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Zowie XL2540 – Review

Zowie XL2540 – Review

The Zowie XL2540 is a 24.5in monitor with a 1080p screen, which makes it £390 price look huge – so it’s going to have to work hard to justify the outlay.

Zowie reckons that this screen’s huge refresh rate, rapid response times and special features will appeal to esports fans – especially if they’re willing to spend big in order to nail big wins.


Every aspect of this monitor seems designed for esports. It’s a TN panel, for starters, which is important: these screens have better response times than most VA or IPS monitors, which is key for fast-paced, competitive gaming.

TN screens also tend to have good brightness, which is also important for illuminating those dark areas – and while viewing angles usually suffer with TN, that’s less important for a smaller gaming panel that’s likely to be observed from a single point of view.

This is also the first screen we’ve seen with a 240Hz refresh rate. That means the screen supports gameplay at up to 240fps, which is huge – it means games will run with fluidity, which is vital for gaining that competitive edge.

This screen doesn’t have Nvidia G-Sync or AMD FreeSync, which remain excellent for fluid gameplay – those technologies work by matching monitor refresh rates to GPU framerates. But the 240Hz rate still ensures that this screen is smoother than almost anything else, especially if you’ve got a powerful GPU. Zowie recommends an Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 or AMD Radeon RX 480 if you want to get the maximum pace from this panel.

The panel’s 1080p resolution is a solid pick, too – it’s more important to get consistently high framerates than to have incredible graphics when you’re playing in competitions, so a lesser resolution is key to achieving this.

Explore beyond the screen and the design still speaks to competition. Zowie includes two shrouds that attach to the sides of the screen to prevent distractions – and to presumably stop other gamers seeing what you’re up to.

It’s versatile, too, with height adjustment, tilting, swivelling from side to side and the ability to swing around into portrait mode, and it has VESA hardware for attaching wall-mounted arms.

Zowie also borrows a bit of kit from parent company BenQ. The S-Switch attaches to the rear of the screen using mini-USB and rests in a small indent on the screen’s base, but it can be moved anywhere on the desk thanks to its long lead. It has five buttons: three for switching between customised profiles, one for switching inputs, and another to open up the main menu. It’s also got a mouse-style wheel, which can be used for easy scrolling in the on-screen display.

The left-hand side of the panel serves up pairs of accessible USB ports and audio jacks alongside a hook for holding headsets – although the latter is a little flimsy. The row of buttons on the bottom of the bezel are snappy and physical, so there’s no need to fiddle with inconsistent touch-pads. Even the shape of the frame has been designed with esports in mind – Zowie says it’s built to avoid shadows being cast onto the borders of the screen.

The rear of the panel has two HDMI ports and a single DisplayPort connection. One of those HDMI ports uses the older 1.4 protocol, but the second connection uses HDMI 2.0 – a key upgrade that offers full support for 240Hz gaming.

Putting together this panel was simple. As ever, Zowie’s stand snaps into the back of the screen, and the base is attached with one screw. The screen is sturdy and its matte plastic is never distracting, and it’s even got a handle at the rear. We would have preferred an easier clip-on mechanism for the two shields, although securing two screws on each unit is hardly a hardship.

Full Specification

Panel Type: TN
Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Display Size: 24.5in
Quoted Contrast Ratio: 1,000:1
Quoted Brightness: 400cd/m2
Quoted Response Time: 1ms
Connectivity: 1 x HDMI 1.4, 1 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x DisplayPort 1.2, 1 x DVI, 2 x audio, 3 x USB
Weight: 7.5kg
Dimensions: 570 x 226 x 515mm
Warranty: 2yr RTB


This panel is designed to pair rapid refresh rates with bright, breezy colour output, so its benchmark results don’t come as any surprise. The 257cd/m2 brightness level is ample – especially in dark LAN halls and bedrooms – and the black level of 0.35cd/m2 is higher than we’d expect to see on panels with IPS technology, or those designed for mainstream gaming and entertainment.

Those figures create a contrast ratio of 705:1. That’s a little low, which means that many shades won’t be as distinct or as rich as we’d like, but it does mean that darker areas in games will stand  out more, as black levels aren’t as deep. That’s better for intense gaming.

The Zowie could only deliver a disappointing Delta E of 8.36 and a colour temperature of 7,497K, which is too cool. Colours aren’t too accurate, and the entire screen has a chilled-out feel – so don’t expect the latest games to seem warm and inviting. Again, that’s a problem if you want top-notch image quality or a screen to do colour-sensitive work, but it’s less of an issue on a pure esports panel. It’s a shame, because this screen can render a superb 97.9% of the sRGB colour gamut – just not too well, apparently.

These results were recorded in FPS mode, which the Zowie uses as its default setting. There are plenty of other options, but none are particularly good: the RTS mode improves the Delta E to 4.16, but that still isn’t much cop, and the Movie mode has huge brightness and slightly better contrast but remains mediocre elsewhere.

Oddly, there’s also a standard mode, although we don’t recommend it: its 7.02 Delta E is poor, and its contrast remains below 1,000:1.

We got the best results from this screen by sticking with the original FPS mode and moving away from the default “Bluish” colour option to a normal temperature. With this change made the Delta E improved to 3.91, which is the best result we got from this screen. The colour temperature revised to 6,929K, which is far better than the panel’s original result – and it meant that the screen didn’t appear quite so pallid. These figures are still only average, but they are an improvement.

And, if you fancy tweaking the technology, Zowie includes a trio of Gamer profiles that can be saved with your own personal settings – they’re the options that can be chosen from the buttons on the S-Switch.

It’s possible to alter the black equalizer and colour vibrancy settings, too, although these only make basic changes – upping the former option only ramps up the black level, while tweaking the latter just ruined the colours completely.

The Zowie screen has a quoted 1ms response time, which is excellent, and we measured its input lag at just 13.9ms. That’s one of the best results on the market, and it bodes well for competitive play – anything below 20ms is generally considered acceptable for esports.

We expected the Zowie’s TN screen to deliver poor viewing angles and uniformity, and this panel didn’t let us down. Moving even slightly from the centre of the panel saw colours distort and the backlight veer off-course. The Zowie lost 16% of its backlight strength across its top row, too, which is a mediocre result – almost enough to be obvious, especially in lighter and more consistent areas of colour.


Zowie set its stall out early with this screen, which has a high price but numerous features that’ll give competitive gamers an edge: the 240Hz refresh rate is huge and enables fast, smooth gameplay, and the 1ms response time is excellent.

This screen also has plastic shields, the versatile S-Switch and loads of customisation options. Its brightness and black levels work well for esports, too, alongside the rapid response. The 1080p resolution is sensible, too, as it also helps deliver rapid framerates. Image quality and colour accuracy are mediocre, but that’s to be expected – this is a screen about speed and features rather than pixel-perfect images.

If you do need high-quality images, then, look elsewhere – screens with better quality and without the refresh rate will be half as pricey as the Zowie. If you’re a competitive gamer looking for an edge, though, this high-speed screen could be the panel that delivers.

Review Date
Reviewed Item
Zowie XL2540
Author Rating

Review Overview

About Author

Mike Jennings

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