BenQ Zowie XL2546 strobes its way to smooth motion at 240 Hz

Back when we initially saw BenQ's competition-ready Zowie XL2540 monitor, the first question on my mind was whether it supported the company's blur reduction mode. Not long before, BenQ had released the Zowie XL2735 featuring an apparently-new technology called "Dynamic Accuracy," or DyAc. DyAc isn't actually new, though; it's a new name for the company's austerely-named BenQ Blur Reduction feature. Firestarter, ready your wallet, because BenQ's latest Zowie monitor is the 25", 240-Hz, DyAc-equipped XL2546.

In every perceptible way, the Zowie XL2546 is essentially an XL2540 with Dynamic Accuracy. That means its 1920×1080 TN panel has the same 24.5" viewable display area, 1000:1 static contrast ratio, 240-Hz refresh rate, and 1ms response time. BenQ specs a slightly lower typical brightness on the XL2546—320 cd/m², versus 400 cd/m² on the XL2540—but judging by the XL2735's example, that's probably because this monitor has the DyAc strobing technology permanently enabled.

If you aren't familiar with motion blur reduction features on gaming displays, they aren't snake oil or marketing magic. LCDs, OLEDs, and all other types of "always-on" display are susceptible to "sample-and-hold" blurring. This is actually caused by your eye's tendency to blur moving objects. Strobing the backlight simulates the effect that CRT monitors achieved by coincidence, and restores the truly clear motion that old farts like me grew up gaming on. Folks first figured this out by hacking the "Lightboost 3D" feature (intended to eliminate eye-to-eye crosstalk in 3D content designed for shutter glasses) to work in 2D mode.

A BenQ video demonstrating DyAc in action.

BenQ was one of the first companies to offer blur reduction as an intentional feature in its XL2411Z and XL2420Z monitors back in 2015. It's slowly creeping across the market as more gamers discover the beauty of clear motion. LG, Samsung, and Eizo all have monitors featuring custom blur reduction features now. Additionally, every G-Sync monitor supports Nvidia's Ultra-Low Motion Blur (ULMB) mode. ULMB works in a fundamentally similar way to BenQ's DyAc, except that it's not always-on.

That always-on feature is a major part of DyAc, because it means that the monitor was designed with strobing in mind from the get-go. Strobing the backlight has various side effects, most obviously reduced apparent brightness. Reducing the brightness also throws the color profile all out of whack, though, and some monitors exhibit major tint issues in strobe mode as a result. Since DyAc is always on, BenQ may have compensated for the resulting changes in image quality from the get-go. We don't explictly know that DyAc is always enabled on the XL2546 like it is on the XL2735, so we've requested clarification from BenQ on the matter.

Gamers will be able to hook up to the XL2546 using DL-DVI, Displayport 1.2, or HDMI 2.0. Getting that sweet 240-Hz refresh rate will require using one of the latter two connections, though. The monitor has both microphone and headphone jacks, as well as a three-port USB 3 hub. BenQ's stand supports pivot, swivel, tilt, and height adjustments, but if you prefer, you can VESA mount this monitor instead. B&H Photo Video has the BenQ Zowie XL2546 up for pre-order right now for $549.

Comments closed
    • mdrejhon
    • 2 years ago

    Blur Busters Strobe Utility can turn ON/OFF strobing on XL2546

    I’ve updated Strobe Utility to support the turning on/off of strobing, as well as adjusting strobe length and strobe phase. Also, reducing strobe crosstalk (double-image-effect) based on user preference.

    P.S. 180Hz strobing using Large Vertical Totals (via combo of two utilities: ToastyX Custom Resolution Utility + Blur Busters Strobe Utility) can look extremely clear if your priority is avoiding strobe crosstalk. Going down to 180Hz might have a millisecond extra lag, but can be useful for those specific games where you’d love to have even better motion clarity than XL2546 default factory settings.

    [url<]http://www.blurbusters.com/strobe-utility[/url<]

      • RAGEPRO
      • 2 years ago

      Thanks for letting us know Mark. Glad to see you posting here.

      For anyone who doesn’t know, this guy is the Chief Blur Buster. 🙂

      • Kretschmer
      • 2 years ago

      Kudos on fighting the good fight against motion blur.

      I found ULMB on the PG279Q to still have noticeable blur (e.g. when strafing next to a wall or running past an object); are the TN monitors crisper in this regard?

    • Chrispy_
    • 2 years ago

    I would love someone to make a non-TN strobing monitor with a better resolution and preferably larger panel.

    100Hz is ample. Hell, 85Hz would do at a push.

      • RAGEPRO
      • 2 years ago

      I think 120Hz with a synchronized strobe would be ideal. 120Hz has lots of useful factors (like 60Hz, 30Hz, and 24Hz) and 8ms response time is not an especially high bar to hit. A really high-quality VA panel with super-high contrast owing to a QLED backlight…

      …well, I was basically there with that Samsung CFG70, heh. Shame about the QA on those.

      • Kretschmer
      • 2 years ago

      There are a ton of 27″ 2560×1440 IPS panels that strobe at 120Hz. Look at the 144/165Hz 27″ IPS gaming monitors from Asus, Acer, AOC, etc. E.g. the Asus PG279Q.

        • Chrispy_
        • 2 years ago

        I wasn’t aware they strobed; With the exception of a native 144Hz LG Ultrawide which has a disastrous strobe that is out-of sync due to rolling scan artifacts, I thought most of these panels were overdriven by the manufacturer, and not natively 144Hz.

        Since you listed the PG279Q specifically, I looked it up and didn’t see any mention of a strobing backlight or ULMB function. Are you confusing “strobing” with other technologies or the general high refresh rate – or does it definitely have ULMB but it’s just an unlisted feature?

