The BenQ Zowie RL2455 is an entry level gaming monitor that costs just £150 or $199 USD. Supposedly ideal for console eSports, it boasts a 1ms response time, up to 75Hz refresh rate, 1080p resolution and it measures 24in across.
So far so good, but not all is well.
For a start, this is essentially just an updated version of the RL2455HM, a monitor that’s four years old now. It’s got the same stand and frame, the same connectivity and presumably the same panel inside too.
BenQ Zowie RL2455 video review
As such it looks downright dated compared to latest slim-bezelled alternatives.
At least the chunky, matt plastic frame is fairly hefty so is potentially more suited to public eSports environments where screens might get knocked. You also get a 100mm VESA mount for use with alternative monitor stands.
That’s a good thing too as the included stand is reasonably stable but offers no adjustment other than tilt and it only attaches to the display via a plastic clip.
As to that connectivity, you actually quite a selection, with DVI, VGA and two HDMI, making this a fairly versatile display. You just miss out on the most common modern connection, DisplayPort.
It’s back to the throwback feel when it comes to the OSD display controls. Ranged down the right side, they’re fairly chunky and marked out by not exactly subtle grey dots.
The menus are reasonably quick to respond and intuitive to navigate. Not the best, but far from the worst.
You get plenty of options to choose from too, and in fact it’s in its firmware tweaks that this monitor makes its bid for glory. As well as a comprehensive selection of image quality adjustments you also get loads of gaming presets and a couple of gaming centric settings.
The latter consist of BenQ’s overdrive setting that’s called Advanced motion acceleration or AMA. It defaults to the High setting and that’s the one I’d recommend for most users as it provides a good balance of reduced ghosting without too much corona affect.
The other setting is black equaliser, which is a gamma boost setting that makes the darker areas of the image look brighter. This works as described and is ideal for gloomier competitive FPS games. It ruins overall image quality but for that competitive edge it’s useful.
Otherwise, I believe the gaming presets do in fact just adjust the other settings so you can manually dial them all in if you like. The presets just make it easier to dive right in.
Again, though, nearly all of the gaming modes do little for image quality. For instance the default Fighing mode has a poor Delta E performance that’s much worse than what the panel can do. It also throws off the gamma and boosts sharpness to its maximum. Great for picking out enemies in games but bad for anything else.
What’s more, they’re mostly just variations on the same theme so I don’t really see the point in there being so many of them.
As such, I’d definitely recommend having a play with all the various individual settings and finding the balance you prefer then saving those settings to one of the three user profiles.
As to overall image quality, as hinted at, the Fighting game mode is the default setting and it really is awful for general use. Flip to the Standard mode, though, and this is a decent display.
Colours are reasonably accurate, contrast is plentiful, you get good sRGB colour space coverage and, for a TN panel viewing angles are pretty good too.
To get the very best from it I only had to switch to the user colour temperature option and very slightly tweak the RGB channels.
For pure image quality it still can’t hold a candle to an IPS panel but instead you get that rapid 1ms response time, which you can definitely notice. The image feels far snappier and there’s far less ghosting than with slower response time panels. Input lag is low too.
You’re still stuck at 60Hz, though, so you’re still some way off the feel of a 144Hz display.
As for the claimed 75Hz, well it’s only available by overclocking the display via your graphics card driver and reaching 75Hz is not guaranteed. What’s more, I found image quality dropped noticeably moving from 60 to 75Hz.
Oh, and before I wrap up, it has speakers too. They’re as weak as you’d expect but it’s always useful to have them just in case.
In conclusion, then, this display’s dated design and feature set means it struggles compared to some more modern alternatives that look nicer and include things like Freesync. But its decent image quality, good range of inputs and extra game options means it pulls things back a bit.
So, not a bad option, just not one to get excited about.