Zowie XL2586X review: Is 540Hz really necessary?

Sayem Ahmed
Zowie XL2586X on a desk turned off

Zowie has revealed its first 540Hz monitor, and I’ve gone hands-on to tell you if you really need a monitor that can drive more frames than many games can even render, even on the highest-end PCs.

The race for the fastest refresh rates is on, and Zowie’s esports-focused XL2586X has finally been released. But, given its ability to drive this many frames, you have to question its efficacy as both a monitor for general use, as well as how it runs other titles.

Once you understand that this is no normal gaming monitor, you can appreciate just how rapid this display is, and its speed is unparalleled by 99% of the rest of the gaming monitor market. But, whether you have the gaming setup to drive such a high-end display is another question altogether.

Key specs

  • Screen size: 24.1-inches
  • Panel type: TN
  • Resolution: 1920×1080
  • Brightness: 320 cd/m2
  • Contrast ratio: 1000:1
  • Refresh rate: 540Hz
  • Response time: 0.5ms
  • Connectivity: 1x DisplayPort 1.4, 3x HDMI 2.1, 1x 3,5mm audio jack
  • Price: $999
Rapid refresh rateCould be outpaced by new OLED tech
Brilliant, understated designServes an extremely niche audience
No Nvidia Latency Analyzer support


When it comes to how the XL2586X actually looks, it’s not going to win any design awards, encased in a black plastic shell, which comes with Zowie’s removable “blinders” – though the efficacy of actually using them in a game, and them being helpful is questionable unless you’re sat next to other gamers and need to block out their screens.

Much of the design is exactly the same as the XL2566K which I reviewed last year, right down to the adjustable ball-bearing stand, which can swivel and lift to any angle you want. Compared to a lot of other gaming monitors’ overdesigned stands, this has a low impact on your desk, and looks pretty clean while doing so.

XL286X stand

Easy cable channeling also allows you to keep your setup looking swanky and ensures that no matter how wild you’re going with a mouse, you’ll never have any wires interfering with your desk.

While the monitor itself looks fairly drab, and like any other you might see in an office space, its no-frills nature tells you that this display is all about raw performance, rather than any superfluous additions like rear RGB lighting, or other gimmicks.

The understated design is a breath of fresh air after seeing so many other gaming monitors look like some kind of alien spacecraft looking to make its way onto your desk.


Before I get into everything the XL2586X can do, it does not have any native G-Sync support, meaning its only G-Sync “compatible”, so you cannot use any benefits like the Nvidia Reflex latency analyzer, which should be a priority for those looking to attain measurable peak performance. It’s an extremely odd omission.

XL2586X stand
The stand resembles older models, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Outside of that, you can also enjoy DyAC 2 backlight strobing to avoid any flicker and blur, but this is most effective at higher refresh rates, so make sure that you have a PC up to the task of driving frames as high as possible to make the best use of it. In my experience, flicking it on was a breeze and it did noticeably improve upon removing any sort of blur, as tested via BlurBusters’ tried and true TestUFO.

You also get what BenQ calls a “S Switch controller” to configure the panel, but it still comes in the form of an ugly cable that plugs into the monitor directly. At this level of premium quality, you’d expect more premium trimmings. It’s nearly the exact same as last year’s XL2566K.

Compared to OLED monitors, this panel has no local dimming zones either, so for the best picture quality, you should instead seek out OLED monitors. But, you can also configure the response time with several overdrive modes, with a slider. With a monitor this quick, however, you’ll want the fastest response times possible.

Resolution & refresh rate

The headlining feature of the XL2586X is the refresh rate: But, this only comes in useful if you have a powerful enough system to drive that number of frames in certain esports titles. This is an extremely fringe use case for most people unless you are looking to attain the best performance possible in Counter-Strike 2 and similar games.

Gaming performance

In motion, driving down all the settings on CS2 and playing the game at 540Hz using an RTX 4080-based system is a dream, it’s wickedly smooth and looks fantastic while doing so, as long as you don’t veer too far to the right or to the left.

Rear controls of XL2586X
If you don’t want to use the ugly controller, you can do everything on the OSD.

There is a significant difference between 240Hz and 540Hz, but from 360Hz and upwards, the differences are more subtle to my eyes. However, that doesn’t take away from just how incredibly smooth it feels, and to many, that’s what is going to matter.

With 480Hz OLED monitors on the way, it just feels like too little, too late. The bump up to 540Hz just is not worth the reduction in response time and image quality of a TN panel.

This is the monitor’s major downfall, as it restricts its use-cases to esports-only, whereas OLED can be used for watching movies, and immersive single-player content too. You just won’t get that level of quality in a TN panel.

Should you buy it?

If you are one of a select few whose goal it is to be an incredibly competitive Counter Strike or esports player, and have a top-shelf PC that can push upwards of at least 500 FPS in your chosen titles, the Zowie XL2586X is a no-brainer, it’s a great addition to your setup, and its performance won’t let you down.

But, the omission of Reflex Latency Analyzer is a huge shame: it’s something that its direct competitor, the Asus PG248QP manages to add. But, if you’re not that person who wants a good monitor for general use, don’t chase the proverbial refresh rate dragon unless you absolutely need to.

This is bleeding-edge tech for a niche audience. The swathe of OLED monitors can manage much of the same, with similarly rapid refresh rates, if you’re looking for a premium addition to your setup.

Verdict – 3/5

I can’t help but feel a touch disappointed about the Zowie XL2586X. It’s impressive, for sure, but its target audience is just not me. Combined with the purely utilitarian design and horse blinders for maximum immersion, unless you’re an esports organization looking for a new monitor to kit out your players with, the likelihood is that you just won’t need this.

The ROG PG248QP is also $100 cheaper than the $999 asking price of the XL2586X, meaning that even among its competitors, it can be outshone in terms of pure specifications.

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