Monitors aren’t all made equal. Sure, there’s all the usual differences in resolution and contrast, but it also matters how fast your monitor can refresh the image delivered to it, especially if you’re playing a twitch shooter like DOOM or a fast-paced MOBA like League of Legends. BenQ says its new 24.5-inch XL2540 is the monitor for esports thanks to its phenomenally fast 240Hz refresh rate.
Put simply, the faster a monitor’s refresh rate the smoother the image displayed on it is during fast motion. We used to argue about whether 60Hz refresh rates made a noticeable difference over 30Hz and 45Hz, back in the good ol’ cathode ray tube days, but in 2016 it’s all about 144Hz and beyond. (And about adaptive refresh tech like FreeSync and G-Sync and Fast Sync, but that’s a whole different boiling kettle of fish.)
There are a few different 144Hz and 165Hz monitors out there, but higher refresh rates — 180Hz, 200Hz and 240Hz — are increasingly less common. There’s only one other 240Hz monitor — the Asus ROG Swift PG258Q — so BenQ’s Zowie XL2540 is in rarefied company.
It’s only a 1080p panel, but that’s fine — you’d need a seriously gutsy graphics card (or two) to push any reasonably visually advanced game to 240 frames per second at 1440p or 4K resolution. But where the XL2540 distinguishes itself from even the rest of Zowie’s gaming lineup with that 240Hz refresh; larger 27-inch and 1440p panels can only hit 144Hz. You also get all the usual inputs — two HDMI, DisplayPort and an old-school DVI jack.
The XL2540 even has (removable) shields on its side bezels, to either block out distracting ambient light or stop your opponents from screencheating. Not that screencheating is actually possible in any kind of competitive way in esports these days, but it’s still a funny little extra. The little controller on the monitor’s base can quickly switch between user-customisable modes and inputs, which is a nice touch. We’ll let you know when pricing for the XL2540 is available. [BenQ]