BenQ Zowie XL2540 Monitor Review

Tested using Methodology v1.0
Updated Mar 22, 2018 at 09:59 am
BenQ Zowie XL2540 Picture
7.4
Mixed Usage
7.2
Office
8.5
Gaming
7.1
Multimedia
7.2
Media Creation
5.7
HDR Gaming
Size 25"
Resolution 1920x1080
Refresh Rate 240 Hz
LCD Type
TN
Variable Refresh Rate
FreeSync

The BenQ Zowie XL2540 is 240Hz gaming monitor with a TN panel that is full of gaming features. It is incredibly responsive due to the high refresh rate and exceptionally low input lag, and also has the ability to flicker the backlight to clear up motion. It supports FreeSync which allows the refresh rate to adjust to the game, however, the picture quality is below average, and the edges of the screen lose accuracy due to the narrow viewing angle.

Our Verdict

7.4 Mixed Usage

Above average monitor for mixed usage. Motion handling is excellent, which makes it a good candidate for gaming and other fast-paced activities. However, the picture quality is sub-par. When sitting close to the monitor, the edges of the screen lose contrast and saturation due to the narrow viewing angle.

Pros
  • Incredibly responsive due to 240Hz refresh rate
  • Input lag is extremely low
Cons
  • Sub-par picture quality
  • Poor viewing angle
7.2 Office

Average monitor for office use. The monitor feels very responsive due to the low response time and input lag, but the picture quality is below average. There also isn't a lot of screen real estate for multitasking due to the low native resolution.

8.5 Gaming

Great choice for gaming. The BenQ XL2540 supports a 240Hz input and FreeSync, so games feel very responsive. The input lag is also exceptional. Unfortunately, the picture quality is below average, and the edges of the screen appear non-uniform due to the poor viewing angle.

7.1 Multimedia

Decent for watching movies and TV shows. The monitor can get bright to combat glare and the light matte finish is good at diffusing reflections across the screen. Unfortunately, the picture quality is below average due to the low native contrast ratio, and the image loses accuracy when viewed at an angle.

7.2 Media Creation

Decent for creating media or editing photos. The BenQ Zowie XL2540 feels responsive due to the excellent motion handling and is good at fighting glare and reflections in a bright room. Unfortunately, the picture quality is below average and the image degrades when viewed at an angle.

5.7 HDR Gaming

Doesn't support HDR or more advanced features like local dimming or a wide color gamut. This is normal for most monitors, as only a few monitors such as the CHG70 support HDR at the moment.

  • 7.4 Mixed Usage
  • 7.2 Office
  • 8.5 Gaming
  • 7.1 Multimedia
  • 7.2 Media Creation
  • 5.7 HDR Gaming
  1. Update 1/15/2019: We tested the monitor's compatibility with NVIDIA's new FreeSync driver. See our full investigation into NVIDIA's FreeSync Drivers here.

Check Price

Test Results

Design
Design
Style
Curved No
Curve radius N/A
Weight (without stand)
9.3 lbs (4.2 kg)
Weight (with stand)
16.3 lbs (7.4 kg)

The design of this BenQ XL2540 is great. It is well supported by the stand despite the small footprint. The stand also provides a wide range of ergonomic movements so it is easy to find a comfortable viewing position. The monitor also has external quick settings buttons and privacy flaps which can also prevent reflections or glare. The build quality is also great, even though the monitor feels almost entirely plastic. The inputs are located on the back and can be a bit difficult to access, but the ability to rotate the monitor makes it much easier.

Design
Stand
Width
11.9" (30.2 cm)
Depth
7.8" (19.8 cm)

The stand of the BenQ XL2540 has quite a small footprint, but it still supports the monitor well and feels stable. There is also an indent in the stand to hold the quick settings buttons fairly securely.

8.4
Design
Ergonomics
Height Adjustment
5.6" (14.2 cm)
Switch portrait/landscape Yes
Swivel Range -45° to 45°
Tilt Range -17.5° to 5°

The monitor has a wide range of ergonomic adjustments available. The height, tilt, and swivel are all adjustable to suit any viewing area and the monitor can easily be rotated to portrait which is great.

