ViewSonic XG2401 review: a legit 144Hz Freesync gaming monitor
I’ve seen ViewSonic monitors since I’ve been a kid, but I didn’t know that they made gaming monitors until I was asked to take a look at the XG2401. This monitor seems to hit all the boxes for a 24-inch gaming monitor these days: 1080p resolution, 144Hz, and some kind of adaptive sync support (in this case, AMD’s FreeSync). Let’s put it to the test, and see if ViewSonic’s efforts rank against their better-known competition!
Summary and score
The XG2401 is a solid 24-inch gaming monitor, offering the 144Hz refresh rates that gamers crave without the high requirements of higher 1440p or 4K resolutions. While the OSD is a pain to use, ample ports and good adjustability mean this monitor still stands a chance against other similarly-equipped competitors.
Support XSR: Buy for $259.99 from Amazon.com
Features & specifications
- 24-inch TN panel
- 144Hz Refresh Rate
- Ultra-fast Response Time
- AMD FreeSync Technology
- Low Input Lag for Seamless Gaming Experience
- Black Stabilization for Ultimate Visibility
- Ideal For: Gaming and Entertainment
What does TN mean? TN stands for twisted nematic, and refers to a certain type of display panel technology. Compared to more expensive IPS screens, TN offers a faster refresh rate and less input lag, but has worse viewing angles and less accurate colours.
The XG2401 is immediately identifiable as a gaming monitor, thanks to its red accents and matte black chassis. This colour scheme is maintained throughout, apart from the tropical bird logo in the upper left that caught my eye as a child.
The monitor has a 24-inch screen, with medium-size bezels and little in the way of superfluous adornment. The ViewSonic logo is inoffensive in the bottom centre, and sits atop labels for the OSD buttons.
Looking now to the side of the monitor, we can see the monitor is neither massively thick or super slim, just somewhere in the middle. There are also no ports, buttons or additional features to be found here. Before we move on, it’s worth mentioning that the screen can tilt back and forward, lift up and down, and rotate 90 degrees.
The bottom of the monitor is much more interesting. We can see the five small black buttons towards the bottom of the photo, with the ports situated above. We have power on the left side of the photo, and various ports on the right. As well as three video inputs — 2x HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.2 — we have two USB 3.0 passthrough ports and a 3.5mm output.
The back of the monitor has a few features as well, with a cable tidy near the base and a headset hook near the top. Both feel a bit rickety in the hand, but get the job done.
The base of the monitor is fairly deep, extending a good ways in front of the screen. This means it takes up a lot of room on your desk for a 24-inch monitor, but you can stash your keyboard up there if you’re tight on space.
Overall, the XG2401 feels solid and well-constructed, although its gaming aesthetic doesn’t do much to set itself apart from its peers. Now, let’s see how it performs.#
Before we record our first-hand impressions, let’s take a look at some hard numbers. We took these using the Spyder4Elite colorimeter.
First up, some basic stats before and after calibration. We can see the monitor hits our targets fairly evenly, only off by a few points. DeltaE values for white point and 50% gray are both low, and the gamma is only a little higher than it should be.
The gamut of the display is reasonable, hitting 99% of sRGB, 72% NTSC and 76% of the less commonly used AdobeRGB standard. That means you could theoretically use the XG2401 for Photoshop work, although I’d generally recommend an IPS-type display for this instead to ensure colours appear exactly as you’d expect them to.
Colour accuracy is also important; ideally we want to see low Delta-E values that represent accurate colours. The average value, 2.87, is good but not great. We saw values of around 1.3 on a recent TN-panel BenQ monitor, and the XG2401 is some way from reaching that. Still, apart from the poor blue results, colours generally appear as intended on this monitor.
Uniformity is a measure of how colour and brightness differ between different quadrants of the monitor. The XG2401 was generally OK, but with a large deltaE value of 3.9 in the bottom left corner at 100% brightness. This value improved as brightness levels decreased, but remained something of a concern.
Luminance uniformity was a little better, with the bottom left being dimmer than the centre by around 15% at various brightness levels.
The display gamma is a little bit off the intended target, as you can see in the tone response graph below.
Contrast figures are generally pretty good, at around 700:1 according to the Spyder4Elite (although in general, this colourimeter’s contrast results have shown to not be 100% accurate). One interesting note is the contrast ratio and black values at 0%, which shows the panel is totally dark. Cool!
Overall, the XG2401 is about middle-of-the-pack when it comes to TN displays. Its colour uniformity and colour accuracy could both stand to be improved, but aren’t so bad as to distract from gameplay or amateur Photoshop work.
I’ve been looking forward to using a 144Hz gaming monitor for some time, and with the XG2401 I finally got my wish. Going from 60Hz to 144Hz really represents a noticeable difference, particularly if you’re playing a fast-paced game like League of Legends, Doom or Counter-Strike. I spent a lot of time playing the latter, and I found the monitor more than up to par. Action appeared fast and fluid, and I found it easier to despatch my enemies on the high refresh rate, low lag monitor.
The small screen size meant that the monitor sat dangerously close to my face, but also meant I could move the screen to the side of my desk when I wasn’t using it.
The ViewSonic monitor contains a few presets for gaming, and we tried them out on a range of games. Generally the altered colours proved more distracting than helpful, but it’s nice to at least have the option to try a new setup right out of the box.
Using the OSD is a massive headache
Unfortunately, actually using the OSD to activate these new profiles and tweak settings was a massive headache. The button layout used here is hardly intuitive; a button labelled ‘2’ is the first on the left, and generally means ‘OK’. Meanwhile, the fourth button is called ‘1’ and means ‘back’. Pressing 2 by itself cycles the input, turning off the monitor temporarily if nothing else is plugged in, while pushing 1 by itself brings up the monitor’4s main menu. Two further OSD buttons are present, up (2nd postion) and down (third position). These open the volume adjust and game mode quick settings, respectively.
These mappings seem so random, and I can’t conceive why the ‘1’ and ‘2’ buttons weren’t just labelled ‘OK’ and ‘back’ like most other monitors. This is one area where BenQ really shines with their physical controllers, and even their built-in buttons make more sense.
FreeSync is another big bullet point of this monitor, but sadly we don’t have an AMD-based card to test it out. (AMD, feel free to get in touch.) However, user reviews online suggest that it works fine, so consider this a plus point if you’re one of the few to have an AMD card.
Work / Media
Writing and editing photos on the XG2401 was something of a challenge, given its small screen size, low resolution and relatively poor colour accuracy. (Of course, any 24-inch 1080p TN monitor will fare poorly when faced against a 32-inch 4K IPS monitor that costs four times as much… it’s hardly a fair fight!) Still, the XG2401 is a reasonable performer here, with its well-designed stand ensuring that issues with viewing angles or comfort were minimised. We watched a few YouTube videos on the display, and 1080p content, particularly game footage, still looked fine. This isn’t an ideal monitor for getting work done, but it will do the job in a pinch.
The XG2401 is a decent choice if you’re looking for a 24-inch 144Hz monitor, but right now ViewSonic’s £250 price for the XG2401 is above that of similarly-equipped monitors, like the BenQ XL2411Z and the Acer Predator GN246. You could argue that the XG2401’s good port layout and solid ergonomics make up the price difference, but it has weaknesses too, with a confusingly-designed OSD and fairly poor colour accuracy. Let’s hope we see an XG2402 that fixes these issues and allows ViewSonic to compete on a more level playing field.
Support XSR: Buy for $259.99 from Amazon.com