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
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.
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 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.
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.