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  • Soon Kai Hong

BenQ Zowie XL 2566K Review: 360Hz TN Only For The 1%

It’s been awhile since we reviewed a monitor on this channel, a gaming monitor no less. This is the BenQ Zowie XL 2566K and it’s the company’s first 360Hz capable monitor complete with their signature DyAc+ support. Everything certainly sounds fancy and high-end but here’s the catch. This is still using a TN panel. Ooof. Quite the revelation isn’t it? Additionally, this costs about S$1,000 here in Singapore. Double ooof. So is this still worth taking a look at? Well, only if you’re in that 1% that this monitor is designed for.

Right off the bat, we want to be extremely clear about where we’re coming from. BenQ has always been making great products and especially in the eSports scene, still regarded extremely highly from the professional players and more. They’ve been powering eSports for as long as we could remember and they’ve done a pretty good job at that. It’s to the point where if you think about the gear that an eSports professional would use, BenQ and now with Zowie, they would certainly be in the topic.

So this, the Zowie XL 2566K certainly has that DNA right down to the T. But we will say this right here and now. If you’re just a casual user and you’re not even thinking of going professional for gaming, just avoid this. None of the features here will appeal to the general crowd and especially not for the asking price.

But if you’re in that 1%, well, let’s go through what this very monitor has to offer.


If you’ve ever seen a Zowie XL series monitor, the XL 2566K here isn’t all that different.

It’s a pretty standard looking monitor with reasonable bezels all around clad in an industrial grey with the iconic red accented cable passthrough hole on the monitor stand. To be very honest, the design language hasn’t changed all that much and that’s both a good and bad thing. Good because it’s pretty much instantly iconic especially in an eSports arena but bad because it doesn’t really look all that different. Then again, design is likely secondary here as the primary reason for going with a Zowie monitor is usually the capabilities of the panel itself.

As usual with the XL series, you get the full array of adjustments. Tilt, swivel, height adjust and even pivot. It’s extremely versatile in that regard. But of course, if the stand isn’t your fancy, you can always mount with a VESA arm instead. In addition, the Zowie has always made it a point to have the power supply built right into the display for the XL range and this might not seem like much to most people but it does honestly make a difference in the setup experience and more importantly, cable management.

One other thing that the XL 2566K has included in the box would be this shielding hood as they call it. But basically, the intended purpose is to reduce reflections of other sources of light in the room and keep it to the minimum. Honestly, we don’t see much purpose unless you have your monitor right by the window but hey, this is a feature borrowed from their professional colour monitor lineup and if you appreciate what it brings to the table, by all means.

The OSD is simple and straight to the point with intuitive controls on the bottom corner of the rear of the monitor. No qualms here really. But if say that is too cumbersome for you to use on the fly, there is the S-Switch included which gives you instant access to the different profiles of your choice and a scroll wheel to easily navigate the OSD.

Last but not least, there’s even a headphone hook around the back for you to easily hang your desired headphone of choice for easy accessibility.

But put all that aside, let’s talk about the main reason why you might want this monitor and for those exact same reasons, why you shouldn’t get this monitor.

It has everything to do with the panel.

The 360Hz TN Panel

This is a 24.5” TN panel with a 1080p resolution running at 360Hz. Yes, you heard that right and we’re going to say it again. This is a TN panel. Not VA, not IPS, let alone miniLED or OLED. This is TN.

In the past, it used to be that TN was the superior way to really get that competitive edge for gaming and it was simply due to refresh rate capabilities and the response time. Not only was TN the only option to go for when talking about high refresh rates of 120Hz and above, it was also pretty much the only panel to also support 1ms GtG response time, in an era where VA and IPS couldn’t yet go above 60Hz and could only get 5ms GtG response time at best.

With TN, you’re essentially trading colour range, vibrancy and accuracy in exchange for high refresh rate and fast response times. Which for most competitive gamers in the eSports scenes, are the essential factors to consider to get that edge over your opponents. It is also because of this focus that BenQ back then introduced Black Equalizer, where you can adjust the black levels of the display to essentially brighten up the darker areas and enable you to see your enemy much more clearly. A function that basically prioritised a gaming advantage over visual fidelity, a function that’s still present with the XL 2566K.

But that was all in the past.

Nowadays, VA and IPS have already caught up to the sole advantage that TN was capable of while also having basically eliminated all the disadvantages of TN. True, the XL 2566K is the world’s first 360Hz TN monitor with DyAc+ support. But it isn’t the first 360Hz monitor at all. Asus already has the PG259QN out for quite some time now, and that’s a monitor with the same resolution, same refresh rate, same response time but yet is an IPS panel.

We don’t really even need to try the two monitors side by side to know that the Asus provides a superior visual experience. Take playing a game like Valorant for example. The colours just don’t look as great and if you view the panel off axis just a little too far, the colour shift is clearly apparent.


Better yet, let’s talk about price. The Zowie XL 2566K retails for S$1,069 or US$599 while the Asus ROG Swift PG259QN retails for S$599 or US$499. Here in Singapore, it is way more expensive for reasons we don’t really know but even in the US where it’s just US$100 more, it still doesn’t really make much sense.

Now we definitely do not have the necessary equipment or space to do a full blown comparison but we can definitely say to a certain degree that whatever advantage TN brings to the table against IPS when the specifications are pretty much exactly the same, is really miniscule. Now you might argue that DyAc+ makes a world of a difference and to a certain extent, we say yes. It certainly is a great technology and does make for a clearer image in motion especially if you’ve a rig and play a game that can fully utilise the 360Hz. But again, unless you’ve a really trained eye or a professional player, is that one feature really worth the extra cash and the use of TN?


So here’s the verdict.

The BenQ Zowie XL 2566K gaming monitor is really a monitor that’s been designed for use in an eSports arena more so than anything else. It is certainly the de facto monitor to be featured in competitions, to be used by professionals and to be that iconic monitor that will be featured in the numerous photographs of the champions.

That is essentially what this monitor is all about and exactly what it is designed to do. And to that extent, by offering it to be available to consumers, it is meant to be the monitor to get if you’re a professional in the making. By having the same monitor at home, at your training, all the way till the grand stage, that’s what makes it truly advantageous.

But of the rest of us, the 99%? Probably not. You’ll be better off getting an IPS 360Hz monitor, or even 240Hz. Not only are there going to be more options and provide a superior visual experience, you’re also saving quite a few bucks.

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