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ViewSonic XG2401 FreeSync Monitor Review

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,861
Location
Montreal
It’s an interesting time to be looking for a gaming monitor. Never before have there been so many options regardless of whether you are looking for a budget-friendly solution or a flagship class panel that offers everything from high refresh rates to adaptive sync to superlative color fidelity. We’ve covered quite a few of the higher end offerings as of late, many of which have gone towards a curved design which is supposed to increase immersion. However, we’d be doing a disservice if we ignored all the affordable yet still awesome options which have been launched alongside those halo displays. Hence we have Viewsonic’s XG2401 on tap today, a display which costs less than $300 yet offers features which are sure to please nearly everyone.

Even with large format displays grabbing the lion’s share of attention recently, the fact still remains that the 24” class of monitor is actually the most common. The same holds true for gaming systems as a 1920x1080 resolution is by far the most popular with the average consumer since it combines price with a good size and an easy-to-drive number of pixels. This combination has been the de-facto standard for years, and probably will continue to be for years to come. While there are many reasons for the 24” 1080P monitor to be the most prevalent they all boil down to one major fact: this combination offers consumers the best overall value.


Value may indeed be an intangible idea that can be difficult to pin down – as everyone has slightly different ideas on what the term “value” means – but that’s what the XG2401 is trying to offer. It is targeted towards buyers who are looking for the benefits of adaptive synchronization technology (in this case FreeSync) alongside a high refresh rate of 144Hz.

In the past, FreeSync-equipped displays typically had a very narrow “range” in which the technology actually worked. Moving below that zone caused some major visual problems as V-SYNC stepped into the equation, causing drastic framerate fluctuations. While AMD’s Low Framerate Compensation improves this situation, there were still challenges as many monitors still had a refresh rate floor of between 35Hz and 40Hz. Second generation FreeSync monitors like the Nixeus VUE24A moved that yardstick to 30Hz. Unfortunately, Viewsonic’s XG2401 moves back a step with a range of 48Hz to 144Hz. The LFC algorithm will need to work overtime on this one....


Past the obvious benefits FreeSync brings to the table for AMD users, there’s a whole lot to like about the XG2401, beginning with its price. At just $299 it competes directly against the aforementioned Nixeus offering while also retailing for significantly less than G-SYNC alternatives. Just don’t expect miracles for $299. Viewsonic has equipped this monitor with a relatively basic TN panel, a plain exterior design and quite portly bezels. This isn’t a monitor you’ll want to use for a triple-screen setup.


Now TN technology does offer a lot of positives but a wide color pallet is not one of them. Inexpensive TN panels are also not known for their default color fidelity, and also have a reputation for severe backlight bleed. With 6-bit IPS and even 8-bit A-MVA panels becoming extremely competitive price-wise this use of TN may tarnish some of the XG2401’s luster.



Equally important hidden underneath those aggressive looks is a rather decent list of input options. Not only does ViewSonic include the expected DisplayPort but also two HDMI ports. This should allow much more flexibility but of course, to get FreeSync’s ‘Adaptive-Sync’ benefits consumers will need to use the DisplayPort and not HDMI ports since Viewsonic hasn’t included the new FreeSync over HDMI.

Rounding out the I/O options is a four port USB 3.0 hub that will also increase the usefulness of the monitor. Though once again this feature is a tad limited as all four are located at the bottom of the panel with none at the more useful bezel-side locations.


The base which the XG2401 uses is sure to please and comes with almost no caveats or issues. Like any good base this it allows for a good amount of height adjustment (120mm), swivel (175°), portrait/landscape mode, as well as twenty-seven degrees (-5 to +22) of tilt. The only issue here is that while it provides a perfectly stable foundation the two scallops molded into the sides are a dust and dirt magnets. These two areas are also a different color than the rest of the base, expect to have to routinely clean them as even a speck of dust will be painfully obvious.

The last included feature of the XG2401 are physical buttons instead of sensor based ‘touch-less’ On Screen Command buttons. Even with rather flimsy and plasticky feeling buttons – like the XG2401 has – we much prefer this interface to either sensor based options or the dreaded single joystick setup that we have seen on some ASUS offerings. Mix in a decent if not standout On Screen Display and the XG2401 does appear to easily justify its asking price.
 
