Disclaimer: We were loaned review units, courtesy of Illegear in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are the author’s own and not influenced by Illegear, and/or its affiliates, in any way.
If there’s one thing that Malaysians are constantly on the lookout for, it’s a bang for your buck product! And if there’s a gaming hardware company that understands that, it’s none other than Illegear. For years the company has been pushing out powerful gaming products at reasonable price points and their current series of gaming monitors, the Bolt 24 and Bolt 27 are great examples of their philosophy. After spending some time with the Bolt 24 and Bolt 27, here’s what we think about the displays.
I’ll start with the larger display, the Bolt 27. Its main draw is its attractive price point - at RM1,199, you’ll be hard-pressed to find another curved 27” monitor with all of the same features. Samsung VA panels, 2560 x 1440 QHD resolution, 144Hz refresh rate, HDR, and 4ms response time. Not to mention, the monitor is an attractive looking piece of hardware, especially with the glowing “X” in the back which can spice up your room a little.
We tested the monitor out and it performed as expected - it ran games at 144Hz with no issues, colours were shown correctly and so on. It also has plenty of I/O ports - 2x HDMI 1.4, 1x HDMI 2.0, 1x DisplayPort 1.2, 1x Headphone. If there’s one thing I could wish for, it would be for us to be able to hold onto the review unit forever!
Jokes aside, the Bolt 27 isn’t perfect - the stand that comes with the monitor has extremely limited adjustability. Besides the angle (tilting up/down) of the display, you won’t be able to move anything else. Fortunately, it comes with optional brackets that allow you to use the monitor with VESA mounts (for your walls or table monitor arms). The monitor also uses a power brick instead of a regular power cable, so it can take up some table space.
However, these drawbacks don’t detract from the overall experience of using the Bolt 27. The stand was extremely easy to put together and we had it up and running in a matter of minutes. It probably took more time to remove the display from the box!
If you’re looking for a high-res, high-refresh-rate, and HDR-capable monitor, you can’t go wrong with the Bolt 27, especially at this price. However, if you don’t need something that large (i.e. limited table space or you don’t have the GPU for such high resolution), the smaller Bolt 24 might be what you need.
The Bolt 24 can be touted as the little sibling of the 27. While it does cost almost half the price at RM659, some sacrifices had to be made - namely, its smaller size (only 23.6” wide), lower resolution (1920 x 1080 Full HD), and no HDR support. However, depending on your requirements, this might be all that you need. You still get the high refresh rate, funky backlighting and a curved display that uses a Samsung VA panel.
While the monitor does perform well, it does have some caveats - 144Hz refresh rate is only available through DisplayPort, due to the monitor using HDMI 1.4. Unlike the Bolt 27, which has HDMI 2.0 support, you’ll need a DisplayPort capable GPU in order to enable the highest refresh rate, if not you’ll be stuck at 120Hz. Something to take note of if you have limited DisplayPort outputs available. Fortunately, like the Bolt 27, it does come with a DisplayPort cable included. The Bolt 24 has the following I/O ports: 2x HDMI 1.4, 1x DisplayPort 1.2, 1x Headphone.
The Bolt 24 comes with a very limited mounting stand as well, with the monitor tilt being the only thing that’s adjustable. Fortunately, it also comes with VESA mounting support so you can rectify those issues. One thing I didn’t like about the default stand is that it attaches to the back of the monitor via a single screw. I felt that two should have been the minimum because a single screw for such an important job seems questionable to me.
Lastly, the recessed ports on the Bolt 24 are a double-edged sword - they keep your connectors hidden, but this also means that they are quite troublesome to remove (not an issue for most people but it does slow down the job of a reviewer). It also makes it hard to keep the cables out of sight since they are forced to exit downwards.
All in all, if you’re looking for a curved, high refresh rate 23.6" monitor at a reasonable price, the Bolt 24 might be right up your alley.
Both of the monitors are available now, on the official Illegear website:
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BenQ, the company behind one of the most popular gaming monitors on the market, has announced the arrival of the ZOWIE XL-K Generation models: the XL2546K and the XL2411K. Designed with gamers in mind, these high-end monitors are aimed at giving them the edge when it comes to performance and accuracy. Featuring high refresh rates and full HD resolution, these monitors have everything that players need when it comes to gaming competitively.
The new XL-K Generation monitors feature smaller base stands than their predecessors, giving you more room on the table for your keyboard and mousepads. The stands also provide additional height and tilt settings, making sure you have the monitor right where you want it, regardless of your height.
Starting off with the higher end of the two, the 24.5" 240Hz XL2546K comes with built-in shields to better protect the monitor during transport, and also to prevent side light sources from creating any onscreen glare. It also features DyAc⁺ Technology, which reduces blur and allows players to maintain sight of their crosshair at all times, improving their aim and accuracy. It also comes with the ever-handy S-Switch - an external device for you to adjust the settings on your monitor without fumbling over hard to press buttons on the side or back of the display.
The XL2411K is slightly smaller at 24" and only refreshes at 144Hz, and doesn't come with the built-in shields or the S-Switch, though they are an optional purchase. The monitor also supports DyAc™ Technology, though due to limitations of the panel, turning it on does reduce brightness. However, it does come with a much cheaper price tag than the XL2546K.
