When you’re playing competitive games online, you need the best gear, as well as the best hardware to ensure you’re at your best while playing. It is obvious that better gear helps you focus more on the game and spend less time blaming your setup – because somehow your opponent’s setup is better than yours, and that helped them win. A monitor, with the perfect panel, with the right size, and with the right features is one step in the direction to improving in the world of esports. And the BenQ XL2546 is an upgrade that you can’t refuse.
The XL2546 is a monitor by BenQ Zowie, priced at 45990 INR, available at all major online as well as offline retailers. The monitor is available at LXG India, MD Computers, theitdepot, Primeabgb and other leading retailers.
Let’s look at what the XL2546 has to offer, in some detail.
Out of the Box
When I received the box containing the XL2546, it was extremely large and heavy. It contained the BenQ LCD monitor, the monitor stand, monitor base, a CD ROM disc, a starter guide, a protective cover, the S Switch, various cables for connections, and the shield.
Setting up the monitor is extremely easy, and the guide-book provides some valuable help in this regard. The monitor moves pretty easily on its stand, which means you don’t have to be in the fear of breaking something when you adjust it to a comfortable viewing angle.
However, the hood feels slightly unnecessary, as it does not offer enough privacy while working, for the simple reason that the hood isn’t large enough. Another welcome addition is the S Switch for adjusting gamer profiles on the go when you feel too lazy to extend out and change profiles through the buttons on the monitor, or just feel that the moment has too much action to actually do that.
The BenQ XL2546 has several features to improve your experience while playing esports. It is a 24.5-inch monitor, which supports a resolution to 1980 x 1080. It supports a refresh rate of up to 240 Hz, provided you are using :
- NVIDIA GTX 980 or later
- AMD RX 480 or later
Something that the awesome guy at BenQ arranged for us, so that we could review it at its highest potential.
A GPU lower than the above specifications still means you get to use the monitor at a refresh rate up to 144 Hz, which isn’t so bad in itself. (that is, till you get used to playing competitive games on 240 Hz).
The monitor has a shield, which can be attached to its sides and can allow slight rotational movement (up to 90 degrees). The shield helps you focus on the game while you’re playing, and ensure that no other distraction can prevent you from clutching the round, or flank those concealed enemies. If you’re playing in a room where there’s little chance of interference, it’s best to play without the shield. Otherwise, just close the hood and game on!
The monitor has a 3.5mm jack where you can insert your headphone, as well as a stand where you can keep your headphone when you’re not using it. The several buttons on its front are used to define the connection from your GPU to the monitor (HDMI, DVI-D or DP) as well as some minor customizations. The monitor is connected to the motherboard through a USB cable.
The monitor stand allows adjustment of height, so you can use it to set the monitor at a viewing angle you are comfortable with.
The LCD frame is specially designed to prevent light reflection, to ensure the player does not get distracted by anything else other than the game itself.
When you decide that 3 o’clock is a bit too early in the morning to go to sleep and decide to wind up the gaming session for the day, there’s a handy protective cover that helps you protect your monitor from dust.
The S Switch is used to change the brightness, contrast, as well as enable or disable several special features like the Black eQualizer, Color Vibrance or Dynamic Accuracy. The switch is a sort of remote control for ensuring your best in every game so that you can change settings on the go, and ensure you can spot those enemies hidden away in locations which can’t be spotted otherwise. The S Switch controls the features that give the XL2546 its uniqueness – and makes it a perfect product for the average Joe playing competitive games.
The monitor has several features to help the player while he’s playing the game. The most important one being the high refresh rate. 240 Hz is not something to be laughed at since 144 Hz itself is sort of standard for anyone who wishes to dive into esports nowadays. The high refresh rate means that anything moving fast can be spotted relatively fast since the monitor refreshes the screen more frequently. For people not used to the 240 Hz smoothness, it might take you some time to get used to it (and it might seem like you’re seeing things in slow motion – it will gradually become fine as your eyes get used to the fast refresh rate). The effect is immensely visible in fast-paced shooters like Call of Duty and Battlefield, where the action unfolds rather rapidly.
Dynamic Accuracy is a unique feature exclusive to Zowie monitors that help players primarily in FPS games. The XL2546 is born and bred for performing in FPS games, the bread, and butter of the modern esports scene. When you’re spamming bullets, just turn on Dynamic Accuracy and see the magic. You get to see the path of each individual bullet, which helps immensely in controlling sprays and getting an edge over the opponent. Be it Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Rainbow Six: Siege or PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS, you’ll definitely feel the difference.
You can see enemies in well-lighted areas. But what happens when they conceal themselves in dimly lit areas, or in areas where their body cannot be seen properly? Simply enable the Black eQualizer and you get to see areas which your opponent does not expect you to see. The Black eQualizer helps immensely in Rainbow Six: Siege and PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS, and to some extent in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive too.