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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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Joined
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Messages
12,861
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Montreal
Menu Layout & Observations

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 <i>gaming</i> 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 <i>at the same time</i> lowering 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.
 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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Messages
12,861
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Panel Uniformity / Panel Performance

Panel Uniformity / Panel Performance


<i>Calibrated Settings</i>
Please remember that the settings below have been calibrated for our specific environment and your viewing conditions may differ from ours.

<b>Mode Used</b>: "User Color Mode"
<b>Notes</b>:
- All tests done at default settings at 120 cd/m2.
- Unless otherwise noted, the tests were carried out via DisplayPort


Panel Uniformity


<i>In a perfect world a screen’s brightness output would be equal throughout the entire panel. This is not a perfect world, but the lower the variation the less chances you will notice overly bright or dark sections on the screen. For the consumer LCD marketplace, a variance of 10% is our gold standard but anything below 15% can be considered excellent as we doubt anyone will notice a -7.5 to +7.5 variation. A variation above 15% but below 24% can be considered adequate, but anything above this does not meet our basic minimum standards. </i>

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Monitor/ViewSonic_XG2401/uniform.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

To say that the XG2401 has poor panel uniformity is an understatement. We cannot say that we were all that surprised with a variance of 18 percent, as inexpensive TN monitors routinely have poor uniformity - but we are still disappointed considering the screen’s diminutive size.


Panel Performance


<i>In a perfect world a screen’s real world response rate would be so high that motion blur, ‘ghosting’, ‘reverse-ghosting’ would be a thing of the past. No matter how fast the action on screen all images would be represented in pristine condition similar in quality to a static image. This is not a perfect world, but the less amounts of blurring which occurs the less chances you will notice the issue in real world scenarios. While the panels response rate (ms) <i>and</i> and frame rate (Hz) can give a fairly rough idea of how much blurring to expect it is not the end all and be all.

To this end we have taken PRAD’s Pixel Persistence Analyzer ‘Streaky Pictures’ program and using a high speed camera captured exactly how much and what kind of motion blur you can expect from a given monitor.

</i><div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Monitor/ViewSonic_XG2401/blurr_sm.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

As you can see a 1ms response time and 144Hz does not necessarily mean a complete lack of blurring in fast moving objects. In fact, we have seen slower monitors that are much, much better than this. Of course those monitors cost a whole hell of a lot more than the XG2401 and this level of performance was actually surprising – we honestly were expecting much worse performance. Overall, the XG2401 is well above average in this area for its price but it oddly seems that FreeSync is doing very little about the blur here but rather addresses the juddering and tearing quite well.
 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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Joined
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Messages
12,861
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Panel Backlight Bleed / Gamma Performance

Panel Backlight Bleed


<i>An LCD or LCD LED based monitor relies upon either one or multiple sources of light to illuminate the Liquid Crystals so as to create an image that consumers can see. In a perfect world all the light would either go through the open Crystals or be reflected back into the interior of the display via the closed crystals. Due to manufacturing process most monitors exhibit light leakage around the edges of the monitor. This issue is called Backlight bleed and can drastically lower the contrast near these effected areas. This causes colors to have a ‘washed out’ appearance with blacks appearing to be more gray that black. Optimally a monitor should have zero bleeding, but if the amount is judged to be minor enough we will consider it to be adequate.

To determine the amount – if – any backlight bleed a given samples exhibits we have placed the monitor in a completely dark room, and using a Nikon D810 w/ 24-70 f2.8E VR lens have taken a series of pictures of the monitor. In between each shot the ISO is raised by one stop until a picture is captured that shows the amount of bleed occurring.