          • RAGEPRO
          • 2 years ago

          All G-Sync monitors have ULMB, as far as I have ever seen. It’s listed on BlurBusters’ [url=https://www.blurbusters.com/faq/120hz-monitors/<]list of the best monitors[/url<], too.

            • Chrispy_
            • 2 years ago

            Awesome. I might start looking at G-Sync screens then. My only G-Sync screen is an old Acer and I figured the ULMB was an afterthought because of all the issues enabling it and keeping it enabled.

            • Voldenuit
            • 2 years ago

            You can set per-application ULMB profiles in nvidia control panel. I have Overwatch set to use ULMB + Fast Sync, and everything else defaults to G-Sync.

            EDIT: This is on a PG278Q, not sure if all other G-Sync monitors are as well-behaved about auto-mode switching.

          • Kretschmer
          • 2 years ago

          ULMB= Strobing, except it’s more consistent and not as half-assed like many of the Freeync monitors. Check out reviews to see all the monitor features, often time vendors leave out the more esoteric stuff. As far as I know most or all of the 144Hz+ 16:9 GSync monitors offer ULMB.

          You really have to see it to believe it (and have the GPU power to match). I chose a non-ULMB monitor (X34), mostly because the PG279Q I ordered had awful backlight bleed and it would be easier to send that back than to mail two monitors back.

    • Krogoth
    • 2 years ago

    This is a pure 100% motion videophile product.

    Going beyond 120hz for accurately depicting rapid motion is just overkill unless you are some kind of freak, but even then you are going against the laws of diminishing returns.

      • SlappedSilly
      • 2 years ago

      I admit it. I am that kind of freak. I will be getting this.

      • Kretschmer
      • 2 years ago

      It’s not necessarily the refresh rate that matters, as much as the GTG time of the panel. Even 165Hz panels can be too slow at 120Hz strobing , as the pixels don’t quite refresh quickly enough for perfect fluidity.

      I think the idea is that you can run that 240Hz TN panel at 120Hz strobing with amazing GTG response times and it will look more fluid than a 120Hz panel strobing at 120Hz.

      • jts888
      • 2 years ago

      Maybe for smoothness, but 240 Hz would be great for drastically lowering flickering while strobing is enabled.

      120 Hz strobing displays and fluorescent lights give me eyestrain fairly quickly, but 240 Hz or higher light ballasts do not.

    • Anovoca
    • 2 years ago

    Are you the gatekeeper?

    • ikjadoon
    • 2 years ago

    This should be a standard feature moving forward on high-end monitors (G-SYNC definitely has it and I highly recommend any G-SYNC owners to try it out).

    I used the Lightboost hack and, holy wow. Now THIS is motion clarity. 240HZ feels blurry when you get accustomed to strobing backlights.

    [url<]http://www.blurbusters.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/motion-blur-graph.png[/url<] For a deeper drive, this website is basically the reference: [url<]http://www.blurbusters.com[/url<] The tests will convince everyone except the "cinematic 24Hz" crowd.

      • tay
      • 2 years ago

      Haha the cinematic 24Hz people. Do you know if any free sync displays have this kind of technology?
      Edit2: There are, here’s a list with different panel types [url<]http://www.blurbusters.com/faq/120hz-monitors/[/url<] contains VA and IPS panel types. I would think this would work best with TN panels, but I may be wrong.

        • RAGEPRO
        • 2 years ago

        I had a Samsung C24FG70 that uses a VA panel and supports strobing at 60Hz, 72Hz, 100Hz, 120Hz and 144Hz. It uses a double-strobe below 100Hz to prevent from looking all flickery. Absolutely stunning image quality, but I went through two of them (one of which was factory repaired twice), a friend went through three, and another friend went through several, all with the same issue. It has major design flaws, which is a damn shame as it’s easily the best display I’ve ever had the pleasure of using. Aside from, y’know, the fact that it doesn’t work.

        Purportedly there is a new revision that resolves the issues we were having, but my second one was definitely one of the newer models and it showed the problem faster than my first one did, so I dunno. [url=https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824022485<]It's this thing here, if you wanna try your luck.[/url<]

          • tay
          • 2 years ago

          Not after that ringing endorsement. Haha. Well at least I know alternatives exist.

            • RAGEPRO
            • 2 years ago

            Yeah, it’s $280 now, but back when I bought mine it was $330. Rather telling I think.

        • Kretschmer
        • 2 years ago

        The FreeSync implementations are often spotty. Don’t buy without checking the TFT Central reviews.

      • jihadjoe
      • 2 years ago

      This is one of the reasons why GSync > Freesync.

        • Spunjji
        • 2 years ago

        Heavy caveat though: You’re paying a lot extra for the G-Sync variable-refresh tech that you /cannot use/ with blur reduction enabled. It’s one or the other.

      • mdrejhon
      • 2 years ago

      Indeed, the old LightBoost ‘hack’, while it made Blur Busters popular, is greatly superseded by the non-‘hack’ methods such as more customizable and easier strobing found with ULMB and with BenQ/Zowie DyAc monitors.

      There’s more calibration work involved though; you do have to adjust the strobe crosstalk to improve motion clarity (see [url<]http://www.testufo.com/crosstalk[/url<] and [url<]http://www.blurbusters.com/crosstalk[/url<] ...) although it depends on your goals (eSports quality lowest strobe lag, CRT quality crosstalk-free strobing -- there's a minor tradeoff that adds/removes rougly 1-2ms).

    • bjm
    • 2 years ago

    I found my next monitor.

      • shaq_mobile
      • 2 years ago

      Where was it?

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