ZOWIE, the eSports-centric brand that is now under BenQ, a renowned maker of monitors, had its monitors seen in many major eSports tournaments over the years. ZOWIE monitors have also appeared in the Dota 2 Bucharest Major 2018. And here ZOWIE is introducing a special monitor – the XL2546. This monitor right here boasts a native 240Hz refresh rate and has one proprietary feature, the DyAc blur reduction that will boost the player’s skill further over the edge.

We’ll be looking into the ZOWIE XL2546 and see what it has to offer in this review. Are all of the features built into the ZOWIE XL2546 make a difference? Is it really worth the price? Let’s find out.

Watch our video review of the BenQ ZOWIE XL2546 here too!

Specifications

Display

LCD size 24.5-inch
Aspect ratio 16:9
Max resolution 1920×1080 @ 240Hz (HDMI 2.0 or DP)
Display area 543.744mm x 302.616‎mm
Pixel pitch 0.28mm
Typical brightness 320cd/m­2
Typical contrast 1000:1
Typical DCR
(DyNomic Contrast Ratio)
12M:1
Panel type TN
Response time 1ms (GtG)

Connectivity

I/O DVI-DL / HDMI / HDMI 2.0 / DP 1.2 / headphone jack / microphone jack
USB Downstream x3; Upstream x1

Electricity

Power supple(90~264 AC) Built-in
Power consumption (on mode) 55W

Size and weight

Dimensions (HxWxD) High: 515.43mm x 569.94mm x 226.04mm
Low: 445.75mm x 569.94mm x 226.04mm
Net weight 7.5kg
Gross weight 11.3kg

Stand

VESA wall mount 100x100mm
Pivot 90°
Swivel (left/right) 45°/45°
Tilt -5°~20°
Height adjustment 140mm

Special features

Dynamic Accuracy (DyAC)
Shield
S Switch ✔ (Profiles to go)
Black eQualizer
Color Vibrance
Low Blue Light
Flicker-free ✔ (DyAC off)
K Locker

Unboxing

BenQ ZOWIE XL2546

The ZOWIE XL2546 comes in a humongous box – and that’s for a good reason. Inside the box itself, everything is compartmented nicely in segments within the foam packaging. The monitor itself is sandwiched in between two thick layers of foam for extra protection from impact.

BenQ ZOWIE XL2546

In terms of accessories, the ZOWIE XL2546 comes with a CD that contains the user manual and a copy of Acrobat Reader, a pair of Shields which can be installed on both sides of the monitor for better focus in the game, the S Switch, a power cord, and a DisplayPort cable.

BenQ ZOWIE XL2546

Design

BenQ ZOWIE XL2546

The design is kept simple as usual, which is no surprise. ZOWIE has always been eSports-centric and performance first, hence donned the mantra of being distraction-free with its minimalist design.

BenQ ZOWIE XL2546

Even the matte plastic frame facing the screen is chamfered to prevent reflection. That’s just how serious ZOWIE is when it comes to being distraction-free.

In terms of ergonomics, the ZOWIE XL2546 will definitely make you comfortable since it a swivelling base, a very wide range of height adjustment, and a generous degree of angle to tilt the monitor. Both the swivelling base and height adjustment has little markers that can be moved so you can bookmark your favourite positions.

BenQ ZOWIE XL2546

Also, the XL2546 can be rotated 90° clockwise if you want to.

BenQ ZOWIE XL2546

Another great feature is the handle at the top of the monitor’s base, allowing the XL2546 to be carried anywhere with ease – especially for LAN party goers. The risk of smudging the screen with your greasy finger and palm can be mitigated.

BenQ ZOWIE XL2546

The ZOWIE XL2546 has quite the selection of ports. There is a microphone jack, a mini USB to connect the S Switch, a DVI-DL port, HDMI port, HDMI 2.0 port, a DisplayPort 1.2 port, and a USB 3.0 uplink.

BenQ ZOWIE XL2546

To fully utilize this monitor’s true 240Hz, you’ll have to connect this monitor to your PC using the HDMI 2.0 or DisplayPort 1.2 port. The USB 3.0 uplink here is for the two USB 3.0 ports at the left side of the monitor. The tiny red button right above the USB 3.0 ports is a retractable headphone stand that pops out when needed.

Also, there are two jacks on the side. One microphone and one headphone jack for passthrough. I do realize that the shield might hinder your ease of accessibility to the side I/O panel of the ZOWIE XL2546.

BenQ ZOWIE XL2546

On-Screen Display Menu

At the bottom right side of the front of the ZOWIE XL2546 is where the power button and OSD buttons are found. I’m sure many users griped that the OSD buttons are difficult to use an not intuitive at all. That’s where the S Switch comes in.