Design
Back
Wall Mount VESA 100x100

The rear of the monitor is quite simple but still looks good. It is all made of plastic, but there are holes in the stand for cable management which is a nice touch. The VESA mount also makes it easier to add to an existing stand or setup.

Design
Borders
Borders
0.6" (1.5 cm)

The borders of the monitor have an average thickness. When placed side-by-side in a multi-monitor setup, there is a small gap between screens.

Design
Thickness
Thickness (with stand)
5.7" (14.5 cm)
Thickness (without stand)
2.5" (6.4 cm)

When placed close to a wall, the BenQ Zowie XL2540 sits quite far forward. However, the monitor itself has an average thickness and won't stick out much if mounted on a VESA stand.

7.5
Design
Build Quality

The build quality is great. Although almost entirely plastic, the monitor does feel high quality and the parts fit together well.

Picture Quality
6.1
Picture Quality
Contrast
Native Contrast
1037 : 1
Contrast with local dimming
N/A

The contrast ratio of this BenQ XL2540 monitor is below average, as a result of the TN panel. This results in blacks that may appear gray when viewed in a dark room.

0
Picture Quality
Local Dimming
Local Dimming
No
Backlight
Edge

The BenQ Zowie XL2540 does not have a local dimming feature. The video is for reference only.

8.3
Picture Quality
SDR Peak Brightness
SDR Real Scene
444 cd/m²
SDR Peak 2% Window
459 cd/m²
SDR Peak 10% Window
460 cd/m²
SDR Peak 25% Window
460 cd/m²
SDR Peak 50% Window
460 cd/m²
SDR Peak 100% Window
460 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 2% Window
459 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 10% Window
460 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 25% Window
460 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 50% Window
460 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 100% Window
459 cd/m²
SDR ABL
0.000

The SDR peak brightness is great. At around 460 nits for all window sizes, the image is bright enough for almost any use or to overcome glare. The brightness is almost constant due to the lack of local dimming or frame dimming.

0
Picture Quality
HDR Peak Brightness
HDR Real Scene
N/A
HDR Peak 2% Window
N/A
HDR Peak 10% Window
N/A
HDR Peak 25% Window
N/A
HDR Peak 50% Window
N/A
HDR Peak 100% Window
N/A
HDR Sustained 2% Window
N/A
HDR Sustained 10% Window
N/A
HDR Sustained 25% Window
N/A
HDR Sustained 50% Window
N/A
HDR Sustained 100% Window
N/A
HDR ABL
N/A

HDR is not supported on this monitor.

5.3
Picture Quality
Horizontal Viewing Angle
Color Shift from Left
29 °
Color Shift from Right
31 °
Brightness from Left
48 °
Brightness from Right
51 °
Black Level from Left
20 °
Black Level from Right
22 °
Curve Radius N/A

Poor viewing angle, but fairly typical for a TN panel. The BenQ XL2540 doesn't have noticeable degradation while sitting directly in center but even a slight lateral movement causes the color accuracy and contrast to go haywire.

5.6
Picture Quality
Vertical Viewing Angle
Color Shift from Below
11 °
Color Shift from Above
52 °
Brightness from Below
11 °
Brightness from Above
53 °
Black Level from Below
23 °
Black Level from Above
22 °

The vertical viewing angle of the BenQ XL2540 is bad, but this is fairly typical of a TN panel. When viewed off-axis vertically the picture degrades very rapidly, so even when viewed from a normal distance the angle to the top and bottom edges of the screen result in a non-uniform image.

7.9
Picture Quality
Gray Uniformity
50% Std. Dev.
6.101 %
50% DSE
0.109 %
5% Std. Dev.
1.251 %
5% DSE
0.063 %

The gray uniformity of the BenQ Zowie XL2540 is great, which is good for watching content that has large uniform areas such as sports or browsing the web. Almost no uniformity issues are visible near the center of the screen, and most of the uniformity issues, when viewed from in front, are a result of the poor vertical viewing angle.