While the current gaming norm is to have a steady 1080p gaming experience with 100+ frame per second (fps). A higher resolution is always welcomed by gamers. In fact, many desire a bigger screen and higher resolution monitor in 2020.
The EX2780Q from BenQ is a 2K gaming monitor primarily geared towards gaming at a 144Hz refresh rate. With BenQ’s exclusive HDRi technology, this monitor certainly gives great “liveness” to the displayed images. The monitor supports AMD’s FreeSync technology, making any in-game animation extra fluid.
Not only that, the attached speakers and remote controller is a powerful duo. For RM1,799, this monitor is loaded with tonnes of perks!
To be honest, BenQ’s EX2780Q is one of the best-looking gaming monitors currently. The mainframe and the metal stand of the monitor are bronze in colour, giving it a premium feel. Unfortunately, the stand is only a solid piece of metal without any height adjustment and can’t be swivelled.
The only ergonomic element is the control for screen tilt, which is only passable given its asking price. So the best solution is to wall-mount the monitor if you wish to customise the viewing angle and the screen’s distance from your eyes.
The connectivity is sufficient with one HDMI 2.0 port, DisplayPort and USB Type-C port. BenQ’s cable management mechanic in the stand is a nice touch because all cables can be hidden within the monitor stand.
The overall design of EX2780Q is rustic yet practical. It’s a far cry from the seemingly immutable black and grey design we’ve become accustomed to as gamers.
The top and side bezels are slim, which is a standard feature on most modern monitors. The screen’s bottom bezel, on the other hand, is necessarily thicker than usual due to the implementation of the Trevolo speakers (BenQ’s audio side of their business).
The 27” screen size and 1440p resolution are a respectable combo, especially when you only have a single monitor setup. Although the 24” screen is the go-to size for the competitive scene, the extra three inches on the 27” monitor make a huge difference, especially when multitasking.
Additionally, the 2K resolution looks sharp and clear because of the relatively high pixel density (PPI) that the EX2780Q possesses (although not as high as a smartphone’s PPI). Worry not, individual pixels aren’t apparent from regular viewing distances.
The EX2780Q has an IPS panel, which is arguably the highest-tier panel compared to the vertical alignment (VA) and twisted nematic (TN) panels. That said, the colour reproduction and viewing angle are excellent on this monitor.
The HDRi is BenQ’s fashionable HDR amplifier. The “i” refers to intelligence, meaning the HDRi will further enhance the “ordinary” HDR content on your monitor, giving it extra sharpness and liveness. When the HDRi mode is activated, the images are extremely sharp and vibrant. It’s immersive to look at, to say the least.
The EX2780Q comes with the three pre-set modes- Game HDRi, Cinema HDRi, and Display HDR. Your visual enjoyment can be customised according to personal preference under various scenarios.
The BenQ’s pioneering HDRi technology combines active intelligent brightness control, colour saturation/balance optimization, and proprietary HDR image techniques to accentuate image contrast and clarity. Using a built-in sensor, the EX2780Q gaming monitor detects ambient light levels as well as image content to automatically adjust screen brightness.
Everything on-screen is a lot smoother than a typical 60Hz refresh rate monitor. Even the simplest action like moving the mouse cursor is so much more fluid. Although some would argue that 144Hz isn’t the optimum refresh rate for gaming, it’s more than enough to meet most of your needs.
The high refresh rate doesn’t only provide a superior gaming performance, it also enhances a PC user’s overall experience. The smoothness of the high refresh rate will inevitably make your PC feel snappier to use.
The competitive edge of having a high refresh rate monitor over lower bands is significant, especially in first-person-shooter games. Once you experience the glory of the high refresh rate, there’s no going back.
The controller that comes with this monitor is unreal. It’s an accessory one would consider superfluous until you start using it. Although the EX2780Q has its control panel on the bottom right corner of its screen, which feels ergonomic to use, utilising the controller is handier.
With a few simple gestures, the controller allows users to seamlessly switch between different modes, giving the EX2780Q a distinctly luxurious feel. Now, you don’t even need to reach behind the monitor to adjust its settings.
The BenQ Eye-care tech is well-implemented. The sensors can accurately track ambient lighting and provide suitable brightness settings and blue light filter to best protect your eyes throughout your usage.
Speakers on many monitors are normally inferior (to the extent people don’t even bother to give it a second chance). However, the EX2780Q has one of the best sounding speaker sets on a monitor.
The volume is loud enough for casual entertainment, including listening to music, watching a movie and gaming. Its 2.1 channel sound is pleasing to the ear. What’s even more surprising is that the 5W subwoofer actually does its job well. The bass is decent, but might not be powerful enough to stir you to headbang when listening to heavy metal.
The EX2780Q has a sharp IPS display with 1440p, HDRi technology and a good set of speakers, making it a superb option for gamers and professionals alike. It is a monitor that does it all, high refresh rate and colour accuracy of 10-bit colour depth and 95% coverage of the DCI-P3 colour space is a sweet combo in modern gaming. So it’s capable of competitive gaming as well as casual video/image editing work.
The HDRi is not a marketing gimmick on this BenQ monitor - it beautifully enhances one’s content consumption experience. The build quality is top-notch too. Absolutely no rattling with a full metal frame and stand.
The bonuses like the remote controller and Eye-care technology are extremely practical. If you’re looking for a minimalistic yet luxurious setup, the EX2780Q is for you!