BenQ Zowie XL2411P Review | The 144Hz Monitor Designed for Gamers
Today we have the pleasure of trying out one of the Zowie XL series monitors, to see how it performs in a market place that's flooded with high-performing, affordable, alternative gaming PC monitors.
The Zowie XL2411P comes to the table boasting an impressive 144Hz refresh rate, a 1ms response time, and a fully adjustable stand that can provide every viewing angle imaginable. It's pretty much the perfect monitor for a gamer looking to play competitive esports.
But, having said that, how does the monitor perform when it comes to other tasks, such as photo editing, streaming, and general internet general browsing? Well, in the following article, we're going to dive into each area to see where this monitor excels, and where it doesn't.
A great competitive gaming monitor
If you're looking for smooth gameplay paired with low input lag, then this monitor might just be exactly what you're looking for. Not only does it come with excellent in-game performance, but it also offers up adjustments that other monitors in its price range don't.
How We Tested
Now, before we get into the specifications and additional features of the Zowie XL2411P, let's quickly touch on how we tested this thing.
We always like to ensure our readers that our thoughts and recommendations are based on everyday, real-world trials. So, that being said, how exactly did we test the Zowie XL2411P?
We've tested a ton of monitors here at WePC, so when BenQ decided to send us the Zowie XL2411P, we already had a review process ready to go. Once we're finished taking stock images, the monitor gets sent to the review team (in this scenario, me). Then the monitor gets tested in a number of scenarios that help us to measure in-game performance, entertainment value, and eye-care factors.
Being gamers, we understand the important role a monitor plays. And no, I don't mean just viewing the pretty pictures. There's a huge difference between a budget monitor and a premium monitor, and it's much more technical than the size of the display, and whether or not the design's cool. For that reason, we take our testing process very seriously, and it takes up the majority of our reviewing time.
Once we've tested the monitor in-game for ghosting, screen tear, color accuracy, and general immersion, it gets put through several different editing tests to see how accurate the color recreation is. We do inhouse tests on flicker and B.I technology as well.
We also use the monitors throughout the day for average computing tasks over periods of eight hours or more. This helps us to assess whether the monitor does enough to combat eye strain and test out any built-in eye care technology.
One of the biggest deciding factors when it comes to purchasing hardware, regardless of whether it's a new monitor or the latest prebuilt gaming PC, are its specifications.
They are what can help you draw a difference between the large array of monitors that currently occupy the market place and can be vital when it comes to making a choice between a good monitor, and a bad one.
From a gaming point-of-view, we recommend that you pay particular attention to the refresh rate, response time, panel type, and resolution. These will have the biggest impact on your gaming experience, and will, of course, affect the overall levels of immersion.
- Refresh Rate144Hz
- Response Time1ms
- Panel TypeTN
- Max Resolution1920x1080
- Contrast Ratio1000:1
- Flicker Free TechnologyNo
Physical Size & Weight
By now, you've probably guessed that the XL2411P from BenQ is a 24-inch monitor. It boasts a display area of 531mm x 298mm, which is widely considered as the optimal screen size for competitive esports gaming (something we'll touch on a little later).
When including the stand, the monitor ranges in height from 429mm to 559mm - so you can save your neck a lot of strain and long term damage by adjusting the height of the display.
It weighs 3.6Kg out of the box, making it fairly standard amongst similar sized monitors. It definitely feels light, though, when you compare it to a larger, more versatile monitor.
Overall, there isn't a great amount of detail that can be extracted from this section - it's all fairly standard. Having said that, we've no reached the refresh rate, resolution, and response time, which is where this monitor really starts to come into its own.
Resolution & Refresh Rate
We know that nine times out of ten people are looking at three defining factors when it comes to buying a monitor; Resolution, response time, and refresh rate.
These three aspects can make the difference between an average monitor and a great one, as they affect everything from in-game immersion and smoothness to picture quality - and everything in-between.
Seeing as though this monitor was custom-designed for gamers, we were very interested to see how this monitor performed in these key areas.
With that, let's see exactly what it has to offer.
Your screen resolution is a measurement of how many pixels your monitor can display at any given moment; Higher resolution monitors can display more pixels, providing a crisper final image.
However, a monitor that comes with a higher screen resolution will be more graphically demanding on your PC, which means that your FPS (frames per second) will take a hit if the GPU isn't up to scratch.
The Zowie XL2411P has been tailored to competitive gamers, and as a result, it comes with a 1920x1080 screen resolution. This specific resolution is renowned as being the go-to screen resolution for pro players, as it allows their gaming PCs to push the high FPS needed to make full use of that powerful refresh rate.
