ViewSonic's XG2401 monitor is one of the display maker's first attempts at catering specifically to hardcore gamers. Fortunately, the folks at ViewSonic got it right early. This $279 24-inch display has everything you need to play competitively — ultrafast response times, genre-specific display modes — and is sprinkled with practical extras such as a headphone dock and a highly adjustable stand. Between its robust feature set and AMD FreeSync support for tear-free gaming, the XG2401 is one of the best gaming monitors for those who want to play shooters, strategy games and more at their most optimal.
The ViewSonic XG2401's black design is pretty plain, though the monitor's stand and rectangular base sport just enough red stripes to remind you that this is a gaming peripheral.
What the display lacks in flashiness, however, it makes up for in practicality. A small hook near the top of the stand lets you dock your headphones, while a circular red ring below lets you coil together whatever multitude of wires you have connected to the monitor.
ViewSonic's monitor is highly adjustable. You can tilt the display 5 degrees forward or 22 degrees back, as well as raise or lower it up to 4.7 inches. You can even swivel the monitor 90 degrees and use it in portrait mode — something useful for multi-monitor setups or for those who use a dedicated screen for reading Twitch chat. The XG2401 is also VESA-mountable, should you want to forgo the stand altogether and attach it right to your wall.
Ports and Interface
The XG2401 packs plenty of connections for your PC or console, with two HDMI inputs as well as a DisplayPort (the latter of which is required to use the monitor's FreeSync mode). If you want to plug in peripherals and headphones, you've got two USB 3.0 ports, a USB 2.0 type B port and a 3.5mm audio jack at your disposal.
The XG2401's interface is refreshingly simple and easy to navigate for a gaming monitor. There's a dedicated button for switching video sources with a single click, as well as one for activating the monitor's various genre-specific game modes. If you want to go more in-depth, a simple tap of the "1" button pulls up the XG 2401's robust main menu, which lets you tweak audio and color, as well as activate advanced features such as FreeSync and Low Input Lag.
Offering a speedy 144Hz refresh rate, the XG2401 made the sensation of popping off terrorists and ducking into cover in Rainbow Six: Siege feel incredibly instant. The 1080p monitor's two-shooter presets both served a unique purpose when playing Siege; FPS1 mode offers duller colors to prevent eyestrain, while the extra-high contrast of FPS2 made it especially easy to spot enemies.
The XG2401 did an excellent job highlighting the lush forests, flowing rivers and colorful fantasy characters of Dota 2, making it easy for me to keep up with the action. The monitor's RTS and MOBA modes made the image almost excessively sharp — they didn't look especially pretty, but these modes created thick outlines around every character that could potentially help pro players better spot allies and enemies.
Few genres are as dependent on low-input lag as fighting games are, and I'm happy to report that Street Fighter V played like a joy on the XG2401. I had no problem pulling off combos that required frame-perfect timing. It didn't hurt that the lush purple clouds and detailed Japanese architecture in the game's background were preserved in all their glory.
The XG2401 supports AMD FreeSync, which minimizes screen-tearing on AMD-powered machines by syncing the display directly with your computer's graphics card. While this is a handy feature for AMD users, I found it almost unnecessary due to the monitor's already strong performance on standard mode.
Although activating FreeSync did eliminate some minor jagginess in Rainbow Six: Siege, I generally had a consistently smooth experience across all of my games regardless of whether I had the feature on.
Brightness, Color and Latency
The XG2401 was as impressive in our lab tests as it was during day-to-day use. ViewSonic's monitor registered an overall brightness of 355 nits, topping the $179 BenQ RL2455HM (270 nits) as well as our 238-nit gaming monitor average.
The XG2401 exhibited strong color accuracy, with a Delta E rating of 2.34 (closer to 0 is better). That beats the RL2455HM's 3.75, as well as our 4.6 average. The ViewSonic monitor only fell short in color representation, producing 91 percent of the sRGB color gamut, compared with the BenQ's 110 percent and our 104-percent average.
When it comes to responsiveness, however, the XG2401 is the best in its class. It's the first monitor we've tested to register 0ms of latency on our lag tester, even without the display's Low Input Lag mode activated. That tops the BenQ's 9.8ms and our 14ms average, and explains why the monitor performed so fluidly during our game time.
Features and Audio
Aside from its game-specific presets for shooters and strategy games, the XG2401 offers three customizable "Gamer" profiles that you configure with whichever combination of brightness, color and special features you like.
The monitor's SmartSync feature automatically selects the best refresh rate and response time for whatever you're playing. While this sounds good on paper, I noticed that activating the mode simply darkened the screen and cranked up the sharpness in most games I used it on.
There's also a black stabilization feature for highlighting dark in-game areas. Similar to BenQ's Black Equalizer, this feature lets you pinpoint otherwise hard-to-see enemies and locations without blowing out the entire image. Like FreeSync, this mode served its purpose, but the already excellent brightness meant I didn't have to depend on it much.
The XG2401's built-in speakers are surprisingly loud — when cranked all the way, they filled our 15-by-15 foot testing lab with the sounds of Street Fighter V's pulsing soundtrack and meaty punches and kicks.
If low-latency gaming is your priority, the $279 ViewSonic XG2401 is one of the best in its class. This 24-inch monitor offers ridiculously fast response times, dedicated FPS, MOBA and RTS modes, and packs FreeSync to ensure extra smoothness for those gaming on AMD cards. Its highly flexible stand makes it ideal for multi-monitor setups, and handy extras such as a headphone stand and wire organizer make it easy to attach your peripherals without creating clutter.
If you want a similarly responsive experience and can live without FreeSync, BenQ's $179 RL2455HM is an excellent (and significantly cheaper) alternative. However, the amount of bells and whistles found on ViewSonic's XG2401 make it one of the most compelling packages in its price range.