5 things to look out for when planning to buy a FPS gaming monitor

·7-min read
What should a gamer look out for in a good monitor?
What should a gamer look out for in a good monitor?

Esports, gaming and their affiliated industries are some of the fastest-growing industries despite the ongoing disruption caused by Covid-19. Without face-to-face social interactions, games are a fun and exciting way for people to keep in touch. For some lucky ones, gaming can even become a career.

If your area of expertise or interest is in first-person shooter (FPS) games, then you'll need a monitor that can handle graphics and movements with ease. You would need to look out five things when buying a monitor for First-Person Shooter (FPS) games.

1) Good monitor refresh rate for smooth in-game experience

The monitor's refresh rate is the number of times your monitor screen can refresh the frames per second (fps). Monitors usually come with a variety of refresh rates; 60hz, 120hz, 144hz, 240hz and even up to 360hz. Higher numbers mean a smoother screenplay and less information loss.

Take, for example, a monitor such as the BenQ ZOWIE XL2546K, a 1080p 240hz monitor used by esports teams Paper Rex and Kingsmen. The base refresh rate of its 240hz displays more frames per second, displaying more information within the frames. This allows users to have an advantage over players using monitors with lower refresh rates, a bonus, especially for FPS games.

Esports team Paper Rex choose ZOWIE XL2546K as their official monitor. (Photo: BenQ ZOWIE)
Esports team Paper Rex choose ZOWIE XL2546K as their official monitor. (Photo: BenQ ZOWIE)

Note that redrawing a complex image more times per second can be taxing on your system. Consider if your GPU can afford a high refresh monitor. If not, ZOWIE also provides XL2411K, 144hz monitor, with similar features to XL2546K except for a lower refresh rate. It's a good choice for an entry FPS gaming monitor.

BenQ ZOWIE’s 144hz monitor, XL2411K, offers similar features (Photo: BenQ ZOWIE)
BenQ ZOWIE’s 144hz monitor, XL2411K, offers similar features (Photo: BenQ ZOWIE)

2) Better pixel response time may allow you to spot your enemies faster

Your screen may be able to refresh the image at 240hz, but the pixels on the screen may not be able to keep up. Sometimes, you may experience image blurring when moving in-game, since the pixels cannot display the refreshed frames fast enough, holding "residue" of the previous frame. This effect is also called "ghosting". In a competitive environment, this may be detrimental to the player as you may miscalculate your shots due to the ghosting of the monitor.

The ZOWIE BenQ XL2546K comes with ZOWIE's patented Dynamic Accuracy (DyAc+) technology, which reduces the motion blur and ghosting of the panel to almost zero. This is accomplished by an automated on and off of the backlight of the monitor at fixed points. This helps to avoid unwanted afterimages since there is no residual light from a previous fixed point. That's why you may notice that a lot of tournament and esports teams use ZOWIE XL2546K.

The XL2546K comes with three different settings for DyAc+ – Off, High and Premium. Here's a real-life gameplay for example.

DyAc+ Off – motion blur/ghosting observed on trees and pipes
DyAc+ Off – motion blur/ghosting observed on trees and pipes

With DyAc+ off, you can see very severe ghosting. The pixels don't seem to be refreshing fast enough to keep up with the frames that are being sent to the monitor. Hence on a still frame, you are able to see the residue of the previous frame as it tries to display the newest frame.

DyAc+ High – lesser motion blur/ghosting observed on trees and pipes
DyAc+ High – lesser motion blur/ghosting observed on trees and pipes

With DyAc+ at High setting, the ghosting is still there, but slightly reduced.

DyAc+ Premium – Negligible to zero motion blur while moving
DyAc+ Premium – Negligible to zero motion blur while moving

With DyAc+ Premium, however, the ghosting and motion blur is totally eliminated. This is extremely good for FPS players as you can pinpoint your enemy's exact location without needing to worry if it was an afterimage of the monitor's ghosting. This will also help in fast-paced games when there are many movements, like Call of Duty: Warzone and Apex Legends.

One thing to note about DyAc+ is that it uses a backlight technology for it to work, so at higher DyAc+ settings, the monitor will be dimmer than your usual brightness setting, so that is something that you would need to adjust to if you are using DyAc+.

3) Ergonomic design for a pleasant overall experience

A good monitor will also come with a highly adjustable stand so that you can adjust the monitor to the optimum position for you. Having a good posture while playing a game will also increase your awareness and reaction time.

The monitor stand of the XL2546K is extremely customisable. You can swivel your monitor to the left or the right easily, as well as adjust the height of the monitor.

Swivel your monitor easily from left to right
Swivel your monitor easily from left to right

There is a little indicator that you can use on the monitor stand to mark your monitor's preferred position. So even if you accidentally moved your monitor, you'll be able to readjust your monitor to the original position.

You can adjust the height and angle of the monitor
You can adjust the height and angle of the monitor

The stand also allows you to tilt your monitor to various viewing angles to your preferred position, with a few markers to help you keep track of your optimal viewing angle.

There are indicators on the stand to help with your adjustments
There are indicators on the stand to help with your adjustments
L: Base of the monitor. R: Smaller base illustration versus a larger one.
L: Base of the monitor. R: Different orientation on the table to explore

The monitor doesn't take up a lot of space on your table, and with a small base, you can put it in any kind of orientation on your table.

A plus point is that the stand also includes a cable management hole that you can use to route all your cables into for a tidier desk.

Cable management hole
Cable management hole

4) Customisable settings that can be changed easily for best in-game performance

Different games require different monitor settings. If you are able to tune the brightness and colours of the monitor to meet your needs, there will be less unnecessary strain on your eyes, and you will be able to focus more on the game.

XL Setting to Share
XL Setting to Share

Enter ZOWIE BenQ XL2546K's XL Setting to Share. Use this program to utilise settings from another player that uses the same monitor, perfect for team play. All you've got to do is head down to ZOWIE's Setting to Share website, download the software, download the setting, and allow the software to apply it to your monitor. The best part is that the software requires no installation.

The XL2546K comes with three presets that you can modify and switch around, depending on the game you play. You will be able to overwrite any of these profiles using the Setting to Share software and download the recommended settings for some games like Valiant, Apex Legends and Call of Duty: Warzone.

You might think that it is a hassle to change all of these settings with the monitor controls, but fear not, as the XL2546K also comes with a little device called the S Switch.

This switch allows you to access all your monitor's settings without the need to reach out to the buttons on your monitor. It's connected to the XL2546K using a mini-USB, and you can switch between all three profiles on your monitor with just a click of a button. Each number on the switch corresponds to the profile number on your monitor, and you are also able to tweak your monitor's settings using the scroll wheel and buttons on the S Switch.

5) Colour vibrancy to see better in the game

Having a fantastic refresh rate and excellent pixel response time will amount to nothing if you can't see your enemy and environment. You'll want the colours and the blacks of the game to stand out so that you can spot if your enemies are hiding in a dark corner of the room or across the map.

With that in mind, the XL2546K has a Black equalizer function that allows darker parts of the map to be more visible to the user.

Lowest value of the Black eQualizer
Lowest value of the Black eQualizer
Highest value of the Black eQualizer
Highest value of the Black eQualizer

With the Black eQualizer turned on, the darker parts of the map are made slightly brighter, so you can see those spots clearer. It increases the visibility of the blacks in your image without over-saturating the contrast of the monitor, so you do not experience any change in image quality.

For more information, check the Singapore site out. Click here if you come from other ASEAN countries.

This article was produced in partnership with ZOWIE BenQ.

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