Due to variances in lumen output from one model to another we have chosen two actual brightness settings instead of a percentage output. The first is 250cd/m2 which is brighter than most consumers will be comfortable using, and yet any modern monitor is easily capable of producing. As such it represents a realistic, but repeatable, worst case scenario. The second settings is 120cd/m2 which is a setting considered by professionals to be optimal for serious work. As such it will show the amount of backlight bleed at more realistic levels.</i>

<div align="center"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Monitor/ViewSonic_XG2401/bleed2.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Monitor/ViewSonic_XG2401/bleed.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

This level of backlight bleed is disappointing but not all that unexpected. Inexpensive TN panels have a reputation for being poorly sealed and the XG2401 is no exception. Even at a lowered 120cd/m2 the bleed is noticeable. More importantly, the level of backlight bleed is high enough that it does not take an entirely dark room to notice it as color fidelity and gamma levels are noticeably ‘off’ even under more normal lighting conditions.

The only saving grace is this is not the worst amount of backlight bleed we have ever seen, and for its class the XG2401 is actually fairly average. Simply put if backlight bleed is a major issue for you then your choices in this price range are <i>severely</i> limited.


Gamma Performance


<i>Gamma correction is one of the hardest terms to explain. However, for our purposes the gamma correction of any electronics device is how bright or dark an image will be displayed on a screen.

All PC devices now use 2.20 gamma as the default. Any variance from this will result in an image being either underexposed which will create black crush and underexposed shadow detail or washed out with too little black level detail (aka being over-exposed).

While 2.20 is the gold standard, a minor deviation of 0.10 will in all likelihood never be noticed by anyone other than professional photographers. Higher levels of deflection however will be noticed by just about everyone. </i>

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Monitor/ViewSonic_XG2401/gamma.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

Much like the XG2401’s default panel uniformity, its default gamma level is quite poor. It is so poor that users will want to adjust it right away. Unfortunately, the On Screen Display options for this aren't quite up to the task and as such you’ll want to either invest in a colorimeter, or borrow one from a friend. Another option is using software-based tools through driver software to achieve the same, though from an entirely first person viewpoint. We simply cannot recommend anyone using this monitor without first correcting the gamma.
 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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Messages
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Montreal
Colour Saturation Levels / Default RGB Levels

Colour Saturation Levels


<i>While there are numerous colors the human eye can’t “see”, the human color space confined to three primary colors and combinations thereof. To make things easier for manufactures (and not waste resources displaying colors we can’t see) a color space was mathematically described and while various models do exist, the CIE RGB color space is the de facto standard.

In the below image, the dark triangle which isn’t highlighted is the sRGB color space while the overall CIE color space is displayed as the background colors. Meanwhile, the white triangle with highlighted color represents the results of what a given monitor can display. No monitor can display the entire CIE color spectrum but a good monitor should be able to display the sRGB spectrum of possible colors as this is usually used as the standard for image encoding.

A monitor which uses the “wide color gamut” moniker can display more than the sRGB spectrum and is considered primarily for professional use. If a monitor cannot cover off the entire sRGB triangle, the resulting image will appear “off” to an observer. The end result is a picture displayed on the panel which won’t be as rich, vibrant or as correct as it should be. </i>

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Monitor/ViewSonic_XG2401/cie.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

While we would not classify this as a wide color gamut monitor but it color range is still very, very good – and well above average for this price range! Brilliant stuff.


Default RGB Levels


<i>An LCD or LCD LED backlit panel relies on accurately blending Red, Green and Blue pixel clusters to create an overall image so closer to each of these colours is to a “perfect” 100 output, the better and more accurate the default colors will be.

In this case, we have a low tolerance for anything less than perfection since any color shift can be noticeable even to untrained eyes and will require a color correction be applied at the software level to overcome a monitor’s stock output. We do however consider a minor variation of only a few points per color to be acceptable. </i>

<div align="center"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Monitor/ViewSonic_XG2401/rgb.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

It really is a shame that the default color profile is so bad – as we know this panel is capable of so much more. Sadly, this profile actually makes the default gamma level look good. Essentially, based on the first test on this page we know this panel is capable of so much more....it's just a matter of massaging it to achieve optimal results.
 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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Joined
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Messages
12,861
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Montreal
Viewing Angles / Contrast Ratio / Power Consumption

Viewing Angles


<i>Unlike CRT displays, the manner in which LCD panels create an image can result in one large weakness: the image can lose contrast when viewed off angle. While we do not recommend watching an LCD at anything besides perfectly straight on, the reality is this cannot always be done.

