Skip to main content

Tech Tom's Relies On: BenQ Zowie 144Hz Monitor

One doesn't transition from working on a 13" laptop to having a complete desktop system with multiple 24" monitors in one fell swoop. It happens gradually: You build a system, find a monitor, and live with it until a voice starts whispering in the back of your head about how nice it would be to have even more screen space. Eventually, if you're anything like me, you give in to that sweet temptation and buy a second monitor.

Making the transition from working on a relatively small laptop to having a full desk setup wasn't easy for me. I'd used a laptop as my primary device for my entire professional life, and I played games on consoles and handheld devices, not any of the laptops I've ever owned. So when I built my first system, I decided to get a 24" 1440p @ 60Hz monitor that could handle my primarily text-based job as well as any other display needs.

Then I started to take an interest in PC gaming. I bought a GTX 1080, used it to push the measly 60 frames per second to my monitor, and marveled at how pretty everything looked in 1440p. But I had a budding obsession with Overwatch and other first-person shooters that ultimately made me think that maybe all the enthusiasts weren't whackadoodles for playing on 144Hz (or higher) monitors. Enter the BenQ Zowie XL2411.

It's hard to explain how much smoother games look when you push 300FPS to a 144Hz monitor instead of pushing 60FPS to a 60Hz monitor. I'm no frame snob--it doesn't bother me to play 30 or 60FPS games on my Switch or PlayStation 4--but going from the 144Hz monitor to a 60Hz monitor is like ripping half the pages from a flipbook. Everything gets choppy and things get much harder to follow.

I suspected that would be the case going in--countless reviews and forum posts have espoused the virtues of 144Hz monitors. The hard part was deciding on what monitor I needed. Should I shell out the extra money for a G-Sync monitor? Did I need any other bells and whistles? Because I have no problem getting at least 144FPS, I decided that I didn't need G-Sync, which saved me some hassle and a couple hundred dollars.

With that decision point out of the way, I wanted to find something that people trusted. Scouring community pages, Twitch stream commands, and other resources showed me that many professionals swear by BenQ's Zowie monitors. Amazon just happened to have one on sale, so I picked it up, and I've been happy ever since. I hooked up the monitor, fiddled with the appropriate settings, and got used to that 144Hz life.

Now it's hard to imagine going back to a single-monitor setup, let alone a 13" laptop. I constantly have everything work-related on one monitor (hi, bosses!) while putting a stream, YouTube video, or other piece of #content on the other monitor. I also use one monitor to stream events, for example, while taking notes on the other. Having all this extra screen space just flatly makes working from home much more enjoyable.