BenQ ZOWIE XL2546K Monitor Review

Tested using Methodology v1.1
Reviewed Dec 08, 2020 at 10:12 am
BenQ ZOWIE XL2546K Picture
7.4
Mixed Usage
7.3
Office
8.5
Gaming
7.0
Multimedia
7.1
Media Creation
5.7
HDR Gaming
Size 25"
Resolution 1920x1080
Max Refresh Rate
240 Hz
Pixel Type
TN
Variable Refresh Rate
FreeSync

The BenQ ZOWIE XL2546K is an excellent gaming monitor that delivers exceptional motion handling. It has a quick response time and a 240Hz refresh rate that result in clear images in fast-moving scenes, and it has both FreeSync support and G-SYNC compatibility to reduce screen tearing. Its 25 inch screen and 1080p resolution should satisfy most people; however, it might feel a bit cramped if you're using it for work. Its excellent ergonomics let you place the screen at your optimal viewing position, but its TN panel has poor viewing angles, causing images to look inaccurate from the sides. Also, it has a low contrast ratio that makes blacks appear gray, and it doesn't support HDR.

Our Verdict

7.4 Mixed Usage

The BenQ ZOWIE XL2546K is a decent monitor overall. It's excellent for gaming due to its low input lag, fast response time, and high refresh rate. The 25 inch screen size and 1080p resolution should be satisfactory for most people, but it might be too small for productivity, especially if you have multiple windows opened side-by-side. Sadly, it doesn't support HDR.

Pros
  • Low input lag.
  • Excellent ergonomics.
  • Great reflection handling.
Cons
  • Sub-par contrast ratio.
  • Narrow viewing angles.
  • Might not get bright enough to overcome intense glare.
7.3 Office

The BenQ ZOWIE XL2546K is decent for office use. It has a 25 inch screen that should be big enough for most people, but it might feel a bit cramped if you have multiple windows side-by-side. You can adjust the screen easily thanks to its excellent ergonomics; however, it has a TN panel with poor viewing angles, so it isn't the best choice if you want to share your work. Visibility shouldn't be an issue in most lighting conditions, but it may not get bright enough to overcome intense glare.

Pros
  • Low input lag.
  • Excellent ergonomics.
  • Great reflection handling.
Cons
  • Sub-par contrast ratio.
  • Narrow viewing angles.
  • Might not get bright enough to overcome intense glare.
8.5 Gaming

The BenQ ZOWIE XL2546K is an excellent gaming monitor. It has an exceptionally low input lag and a high refresh rate to deliver a fluid and responsive gaming experience. Its fast response time results in clear images in fast-moving scenes, and it supports variable refresh rate technology to reduce screen tearing. Unfortunately, it's not the best for gaming in the dark due to its low contrast ratio, and its poor viewing angles aren't ideal for playing co-op games.

Pros
  • Exceptional response time.
  • Low input lag.
  • Excellent ergonomics.
  • 240Hz refresh rate.
Cons
  • Sub-par contrast ratio.
  • Narrow viewing angles.
7.0 Multimedia

The BenQ ZOWIE XL2546K is decent for media consumption. Most people should be satisfied with its 25 inch screen and 1080p resolution, and it has excellent ergonomics so that you can adjust the screen for the best viewing experience. However, images look washed out from the sides due to its narrow viewing angles, which isn't ideal for sharing content. Additionally, it has a low contrast ratio that makes blacks look gray in the dark.

Pros
  • Low input lag.
  • Excellent ergonomics.
  • Great reflection handling.
Cons
  • Sub-par contrast ratio.
  • Narrow viewing angles.
  • Might not get bright enough to overcome intense glare.
7.1 Media Creation

The BenQ ZOWIE XL2546K is decent for content creation. It has an excellent SDR color gamut with near full sRGB coverage and decent accuracy out of the box. However, the 25 inch screen might not be big enough for some people, and the pixel density is a bit low, resulting in a less detailed and blurrier image. Also, it has a TN panel with a low contrast ratio, and its poor viewing angles aren't ideal if you want to share your work.

