A few months ago, Benq introduced the XL2735. A remarkable new gaming monitor with wqhd resolution and a 144Hz panel that uses a self-developed anti motion blur technique. Another new monitor, the XL2540, was added in November. This is the first native 240Hz gaming monitor available on the market. Both devices are meant for different target audiences, although one thing is certain: Benq is focusing on the power users. Of course we put these monitors to the test using our extensive test method.
Benq is a subsidiary of the panel manufacturer AU Optronics and is therefore in a special position: the brand can work together when developing the products that use the panels. The brand pioneered 144Hz monitors and was the first to release a G-sync monitor. The XL-series of the brand is loved by gamers that play at a high level, or simply demand the best – and are prepared to spend a bit more money. Last year, Zowie became a part of Benq – a brand specialized in gaming peripherals; mice in particular. The brand had intensive contact with Zowie for a while, which was founded by gamers and had the goal to manufacture products that perfectly connect with the wishes of e-sports. This might sound as a marketing story, although it happens more often that you would think. Fnatic, for example, was also founded by users that missed something on the market. Nowadays the Zowie-team works closely together with the Benq gaming-specialists and also provided input during the development of the two monitors that we cover today – this is seen in the brand name, as officially they are both called ‘Benq Zowie’. This will used for every future gaming-model of the brand, at least for the XL-series.
The XL2735 and XL2540 are special because of multiple reasons, although the most striking one might be that neither uses G-sync. That said, Freesync is included for the XL2540 (with a range of 48-240Hz!), but Benq does not draw attention to this. In a conversation with the brand representatives it became clear that these monitors are primarily meant for e-sports. We were told that this target audience is not as interested in synchronization techniques, but do value a framerate that is as high as possible and fluent images.
G-sync and Freesync are great techniques, but have the limitation that they work in a certain refresh rate range, where 144Hz is usually the exception. A small number of monitors exceed this, although the panels usually have to be ‘overclocked’ for this. Benq is not convinced by this method. With the XL2735 and the XL2540 they choose to walk a different path. The first monitor is for gamers that want a higher resolution and are contend with 144Hz. Self-developed anti motion blur technique should provide an experience that equals that of a crt-monitor. Gamers that want to squeeze every frame possible out of their graphics card and also want it to be seen can choose the XL2540. This monitor is the first one with a native 240Hz panel – it can truly display 240 frames per second; there are no tricks to reach this refresh rate. We will cover this in more detail further on, but it should be clear that the target audience for such framerates is very small: it is nearly impossible for even the fastest graphics cards to generate this many frames per second at higher resolution in modern titles, even at full hd resolution.
Both models are not exaclty cheap. The XL2735 officially costs 693 pounds / 799 euros, while the XL2540 does not come cheaper than 433 pounds / 499 euros. Benq stated that they did everything in their power to make the monitors as attractive as possible for their target audience, but it should be clear that you need to look at more than just the specs if you want to justify these prices – especially in the case of the XL2735 the calculating reader might have conceived that you can purchase a wqhd-monitor with a 144Hz panel for about the same price.
Of course we put these monitors to the test using our extensive test method, with which we faced some challenges. Nevertheless we can, with a slight delay, report our findings. First we will cover both monitors individually, after which we compare them with their competitors.