BenQ ZOWIE XL2546K Monitor Review


While it isn’t perfect, the BenQ XL2546K gaming monitor is an exceptional option for those after a competitive edge in FPS games.

Gaming monitors come in all shapes and sizes, offering a variety of options for pretty much any niche. For many, picking out a gaming monitor means finding a competitive edge, especially for those playing shooters online, like Call of Duty or Fortnite. And while it isn’t perfect, the BenQ ZOWIE XL2546K is a standout choice for those after buttery-smooth visuals in games.

Aesthetically, the BenQ monitor is surprisingly simple compared to some of the bulkier gaming monitors out there. It offers simple grey bezels and an angled grey stand, with red accents on the hole that cables are run through. The stand is adjustable and moving it is smoother than many of the other options on the market, so users are able to set it to the ideal height without any fuss. Plus, the base rotates, which makes it easy to angle for those rocking a dual monitor setup on a small desk. Altogether, it makes for a monitor that’s simple to set up and could blend in with a professional office setting.

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Inside the box, users will find a monitor cover, which is meant to keep the display dust and scratch-free, presumably while traveling. For most, traveling to esports tournaments isn’t an option right now anyway, but the cover does feel solid enough to keep the monitor in good condition. In addition, there’s a blinder for each side of the cover to keep people from screen-peeking, which is another nice touch. Those blinders are optional too, which is a good thing as they’re a bit bulky and awkward looking.

Those features are hardly the main draw of the BenQ ZOWIE XL2546K, though. At 24 inches, the monitor is average-sized leaning towards small, though for a competitive monitor users may need to move around, that isn’t a bad thing. It’s a 1080p display, and while that isn’t a low resolution per se, those moving from a higher resolution monitor to this one – either for the high refresh rate or some other competitive reason – will definitely notice a difference while playing games.

At 240Hz, buyers are getting one of the smoothest gaming experiences out there. Shooters like Halo: The Master Chief Collection and Call of Duty: Warzone feel great when operating at that level, and it’s a difference that users will certainly notice if they’ve been using a 60Hz display. Hook up a console like the Xbox Series X or PS5 and the monitor drops down to a 120Hz refresh rate, though even that feels like a solid way to play games. It’s clear while playing that the monitor was built from the ground up with esports players in mind, and it does excel in that regard.

The display boasts 300 nit peak brightness, a solid number but fairly average overall. Somewhat surprisingly, BenQ doesn’t include an official response time measurement for the ZOWIE XL2546K, a fact that may turn off hardcore gamers. It’s a surprising omission considering the niche that BenQ is targeting, as response can have a big impact when playing at high levels. However, while far from scientific, tested side-by-side with Dell’s S2719DGF – a 144Hz monitor with a 1ms response time – there was no tangible difference in response performance.

One of the major drawbacks of the BenQ ZOWIE XL2546K is the display’s color. The monitor is a bit oversaturated out of the box, and while it does provide ample customization options, it took a lot of fiddling to find settings that didn’t make the colors seem unrealistically bright. The closest comparison would be blood resembling Kool-Aid more so than a crimson color. The more vibrant a game’s graphics are, the more noticeable the effect will be, so someone using it for a game like Immortals Fenyx Rising will likely be distracted by the effect.

It is easy, however, to swap between customizable presets on the fly. The monitor allows players to create three separate profiles, as well as including other settings out of the box. There’s also a switch included that attaches to the monitor, letting players jump between presets with a click of a button. It’s a convenient feature when moving between games with dramatically different art styles, like from Fortnite to Battlefield.

Overall, though, the BenQ ZOWIE XL2546K is worth considering for those wanting to try their hands at a higher level of competitive play. For $499, there are higher resolution monitors, though few can hope to match the BenQ’s refresh rate. For those willing to make that trade-off, the BenQ monitor is well worth considering, though be prepared to spend a decent chunk of time finding the perfect settings.