5.8
Picture Quality
Black Uniformity
Native Std. Dev.
2.154 %
Std. Dev. w/ L.D.
N/A

The black uniformity is poor, which is bad for watching movies at night as dark scenes are blotchy. The edges of the screen appear a bit darker, and the top and bottom of the screen also look non-uniform due to the poor vertical viewing angle.

5.0
Picture Quality
Pre Calibration
Picture Mode
Standard
Luminance
428 cd/m²
Luminance Settings
100
Contrast Setting
50
RGB controls
100-100-100
Color Temperature
6276 K
White Balance dE
5.91
Color dE
4.08
Gamma
2.24

Disappointing accuracy out of the box for this monitor, and this when set on the most accurate picture mode. With a white balance near 6, this inaccuracy is noticeable for most people. The color accuracy is a bit better and the white points are a bit more accurate than seen on other monitors, but with a dE of 4.08, this is still noticeable for enthusiasts.

Note that the 'Standard' picture mode is the most accurate one, followed by the 'Movies' picture mode. Most of the other picture modes available have a white dE and color dE over 10, so if you use those modes without a calibration, you won't have the best picture quality.

9.4
Picture Quality
Post Calibration
Picture Mode
Standard
Luminance
98 cd/m²
Luminance Settings
10
Contrast Setting
55
RGB Controls
97-100-92
Color Temperature
6514 K
White Balance dE
0.50
Color dE
1.05
Gamma
2.19

After calibration, the monitor accuracy is excellent. The white balance and color inaccuracy are well under what most people would notice, even professionals. The gamma is now tracking right on our 2.2 target and the curve is almost spot on. Not many problems can be pointed out, besides the 100% primaries being a bit off target compared to the other colors, but not by that much.

You can download our ICC profile calibration here.

8.3
Picture Quality
SDR Color Gamut
sRGB xy
92.7 %
Adobe RGB xy
73.5 %

The BenQ XL2540 covers standard color gamuts well. s.RGB is reproduced well enough that most content does not look muted, but its coverage of the wider Adobe RGB color space is a bit too restrained to be useful for more professional use.

8.5
Picture Quality
SDR Color Volume
sRGB in ICtCp
92.9 %
Adobe RGB in ICtCp
76.9 %

The s.RGB color volume coverage is excellent, which is good for most uses. Only the darker colors aren't covered as a result of the monitor's inability to produce very deep blacks. For those interested in the Adobe RGB color space, the volume coverage is not improved over sRGB.

0
Picture Quality
HDR Color Gamut
Wide Color Gamut
No
DCI P3 xy
N/A
Rec. 2020 xy
N/A

HDR gamuts are not supported.

0
Picture Quality
HDR Color Volume
DCI-P3 in ICtCp
N/A
Rec. 2020 in ICtCp
N/A

HDR color volumes are not supported.

10
Picture Quality
Image Retention
IR after 0 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 2 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 4 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 6 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 8 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 10 min recovery
0.00 %

No image retention is visible on this monitor, which is excellent. Even after 10 minutes of a high contrast static image, no remnants are visible.

8.9
Picture Quality
Gradient
Color Depth
8 Bit

The gradient performance of the BenQ XL2540 is great, despite the 8 bit panel. 8 bit gradations can be seen however there are no obvious errors in shades which is good.

9.6
Picture Quality
Color Bleed
Pixel row error
0.000 %
Pixel column error
0.077 %

Some color bleed is visible in the vertical color bars. This won't present itself as an issue in most circumstances but may be visible when looking at large areas of uniform colors.

7.5
Picture Quality
Reflections

The BenQ XL2540 is good at handling reflections. The light matte finish diffuses reflections across the screen, reducing their intensity. This is good for most rooms but reflections may be noticeable in bright rooms.

Motion
9.8
Motion
Motion Blur
80% Response Time
3.3 ms
100% Response Time
7.9 ms
Best Overdrive Setting
High

AMA Off
AMA High
AMA Premium

The BenQ Zowie XL2540 has an extremely fast response time, which is excellent when watching fast-paced content such as playing action games or watching sports. Pixel transition speed can be modified by changing the 'AMA' (Overdrive) setting. We recommend using the 'High' setting for fast response with minimal overshoot, while the 'Premium' setting is slightly faster but introduces more overshoot artifacts. If you are bothered by the lighter trails following moving objects caused by pixel transition overshoot, you should use the 'AMA Off' setting.

