A sumptuously smooth display gamers will love thanks to its 240Hz refresh rate, but not without faults.
Not long ago we considered 120Hz the pinnacle for gamers. Then came 144Hz, 165Hz, 180Hz... and now 240Hz. ViewSonic is one of the latest manufacturers to produce a monitor with this huge refresh rate, but will you notice the difference versus a 144Hz monitor?
Even if the answer to that question was no, you’re bound to fall in love with the design and build quality of the XG2530. Thin bezels make the screen feel bigger than its 25in diagonal, and although the stand is made from plastic, it’s sturdy and allows you to tilt, pivot and fully rotate the display. The black and red colour scheme is a little boy racer, with even the XG logo reminiscent of Volkswagen’s GTi branding, but if you want to change the stand or wall-mount the XG2530 then it’s VESA 100 x 100mm compatible.
Around the back, there’s a retractable headphone stand and a carry handle. It offers DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 2 and HDMI 1.4 inputs, along with two USB 3 ports and a 3.5mm audio output jack. The stereo 2W speakers aren’t powerful enough to produce an immersive sonic atmosphere, but they’re fine for Windows notifications.
One disappointment is the on-screen display. It’s accessed via a set of poorly labelled buttons at the bottom of the monitor, and the menu system is a morass of confusing sub-menus. On the positive side, if you persevere, there’s a vast degree of customisation on offer.
What you won’t get – due to the choice of TN panel technology rather than IPS – is a stunning contrast ratio. I measured an 844:1 contrast ratio (with a 0.4cd/m2 black level), but found this didn’t detract from the visual experience. With 348cd/m2 maximum brightness in custom mode and 300cd/m2 in sRGB mode, the panel is bright enough. Uniformity is good, too, with a variance of only +4.62% at the extremities.
Colour coverage and accuracy aren’t up to photo-editing standards but are still respectable: I measured 90.3% sRGB gamut coverage and an average Delta E of 2.74 in sRGB mode. When it comes to movies, I have no complaints: colours are rich, with none of the drabness that’s sometimes associated with TN.
But what really matters is what this screen offers gamers, and it headlines with support for AMD FreeSync over DisplayPort 1.2. If you use a compatible AMD graphics card, this means 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.
The Blur Busters’ frame skipping test confirmed that it was consistently able to display every frame at the full 240Hz rate – unlike the competing AOC AGON AG251FZ, which skipped frames. To experience a 240Hz refresh rate, you’ll naturally need a graphics card that can consistently output 240fps. Unless you have a high-end GPU, you might need to dial down the resolution or detail options to get the smoothest experience.
Is it worth it, though? Having tested some of the best gaming monitors on the market, I found the ViewSonic provided minimal benefit over a comparable 144Hz TN display. Playing Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, the extra 96Hz didn’t make much of a visible difference, with enemies appearing only a few milliseconds ahead of an equivalent 144Hz panel. Next to a 60Hz IPS panel, though, the comparison is like night and day.
Even if you can’t spot the difference between a 144Hz and 240Hz panel, the added frames mean less tearing, a more accurate mouse trail and a blur-free experience.
Still, the truth is that XG2530 won’t make you a better player as you’ll also need super-human reaction times to benefit from the higher refresh rate. Seeing the enemy a fraction of a second earlier might help you, but only if you can react quickly enough to shoot them. A final issue worth mentioning is input lag. While the panel is one of the most responsive I’ve come across, the same can’t be said for its input lag. You might find that fatal in fast-paced shooters.
If you’re looking for the fastest refresh rate possible, the ViewSonic XG2530 is a good choice. However, at $600 it’s expensive for a 1080p display.