BenQ XL2540 240Hz Full HD monitor
Update: Update on price and availability. News piece below initially published 8th November 2016.
When it comes to responsive gameplay, elevated refresh rates and frame rates are vitally important. As explored in this article, high refresh rates and frame rates are vitally important for a good ‘connected feel’ when playing a game and can also hugely reduce perceived blur. We’ve recently seen models push up the refresh rate beyond even 144Hz, for example with the 180Hz-capable ASUS PG248Q. As explored in the review, the elevated refresh rate certainly makes a difference when it comes to responsiveness, but the panel itself is natively 144Hz and pushing it further by overclocking comes at the expense of image quality. The BenQ XL2540 intends to take things to the next level, offering a 240Hz native refresh rate. Aesthetically this new member of the ZOWIE (BenQ’s e-Sports) range does not sway too far from the aesthetic first introduced with the XL2430T. It’s a solid and not overly showy design that many users are quite fond of, which is probably why it has remained. An ‘S-Switch Arc’ remote OSD (On Screen Display) controller is included, with additional controls offered in the form of illuminated touch-sensitive pads towards the right of the bottom bezel. A notable addition to this model, at the front, is the ‘Shield’. This is much like the hood you’ll see on certain colour-critical monitors and it’s designed to reduce direct light striking the screen surface and hence help minimise glare.
The panel used is a 24.5” TN (Twisted Nematic) part with 1920 x 1080 (Full HD) resolution and native 240Hz refresh rate. A medium matte anti-glare screen surface is used, to minimise troublesome glare or reflections. The monitor also supports AMD FreeSync (via Adaptive-Sync) with a variable refresh rate range of 48 – 240Hz via either HDMI 2.0 or DP 1.2. To get the best out of this monitor really requires the user to be playing games like CS:GO or for those with beastly systems where very high frame rates can be pushed with relative ease, however. Other aspects of specification to note include a 1000:1 typical contrast ratio and flicker-free WLED backlight with 400 cd/m² typical maximum luminance. Unsurprisingly, a 1ms grey to grey response time is specified and it will certainly be interesting to see if the monitor can make a good go of those refresh rates comfortably exceeding 144Hz. Other features include ‘Low Blue Light’ settings for relaxing viewing, particularly in the evening. There is also ‘Color Vibrance’ which can oversaturate (or undersaturate) colours at the expense of reduced shade variety. It essentially pulls shades closer (or pushes them further) from edge of the colour gamut, much like a monitor-side version of Nvidia Digital Vibrance Control. There is also the familiar ‘Black eQualizer’ feature which enhances gamma and hence improves visibility in dark scenes at the expense of image accuracy.
The included stand offers full adjustability; tilt (5° forwards, 20° backwards), height (140mm or 5.51 inches), swivel (45° left and 45° right) and pivot (90° clockwise rotation into portrait). It attaches using a quick-release bracket and can be removed to reveal 100 x 100mm VESA holes for alternative mounting. The ports include; AC power input (internal power converter), DP 1.2a (with Adaptive-Sync), 2 HDMI ports, 3.5mm headphone jack and 3.5mm microphone jack. At least one of the HDMI ports is version 2.0 (with Adaptive-Sync), so along with DP 1.2 supports the full 1920 x 1080 @ 240Hz.
Further information can be found on various BenQ websites, including this one. The monitor is listed for $500 in the US and around £440 inc. VAT in the UK. We would like to review this monitor or a similar one as we’re very curious to see what 240Hz looks like in action and find out more about the capabilities of this new panel.