A monitor's refresh rate refers to how fast it can refresh the image it's displaying, and a high refresh rate is coveted by gamers looking to gain an edge over their competition.
This particular model comes with a 144Hz refresh rate, which (up until recently) was considered as the highest performing amongst esports enthusiasts. The refresh rate has a direct correlation with how smooth your gameplay will be, meaning a higher refresh rate is almost always better.
That being said, 144Hz has recently been superseded by the much quicker 240Hz monitors that we now see in the higher price bracket. Don't let that put you off a 144Hz monitor, though, as they can still provide a superbly smooth gaming experience while you play.
Finally, we have response time. Response time looks at how fast a particular display can change color, and this can be measured in a number of different ways.
This particular display is measured in ms and references GtG or Grey-to-grey for those not familiar with that synonym. The Zowie has a rapid response time of 1ms, meaning it can change the pixel color from one to another in around one millisecond.
Most modern monitors have a response time that ranges between 1-5ms. A lower-priced model might usually offer around 4ms, and premium monitors, depending on the type, have closer to 1ms.
Your response time has a direct impact on ghosting, with lower response times almost eradicating that issue. Be aware though; response time is not the same as input lag, so make sure not to get mixed up by the two.
- 1 x HDMI port
- 1 x DisplayPort
- 1 x DVI
- 1 x Headphone jack
To touch on the inputs briefly, the Zowie XL2411P comes with a number of different connection options. It's been equipped with the standard DVI and HDMI ports you would expect from any monitor and also comes with a DisplayPort 2.0 - sorely needed if you want to obtain those 144Hz refresh rates.
Furthermore, you can hook your headset or speakers directly through the monitor, thanks to a handly-placed audio jack on the side of the screen.
Alongside a monitor's specifications come its features and benefits. These features are another major factor when ultimately deciding if this monitor meets your specific requirements.
Below we're going to outline what we believe are the best and most important features to consider when thinking about investing in this gaming monitor.
Fully Adjustable Stand
The stand out feature for me, mind the pun, is the extremely versatile mounting stand the Zowie XL2411P comes with, it really does offer every possible angle you could want and need as a gamer.
As you can see from the images, the stand is extremely robust and sturdy - exactly what a gamer needs for those rage-worthy moments. It also offers height, swivel, tilt, and rotational adjustments so that you can find the best viewing position for you.
To make use of the height adjustment, you do need to press a release button at the back of the monitor, which can be a little annoying. However, once you have released it, the stand is extremely easy to move from one position to another. You can adjust the height by up to 130mm, which pretty much beats any other monitor of a similar price.
The tilt feature offers around 35 degrees, whereas the swivel provides an impressive 45 degrees in either direction. That's an extremely large viewing window if you aren't aware of what monitors usually offer.
Another great feature of the stand is its ability to pivot. You can physically pivot the monitor a full 90 degrees, which is ideal for certain individuals who might be streaming twitch to a large audience and want to view the chat feed.
Overall, this is one of the best stands in terms of functionality I've used in a good while. It offers pretty much every viewing angle you could want, and feels rock-solid as well.
So, the next feature worth touching on is the Black eQualiser this monitor comes equipped with. This is a great feature if you want to brighten up those particular dark areas in-game. If truth be told, this isn't great for picture quality and realistic color accuracy - but what it does offer is an edge over the competition that may not be able to see into those particular areas.
Like I mentioned at the start, though, this monitor isn't designed for entertainment value or photo editing; it's strictly a hardcore gaming monitor. If you really want to try and get the edge over your competition, this is a hell of a tool to do so with.
Flicker-free technology is nothing new and comes in a lot of modern monitors. However, it is essential to the eye care package that BenQ currently offers.
Most gamers, like myself, will participate in long gaming sessions that span over a couple of hours. If you're using a monitor without flicker-free technology, you are damaging your eyes without even knowing. This is because our eyes can't physically see the image refreshing, and as a result, you don't feel the effects of this damage. However, it's a very real risk in older monitors.
Thanks to Flicker-free technology, though, this is no longer an issue. It's just another great feature that this monitor brings to the table.
Low Blue Light
As many will probably already know, blue light, like screen flicker, is another harmful aspect of a monitor that is undetectable by the naked eye.
Blue light is a suppressor of melatonin (sleep-inducing hormone), meaning a large exposure to this light can physically disrupt and reduce the quality of your sleeping. Blue light is also one of the main reasons why your eyes feel strained after extended usage.