Pros
  • Low input lag.
  • Excellent ergonomics.
  • Great reflection handling.
Cons
  • Sub-par contrast ratio.
  • Narrow viewing angles.
  • Might not get bright enough to overcome intense glare.
5.7 HDR Gaming

The BenQ ZOWIE XL2546K doesn't support HDR.

  • 7.4 Mixed Usage
  • 7.3 Office
  • 8.5 Gaming
  • 7.0 Multimedia
  • 7.1 Media Creation
  • 5.7 HDR Gaming
  1. Updated Dec 08, 2020: Review published.
  2. Updated Dec 03, 2020: Early access published.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
Curved No
Curve Radius Not Curved
Weight (without stand)
9.3 lbs (4.2 kg)
Weight (with stand)
14.1 lbs (6.4 kg)

The BenQ Zowie XL2546K has a plain and simple design that isn't too heavy on the gamer aesthetic, so it should fit easily into most office environments. The borders are a little on the thicker side compared to other recent monitors. Like the BenQ Zowie XL2540, anti-glare shields are included in the box.

Design
Stand
Width
10.2" (26.0 cm)
Depth
7.0" (17.9 cm)

The stand is relatively small and entirely plastic. Unfortunately, it isn't stable, and the monitor wobbles a lot when nudged.

8.8
Design
Ergonomics
Height Adjustment
6.1" (15.5 cm)
Switch Portrait/Landscape Yes, Clockwise
Swivel Range -45° to 45°
Tilt Range -20° to 5°

The ergonomics are excellent. It allows for all manner of adjustments, making it easy to adjust the screen to your ideal viewing position.

Design
Back
Wall Mount VESA 100x100

The back is plain except for the branding and the headphone hook on the right. There's a cutout on the stand for cable management and a quick-release feature to remove the stand for VESA-mounting.

Design
Borders
Borders
0.5" (1.3 cm)

The borders are a little thick and protrude from the screen.

Design
Thickness
Thickness (with stand)
5.3" (13.5 cm)
Thickness (without stand)
2.4" (6.1 cm)

Both the monitor and the stand are of moderate thickness.

6.5
Design
Build Quality

The build quality is okay as it's entirely made out of plastic and feels a bit cheap. The stand isn't particularly stable, and the monitor wobbles a lot. The adjustment hinges are sturdy, but adjusting the display doesn't feel smooth and causes the whole monitor to move. Also, you can easily separate the bezels from the screen.

Picture Quality
5.7
Picture Quality
Contrast
Native Contrast
820 : 1
Contrast With Local Dimming
N/A

As is expected of most TN panels, the BenQ ZOWIE XL2546K has a sub-par contrast ratio, resulting in blacks that look gray in dark rooms. It's a bit lower than the advertised 1000:1; however, contrast can vary between individual units.

0
Picture Quality
Local Dimming
Local Dimming
No
Backlight
Edge

The Benq XL2546K doesn't have a local dimming feature. The video above is provided for reference only.

7.4
Picture Quality
SDR Peak Brightness
SDR Real Scene
295 cd/m²
SDR Peak 2% Window
272 cd/m²
SDR Peak 10% Window
272 cd/m²
SDR Peak 25% Window
272 cd/m²
SDR Peak 50% Window
272 cd/m²
SDR Peak 100% Window
272 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 2% Window
272 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 10% Window
272 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 25% Window
272 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 50% Window
272 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 100% Window
271 cd/m²
SDR ABL
0.000

The BenQ ZOWIE XL2546K has decent SDR peak brightness, a bit lower than the advertised 320 cd/m². It's remarkably consistent when displaying different scenes, but it might not be bright enough to overcome glare in well-lit environments. If you want a monitor that gets significantly brighter, check out the ASUS TUF Gaming VG258QM.

We measured the SDR peak brightness after calibration in the 'Standard' Picture Mode with Brightness set to max. Calibration seems to reduce the screen's overall peak brightness, as we were able to reach 335.2 cd/m² before calibration, which is much closer to the advertised brightness.

