BenQ Zowie XL2430 Review
Review of BenQ Zowie XL2430
If you are looking to get into 144hz gaming monitors, then the 1080p 24-inch bracket is the best to check out. There are a lot of options today, and some of them are quite affordable, you’ll be sorely mistaken not to get them for your setup. BenQ Zowie’s current 24-inch contender, the XL2430 offers scorching performance with cutting edge technology and gamer-centric accessories to provide the user with an excellent gaming experience. In intense clashes in the virtual realm, speed can mean the difference between victory or kissing the ground. This baby offers electrifying speeds with its 144hz refresh rate and 1ms pixel response time while delivering explosive colors and excellent contrast for great detail.
BenQ Zowie XL2430 Technical Specifications
– Screen Size: 24 inches
– Resolution: 1080p 1920 x 1080
– Aspect Ratio: 16:9
– Panel Technology: Twisted Nematic Film (TN)
– Refresh Rate: 144Hz
– Response Time (Gray to Gray): 1 milliseconds
– Contrast Ratio: 1000:1 / 12000000:1 (dynamic)
– Brightness: 350 cd/m²
– Built-In Speakers: No
– Stand: Height: Yes (5.5 inches)
– Stand: Tilt: Yes -5°/+20°
– Stand: Swivel: Yes -45°/45°
-VESA Compatibility: Yes (100×100)
– Connectivity: DVI-DL, HDMI x 2, DisplayPort1.2, Headphone jack, Microphone jack
– Dimensions: With stand: 20.47” (+/-2.74”) x 22.36” x 7.85″
– Power Consumption: 50 watts ( Energy Star qualified)
Design and features
The BenQ Zowie XL2430 is the upgraded version of its older sibling, the Benq XL2420. The cabinet design and texture is inherent with all the other newer XL models in BenQ Zowie’s arsenal; from the plain matte black finish that doesn’t reflect glare with a grippy but smooth texture to the unnoticeable bezels lining the anti-glare coated display space. The bezels are quite thin which makes this monitor ideal for a multi-screen setup in portrait or landscape mode. The layer used on the screen does a good job of avoiding glare and reflections, but the screen can look grainy because of its matte texture if you look too close. The two USB 3.0 slots and audio jacks are located on the rear part of the left bezel along with one of the XL series’ unique feature, the headset hanger. While being convenient, be advised to use your sound card’s audio inputs instead of the ones found here since the sound quality deteriorates when connected here.
Also on the face of the right bezel are five OSD buttons that give access to BenQ Zowie’s proprietary arsenal of OSD options, including the Blur Reduction feature, display aspect ratios, and picture modes. These buttons are tactile enough but not too soft, so they respond quite accurately. Navigating the menus can be tedious if you use this feature, so the manufacturer also included their exclusive S-Switch Arc, a puck-shaped wired remote with quick access buttons and a scroll wheel for navigating the OSD. There are three buttons laid out on the S-Switch for three custom presets. Pressing these buttons automatically activates your desired saved setting for convenience. The gadget is a premium addition to the whole package, and its design keeps the gamers best interest in mind.
Since the XL2430 does not come with G-Sync, it comes with a plethora of connection ports to suit your input needs. This model ships with two HDMI ports, a DisplayPort 1.2 for 144hz operation, headphone/mic jacks, and four USB slots for upstream and downstream, DVI-DL and D-sub for legacy connections. Most of the time, you only would need to use the DP1.2, but having other input options are quite welcome. You never know when you might need additional ports if another device comes along. The ports are in a down firing position so cables can pass through the cable management hole in the stand while lessening the overall clutter that could add to the total depth of the product. This orientation has become a standard among modern monitors, but it can be troublesome to tinker with connections since you have to flip the product over or take a peek. The power supply comes built into the cabinet, and BenQ Zowie includes a cable for each input option, a power cable, a CD with utilities and a very nice dust cover.
One of our favorite physical features of the Benq Zowie XL2430 is its well-designed stand. The base is quite hefty enough to keep the monitor upright even if this newer design covers a smaller footprint on your desk. The Circular indent on the surface is the S-Switch Arc’s throne, but you can also use it for small items such as keys if the remote is not in use. The stand also features adjustment markings on the articulation points in increments, so re-alignment is easy if the position of the display changes. There is also a cable management hole in the middle of the neck and a carry handle at the top for lugging this baby around. The mount detaches via a quick-release button to reveal VESA 100×100 holes for aftermarket options. Overall build quality is superb even if compared to heftier stands. The aluminum material gives durability and stability without sacrificing looks. Articulation feels smooth and comfortable with a lift of the finger, but stiff enough to require a little more force and hold the display in place.
