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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The build quality is great. Although almost entirely plastic, the monitor does feel high quality and the parts fit together well.
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.
The BenQ Zowie XL2540 does not have a local dimming feature. The video is for reference only.
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.
HDR is not supported on this monitor.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. If you want a monitor with better accuracy out of the box, check out the BenQ ZOWIE XL2546K.
Note: 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.
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.
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.
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.
HDR gamuts are not supported.
HDR color volumes are not supported.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.