The process of deciding on a name for your new product line must be a difficult one. There are only so many words to go around (unless you invent your own). So BenQ weighed their options and named their new line of monitors “Zowie”, an expression of excitement from the 1950s. I know, it is a little bit of a strange choice. But let’s move on past the name and look at the actual monitor.
The BenQ Zowie gaming monitor is a 24” LED monitor designed for use with consoles (and PCs), and targeted at eSports gamers. That does not mean, necessarily, that you need to be a top tier competitive player to use the monitor. But eSports are very popular, and for a few folks, very profitable, so there is a growing market of new players who want high performance gear.
The first question we have to answer is what advantage does this monitor provide over the television that you’ve been using so far. Two reasons come to mind:
Speed—The primary advantage is speed, specifically response time. The BenQ Zowie gaming monitor claims a much faster response rate than a television, and has an ‘instant mode’ setting that diminishes input lag.
Size—It is great to sit in front of your 50+ inch television at home to play game, but what about tournaments? The daunting prospect of hauling your massive TV to an eSports venue should give anyone pause to reconsider. The BenQ Zowie gaming monitor is light and easy to transport. Speaking of size, the BenQ Zowie gaming monitor is much more compatible with a smaller living space. Since televisions have minimum optimal viewing distances that are sometimes larger than the size of your living room, a compact monitor you can put on a desk can make a lot of sense.
BenQ Zowie Gaming Monitor Technical Specifications
BenQ Zowie Gaming Monitor
Unboxing the BenQ Zowie Gaming Monitor
You will not find any clutter in this box. It contains the monitor, 2 stand pieces, power cord, HDMI cable and documentation. In a perfect world, they would have thrown in cables for the other connection types as a convenience. The HDMI is sufficient for the monitor to serve its purpose, though.
For video ports, the RL2455 offers 2 HDMI, a DVI-D port, and a D-Sub port (which is also known as a VGA port). On the audio front, there is a line-in port to send sound to the speakers, and a headphone jack for quiet time.
I found the setup process to be simple and straightforward. The stand easily snaps together with the monitor in two quick steps. The printed set-up instructions are arguably not needed, but are nice to have in the box. They also include a cd with the manual and configuration utility. The odd part is that you’ll still need to connect the monitor to your PC to use the utility. Do not worry! The settings can all be changed using the function keys on the monitor itself. Changing the settings was as easy at it is on any monitor, drilling down through menus and submenus to find the setting you’re looking for.
BenQ Zowie Gaming Monitor Features
Preset Configuration Profiles
The BenQ Zowie gaming monitor has a selection of pre-configured scenarios that you can easily switch between, depending on the type of game you are playing. The different profiles tailor the various settings, like contrast and gamma, to better meet the visual demands of that type of game. The monitor is initially set for FPS (first person shooter) games, and offers several other standard game types. Fighting games, Real-time strategy (RTS), and a second RTS setting for Defence Of The Ancients 2 (DOTA2) and DOTA2-related games.
You can also save up to three of your own customized setting profiles. Any of these profiles can be mapped to the hot keys for ease of switching between them. The effectiveness of these profiles is entirely subjective. At the end of the day, if it looks good to you then it is the right combination of settings.
The Black eQualizer
I was very happy to discover this feature. I really don’t like dark and murky games. I want to see the whole environment. If the digital room is too gloomy, I feel like I’m missing the full picture. Usually I crank the brightness up so that the nighttime scenes appear to be happening in the cheery glow of late afternoon. And yes, this diminishes the ambiance. The black eQualizer setting addresses this situation by increasing the brightness of the dark shades only, leaving the light shades as is.
The RL2455 promises to reduce eye strain by eliminating screen flickering. Like most folks, I only notice flickering when I see the screen recorded on video, but I can accept that its happening all the time and could be straining my eyes. My life did not change dramatically because of the new, flicker-free experience, but it is still a nice feature that will have an increasing benefit as the hours and hours of gaming roll by.
Low Blue Light
If this isn’t a standard feature for every monitor in the world, it should be. By limiting the amount of blue light being emitted by the monitor, the eye strain and visual complications caused by blue light are greatly diminished. This is very important if you happen to be living with post-concussion symptoms, because they can be triggered and aggravated by the blue light given off by a monitor.
The non-reflective frame is a feature that will probably go unnoticed until you specifically seek out proof of its existence. The frame has been designed to reduce the amount of light reflection from the screen, so that you don’t start shooting at an opponent who is, in reality, a reflection. I’ll be completely frank with you: this has never happened to me. I just haven’t looked at the bottom edge of my screen with any regularity.
Time to be honest with you. I’m not an eSports competitor, and I’m not looking to become one, so I can’t give you any assurances that this monitor will lead you on the path towards eSports glory. What I can tell you, is that this is a good monitor that works really well with consoles (and PCs for that matter). It’s well-made, easy to use, and portable. When you are comparison shopping for a new monitor, definitely keep this one on your list.
Images from zowie.benq.com