Display Features and Performance
The BenQ Zowie XL2430 comes with a 1080p Twisted Nematic Film (TN) panel. It still comes down with the expected downsides such as limited viewing angles and uneven contrast, but on this model the screen does quite admirably considering its benefits. TN panels are found to be faster when it comes to output rates, and the XL2430 excels in this aspect since it is capable of a respectable 10ms (+/- depending on settings) on average. The panel’s 144hz refresh rate and 1ms pixel response rate greatly benefit from this giving the gamer the speed advantage in skirmishes. 1080p is still a decent resolution for most games. While it does not offer the level of detail 2k or 4k offers, the monitor’s 144hz spec can be easily reached by standard gaming rigs for mainstream titles. This fact makes it easier for a wider range of gamers to utilize this product to its full potential.
The 144hz capability of this product does quite good even when compared to competitors. The OSD features a Blur Reduction option to reduce blurring and screen tearing further. What this does is it turns on the strobe function of the backlight to time the bursts with the framerate, so it reduces the perceived issues with fluctuating FPS. Even without this, the XL2430 is still fast enough with an actual response time of around 3ms (+/- depending on settings), close to its advertised 1ms. If advanced ghosting or overshooting (also known as inversion artifacts) becomes visible, setting the AMA (Advanced Motion Acceleration) to High instead of premium will fix the issue. Turning the Instant Mode option helps lower the input lag, completing the connected feel to the actions in the game. Also, take note that if you use Blur Reduction, the overall brightness of the display will lower to around 120 cd/m2, which is still acceptable especially in dimly lit environments.
When it comes to color performance and contrast, the XL2430 does quite good as well. This stellar performance does not come without additional effort. To enjoy the full capabilities of the product, you need to steer clear of the factory built presets and tweak this monitor on your own. Out of the box, the display ships set to its FPS1 preset, which has either washed or oversaturated colors. There are a lot of complaints about this across the XL line among users and reviewers, but its availability presents an opportunity for BenQ Zowie to improve their firmware or next products further. But setting the preset to standard unlocks the different options and adjusting the Color Vibrance setting going down from its default intensity of 10 helps with the color representation. Coverage of the sRGB color space is quite acceptable since the panel has an 8-bit interface capable of displaying 16.7 million colors. Keep in mind that misrepresentation of these colors can occur if too much Color Vibrance is applied.
Despite being a TN panel with WLED backlighting, the XL2430 does an admirable job in its contrast. The advertised 1000:1 is within reach with a few minor adjustments of gamma, color temperature, and brightness. The backlight bleed in the XL models is also substantially lesser than competitors so users can expect an even representation of shadows and dark spots with minor issues not noticeable to most. The proprietary OSD also comes with a Black Equalizer option which helps differentiate blacks in some dark regions particularly in low brightness settings. Although if you are using a lot of Color Vibrance and the Motion Blur feature(which lowers the set brightness further), it is best to leave this off and rely on adjusted gamma and color temperatures as this may lead to slick-looking blacks instead of a balanced contrast in different shades on the picture.
BenQ Zowie did not forget to add eye-care features as well. The XL2430 is PWM operation free, so the display does not flicker like most conventional monitors. They also have a Blue Light Filter option built into the OSD, for users who are visually sensitive to blue light. Enjoying the benefits of this product’s capabilities are comfortable even with extended hours of use. This model only consumes a mere 55 watts of power in use, even lower down to less than 30 watts when tweaked, so it is the environment and electric bill friendly.
As far as 24-inch 144hz monitors go, the BenQ Zowie XL2430 does a commendable job of providing an enhanced gaming experience for consumers looking to upgrade from an old model. The advertised speed of the monitor is well within reach; the only limiting factor is your gaming rig’s graphic capability. But then again, achieving a stable FPS in the 140s is easy in 1080p. You don’t need a high-end video card to get to this spot. The color and contrast performances are superb with a little tweaking and saving up to three custom presets are a big plus. The product is physically well designed, from the sleek but well-articulated stand to the inclusion of the S-Switch Arc. The product comes with full features, so if you take your setup seriously, this product is a must buy.
The product does not come without downsides despite its stellar performance on its specs on paper. During 144hz operation, some ghosting or artifacts become visible when playing fast paced games. A few tweaks can, however, remedy this in the OSD. The factory presets are sorely lacking regarding color and accuracy; thankfully the picture output is fully customizable in standard mode. BenQ Zowie needs to step up in this aspect since there are users who are looking for a plug and play device. In that regard, this model is not recommended especially for beginners with little to no technical experience. For its price and specs, the manufacturer could have included Freesync certification since it doesn’t add a significant bump to the SRP unlike what G-Sync does to its related products. Finally, for a 24-inch monitor, the XL2430 is quite pricey (probably due to its gamer-centric accessories). There are several more affordable options in the market with slightly less performance. But you if you can find this model for a lower price from its SRP of $399, the spending can be justified as money well spent.