To help give you a glimpse of what a panel will look like when seen from either above the horizontal or vertical plane we have taken pictures at fairly extreme angles. </i>

<div align="center"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Monitor/ViewSonic_XG2401/view.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

For a TN monitor the XG2401 is not all that bad in this area and is certainly above average for its price range. By that same token this is not the same as saying the off-angle viewing profile of the XG2401 is <i>good</i>; rather it is merely mediocre bordering on tolerable. As with all TN based monitors viewers will lose contrast and color fidelity the moment they are not sitting perfectly in front of the panel.


Maximum Contrast Ratio


<i> While manufactures love to throw around “maximum” contrast ratios in the millions, the fact of the matter is that to get these high numbers they have to use "dynamic contrast" which—at best—results in overly optimistic specs. With DC turned off, the number of shades between purest white and blackest black a given monitor can display is usually in the low hundreds rather than the thousands.

The higher the contrast ratio, the better the monitor will display shades of dark and light. For IPS monitors, anything below 450:1 is unacceptable, with 500:1 or above considered optimal. For TN anything above 120:1 will be considered “good enough” for most consumers. </i>

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Monitor/ViewSonic_XG2401/contrast.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

While TN can never compare to IPS or even A-MVA in the contrast ratio department, the XG2401’s panel is not all that bad. Certainly above average and rather good for the asking price.


Power Consumption


<i>To obtain the maximum number we set the monitors brightness to 100% and the contrast to 100%. The Calibrated results are taken at 120 cd/m2 with the contrast set to the default level. </i>

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Monitor/ViewSonic_XG2401/power.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

A relatively small monitor with no G-SYNC module equates to moderate power usage.
 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
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Messages
12,861
Location
Montreal
Gaming Performance

Gaming Performance




There is certainly is no denying the XG2401 is indeed a PC gaming-orientated monitor, however with that said this is first and foremost a product which places value above all else. As such everything takes a backseat to keeping the price down. While ViewSonic have done an admirable job of including a whole plethora of features that are sure to please gamers, if there's an expectation that any monitor in the $250-$350 dollar range to provide the gaming immersion and gameplay experience as a $600 - $750 monitor they will be extremely disappointed with what the XG2401 has to offer.


Make no mistake about it, the XG2401 is a supremely inexpensive option based on its abilities alone but there has to be some expectation management as well. With this caveat firmly in mind we must admit to being fairly impressed with what ViewSonic’s engineers have been able accomplish with such a limited budget.

Compared to nearly any monitor in this price range the XG2401 dominates in the gameplay department. To find this monitor’s equal, buyers will have to spend north of $500 dollars. This difference in price is quite literally the difference between having an entry level video card, or a downright excellent one.


When properly calibrated this TN-based monitor is more than capable of producing the limited color pallet demanded by most video games and the 144Hz refresh rate is equally up to the task of creating a smooth gaming experience in even the most fast-paced FPS games. Best of all FreeSync does indeed – sometimes – make a difference and reduces the reliance on V-Sync while still delivering extremely fluid gameplay moments. For its price, this is a winning combination.


Those are the benefits this monitor offers, unfortunately as ViewSonic’s engineers were limited in what they could accomplish there are issues that need to be pointed out. First and foremost while the XG2401 is capable of producing a surprisingly rich color pallet, it’s out of the box color profile is horribly off-putting. Budget limited consumers will need to either grab a colorimeter or do their best to modify the settings through the limited OSD or through their GPU’s various settings. In addition, if you happen to see this monitor in a store, don’t take it at face value since its capabilities are far beyond what’s initially being offered.


The next issue is actually AMD’s FreeSync or at least the way it has been implemented here. It may indeed net tangible benefits over V-SYNC but it is surprisingly constrained on the XG2401. Its effective range starts at a less-than-optimal 48Hz. Below that AMD’s Low Framerate Compensation (or LFC) kicks in which is good but can’t entirely compensate for the massive framerate step-downs when V-SYNC kicks in. This is unfortunate as quite a few of today’s FreeSync monitors feature a range that begins around the 30Hz mark. For many users there will be a delicate balancing act here since they will actually have to spend more on a video card to insure they remain within the 48 to 144Hz / FPS FreeSync window.