If you’re not satisfied with the display and need some sharp coloring to help spot the small moving pixels in the distance which are actually enemies, Color Vibrance allows you to switch to a display mode that allows you to spot enemies in the distance. This is especially helpful in PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS, where you need to be aware of every pixel in the screen as a possible enemy in the distance.
The S Switch is used to change the brightness, contrast, as well as enable or disable several special features like the Black eQualizer, Color Vibrance or Dynamic Accuracy. The switch is a sort of remote control for ensuring your best in every game so that you can change settings on the go, and ensure you can spot those enemies hidden away in locations which can’t be spotted otherwise. The S Switch controls the features that give the XL2546 its uniqueness – and makes it a perfect product for the average Joe playing competitive games. There are various game modes pre-configured in the monitor, which can be changed using the S Switch. Be it RTS, be it FPS, or be it MOBA, ensure you have the perfect mix of display settings for all competitive games alike.
Personally speaking, I’m not a cafe guy, so I wasn’t really used to the smoothness of 144 Hz, and definitely not 240 Hz. The difference between 60 Hz, 144 Hz and 240 Hz is huge. Performance testing on most modern esports games gave the clear impression of what an advantage the greater refresh rate gives. This does give you a huge advantage over people who are playing at a lower refresh rate. With the fluidity of 240 Hz, you can easily spot and kill moving enemies, unless the enemy has skills vastly superior to yours, and is able to counter your movements. Personally speaking, I was called a hacker in quite a few Counter Strike matches due to my insane reaction shots, and I myself was surprised at the difference. FPS games benefit the most from the high refresh rate, which includes PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS, a game notorious for its optimization issues. This is where the refresh rate makes the game infinitely more playable – focusing your shots, as well as switching between ironsight and normal modes takes only a few seconds, giving you more time to react to enemies in your vicinity.
The other features built into the monitor work pretty well too. Black equalizer is a feature that helps you spot the borders of the enemy (hitboxes) in darkness. This is a feature useful in many games, and in particular, Rainbow Six : Siege and PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS. In Rainbow Six, most operators are dressed in a pretty ‘dark’ fashion (unless you have one of the Elite skins, you lucky guy), which makes spotting them hard when they’re in dimly lit areas. Guess what, turn up the Black Equalizer, and you spot their borders a lot easily. While the enemies won’t start emitting glows around the borders of their bodies, it becomes much easier to spot them. This goes the same for PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS – if you see an enemy concealed in the grass, in the shadows, turn up the Black Equalizer, and turn those shots back at him. In many of the last-minute replays, I find myself surprised spotting enemies in dimly lit places which I could not have done earlier.
Dynamic Accuracy is a feature introduced to add the cherry to the cake. The high refresh rate combined with Dynamic Accuracy create extremely fluid and responsive in-game movements, which help immensely in multiple ways. It helps you see moving objects faster (which includes moving enemies), giving you time to react in response. Same goes for bullets. You can trace your bullets easily, which helps you control your recoil easily. If you’re in Counter Strike : Global Offensive, this gives a huge tactical advantage as the guns have a fixed recoil pattern (with minor variations). In PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS, you can even trace the path of the projectiles (with some graphics settings turned up). With a little bit of practice, you’ll be knocking those sniper headshots into running targets (or even targets in vehicles). Dynamic Accuracy is a feature unique to only FPS games, and do not otherwise offer a tactical advantage in other games. However, it is a beast of a feature for the genre it is inherently marketed for.
Color Vibrance helps in PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS, but it takes a bit of time to find the right shader to help you spot enemies as well as make the textures less taxing on your eyes. However, color vibrance feels weird in some games, particularly Hearthstone and Overwatch, where the colors seem a bit too bright for comfort. This is a feature which dynamically changes shader quality in games, so watching carefully, and tuning it to a setting you find comfortable is recommended, since all games might not benefit from the same shaders. However, it does prove to be somewhat detrimental if you’re in for the “Netflix and Chill”, since it somehow degrades the image quality, making for a poor view experience.
However, the monitor does not really appeal to casual gamers or people buying it for the viewing quality. The picture quality, for a really expensive monitor, is surprisingly mediocre, and this really becomes visible when you’re binge-watching Netflix shows, or playing casual single player games. While it’s true that the monitor is advertised for the people who love their competitive games, if you’re charging a premium for your products, you should ensure the product has a mass appeal, which is kind of lacking here.
The monitor is a must-buy, and a decent upgrade for anyone who wants to make themselves more competitive. In today’s hyper competitive gaming scene, every bit helps, and the additional peripherals and gear you need to “git gud” certainly adds to your success. The monitors several features makes it more appealing to players actively involved in esports. However, for casual gamers, as well as people who want a general purpose monitor for the picture quality, this is not your monitor of choice.