ViewSonic XG2401 FreeSync Monitor Review
Menu Layout & Observations
With only a few minor additions – for FreeSync related features – The XG2401’s onscreen display is classic ViewSonic which means it gets the job done but there aren’t a ton of options being offered but it is still well fleshed out and easy to use.
Once the menu system is accessed, a small pop-up window displays a submenu list containing the various primary-level options. Although each submenu must be selected to find out the full extent of its potential modifications, these are labeled in a straightforward manner. With that being said, it can be rather difficult figuring out how to access some of the more advanced features. For example tweaking the screen’s color output is somewhat hidden under the “Color Adjust” heading but is only accessible via the “User Color” selection.
The core features most users will need are much easier to access and are typically only a button press or two away. The most used adjustment features will be brightness and contrast levels, both of which have their own dedicated top level menu option. Meanwhile, the Dynamic Contrast Ratio is set to off by default and so too is the overdrive setting (or what ViewSonic calls ‘Response Time’) set to its least aggressive state.
Unfortunately, advanced features such as fine grain gamma correction are missing as is nearly any other real advanced feature you could care to mention. Once again this is an entry level, value orientated monitor so the lack of advanced features is not all that surprising. Overall, the onscreen display feels a bit limited and outdated by modern standards, but it should be more than adequate for the XG2401’s intended market.
Since this is a gaming orientated monitor ViewSonic has included some additional features such as Response Time adjustment. This term may sound unfamiliar to first time ViewSonic customers, but it is simply another name for OverDrive and what it does is basically push more voltage to the liquid crystals, forcing them to change from one state to another faster. In theory panel overdrive great idea as it reduces the panel’s response time. The downside is that inverse ghosting (pre-images in front of the actual image) and degradation of color quality are very much apparent.
The default overdrive / Response Time setting for this model is ‘Advanced’ and in testing it was able to boost performance without too many issues compared to the ‘Extreme’ setting, while at the same time being a touch better than the ‘Standard’ setting in boosting performance without a noticeable difference in image clarity or color fidelity. In other words, for most the default setting is more than good enough and should be left alone.
The Input Lag adjustment option gives a choice between three settings, and once again its aim is to improve overall gaming performance. Sadly, just like overdriving the pixels too much can reduce overall image quality, so too can lowering the input lag on this monitor. This is due to the fact that the only way to reduce lag is by reducing the amount of processing the internal controller does to the images sent to the monitor before pushing them to the LCD panel. As such, scaling will look worse, small image issues that would normally be taken care of will not be and generally speaking unless you are a professional gamer, with money on the line, this is another feature that is best left at default levels.
The last and certainly not least additional feature of this monitor is the included SmartSync technology. What SmartSync does is allow Viewsonic’s onboard controller to override your settings and choose the best combination of refresh rate, and response time needed for smooth gameplay while at the same timelowering input lag so as to give you a competitive edge in fast paced games. Or at least that is the idea behind SmartSync. Personally, and for much the same reasons I loathe the idea of a driverless car, having the monitor say ‘nope you really want XYZ’ and then doing what it thinks is best instead of what I think is best is sub-optimal to say the least. Its just atrocious.
The last feature is Advanced DCR, or Advanced Dynamic Contrast Ration for those not addicted to acronyms. Basically if you want to throw color fidelity and image quality right out the nearest window you will want to use this feature. For everyone who is even partially sane we strongly recommend ignoring this feature as blacks will not be black and other colors will seem washed out – also with seemingly no rhyme nor reason to it.