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

This monitor doesn't support HDR.

6.4
Picture Quality
Horizontal Viewing Angle
Color Washout From Left
33°
Color Washout From Right
36°
Color Shift From Left
33°
Color Shift From Right
34°
Brightness Loss From Left
46°
Brightness Loss From Right
49°
Black Level Raise From Left
25°
Black Level Raise From Right
26°
Gamma Shift From Left
26°
Gamma Shift From Right
25°

The BenQ XL2546K has mediocre horizontal viewing angles. You lose image accuracy almost as soon as you move off-center, which isn't ideal if you want to share content or play co-op games.

5.0
Picture Quality
Vertical Viewing Angle
Color Washout From Below
11°
Color Washout From Above
60°
Color Shift From Below
16°
Color Shift From Above
70°
Brightness Loss From Below
23°
Brightness Loss From Above
45°
Black Level Raise From Below
20°
Black Level Raise From Above
18°
Gamma Shift From Below
Gamma Shift From Above

Poor vertical viewing angles. This makes the image look inaccurate if you have the monitor mounted above eye level.

7.6
Picture Quality
Gray Uniformity
50% Std. Dev.
6.697%
50% DSE
0.119%
5% Std. Dev.
1.723%
5% DSE
0.080%

Gray uniformity is good; however, this can vary between units. The upper edge of the screen is darker, and although it's better in near-dark scenes, you can still see the difference in shade between the top and bottom half of the screen. Thankfully, dirty screen effect is pretty minimal.

6.4
Picture Quality
Black Uniformity
Native Std. Dev.
1.704%
Std. Dev. w/ L.D.
N/A

Our BenQ XL2546K has mediocre black uniformity; however, this may vary between units. The whole screen is blue/gray, and there's some clouding here and there.

7.0
Picture Quality
Pre Calibration
Picture Mode
Movie
Luminance
335 cd/m²
Luminance Settings
100
Contrast Setting
50
RGB Controls
100-100-100
Gamma Setting
Gamma 3
Color Temperature
6,862 K
White Balance dE
3.50
Color dE
3.28
Gamma
2.09

The BenQ ZOWIE XL2546K has decent accuracy out of the box. Most colors and shades of gray are slightly inaccurate, and the cold color temperature gives the image a slight blueish tint. Gamma doesn't follow the sRGB curve all that well, resulting in most scenes appearing brighter than they should. Note that accuracy can vary between units.

9.6
Picture Quality
Post Calibration
Picture Mode
Standard
Luminance
100 cd/m²
Luminance Settings
24
Contrast Setting
35
RGB Controls
100-98-94
Gamma Setting
Gamma 3
Color Temperature
6,482 K
White Balance dE
0.49
Color dE
0.60
Gamma
2.18

Accuracy is exceptional after calibration. The remaining color inaccuracies shouldn't be visible with the naked eye. White balance is nearly perfect, and the color temperature is much closer to our 6500k target. Gamma is much improved, but some dark and bright scenes are over-brightened.

You can download our ICC profile calibration here. This is provided for reference only and shouldn't be used, as the calibration values vary per individual unit due to manufacturing tolerances, even for the same model.

8.7
Picture Quality
SDR Color Gamut
sRGB xy
98.1%
Adobe RGB xy
76.9%
sRGB Picture Mode
Standard
Adobe RGB Picture Mode
Standard

The BenQ XL2546K has an excellent SDR color gamut. It covers the commonly-used sRGB color space almost entirely, and it has good Adobe RGB coverage, a color space that's mostly used for photo editing.

8.8
Picture Quality
SDR Color Volume
sRGB In ICtCp
95.6%
Adobe RGB In ICtCp
79.9%
sRGB Picture Mode
Standard
Adobe RGB Picture Mode
Standard

Excellent color volume. It only has trouble displaying dark colors due to its low contrast ratio.

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

The BenQ ZOWIE XL2546K doesn't support HDR.

