AU Optronics’ fast 25” panel has found its way into every major manufacturer’s gaming monitor line. We’ve already tested four of these speed demons and found that they offer the ultimate in smooth motion and lightning quick response. Despite their low FHD resolution and old-school TN screen, there are no other monitors that can make the game an extension of the player’s mind more so than these.
Asus, Alienware, AOC, and Acer have already checked this box; now it’s ViewSonic’s turn. And like the AOC AG251FZ we reviewed recently, the XG2530 featured today has AMD FreeSync as its adaptive-refresh tech of choice. Boasting some impressive specs, this monitor has the most packed OSD we’ve ever seen. With multiple gaming modes and a huge number of options for customization, it almost requires its own seminar to figure out. Hopefully by the time you’re done reading this review, it’ll all make sense. Let’s take a look.
The XG2530 seems a bit daunting at first, but once you peel away the layers, it’s no different than any other 25” 240Hz gaming monitor. Of the five we’ve had so far, it and AOC's are the only ones supporting FreeSync. Asus, Acer, and Alienware employ Nvidia’s G-Sync technology. ViewSonic is taking full advantage of the spec by keeping adaptive-sync alive all the way down to 24Hz. While this is admirable, one would need a seriously old video card to run a game that slowly at only 1920x1080 pixels.
Of course, FreeSync means two things, a lower price and no blur reduction. Though we’ve seen the backlight strobe on a couple of FreeSync monitors, it is typically only found in G-Sync products. This might be an issue for some hardcore gamers, but in our experience adaptive refresh always provides a better experience than blur reduction. And the price? It’s about $130 lower than Asus, Acer, and Alienware at this writing.
What all five products share is the same AU Optronics part. Developed at the urging and guidance of Nvidia, this panel pretty much makes input lag non-existent and provides perfectly smooth motion at some insanely high framerates. With a premium video card, it’s not difficult to top 200 FPS at max detail. That’s something worth experiencing.
Packaging, Physical Layout & Accessories
ViewSonic’s packaging is always top quality, and we’ve never seen so much as a scratch on anything the company has sent us. The carton is double corrugate and opens from the top. The upright is already bolted onto the panel for you; just attach the base with its captive fastener. Build quality is solid, a fact that proves itself the moment you handle the XG2530. Bundled cables include an IEC power cord, DisplayPort, and USB 3.0. You also get a printed quick-start guide. Further documentation can be found on ViewSonic’s website.
ViewSonic has never been one to apply a lot of extra design elements to its gaming monitors. The XG2530 has the same purposeful and industrial look as its business-oriented counterparts. To set the XG line apart, you’ll find a few bits of red trim and some textures here and there but nothing like the sci-fi feel you see with Asus’ ROG displays.
The bezel isn’t especially narrow or wide, it’s just about right. If you want a frameless design, the XG2530 isn’t it, and it makes no attempt to be. The frame and surrounding plastic is tough and nicely finished to prevent any reflection from ambient light. That feature extends to the anti-glare layer, which keeps all but the brightest sources at bay. We couldn’t see any graininess in either finely detailed gaming environments or small text.
From the front, the only identifying mark is a large XG logo on the base. “ViewSonic” is printed in big red letters around back. The controls are in the center and consist of down-facing buttons and tiny icons. The far-left one pops up picture mode selection, and the rest engage and navigate the vast OSD.
The base and stand are nearly bomb-proof and move with just the right amount of resistance. Height is adjustable through a 4.6” range, and you get 45° swivel in each direction, 15° back and 5° forward tilt, and a portrait mode with rotating OSD.
Despite a little chunkiness in the overall shape, the side profile is slim at just 2.3”. You can see a small cable management ring in the photo. It snaps on the upright and can be omitted if you wish. At the top of the stand is a small pull-out hanger for headphones. The USB ports are unfortunately not found on either side. You’ll have to go underneath for them.
The back has an almost leather-like texture with an organic shape molded into it. In one corner is the requisite Kensington lock. Two three-watt speakers play through the upper grillwork and make decent volume if not a lot of bass. Keep the volume below maximum to avoid distortion.
The input panel includes two HDMI ports, one of which is 2.0-compatible and has HDCP 2.2 content protection. HDMI supports FreeSync up to 240Hz as does the single DisplayPort. One upstream and two downstream USB 3.0 jacks, along with a 3.5mm audio output complete the XG2530’s connectivity.
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