The last issue will only impact users who game in a darkened environment or those who pay careful attention to black reproduction. This is where the monitor’s backlight bleed steps into the equation. It is noticeable in all four corners to the naked eye and the lower left hand corner on our sample was bad enough to cause blacks to occasionally look washed out, bordering on gray. For example, in dark survival horror genres this issue will noticeably degrade the immersiveness of the game and can be jarring from time to time.


These hiccups lead to the the ViewSonic XG2401 being a sub-optimal choice for some but as previously stated this price range is so filled with absolutely horrible alternatives that this offering is still superior to most. Yes, this corner of the market is rife with sub-par products and as the old saying goes: in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. That is a very apt description of the XG2401, as it is not perfect but it still is one of the best competitors in its class.
 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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Joined
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Messages
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Movie Performance

Movie Performance


<div align="center"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Monitor/ViewSonic_XG2401/m3.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

Much like in gaming scenarios, there needs to be some expectation management before consumers will be truly impressed with what the ViewSonic XG2401 can offer in movies. Also like the gaming scenarios, this amount of lowered expectation is par for the course when it comes to inexpensive solutions like the XG2401. No one should expect a $300 monitor – no matter how good for its class – to be as capable as a substantially more expensive alternative.

<div align="center"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Monitor/ViewSonic_XG2401/m1.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

On the positive side, many users would be hard-pressed to tell the difference between this $300, 24” 1080P and a significantly more expensive TN-based competitor. Put simply, for its price the ViewSonic XG2401 is rather impressive in movie scenarios and really can compete against similar options that cost much more. Of course this goes off the rails as soon as you compare it to IPS, PLS, or MVA based models, but for very little money anyone can get a very decent, bordering on great monitor for multimedia scenarios.

<div align="center"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Monitor/ViewSonic_XG2401/m4.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
</div>

With that said there a lot of wasted potential until the monitor is color corrected. Put bluntly the XG2401 is absolutely abysmal in its out of the box state, and only with the help of a colorimeter or a lot of patience will consumers be able to turn what is a true sow’s ear into the silk purse it can be.

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Monitor/ViewSonic_XG2401/m5.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

Even though factory calibration is frog marched out the nearest airlock, the moment MSRP dips into this equation the fact of the matter is ViewSonic’s XG2401 becomes well worth the time invested to calibrate its colors. So much so that we would never in good conscience recommend the XG2401 to consumers unwilling or unable to correct to color profile but if they do, there should be preparation for a pretty awesome experience.

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Monitor/ViewSonic_XG2401/m7.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

It is also worth noting that a lot of this monitor’s major selling features – FreeSync, 144Hz refresh rate – are wasted in movie scenarios. Unless someone knows their way around certain advanced software solutions, anything beyond 60Hz is never going to be used as movies are mostly filmed at 29.97 and 59.94 frames per second. By that same token, thanks to its 16:9 form-factor and 1080P resolution this monitor will create images that never look stretched. Instead it will faithfully reproduce in 1:1 format Blu-Ray and other high definition movies.

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Monitor/ViewSonic_XG2401/m8.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

Things also do get a little more complicated when dealing with 720P as this monitor’s upscaling abilities are truly abhorrent and users will want to use software interpolation to upscale rather than rely upon the monitor’s algorithms.
 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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Messages
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Montreal
Non-Colorimeter Tweaking and Results

Non-Colorimeter Tweaking and Results


<i>In a perfect world either every monitor would come factory calibrated to perfection or every single consumer would own a decent colorimeter. We don’t live in such a world and as such most consumers simply use the old Mark 1 Mod 0 eyeball to fix any imperfections with the stock colors of their new monitor.
In order to gauge how easy this is to do for a given monitor we have included a new set of tests. These tests will be carried out before any of our standard tests and will consist of us using a combination of the free online LCD Monitor Test Images (found here LCD monitor test images) and then if necessary the free Hex2Bit Monitor Calibration Wizard (found here Hex2Bit - Software by Mike Walters). The goal of these tests is to not only gauge how easy it is to accurately calibrate a given monitor using only the onboard monitor tools, but to see how closely we can come to what a Spyder3 Elite can do. </i>