0
Picture Quality
HDR Color Volume
DCI-P3 In ICtCp
N/A
Rec. 2020 In ICtCp
N/A
DCI P3 Picture Mode
No HDR
Rec. 2020 Picture Mode
No HDR

This monitor doesn't support HDR.

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%

The BenQ ZOWIE XL2546K doesn't show any signs of image retention; however, this can vary between units.

8.2
Picture Quality
Gradient
Color Depth
8 Bit

Great gradient handling. There's banding in most colors, but it's more noticeable in the grays and greens.

9.6
Picture Quality
Color Bleed
Pixel Row Error
0.001%
Pixel Column Error
0.076%

There's a little bit of vertical color bleed, but it isn't noticeable in regular content.

8.0
Picture Quality
Reflections
Screen Finish
Matte
Total Reflections
5.2%
Indirect Reflections
4.3%
Calculated Direct Reflections
0.9%

Great reflection handling. The matte anti-reflective coating works very well at reducing the intensity of reflected lights. However, visibility can still be an issue as the screen might not get bright enough to overcome intense glare. That said, there are anti-glare panels included if glare is a problem.

7.0
Picture Quality
Text Clarity
Sub-Pixel Layout
RGB

Decent text clarity. Enabling Windows ClearType (top photo) improves diagonal lines such as on the R and N. The pixels are blurry due to the monitor's matte anti-reflective coating.

Motion
9.5
Motion
Response Time @ Max Refresh Rate
Best Overdrive Setting
Off
Rise / Fall Time
4.6 ms
Total Response Time
7.6 ms
Overshoot Error
0.0%
Dark Rise / Fall Time
3.5 ms
Dark Total Response Time
5.7 ms
Dark Overshoot Error
0.0%

Overdrive Setting Response Time Chart Response Time Tables Motion Blur Photo
Off Chart Table Photo
High Chart Table Photo
Premium Chart Table Photo

The BenQ ZOWIE XL2546K has exceptional response time at its max refresh rate. Images are clear in fast-moving scenes, but there are some dark artifacts, most notably on the moving object's leading edge. It's recommended to leave the overdrive setting at 'Off' because the other options add too much overshoot.

8.4
Motion
Response Time @ 60Hz
Best Overdrive Setting
High
Rise / Fall Time
2.3 ms
Total Response Time
15.3 ms
Overshoot Error
7.9%
Dark Rise / Fall Time
1.4 ms
Dark Total Response Time
15.6 ms
Dark Overshoot Error
11.0%

Overdrive Setting Response Time Chart Response Time Tables Motion Blur Photo
Off Chart Table Photo
High Chart Table Photo
Premium Chart Table Photo

The response time at 60Hz is great. The image is blurrier than at max refresh rate, but there are less dark artifacts. The recommended overdrive setting is 'High' because it provides the best performance with an acceptable overshoot level. This means you have to change the overdrive setting if your game's frame rate drops to 60Hz.

10
Motion
Image Flicker
Flicker-Free Yes
PWM Dimming Frequency
0 Hz

The backlight is flicker-free at all backlight levels, which helps minimize image duplication and reduce eye strain.

7.3
Motion
Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
Yes
BFI Maximum Frequency
240 Hz
BFI Minimum Frequency
100 Hz

The BenQ ZOWIE XL2546K has an optional Black Frame Insertion feature that can improve motion clarity called DyAc+. It can be enabled at any refresh rate, but the flickering doesn't match the refresh rate below 100Hz, which results in visible image duplication due to crosstalk. Also, it isn't usable while VRR is active.

9.6
Motion
Refresh Rate
Native
240 Hz
Max Refresh Rate
240 Hz
Variable Refresh Rate
Yes
FreeSync
Yes
G-SYNC
Compatible (Tested)
VRR Maximum
240 Hz
VRR Minimum
< 20 Hz
VRR Supported Connectors DisplayPort, HDMI

The BenQ ZOWIE XL2546K has a high refresh rate to deliver smooth gameplay and supports FreeSync to reduce screen tearing. It's compatible with G-SYNC as well, but it only works over a DisplayPort connection.