By filtering out blue light, you are reducing the amount of strain and tension on the eye, and you will also increase the quality of your much-needed sleep.
Hands On Results
So, we've touched upon the specifications of this monitor, and we've had a look at what it offers in features and benefits, it's now time to take the Zowie XL2411P for a spin and see how it performs in a real-world situation.
Let's start with the design.
I wasn't sure what to expect from this monitor, as many similarly priced displays don't really offer much in this department. After removing the packaging, it's safe to say I was left relatively unimpressed.
The design is pretty basic, and it feels a little dated, perhaps? Maybe that's harsh, but overall, the Zowie XL2411P just doesn't offer much when it comes to aesthetics.
It's a relatively basic design, with rounded edges and a matte-like finish. The stand, even though its brilliant, is fairly bulky and looks quite unrefined. The buttons also feel pretty clunky and not very tactile. The monitor also comes with a fairly large bezel, which is quite noticeable. BenQ says it's been designed in such a way to take the eye's attention off it, and that may be true while in-game. So, I suppose that comes down to personal preference, but as far as my personal preference is concerned, it's a no.
The user-interface was reasonably easy to navigate but looked pretty ancient (check out our pics). The buttons were easy to press, and exploring the different preset options was very intuitive. It was quite hard to miss-click the buttons, which I liked as well.
From a color recreation stand-point, the XL2411P does leave you a little wanting. It has a TN panel, which is ideal for high refresh rates, but it's fairly low down in the pecking order when it comes to color accuracy. An IPS panel, for example, has a much better color gamut and can produce much more realistic images. That being said, I did manage to watch a couple of TV shows, some live sport, and play several different game titles on this thing, and thought it quite OK for a TN panel.
For this article, and to put myself in many buyer's shoes, I decided to game on a 60Hz monitor for around an hour before switching to the BenQ, and its impressive 144Hz display. It's safe to say the difference was immediate.
On the 60Hz monitor, I was experiencing very obvious screen tearing quite often and a little bit of ghosting from time-to-time.
However, on the BenQ, screen tear was no longer an issue. The difference in smoothness was very noticeable. Swiping rapidly from left to right was the real test, and the BenQ passed with flying colors. It looked superb. I started by playing my favorite competitive game, Counter-Strike. To my surprise, the overall gaming experience just felt slicker. Using the 60Hz monitor, I would get screen tear when rapidly turning 90 degrees when under fire. However, the BenQ just seemed to provide a smooth experience at all times. It really helped with immersion and focus, exactly what gamers need when in a competitive scenario.
After CS, we moved onto PUBG to see how an open-world battle royale game would look. And you guessed it, another really smooth enjoyable experience. Having eradicated the potential for screen tear, we now had some issues with dark areas in sheds and warehouses. It was time to give this Black eQualiser a trial.
I switched it on by using the on-screen navigator, and straight away, I could see the decrease in color quality - less than desirable. However, dark spots on maps now became extremely visible. There was literally no hiding place for the enemy, which gave me a heightened sense of safety when cruising around maps. It allowed me to focus on hunting down enemies instead of wondering who may, or may not, be hunting me.
I tried several other games, and everything felt incredibly smooth, and it was definitely more immersive than the 60Hz monitor I trialed beforehand.
I did sample some photo editing and general browsing, and yes, it wasn't the greatest experience. But that isn't what this monitor is designed for. This monitor is a hardcore, all-out gaming monitor. This is the monitor for people looking to beat the competition and help improve their own gameplay.
After several hours of testing, I came to the conclusion that this monitor was pretty damn good at what it was designed to do. I was very happy with the gaming experience it provided and would definitely recommend to someone looking to up their own game.
So, there you have it, a comprehensive rundown of the Zowie XL2411P.
This monitor has been designed for one thing, and one thing only, gaming.
If you're looking for a monitor that you can have a game with your pals and then go on to watch a movie and expect superb visuals, this isn't the monitor for you.
However, if you play competitive gaming at a high level and are looking for any edge over your competition, this monitor could very well bet the answer for you.
Thanks to its high refresh rate and rapid response time, the Zowie XL2411P offers an extremely smooth and immersive gaming experience. It gives you the perfect platform to try and take your gaming to the next level. And for that reason, we would highly recommend this to gamers looking for a 24inch display.
Are you thinking about getting this monitor? Why not let us know in the comments below, or better still, head over to our Community where you can start and discussion and get advice from people in the same boat as yourself!