9.3
Motion
Image Flicker
Flicker-free Yes
PWM Dimming Frequency
0 Hz
Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
Yes
BFI Maximum Frequency
240 Hz
BFI Minimum Frequency
100 Hz

Like most monitors, the BenQ XL2540 doesn't flicker and shows each image for a full frame. Without flicker, motion appears slightly smoother, which is good for smooth motion while browsing the web or working on documents. This does result in more persistence blur, but it is possible to use Black Frame Insertion (BFI) to add flicker and help reduce persistence blur. This is useful for playing fast-paced games such as shooters.

The BFI setting on this monitor (called BenQ Blur Reduction) isn't available in the OSD menu but can be activated in the monitor's service menu or by using the BlurBusters.com BenQ Strobe Utility (see here). The service menu is activated by turning the monitor off, holding down button #4 (4th button from the left), then pressing the power button. When the monitor is powered on, button #4 will bring up the service menu (rather than the OSD). To bring back the normal OSD simply turn the monitor off and on again.

Update 02/14/2019: With the hidden BFI mode enabled, it is no longer possible to enable FreeSync.

9.6
Motion
Refresh Rate
Native
240 Hz
Factory Overclock
N/A
Variable Refresh Rate
FreeSync
G-SYNC Compatible
Yes
VRR Maximum
240 Hz
VRR Minimum
< 20 Hz
VRR Maximum With OC
N/A
VRR Supported Connectors DisplayPort, HDMI

The monitor has a very high native refresh rate of 240Hz, which is great for a very responsive feel. FreeSync on this monitor can adjust the screen's refresh rate to match the frame rate of a compatible graphics card, which allows playing graphically-intensive games with significant framerate drops without tearing or stuttering.

Update 01/15/2019: We tested the XL2540 with NVIDIA's new Adaptive Sync mode (FreeSync). FreeSync had to be manually enabled from NVIDIA control panel, as the XL2540 is not officially supported. In our tests, there were no issues with the XL2540; it supported FreeSync perfectly. We don't know if NVIDIA has tested it for official compatibility.

Inputs
9.6
Inputs
Input Lag
Native Resolution
3.7 ms
Non-Native Res @ Native Refresh
3.7 ms
Native Resolution @ 60 Hz
14.5 ms
Variable Refresh Rate
3.6 ms
10 bit HDR
N/A
Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
5.5 ms

The input lag of this Zowie gaming monitor is exceptional. At the native 240Hz refresh rate the input lag is around 3.7ms, which is excellent even for the most competitive gamers. At 60Hz the input lag is higher, however, this is expected due to the longer scan out period.

7.2
Inputs
Resolution and Size
Native Resolution 1920 x 1080
Aspect Ratio 16:9
Megapixels 2.1 MP
Pixel Density 91 PPI
Screen Diagonal 24.5 inches
Screen Area 254 sq inches

The screen area and native resolution are decent. A 1080p resolution is about a minimum for most monitors now, so it doesn't provide as much productive screen area as higher resolution models. If you want a larger screen, take a look at the MSI Optix G27C4, though it has a lower refresh rate of 165Hz.

Inputs
Inputs

Inputs
Total Inputs
DisplayPort 1 (DP 1.2)
Mini DisplayPort No
HDMI 1 (HDMI 2.0), 1 (HDMI 1.4)
DVI 1 (DVI-D, dual link)
VGA No
DisplayPort Out No
USB 2 (USB 3.0)
USB C No
Analog Audio Out 3.5mm 1
Microphone In 3.5mm 1
Digital Optical Audio Out No
Analog Audio Out RCA No
Power Supply Internal

Features
Features
Additional Features
Speakers
No
HDR10 No
Multiple input display
No

They are many common features such as 'Black eQualizer' to improve the visibility of dark scenes, and 'Low Blue Light' to produce a warmer image.

