Dis­plays

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It’s ex­pen­sive and isn’t a great deal smoother than most 144Hz mon­i­tors, but ViewSonic’s 240Hz XG2530 is a fast and well-built dis­play

VERDICT

This 240Hz mon­i­tor is sump­tu­ously smooth, but it’s hard to tell the dif­fer­ence from 144Hz

GAM­ING MON­I­TORS HAVE been pro­gress­ing rapidly in re­cent years. It wasn’t long ago that we con­sid­ered 120Hz the pin­na­cle for gamers. Then came 144Hz, 165Hz, 180Hz… and now we’re at 240Hz. ViewSonic is one of the lat­est man­u­fac­tur­ers to pro­duce a mon­i­tor with this huge re­fresh rate, but is it worth it? Will you really no­tice the dif­fer­ence over a cheaper 144Hz mon­i­tor?

The de­sign and build qual­ity of the XG2530 are su­perb. The bezels are rel­a­tively thin, so the screen feels nice and big. Although the stand is made out of plas­tic, it’s sturdy and al­lows you to tilt, pivot and fully ro­tate the dis­play. The black and red colour scheme looks quite classy, with an em­broi­dered XG logo at the base; if you want to change the stand or mount the ViewSonic XG2530 on a wall, it’s VESA 100x100mm com­pat­i­ble.

BUT­TON DOWNER

Around the back, there’s a re­tractable head­phone stand and a han­dle that al­lows you to carry around the mon­i­tor. For con­nec­tiv­ity, there are Dis­playPort 1.2, HDMI 2.0 and HDMI 1.4 dis­play in­puts, along with two USB3 ports and a 3.5mm au­dio out­put jack. The 2W stereo speak­ers aren’t pow­er­ful enough to re­place ded­i­cated ex­ter­nal au­dio, but they’re fine for Win­dows no­ti­fi­ca­tions.

One dis­ap­point­ment is the on­screen dis­play. It’s ac­cessed via a set of poorly la­belled but­tons at the bot­tom of the mon­i­tor, and the menu sys­tem it­self is a chore to nav­i­gate, with con­fus­ing sub-menus and con­tra­dict­ing op­tions. On the pos­i­tive side, if you per­se­vere, there’s a vast de­gree of cus­tomi­sa­tion on of­fer.

As men­tioned, the XG2530 sup­ports AMD FreeSync over Dis­playPort 1.2. This means if you have a com­pat­i­ble AMD graph­ics card, the mon­i­tor’s re­fresh rate will dy­nam­i­cally fol­low the frame rate of your game. In prac­tice, you’ll see no more tears and frame skips. If you’re us­ing a Nvidia card you won’t get that ben­e­fit with this dis­play: you’ll need a mon­i­tor us­ing Nvidia’s com­pet­ing G-Sync tech­nol­ogy in­stead.

The mon­i­tor has a 25in, 1,920x1,080 TN panel, with a na­tive re­fresh rate of 240Hz over Dis­playPort 1.2. The Blur Busters’ frame-skip­ping test con­firmed it was con­sis­tently able to dis­play ev­ery sin­gle frame at the full 240Hz rate – un­like the com­pet­ing AOC Agon AG251FZ, which suf­fered from frame skip­ping.

The panel’s 844:1 con­trast ra­tio (with a 0.4cd/m2 black level) isn’t great, but that’s to be ex­pected from a TN dis­play, and it doesn’t se­ri­ously de­tract from the vis­ual ex­pe­ri­ence. With a 347.9cd/m2 max­i­mum bright­ness in cus­tom mode and 300cd/m2 in sRGB mode, the panel is more than bright enough to sat­isfy. Uni­for­mity is good, too, with a vari­ance of just +4.62% at the ex­trem­i­ties.

COLOUR CHARTS

Colour cov­er­age and ac­cu­racy aren’t up to photo-edit­ing stan­dards: we mea­sured 90.3% sRGB gamut cov­er­age and a higher-than-ideal av­er­age delta-E of 2.74 in sRGB mode. How­ever, when it comes to games and films, we’ve no com­plaints: colours look vivid and rich, with none of the drab­ness that’s some­times as­so­ci­ated with TN mon­i­tors. In or­der to ex­pe­ri­ence that su­per-high 240Hz re­fresh rate, you’ll nat­u­rally need a graph­ics card that can con­sis­tently out­put 240fps. Un­less you have a top-end GPU, you’ll prob­a­bly need to dial down the res­o­lu­tion or de­tail op­tions to get the smoothest ex­pe­ri­ence.

As to whether this is worth both the ex­pense and the graph­i­cal sac­ri­fices, the an­swer, un­for­tu­nately, is no. To our eyes, the XG2530’s ad­van­tage over a com­pa­ra­ble 144Hz TN dis­play was min­i­mal, bor­der­ing on non-ex­is­tent; play­ing Counter-Strike: Global Of­fen­sive, a fast-faced FPS, the ex­tra 96Hz didn’t make much of a vis­i­ble dif­fer­ence at all. Only next to a 60Hz mon­i­tor is it clearly the su­pe­rior op­tion.

If you were hop­ing that the higher re­fresh rate would make you a bet­ter player, then, you may be dis­ap­pointed, as you’d need su­per-hu­man re­ac­tion times to ac­tu­ally ben­e­fit from 240Hz com­pared to 144Hz. See­ing the en­emy a frac­tion of a sec­ond ear­lier might help you, but only if you can re­act quickly enough to shoot them.

SPEED BANK

Then again, there are other ben­e­fits to a 240Hz re­fresh rate: namely less tear­ing, a more ac­cu­rate mouse trail and even less blur­ring than on a 144Hz screen. These are much eas­ier to spot than a higher frame rate, so there is some ap­peal to any­one want­ing the smoothest view­ing ex­pe­ri­ence pos­si­ble.

A fi­nal is­sue worth men­tion­ing is in­put lag. While the panel is one of the most re­spon­sive we’ve come across, in­put lag is high. This, counter-in­tu­itively, can make it less suited to the kind of fast-paced games that might oth­er­wise ben­e­fit from a higher re­fresh rate.

If you’re look­ing for the fastest re­fresh rate around, the ViewSonic XG2530 is still a fairly good choice. It has one of the best-look­ing, most re­spon­sive TN pan­els we’ve seen, and its ex­cel­lent re­fresh rate and tear-free tech­nol­ogy will please en­thu­si­as­tic gamers.

How­ever, the XG2530 isn’t cheap, es­pe­cially not for a 1080p dis­play. For this kind of money, the 1440p Acer XF270HUA, which runs at a still-slick 144Hz, is a bet­ter bet.

Christo­pher Mi­nasians

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