Inputs
9.7
Inputs
Input Lag
Native Resolution
2.3 ms
Native Resolution @ 60Hz
12.4 ms
Variable Refresh Rate
2.5 ms
Variable Refresh Rate @ 60Hz
13.2 ms
10 Bit HDR
N/A
Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
4.7 ms

The BenQ ZOWIE XL2546K has remarkably low input lag. It's higher at 60Hz, but it shouldn't be noticeable for most people.

7.1
Inputs
Resolution And Size
Native Resolution 1920 x 1080
Aspect Ratio 16:9
Megapixels 2.1 MP
Pixel Density
88 PPI
Screen Diagonal 25.0"
Screen Area 268 in²

The BenQ ZOWIE XL2546K has a decent resolution and size. It should be big and sharp enough for most gamers, but it might feel a bit cramped for multitasking.

Inputs
Inputs
Inputs
Total Inputs
DisplayPort 1 (DP 1.2)
Mini DisplayPort No
HDMI 3 (HDMI 2.0)
DVI No
VGA No
DisplayPort Out No
USB No
USB C No
Analog Audio Out 3.5mm 1
Microphone In 3.5mm No
Digital Optical Audio Out No
Analog Audio Out RCA No
Power Supply Internal

There's a mini-USB port to plug in the S Switch module.

Features
Features
Additional Features
RGB Illumination
No
Speakers
No
HDR10 No
Multiple Input Display
No

The BenQ XL2546K has few additional features. It has a Black eQualizer feature that makes objects more visible in dark scenes and a blue light filter to reduce eye strain. It also comes with a wired remote control that makes it easier to access the monitor's settings called the S Switch.

Features
On-Screen Display (OSD)
Features
Controls

The controls are located on the right backside of the monitor. There are three buttons and a joystick, allowing you to turn the monitor On/Off and navigate the on-screen menu. There's a remote control called the S Switch included in the box that makes navigating the settings menu easier. However, it's wired and needs to be plugged into the mini-USB port.

Features
In The Box

  • Quick start guide
  • Power cord
  • DisplayPort cable
  • S Switch
  • Dust cover
  • 4x plastic pieces (to cover holes if you don't use the anti-glare panels)
Not shown:
  • 2x anti-glare shield

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

We tested the 25" BenQ ZOWIE XL2546K. There are two other variants with slightly reduced features, the BenQ ZOWIE XL2546 and the BenQ ZOWIE XL2546S. There are many monitors in the XL lineup of gaming monitors; you can see some of them in the table below.

Model Size Resolution Refresh Rate Panel Type  Notes
XL2546K  24.5" 1920 x 1080 240Hz TN 4-way Scroll S Switch, XL Setting to Share, DyAc+
XL2546S  24.5" 1920 x 1080 240Hz TN 2-way Scroll S Switch, DyAc+
XL2546 24.5"  1920 x 1080 240Hz TN 2-way Scroll S Switch, DyAc
 XL2540 25"  1920 x 1080 240Hz TN  
XL2411P 24"  1920 x 1080 144Hz TN No VRR

If someone comes across a different type of panel or their BenQ ZOWIE XL2546K doesn't correspond to our review, let us know and we'll update the review. Note that some tests, such as the gray uniformity, may vary between individual units.

Our unit was manufactured in August 2020; you can see the label here.

Compared To Other Monitors

The BenQ ZOWIE XL2546K is an excellent gaming monitor that delivers remarkably smooth gameplay. However, it's expensive for a 25 inch 1080p TN panel, so it's better suited for esports players who need the greatest responsiveness at the cost of other features like HDR support. For more options, check out our recommendations for the best 1080p monitors, the best 24-25 inch monitors, and the best 240Hz monitors.