BenQ ZOWIE XL2546

The S Switch is a faster alternative for users to navigate the OSD menu easily and change settings quickly the scroll wheel. Also, the S Switch can save a total of 3 profiles and can be changed back and forth with a single press of a button on the S Switch itself.

BenQ ZOWIE XL2546

When not in use, the S Switch can be placed on the dedicated dock located on the right side of the base.

BenQ ZOWIE XL2546

Features

With the S Switch combined, the ZOWIE XL2546 does have a compelling range of features. Starting off with DyAc, or Dynamic Accuracy is a blur reduction feature that provides users with a clearer and sharper view for moving objects. FPS games especially benefit the most from this feature. It greatly reduces the shadow trails of objects moving on the screen, offering users a clear and accurate view of the shot.

In the OSD menu, there are a total of 3 levels of DyAc – starting with Premium (most clear), High (medium), and off which turns off DyAc entirely.

DyAc does have a quirk – as turning on DyAc will turn off the Flicker-Free feature automatically.

The Black eQualizer is another useful feature for eSports players. It is to brighten up the dark areas within the image shown on the screen so that you can see what’s hiding in the dark places.

The Black eQualizer can also be combined with Color Vibrance – another setting within the OSD itself. Color Vibrance will saturate the colours of the display so that you can easily differentiate the subtle colour difference.

Once all of these settings are tuned, you can save it in the S Switch itself as it has a built-in memory. It can save up to 3 profiles so that you can toggle between profiles with a simple press of a button.

Ergonomics

Let’s not forget that the swivel, height, and shield adjustments have bookmarked so you can set up your monitor just the way you like it. The swivelling bookmarker does snap to the centre so you can get that perfect straight angle with ease.

BenQ ZOWIE XL2546

Speaking of the Shield – they’re very easy to set up too. These two wings have spring-loaded screws that can be tightened with just a coin, card, or even my fingertip as shown in the video. I do wish that ZOWIE would include spring-loaded thumbscrews for better convenience.

These two wings are meant to block out distraction on both sides of the monitor and allow the user to focus more on the screen.

Viewing Angle

While the ZOWIE XL2546 packs a 240Hz refresh rate, 1ms response time, and 1000:1 contrast ratio TN display panel which is good for competitive gaming, it has a rather limited viewing angle due to its limitation. Do expect tight viewing angles before the colour vibrancy and image quality starts degrading. But then again, it doesn’t really affect much if you’re the only one who is staring directly at the screen.

User Experience

In terms of user experience, setting it up is easy. I plopped down the monitor on the desk, hooked up the cables and adjusted the height, tilt, and swivel. Then, I installed the two shields at the sides, set the Black eQualizer and Color Vibrance to be somewhere around 11 out of 20. As for DyAc, I left it in the High setting. Then, I set Windows and the game itself to run at 240Hz.

I first noticed that the colour accuracy on the ZOWIE XL2546’s TN panel is not up to the professional level of monitors. That’s okay since a majority of the esports titles don’t require really accurate colours either. As for the blacks on the ZOWIE XL2546? I’d say it’s irrelevant as you have the Black eQualizer feature.

BenQ ZOWIE XL2546
It was a different experience indeed.

I started off in CS: GO. Throughout my gameplay, as shown in the video above, I’m not a very good CS: GO player. However, while using the XL2546, I have no problem spotting enemies hiding in the shadows or far away thanks to the Black eQualizer feature.

When compared to my UltraSharp Dell monitor that has factory calibrated colours, I find myself having a hard time spotting enemy hiding in the dark. Though colours looked a lot better, the blacks are too accurate to the point where I can barely see my enemies.

Final Thoughts

The ZOWIE XL2546 can be purchased from BenQ Official Store on Lazada at the price of RM2,299, but do bear in mind that this is a performance-focused monitor that is targeted at professional esports players. There are users who prefer fancy appearance and RGB lighting, and if you’re one of those users, then you might want to look elsewhere.

Unlike most of the ‘gaming monitors’ available in the market, the ZOWIE XL2546 has none of those eye-catching features which to the pros, considered as unnecessary distraction. As the pros are known to be very particular with the features that can help them to perform better, ergonomics and distraction-free design, along with the proprietary features – DyAc, Black eQualizer, Color Vibrance are the features that really matter to them.

There are also players who specially requested tournament organizers to use ZOWIE monitors and would refuse to participate in the requirement is not met. So for those who take esports seriously and really wanted to play better, the ZOWIE XL2546 is the monitor that is worthy to invest your money on.

Pros

  • Optimized for eSports / competitive gaming
  • Great performance with 240Hz paired with Dynamic Accuracy
  • Black eQualizer, useful feature to reveal enemy hiding in the dark
  • Minimalist, distraction-free design
  • Good ergonomics, easy to transport
  • S switch for easy settings adjustment

Cons

  • Costly
  • Not meant for normal users, casual gamers
  • Limited viewing angle

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