s no glass on top and it’s basically just a matte finish. I prefer these over ones that have a glass or some kind of plastic sheet over them because those can cause lots of glare that make it difficult to see sometimes.
If we move to the base and arm, this is actually where the most interesting parts of the Zowie XL2546K are. The base is fairly small, giving you more desktop space. It also allows you to swivel the display left and right about 45-degree in each direction, making the base easier to place in odd spaces. Moving to the arm, there’s a slide mount located on it making it easy to move the display up and down to adjust the height. Not only that, but you can also tilt the display as well. I’d say that BenQ did an excellent job designing this base and arm. It’s not only really simple to use and doesn’t require force to adjust anything, but there’s also a well-thought-out handle on top in case you want to move or carry the monitor around.
In terms of connectivity, the Zowie XL2546K includes 3xHDMI 2.0 ports and 1xDisplayPort 1.2. There’s also a headphone jack for audio and a USB port for the S Switch. The S Switch is a little hockey puck-like controller that is used for quick access settings.
Lastly, I’ll mention the shielding hoods. The Zowie XL2546K comes with two shields that attach to the left and right sides of the monitor. These can be folded straight out or inwards at 90-degrees. I’m assuming these are to cut out any distractions from the side or light that might emit from behind the panel so that you can focus more on what’s going on in front of you. Think of these as “horse blinders” for gamers. While not necessary, I think they look pretty cool and do make the monitor look more unique than normal.
The BenQ Zowie XL2546K is not very difficult to set up. You just need to attach the arm to the base first and then both to the back of the monitor. To install the shields, you need to remove some rubber plugs on the side, and then you can slide the shields into them. As for connectors, the Zowie XL2546K does include a DisplayPort cable. If you’d rather use HDMI, you’ll have to provide your own cable. I do appreciate the fact that there are three HMDI ports though so that you can also connect other devices like a game console if you’d like.
Included too with the kit is an S Switch controller. You just plug this into the rear USB port and it’s ready to go.
For starters, let’s talk about the hardware first. The BenQ Zowie XL2546K is a solid piece of kit. The base is small, but very sturdy and heavy and allows you to sit it on a table with more space options. I like the fact that you’re able to tilt, raise or lower, and swivel the display to a variety of different angles and heights which makes this a very versatile monitor. I also appreciate the fact that there are four connection ports on the back so you can connect more than one device to this at a time. For the most part, I’m also very happy with the way the BenQ Zowie XL2546K looks as well as it’s not too crazy looking, has really small bezels, and the inclusion of the shields makes it stand out from the crowd.
Now on to the stuff you can’t see, but need to experience. Just for reference, I’m testing this with an ASUS Rog laptop, connected via HDMI. The laptop itself is running a GTX 1660. The first thing I did with the display was change it to 240hz refresh rate through the settings. Default is set to 60hz. That’s pretty much the only thing I kept constant. Everything else changes depending on the game you are playing. You can make adjustments to how dark the blacks are with Black eQualizer, color vibrance, DyAc/DyAc+, brightness, contrast, etc. Not only that, you can save your settings to custom profiles for each game so you don’t have to reenter those settings manually each time. Video profiles can even be shared.
So if you’re a hardcore gamer, this monitor is basically tailored for you Regardless if you’re playing on a console or on PC, games are going to look better and perform better on it. I tried several games on this monitor from different genres just to see how it would handle and I’ll say that once you experience a monitor with a higher refresh rate, you’ll never go back to anything lower. Popular games like Rocket League, COD Warzone, Super Animal Royale, and GTAV just to name a few all look fantastic on the BenQ Zowie XL2546K. This is basically a full customizable monitor that will make any game look and perform at its fullest.
What’s neat too is if you use the S Switch controller, it makes adjustments and selections so much faster than fumbling for the buttons on the back. You can either use the preset numbers on the controller, or use the scroll wheel for selection. Basically it’s just “controller” for the monitor that makes accessing all its features a little bit easier.
Other than that, this is certainly the best widescreen monitor I’ve ever used so far.
There aren’t many issues with the BenQ Zowie XL2546K, at least nothing that really affects usage. For starters, the kit only comes with a DisplayPort cable and not an HDMI cable. So if you’re using this on console, you’ll need to bring your own cable. Same goes if you don’t have DisplayPort on your PC.
Second, there’s a weird issue with the DyAc/DyAc+ setting id you try to do it through the settings menu. Trying to adjust it makes the menu and buttons freeze and you won’t be able to make it go away unless you unplug power and restart. The only way around this is to only enable DyAc/DyAc+ through the first shortcut menu when you first tap the button on the back. I don’t know if it’s just a bug with this monitor or a bug on all of them. At least there’s a way around it.
And that’s pretty much it with the issues. Other than that, the BenQ Zowie XL2546K has been a joy to use.
While this might not be a 4K or even a 2K monitor, I think performance is far more important thing than resolution. This only displays at 1080p, but man do games look great on it. I’m honestly not a fan of 4K in general because to me, it just looks a bit too clear and unrealistic, where as 1080p in my eyes just seems perfect enough for gaming. I’d rather save my resources for higher frame rate and consistent performance, and 1080p does that.
Should you buy the BenQ Zowie XL2546K? Most definitely. If you’re a serious gamer that wants an edge, this will certainly do it. Your games will look so smooth with colors tailored to your liking that you’ll wonder how you ever did without it. Having a refresh rate of 240hz is a visual treat especially if you’re coming from something only 60hz or 90hz. Everything will look so much smoother, and I mean everything. You’ll even be seeing your mouse pointer in a whole new light.
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