Today’s peripheral gaming market is flooded with the latest expensive additions, promising to evolve your gaming experience. Monitors are just one aspect of this ever growing marketplace, but how much does difference does a good gaming monitor actually make? We sat down and took some time exploring the ViewSonic XG2402 24″ Gaming Monitor.
Straight out of the box, the ViewSonic XG2402 really looks the part. A slick black design with a break of red on the support stand and two chevrons on the back gives it enough character to stand out, but not at the cost of sacrificing your complete slick-black setup. The high level of exterior polish as accompanied by a number of external features catered towards the gaming market. The XG2402 has a very versatile adjustable stand that allows for tilting and turning in practically every direction. It even supports a full portrait mode, which looked entirely alien among my other more mundane monitors, but is a neat feature nonetheless.
Outside of the typical ports you’d expect to find, the rear of the monitor features an optional cable tie attachment that you can add and remove at will. While it serves its purpose of hiding those ugly cables, the plastic does cheapen the overall feel of an otherwise very high quality feeling monitor. It’s hidden away at the back and once used you won’t need to fiddle with it again so it’s not a big problem. It just feels a step down from the rest of the aesthetics of the monitor.
There’s also a retractable headset stand at the rear top of the monitor, although you’d be forgiven if you totally missed it as I only discovered through reading the manual – which is something I seldom do. It’s not a feature I’d traditionally look for in a monitor but after having one, I’m not looking forward to returning to my old setup. It child-proofed the location of my Astro A40’s, which is nothing to scoff at.
If you’re looking for detailed technical specifications, the official website XG2402 page contains everything you need, but for those looking for a more simplistic approach, we’ve got your back. Outside of the slew of technical jargon 90% of people don’t actually understand, the XG2402 comes complete with a full HD 1920×1080 resolution. It also supports 144Hz refresh rate and a response time of 1ms, alongside Black Stablization and AMD FreeSync Technology. I’ve probably lost a few of you already, but stick with me.
As far as I was concerned, 60Hz was all I needed. My rig is easily capable of running games at 60 frames per second, so I never sought to improve in that area. And for the average game, that approach proves true. I initially explored the visual capabilities of the XG2402 in more relaxed and slower paced games, spending many hours diving into the never-ending streak of failures in Slay the Spire and dabbled in a little For the King, but the performance in these games was lackluster.
The contrast of colors felt lacking, with the lighter contrasts feeling a little grainy and the darker contrasts feeling a little foggy. These issues were somewhat alleviated after a short timem experimenting with its customization options and prefix color setup features, but it didn’t feel as sharp as my original setup. Certain colors lacked vibrancy in places and overall, the picture quality just wasn’t fantastic. It’s not bad by any definition of the word, but decent isn’t really what you want in a monitor that will set you back £250.
The on-screen display (OSD) options for the XG2402 is among the most comprehensive that I’ve seen. There’s a huge abundance of options that let you specifically customize everything from contrast to color temperature before saving them in custom load outs. The average user may feel a little overwhelmed with the multitude of options, many of which appear to be duplicated across the different features but for those wanting ultimate tweaking capabilities, it’s got just about everything you need.
However, stunning picture quality is not the primary forte of XG2402. Marketed towards those looking to get into competitive gaming the XG2420 boasts technical specifications aimed at giving you the edge in fast-paced FPS games were reaction speeds and performance are key to trumping the opposition. This is where the XG2420 really shines. If you’re only familiar with the 60Hz gaming of your average TN monitor, it’s a difficult difference to explain.
Running around in Battlefield felt like a very different experience. The movement was much smoother, the visual blur of navigation was all but gone, and the response time felt fluid and instant. If you’ve got the setup to support the 144Hz capabilities of the XG2402, the differences between that and a typical 60Hz will be instantly noticeable. If you’re rocking an AMD card, the AMD FreeSync promises to deliver a stutter- and tear-free experience with automatic syncing between your GPU and monitor.
While I found the strange contrasts of dark colors to be a little disappointing in non-FPS style games, its true intention became much clearer in a competitive setting. The monitors Black Stabilization feature, which I failed to truly explore at first, brings those darkened corners to life. As my age begins to betray my vision and reactions speeds I’m often found asking myself a single question after each death: “Where the f**k did that come from?” While there’s no monitor in the world that can bring my FPS skills to the level of even average players, certain features of the XG2402 definitely tried.
My current setup includes three bog standard monitors, and is nothing special. They support 60Hz at a HD resolution, and that’s about it. I will still resort to one of my original monitors for the average game or to browse the internet, but if I was jumping into an FPS game, the XG2402 would take my primary monitor slot in an instant.
In terms of price, it’s a little on the higher end with some cheaper options, such as the BenQ XL2411Z, boasting a similar level of performance, although the XG2402 doesn’t feel as cheap.
What the XG2402 lacks in picture quality and definition is easily overcome by the incredibly responsive performance in fast-paced gaming scenarios. It goes from an average monitor to a weapon of choice for anyone looking to take their competitive FPS gaming to the next level.