Features
On-Screen Display (OSD)

Features
Controls

The controls are located at the border on the bottom right-hand side of the monitor. The buttons are clear and provide good tactile feedback when pushed. They also stick out a bit, when makes then easy to use.

Features
In The Box

  • Manual
  • Cover
  • Display port cable
  • USB cable

Differences Between Sizes and Variants

We tested the 25" BenQ Zowie XL2540, but it is also available with different refresh rates, and with the 'DyAc' feature. 'DyAc' adds image flicker by default (similar to enabling 'Blur Reduction' on the XL2540 in the service menu).

If someone comes across a different type of panel or if their monitor doesn't correspond to our review, let us know and we will update the review. Note that some tests such as the gray uniformity may vary between individual units.

Model Size Refresh Rate Resolution Other
XL2540 25" 240Hz 1080p  
XL2546 25" 240Hz 1080p DyAc, No FreeSync
XL2411P 24" 144Hz 1080p  
XL2536 24.5" 144Hz 1080p DyAc, No FreeSync

Compared to other monitors

Comparison picture

Left: AOC AGON AG271QX. Middle: BenQ Zowie XL2540. Right: Dell U2715H
Unlike our other photographs, this picture wasn't taken under a controlled environment, so do not draw conclusions from it.

The BenQ Zowie XL2540 is a great monitor for gaming and it feels very responsive due to the 240Hz refresh rate and very low input lag. Unfortunately, the picture quality is sub-par and the 1080p screen is quite limiting compared to higher resolution competitors. See our recommendations for the best FreeSync monitors, and the best gaming monitors for PS4.

ASUS VG248QE
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The BenQ Zowie XL2540 is better than the ASUS VG248QE. The Zowie XL2540 has a faster refresh rate, great for gaming, although not all computers will be able to benefit fully from this. The BenQ also supports FreeSync VRR. The Zowie also has a slightly better stand that has a wider range of motion for the adjustments.

HP OMEN X 25f
SEE PRICE
BestBuy.com

The BenQ Zowie XL2540 is a bit better than the HP OMEN X 25f. The XL2540 has better ergonomics and an optional black frame insertion feature to further improve the appearance of motion. The X 25f has a faster response time, but this isn't a very noticeable difference.

Acer Nitro XF252Q
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The BenQ Zowie XL2540 and the Acer Nitro XF252Q are extremely similar overall. The BenQ we tested has better black uniformity, so it's a slightly better choice for dark room viewing. The XF252Q supports HDR, but this adds very little.

ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The ASUS ROG PG279Q is much better than the BenQ Zowie XL2540. The PG279Q has a higher native resolution and larger IPS screen that has much better viewing angles. While both support VRR, the ASUS uses NVIDIA's G-SYNC technology whereas the BenQ uses AMD's FreeSync technology, so it's important to match the monitor with whichever graphics card you have to be able to get the most out of either monitor.

Acer Predator XB271HU
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Acer Predator XB271HU is better than the BenQ Zowie XL2540. The Predator has a higher native resolution and larger screen, so you can see more fine details in games. The Predator also has wider viewing angles, which is especially important as the edges of the screen won't fade if you're sitting too close. While both support VRR, the Predator uses NVIDIA's G-SYNC technology, whereas the Zowie uses AMD's FreeSync technology.

Dell U2518D
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The BenQ Zowie XL2540 is a much better monitor for gaming, For all other uses and HDR support, the Dell U2518D is a better choice. The BenQ Zowie XL2540 is equipped with features like variable refresh rate, black frame insertion, very low input lag, and fast pixel response time. All of these make it an excellent choice for gamers. On the other hand, the Dell U2518D has much better viewing angles and HDR support, along with a better QHD resolution that gives you more detail on your screen. This makes it great for multitasking in an office or for multimedia.

Dell U2715H
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Dell U2715H is marginally better than the BenQ Zowie XL2540, unless your main usage is for gaming. The Dell has a larger IPS screen with a higher native resolution, so you can see more details when working. The Dell has wider viewing angles so the image remains accurate when sitting very close to the screen or if sharing your work with someone else. If your main usage is for gaming, the Zowie has less motion blur, less input lag, and a much faster refresh rate, plus it supports FreeSync VRR.

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