The new BenQ Zowie 24.5” gaming monitor is designed to meet the needs of highly competitive eSports players. So what does that mean? And will the average gamer see the same benefits? Here’s an overview of the monitor’s key features, and what I found when I tested the BenQ as a part of my gaming setup.
What are eSports?
Before we get into the nitty gritty, let’s talk about why an eSports specific monitor is necessary. Even as a casual gamer, you already know that video games are far more than the indulgent children’s hobby. Gaming has become a prominent part of modern culture. And competitive, professional leagues have been formed to allow players to test their skills against each other. These competitions are the electronic equivalent of sports leagues, and that’s what we’re talking about when we refer to eSports. And professional sports require professional sports equipment.
Key monitor features for eSports
This varies depending on what particular type of game is being played. But in terms of monitor performance, it’s the first person shooters (FPS) that have the highest monitor demands. FPS games need motion clarity, image sharpness, and motion smoothness. Here’s an explanation of what these terms mean, and how the BenQ Zowie monitor addresses them.
This refers to how clear moving objects appear on the monitor screen. FPS players need to be able to quickly identify where an opponent’s bullet came from, and watch their own bullet’s trajectory to more accurately aim their shots. Blurry bullets can be disastrous. With BenQ’s DyAC+ technology in the Zowie, motion bur is dramatically reduced. One of the ways that DyAC+ does this is by dynamically controlling the monitor’s backlighting. It completely turns off the backlight whenever it is not needed, reducing any lingering, blurry images. You won’t notice the backlight turning off, but you will notice the clarity of motion on the monitor.
This is pretty straightforward. You need each object rendered on your display to be as clear and sharp as possible. If you can’t tell where a wall ends and your opponent begins, you’re not going to have a good game. The BenQ Zowie relies on the DyAC+ technology to keep all of the drawn objects distinct and sharp, and it does it very well. I was always able to clearly see my opponents no matter where they were hiding.
This is related to motion clarity, but different enough that it needs to be mentioned separately. Motion smoothness is how well the monitor can display rapidly changing images without noticeable moments of visual inconsistency. Since smoothness is a function of how quickly the monitor can refresh the image, the Zowie’s 360Hz refresh rate ensures that all motion on the screen is nice and smooth. For reference, a standard, non-gaming monitor operates at a 60Hz refresh rate.
Unboxing the BenQ Zowie 24.5″ gaming monitor
Along with the monitor and stand, the BenQ Zowie comes with a few other things in the box. You’ll get HDMI and DisplayPort cables, the S Switch, the shielding hood, a power cord, and the quick setup guide. And it also includes a dust cover for the monitor. The manual for the monitor is available for download. The stand comes in two pieces, the base and the arm, and I found it easy to assemble and attach to the monitor.
BenQ Zowie 24.5 monitor features
You may not be the type to take your gaming rig to tournaments. If staying put at your gaming battle station is your preference, the BenQ Zowie has a standard VESA mount. So that means you can attach the monitor to any VESA-compatible mounting point. You could put it on the wall, or connect it to an articulated arm to swing the monitor into action when it’s time for battle.
Unless you’re gaming in a sunless bunker, you’re going to have unwanted light affecting your display quality. The light from external sources lessens the visual contrast and light balance of your monitor’s image. That’s why BenQ provides a shielding hood. The hood is two adjustable barriers that you attach on the left and right side of your monitor. With the shielding hood attached, you can block light from reaching the screen. I appreciated having the shielding hood attached, because it eliminated a very subtle glare from the window light that I hadn’t realized was affecting the monitor image.
360Hz refresh rate
The BenQ Zowie monitor boasts a 360Hz refresh rate, which is currently the best refresh rate available for monitors. The refresh rate is how many times per second a monitor can draw a new image. So, a higher refresh rate means you’ll have better image quality with smoother motion. Keep in mind that gaming consoles, like the PS5, support a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz. A 360Hz monitor like the Zowie is designed for PC gaming.
BenQ Zowie 24.5 monitor design
The Zowie has a smaller base than other monitors, which gives you a little bit more room on your desk. And it has both height and tilt adjustability so you can easily customize the viewing experience. I found it easy to set up and physically adjust. However, the configuration buttons are on the back of the bezel, which makes them more difficult to use. However, the included S switch lets you adjust settings a different way.
5-way S switch
The BenQ Zowie comes with a peripheral to allow you to quickly change settings. The small puck is essentially a mouse for your monitor settings. So instead of trying to navigate settings menus with tiny bezel buttons, you can easily use the S Switch to adjust your settings from game to game and match to match.
XL Setting to Share
With the XL Setting to Share feature, you can easily download the settings used by professional eSports players and apply them to your monitor. Or you can craft your own perfect custom setting profile and share it with your friends and teammates.
Color mode by game
The colour of a game affects the overall visual appearance. It’s an esthetic choice that can have a tangible impact on your gaming performance when you switch from one game to another. BenQ Zowie has individualized colour settings for the most popular games, and they add new game settings regularly. So when the next version of your favourite FPS is released, you can easily adjust your monitor’s colour settings to see the game as it was meant to be seen. And switching between colour modes is fast and simple, so each game you play will have the right look.
My final thoughts on the BenQ Zowie 24.5
For motion clarity, smoothness, and sharpness, the BenQ Zowie 24.5″ gaming monitor delivered the promised high quality experience. I saw an improvement both in my PC gaming visuals and with PS5 gaming as well. I had a few small issues with the shielding hood’s stability, and the location of the bezel buttons. But overall, the BenQ Zowie 24.5″ gaming monitor is a good monitor for competitive players and casual enthusiasts alike.
Explore the full range of BenQ gaming monitors on bestbuy.ca.