Usually, a Monitor for a PC is pretty much a standard output device. You connect it to your PC and then proceed to watch your favorite cat videos or your favorite artist on YouTube.
However, if you’re into graphics designing or video editing and you need to use color correction, then ye regular monitor will not cut it. Sure it will show you everything on screen, but it won’t be accurate in terms of colors. That’s where an IPS (In plane switching) panel comes into play. These panels have superior colors accuracy compared to regular TN (twisted nematic) panels and also have less eye strain while also being extremely energy efficient.
But what about gamers? Well, what about them, you may ask? What monitors do they use? Most people would say that they use regular monitors, and they would be correct to assume so. But in reality, there are special gaming monitors available as well.
The Viewsonic XG2402 is one such monitor
Priced at LKR 50,000/-, and available at Redline Technologies the initial reaction to a person to this monitor would be that it looks like any other monitor. Well, truth be told, it does look like any other monitor. But just like the autobots, there’s more to them than meets the eye.
If one were to look at the sheer amount of text that is on the packaging of the Viewsonic XG2402, you would see terms such as FreeSync, 144Hz etc. While these may not make sense to ye average person, to a gamer or techie, these terms actually mean a lot.
A refresh rate so high, it hertz
For example, 144Hz refers to the refresh rate of the monitor. Simply put, the refresh rate refers to the number of times a video screen is updated. The higher the refresh rate, the smoother the motion. An average LCD monitor has a refresh rate of around 60Hz. This is more than enough for people who interact with PCs to carry out everyday tasks.
Gamers, on the other hand require split second reflexes and lighting fast response times to stay ahead of the game so a higher refresh rate would mean that everything appears smoother so you have the ability to perform better and not worry about your aim getting jarred.
What is AMD FreeSync?
FreeSync is a technology by AMD that supports a dynamic refresh rate aimed at reducing screen tearing. Released by AMD as a direct competitor to Nvidia’s G-Sync, AMD FreeSync is only compatible with AMD Radeon cards that support the GCN (Graphics Core Next Architecture) 2.0 and later. So if your Radeon card is around 2 years old, then it should support FreeSync.
Setting things up
Before we actually use the monitor, we first had to set it up. This process is fairly straightforward thanks to the way that Viewsonic has packaged the Viewsonic XG2402. Encased in two sturdy pieces of rigifoam, the monitor is securely nestled with a part of the monitor stand located in the center of the packaging. Once we took the monitor out, we simply had to screw in the bottom rest to the stand and then fasten the stand to the monitor via the included clips and we were ready to go.
Putting a new twist on things
As soon as the monitor was setup, we noticed a couple of things. Firstly, the base of the XG2402 can be rotated to almost 180-degrees. Next up the arm on which the monitor locks onto cannot only be adjusted in terms of height but can also swivel. This means that at maximum height, the XG2402 can go from portrait to landscape with a simple twist.
This is helpful if you are having a multi-display setup and you are going for a mixture of landscape and portrait displays, or if you’re going for multiple displays in portrait mode. In addition, this swivel also helps with connecting cables such as power and video.
Connecting it all together
Speaking of cables, the XG2402 comes with a standard IEC port so you can use a regular cable that you would use with a PC as well, without the need for a separate power adaptor. In terms of connectivity, the XG2402 packs 2 HDMI 1.4 ports, one DisplayPort port, 2 USB 3.0 Type A ports and 1 USB 3.0 Type B ports.
The USB ports can be connected via the supplied USB cable and act as a Hub in case you need to connect any devices. There is also a 3.5mm audio port so that you can connect it to your PC/Laptop to get sound directly from the monitor itself.
Using the Viewsonic XG2402
Now that the Monitor was setup, it was time to switch it on and see what the big deal was. In order to get the best experience, it’s recommended to use the DisplayPort port on the monitor as well as your graphics card. You can use the HDMI port as well, as long as your graphics card has an HDMI 2.0 port and the cable you’re using is HDMI 2.0 certified as well.
The Viewsonic XG2402 measures 22.3 x 17.1 x 9.4 inches with a viewable area of 24 inches. The once fully assembled, the Monitor weighs in around 8 kilograms. This makes it less likely to topple over in the event something happens and also makes it sturdier when adjusting the height of the monitor.
The Panel on the Viewsonic XG2402 is a TN panel with a maximum resolution of 1920×1080 at a 16:9 aspect ratio. The panel surface is coated with an Anti-glare and hard coating to prevent it from being scratched by dust particles. The monitor also features a 1ms response time and is capable of displaying 16.7 Million colors.