ASUS TUF Gaming VG259QM

The ASUS TUF Gaming VG259QM is much better than the BenQ ZOWIE XL2546K. The ASUS has a better contrast ratio, higher peak brightness, and wider viewing angles. It has a stand with a much wider swivel range, and it supports HDR. The BenQ has better reflection handling, and its input lag is much lower when playing at 60Hz.

Gigabyte M27Q

The Gigabyte M27Q performs better than the BenQ ZOWIE XL2546K for most uses. Although the BenQ has a higher refresh rate and a better response time, it has more motion artifacts in fast-moving scenes than the Gigabyte, which might bother some people. The Gigabyte's larger IPS panel has a higher resolution and provides wider viewing angles than the BenQ's TN panel. It also gets brighter, supports HDR, and offers more features, like USB-C input and a Picture-in-Picture mode.

Dell Alienware AW2521HF

The Dell Alienware AW2521HF and the BenQ ZOWIE XL2546K are both 25 inch, 1080p, 240Hz gaming monitors but with different panel types. The Dell uses an IPS panel, while the BenQ has a TN panel. Motion handling is about the same, but the Dell has slightly better response times. It also has wider viewing angles, and it gets brighter to combat glare. The BenQ has a Black Frame Insertion feature, but it isn't usable simultaneously with VRR, and the flickering might bother some people.

Dell Alienware AW2521H

The Dell Alienware AW2521H is better than the BenQ ZOWIE XL2546K. The Dell has a higher refresh rate of 360Hz and a slightly better response time, resulting in smoother motion and greater responsiveness. It also has a better contrast ratio, wider viewing angles, and gets brighter to combat glare. The Dell has more features, like HDR support and a USB hub with four USB 3.0 ports.

BenQ ZOWIE XL2540

The BenQ ZOWIE XL2546K and the BenQ ZOWIE XL2540 are very similar overall. The XL2546K has a better response time and a better SDR color gamut. However, the XL2540 gets brighter and has better gradient handling.

ASUS TUF Gaming VG258QM

The ASUS TUF Gaming VG258QM is a bit better overall than the BenQ ZOWIE XL2546K, but they're both excellent for gaming due to their similarly fast response times. That said, the BenQ is better for gaming at 60Hz because it doesn't have the same input lag and response time issues that the ASUS does at 60Hz. They both use TN panels and suffer some of the same problems typical of that panel type, like narrow viewing angles and low contrast ratio. However, the ASUS gets significantly brighter, so it's better for well-lit rooms, and it feels better built.

ASUS ROG Swift 360Hz PG259QN

The ASUS ROG Swift 360Hz PG259QN is better than the BenQ ZOWIE XL2546K for most uses. The ASUS has a higher 360Hz refresh rate compared to the BenQ's 240Hz, gets brighter to combat glare, and supports HDR. It also has wider viewing angles and better accuracy out of the box. Its response time is faster, but there's more overshoot. The ASUS is a native G-SYNC monitor, while the BenQ supports FreeSync natively with G-SYNC compatibility. The BenQ has better ergonomics due to its wider swivel range.

Samsung Odyssey G7 LC32G75T

Overall, the Samsung Odyssey G7 LC32G75T is much better than the BenQ ZOWIE XL2546K. The Samsung is available in larger screen sizes, has a higher resolution, and its VA panel is better suited for dark rooms. It also gets brighter and supports HDR. The BenQ has much better ergonomics and wider viewing angles.

LG 27GN750-B

The LG 27GN750-B is better than the BenQ ZOWIE XL2546K for most uses. The LG has a bigger screen, much wider viewing angles, higher peak brightness, and HDR support. However, the BenQ has better ergonomics and a Black Frame Insertion feature.

MSI Oculux NXG253R

The MSI Oculux NXG253R is much better than the BenQ ZOWIE XL2546K overall, but just a bit better for gaming. The MSI has better viewing angles, better gray uniformity, better colors, and better gradient handling. For gaming, the differences are less noticeable. The MSI has a faster refresh rate and much better motion handling at 60Hz, but the BenQ has a slightly better response time at the max refresh rate.

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