Zowie monitors arrived shortly after the company was bought by BenQ. Originally we saw rebranding of existing BenQ gaming monitors to Zowie updates with nothing more than a logo change. Come late 2016, we are finally seeing original models under the new e-sports branding.
The BenQ Zowie XL2540 is the first model to get me really excited. 240Hz. TRUE 240Hz (via compatible HDMI 2.0 and Displayport only). No strobing or black frame insertion, just pure refresh rate. In fact, it doesn’t include any kind of blur reduction at all. But this monitor is targeted at the fussiest kind of competitive gamer, so it makes total sense not to include any features that would increase latency.
Blur reduction adds up to 1 frame of input lag. Without getting too technical, blur reduction uses strobing (switching the backlight off to show an instance of black screen) to clear pixel colour. It takes a little longer because if strobing was happening at the same time as each frame then there’d be no image at all. The backlight would be permanently off. So as a rule of thumb, backlight strobing for blur reduction will always have more input lag than the same display settings without strobing. Just how much more depends on the implementation.
So with true 240Hz we still get motion blur but we also see improvements over regular 144Hz monitors. I was sceptical about just how much better it would be but the difference is easy to see. Ghosting, visible pixel transitioning or trailing effect, is pretty much gone. The cleanest image I’ve seen on any monitor. To make sure it was the 240hz and not just a great new panel doing the ghost busting, I switched the BenQ Zowie XL2540 over to 144Hz and viewed the same moving image again. It left ghosting artifacts so 240Hz is definitely making the difference.
Below is an actual shot of the game, Dishonored 2 running on the BenQ ZOWIE XL2540 monitor. This will give you an idea of the colour reproduction and quality on the monitor.
Colours and contrast seem a little richer than my trusty BenQ XL2420G and it has working audio over display port that you can hear using the headphone out to the left of the panel. Just above that are two USB 3.0 pass-through ports along with a nifty pop out headphone holder. Generally the same layout as the previous Zowie generation. It does come with the new side flaps that are supposed to help you keep focus, and some little indicators that help you remember your personal height and rotation adjustments to set up at LAN events quicker.
Stay tuned for a more in depth analysis as I attempt to play Overwatch at a steady 240 frames per second.