The Zowie XL2546 is this year’s e-sports gaming monitor offering from monitor manufacturer BenQ. Am I usually a high-octane electronic warrior? Well no, I am usually a slow and sloppy gamer. But I pretend to know what I’m doing in every other aspect of my life, so this is no different. I strapped on my e-sports helmet (metaphorically speaking) and pretended to be a competitive and competent gamer. It was time to test my reflexes and check out the BenQ Zowie XL2546.
BenQ Zowie XL2546 Technical Specifications
One of the new features that the BenQ Zowie XL2546 offers are shields. No, really. To be accurate, they are not shields designed to deflect lasers or repel errant crossbow bolts. The shields are meant to reduce visual distraction to the sides of your monitor. They might also cut down on your neighbouring opponent taking a cheating peek at your screen during a match. The two optional flaps are attached on either side of the monitor and can be adjusted to your preferred blocking scenario. They are easy to install (provided you put them on the right sides, which I did not the first time) and easy to remove. It was handy to be able to control some of the visual clutter around me, and to block an unwanted source of screen glare from the side.
BenQ Zowie XL2546 physical flexibility
I have a variety of slouches and postures that happen over the course of a long gaming session. That’s why an easily adjustable monitor is handy. It would be better for my body if I just sat up straight, but you’re not the boss of me. The BenQ Zowie XL2546 has three points of adjustment: height, horizontal angle and vertical angle. It even has indicators at each point of articulation so you can quickly manoeuvre the monitor to your preferred settings.
Is that an empty doorway, or a lurking enemy ready to end my match? By the time you find the answer to the question, the game may be over. The BenQ Zowie XL2546 has the black equalizer feature that increases the visibility and contrast of the dark areas of the screen, without washing out the details of the rest of the fully lit image. It works well, and I like this solution much better than my standard response of “turn the gamma ALL THE WAY UP”.
Speaking of colour, the BenQ Zowie XL2546 has a feature called “colour vibrance”. You can switch the vibrancy to best suit whatever game you’re playing. Sometimes you want as much colour as possible, and sometimes you want to keep the colours cool and calm. I tended to keep the vibrancy in the middle range, and it was simple to quickly switch the setting depending on my whims and needs.
DyAc: dynamic accuracy
I am a sloppy shot. My entire first-person shooter strategy is: try to snipe until I panic, then pray and spray. The BenQ Zowie XL2546 brings relief from the blurriness that results from quickly changing your viewpoint. Their “DyAc” technology stands for “dynamic accuracy” and it is designed to keep the displayed images clear during rapid in-game movement. I had not consciously noticed how blurry the world was for me during the heated moments of a round. Now with DyAc, I could clearly see the opponent I missed with my wild barrage, as they come closer to finish me off.
BenQ Zowie XL2546 s-switch
Time for a quick change! The BenQ Zowie XL2546 comes with a handy little puck that gives you the capacity to instantly change the display profile being used. The s-switch has a scroll wheel button, which makes navigating the configuration menus much easier than with the bezel buttons. The default set up of the switch has the three most popular game style profiles mapped to the numbered buttons, but you can customize what those hot keys do. I used them to switch between my PC and my Xbox One, and it was more than up to that task.
BenQ Zowie XL2546 reflection reduction
The bezel of the BenQ Zowie XL2546 is designed to reduce the amount of light it reflects back onto the screen. You may think that small amount of reflected light is unnoticeable, and you are partially right. It is barely noticeable until you focus on it, but once you notice it, it will haunt you. It’s like having a speck of dirt on your windshield that the wipers can’t reach. Once you see it, you cannot help but notice it each time you look. The reduced reflection from the bezel successfully removes a small but irritating distraction.
BenQ Zowie XL2546 refresh rate
The BenQ Zowie XL2546 has a native refresh rate of 240Hz. The catch, however, is that your gaming rig needs to be powerful enough to keep up with the monitor. That’s not to say that the monitor doesn’t look great at a lower refresh rate: it performs fantastically at the less ambitious refresh rate. But, if you want to get the full benefit of this monitor, your video card and your CPU need to be sufficiently powerful.
Flicker-free and low blue light
I am happy to see that these two features are standard now to the BenQ line of monitors, including the BenQ Zowie XL2546. Eye strain is an affliction that affects your overall health more than you realize, adding physical stress to your gaming session and limiting your ability to enjoy the game. And these two features are especially helpful for anyone suffering from post-concussion syndrome.
The year over year refinement of the BenQ Zowie line of monitors is evident with the BenQ Zowie Xl2546. It delivers the performance and versatility that I need from a monitor. It did not make me a top notch Fortnite or Overwatch player, but nothing short of a miracle would do that. And I am surprised at how much I appreciated the distraction-blocking shields. I had not thought that they would have much of an effect, but they did channel my attention away from the periphery of the monitor. I give the BenQ Zowie XL2546 a hearty recommendation for your e-sports and general PC gaming needs.