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Hands-on review: BenQ ZOWIE XL2411K Esports gaming monitor

FYI, this story is more than a year old

I have had a few weeks to explore the BenQ ZOWIE XL2411K Esports gaming monitor and have become quite attached to it. BenQ says that the specially designed base aims to reduce the amount of space taken up by the monitor's footprint, giving gamers more room to set up their gaming space. With flexible height and tilt adjustment, you'll be able to find the viewing height and angle that best suits you.

From memory, the eyeline runs along an imaginary horizontal line about 1/3 of the way down the screen. You should be able to gaze directly at this line without tilting your head. I appreciated the small footprint in my rather cramped and cluttered workspace, but even more, I appreciated the quality.

Set up was a simple affair involving unpacking, attaching the base, plugging in the cables and starting to play. Even before I started to play games I noticed the BenQ Zowie defined colours better than my laptop. From the naked eye, it translated as brighter, better definition of hues and in general sharper still and moving graphics.

My second discovery has nothing to do with the monitor. My business-designed i5 laptop does not like gaming. After a few tries of GTA San Andreas, I was beginning to froth and gnash my teeth as the game window would suddenly quit. I really must build that gaming computer I've been dreaming of.

Before crashing my games I was very pleased with the sparkling graphics, but my laptop just wasn't up to it.  Upon reflection, I recalled that the last time I played games was for a gaming laptop review. I'll be taking my case to my beloved spouse, arguing that a gaming computer is a must in the interest of quality reviews.

I decided that the next best thing was to watch a movie and decided after much procrastinating on Hitman and its equally riveting sequel. Both have plenty of action and my laptop seemed to cope more happily with this. Disappointing for me, but the Zowie didn't disappoint.

My experience with gaming monitors, while limited, has given me a little insight into what the gamer is looking for.  More often than not, the serious gamer will have a multi-monitor setup. If you're going all out, you may want a video experience that immerses you totally in the action with the scenes panoramically flowing through your setup.

I've found that the best flow occurs when the bezel is just about non-existent, making for a seamless flow of action. This would be my only grizzle with the BenQ Zowie. While I love its black sleekness and ease of adjusting, I couldn't help but think that the ample bezels could be a limiting factor. Having said that, I suspect that I'd be perfectly happy with a single monitor in my aforementioned cluttered workspace. The 24-inch viewing space was plenty for me. The 1920 x 1080 resolution and the 144Hz refresh rate is respectable, as is the price of around $470.

After a little more reflection, I concluded that the BenQ ZOWIE XL2411K will suit the gaming hobbyist who also likes having a larger monitor when working on other things. Like me, the purchaser will appreciate the small footprint of the base. They won't be worrying about the wide bezels because one monitor will be sufficient for their needs. The lack of speakers didn't worry me as I used my Megaboom and headphones, depending on who was nearby.

I prefer a decent set of gaming headphones when I want to feel immersed in the sound.  The BenQ ZOWIE XL2411K is an option worth considering if space, price and ergonomics are considerations.

This is a great middle-of-the-road option, well worth a look for those of us constrained by space and budget but with an eye for ergonomics and getting the best quality we can afford. I'll be sad to pack it up, as it has become a rather welcome addition to my workspace.

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