To obtain these results we did the following:

-Used “User Color” mode
-Adjusted the brightness to 41% (which resulted in a 121.6 cd/m2)
-All other settings left to default levels

<div align="center"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Monitor/ViewSonic_XG2401/man_gamma.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Monitor/ViewSonic_XG2401/man_rgb.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

This is not a monitor that you will want to manually color correct unless you have a lot of experience in doing so or you have a lot of time on your hands. This is not a user-friendly monitor to work with either, and is certainly not novice friendly.

One thing users will really want to manually adjust is the brightness as it is too bright in default level, even for a brightly lit room. Thankfully this is a simple procedure that will only take a few moments. With that being said if someone is especially tenacious and does not mind spending an entire day futzing with their new monitor the XG2401 can be manually corrected to something approaching acceptability.

The On Screen Display may be annoying and outdated but it can get the job done. The same holds true of the input buttons. They may feel fragile and offer poor tactile feedback but they do work and will allow you to adjust the colors.
 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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Joined
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Messages
12,861
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Montreal
Conclusion

Conclusion


With its combination of 144Hz refresh rate, easy-to-drive resolution, decent if not stellar color fidelity and its reliance upon AMD’s FreeSync technology the ViewSonic XG2401 is best described as a competent gaming monitor which has flashes of brilliance. . This may not sound like the accolade it truly is but you have to take into account this is one of the few value orientated monitors which hits well above its weight category when it comes to features and general usability.

The fact of the matter is most inexpensive monitors are not just inexpensive, but are <i>cheap</i>. The XG2491 on the other hand may not cost all that much but it doesn’t feel like too many corners were cut to achieve such a low price point. Throughout testing we were impressed with how much ViewSonic has been able to offer consumers for less than what many decent video cards cost. Obviously, ‘PC Master Race’ type buyers will turn their nose up at some elements like FreeSync instead of G-SYNC, the 1080P resolution, and the use of a panel that is best described as ‘OK’.

This is perfectly fine as not everyone wants to afford a new monitor that costs upwards of $500. In fact, most people really don’t want to spend that much money on a monitor, and fewer still want to spend a lot for the monitor and then just as much on video horsepower. This is the consumer that the ViewSonic XG2401 is targeting with laser-like precision. They’ll truly appreciate what it has to offer.

FreeSync is a true blessing for the XG2401 since it can effectively eliminate tearing and judder up to 144Hz with only moderate motion blur. It provides a rather enjoyable, and immersive gaming experience. More importantly some really good deals can be found on AMD video cards right now. Simply put, if you have $500 or $600 to spend on a new video card <i>and</i> monitor, the XG2401 combined with an AMD Radeon R9 380 will gives years of inexpensive gaming enjoyment. Just take note of the high “starting” point for this monitor’s FreeSync range.

Unfortunately what keeps Viewsonic’s inexpensive option from being a phenomenal deal is three-fold. First and foremost, their reliance on <i>this</i> particular TN panel may allow for ultra-fast 144Hz refresh rates and a 1ms response rate, but it really does need a good amount of color massaging to be truly useable. In its default out of the box state the XG2401’s colors and gamma profile can be best described as poor. While expecting a monitor to be factory calibrated in this price range is a non-starter ViewSonic does need to at least make an effort to have their monitor reproduce an acceptable RGB spectrum – instead of the mishmash the XG2401 produces. Luckily, it can be mostly corrected by eye, though getting the panel to optimal levels will require a colorimeter.

We also have some concerns over the level of backlight bleed. Once again the level of bleed on our sample can be charitably called tolerable, but on a monitor that was launched recently, it just isn’t acceptable, particularly when competitors like Nixeus have offered substantially better results. There is no excuse for this much backlight bleed, and any monitor at any price should do better than this.

In the end the ViewSonic XG2401 is a very good monitor for its price range but one will that not be right for everyone. As long as you can accept the decisions ViewSonic made in order to make their XG2401 this inexpensive it is a strong competitor that deserves a long hard look.

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