The colors on the XG2402 are not exactly as accurate as with an IPS panel. They also lack a bit of vibrancy and color saturation. This can be adjusted from within the onscreen display of the monitor itself. We’re not saying that the quality of the panel is bad. But if you’re heavily dependant on color accuracy, you’d be better off with an IPS panel.
Pushing the right buttons
Located at the bottom on the right side of the monitor are 6 buttons. These give you acces to the onscreen display where you can configure various settings. These settings include adjustments to brightness, contrast, vertical and horizontal positioning (much like regular monitors) and the volume levels. An option called “RampageX” also enables two LED lights behind the monitor that like up in a “X”. When placed near a wall, it emits enough light to provide a really cool backlight that would appeal to most gamers. If not, you can always switch it off.
There is also an option to enable AMD FreeSync. As soon as it is enabled, I got a notification stating that my graphics card (an AMD Radeon RX480) was connected to a display with a high refresh rate and that I should enable AMD FreeSync. So enable it I did.
As you can see from the screenshot below, AMD FreeSync was indeed enabled, but that did not seem to do anything. The XG2402 still felt like a regular monitor. That’s because it has not been configured properly.
Next up, in order to utilize the high refresh rate of the XG2402, I had to navigate to my display settings in the Windows control panel and set the refresh rate of the display to 144Hz. This is where the fun begins.
As soon as I hit the “apply” button, everything immediately felt smoother. I’m not talking about performance, but the actual look and feel. For starters, mouse cursor movements were extremely smooth, butter smooth, in fact. Even the simple act of moving and resizing Explorer windows was extremely smooth.
All this was because of the high refresh rate of the XG2402. Typing word documents (a task considered menial) felt so much smoother in comparison to the previous display. If simple tasks such as these were due to the high refresh rate, I was eagerly waiting to see how it would work for its intended purpose: gaming.
Gaming on the Viewsonic XG2402: A highly refreshing experience
As I explained above, AMD FreeSync is a technology supports a dynamic refresh rate aimed at reducing screen tearing. Essentially, once your game is capable of maintaining a steady frame rate (in this case 48FPS) FreeSync kicks in. So despite your game hovering around the 48FPS mark, it the game actually feels like it’s running at around 70-80FPS, while also delivering smoother gameplay thanks to the high refresh rate.
This is especially beneficial for fast paced FPS games such as Counter Strike and Overwatch. Having the latter installed, I immediately launched it and changed my setting in game to match the monitor’s refresh rate and entered a quick play match.
My jaw immediately dropped and I stood there frozen. I had never faced any issues with frame rates in Overwatch but the overall smoothness of the game just blew me away.
Sweeping from one edge of the display to the other seemed almost graceful and elegant. It’s not only for multiplayer games though, I played Witcher 3 at max settings and even though I was getting around 50FPS, I knew AMD’s FreeSync was doing its job because the game felt a lot smoother than before.
The other key benefit here is that even if you don’t have a Flagship AMD Radeon graphics card, if you can tweak your game settings to reach around the 50FPS mark, then FreeSync will take care of the rest and you’ll actually feel your gameplay being smoother. So mid-range Radeon cards would get a significant boost as well.
If you are anyway getting over 50FPS and hovering around the 70-80FPS mark without FreeSync, then the boost in smoothness will not be that noticeable. You will still get the smoothness that FreeSync offers, but it won’t be as significant as the boost received from the 48FPS mark.
What does a higher refresh rate mean for a gamer?
Well, the answer to that is quite simple. If you’re into heavy multiplayer gaming that is both action packed and fast paced, then the higher refresh rate will obviously be beneficial for you as it would result in more frames being visible during gameplay. This in turn reduces blur when you’re constantly moving around.
As a result, it becomes increasingly easier to locate and eliminate targets. As such, we can attest that having a higher refresh rate does indeed improve multiplayer gameplay.
Does it really make a difference?
Going back to our initial question, Yes, a monitor with a higher refresh rate does make a difference. It’s not only if you’re into fast paced multiplayer gaming, even if you’re a regular user, having a monitor with a higher refresh rate makes even the smallest task you do appear a lot smoother.
With AMD FreeSync thrown in there, you can not only see things faster, but you also get the smoothness to go along with it. For a gamer, if you can see your opponent before they see you and the ability to move around smoothly can be the difference between victory and defeat.
Overall, if you’re a competitive gamer and you want a Monitor that is as fast as your moves, give the Viewsonic XG2402 a go. That’s not all though, if you are a casual gamer and you want a monitor with a high refresh rate, then by all means try out the Viewsonic XG2402 and let us know what you think about it.