A treat for your eyes.
In an attempt to perhaps prevent my eyes from melting in their sockets, I had the chance to spend some time using the ViewSonic VG2401mh monitor, a display designed specifically for gaming. This is by no means an expert review, but rather an opinion on a monitor that costs more than I would be willing to spend and whether that extra cost is really justifiable to the average gamer.
You know how it is. You take it upon yourself to build your own PC. You set a budget which is then blown as you simply add a few quid to each component just because the next version up the ladder is not much more expensive and will surely make the difference between an awesome home-built PC and the machine which will solve world hunger. Then, when it comes to choosing a monitor, it tends to either be a case of make do with the old monitor, or find something nice and cheap, all thanks to blowing the budget on a few components that happen to be shinier than whatever you originally put on the list. It is strange that the single component that you will spend the most time interacting with, is usually the last component to be considered.
I really can’t remember the last time I had a new monitor, and I have never actually spent money on anything more than the most budget monitor in the past. Once my current display packs up, I will likely just swap it for one of the other monitors that I have hanging around the house. My history has been one unimpressive display after another. I am not saying they have all been crappy cheap monitors (hell, i am not even saying they have all been monitors, but that’s a story for another time). But they have all been cheap.
And they have all done the job, which is really the problem.
Most monitors nowadays are perfectly competent, with low response times and such. So why would you shell out your hard earned cash (which could be used for some extra PC performance) on a more expensive monitor with a few bells and whistles?
Well, the proof is in the pudding, I guess, and the pudding here happens to be the ViewSonic VG2401mh Gaming Display. With a price floating around the £250 mark, this 24″ monitor is certainly leaning on the expensive side. But it comes with a few extras which may well make it worth the price on entry.
Let’s start by looking at some numbers -
Resolution – 1,920×1,080
Contrast ratio – 1000:1
Brightness – 350cd/m2
Response time – 1ms
refresh Rate – 144Hz
Size without stand – 568.2 x 335.7 x 51.2 mm
Yeah, that doesn’t really mean much to me either. I mean, I get that they are all good numbers (some of them are simply lovely), but the important numbers I have seen before. Still, let’s have some more info about the display -
The display has a black, relatively understated bezel, upon which is a small logo at the top and touch controls on the bottom left.
The video inputs available are DVI, Displayport and two HDMI, There is also a 3.5mm audio in and earphone out.
The display has a built in USB 3.0 hub on one side, offering two USB 3.0 ports.
There are also two 3W speakers built in.
The stand offers adjustable height, swivel and tilt, and can be removed to take advantage of the VESA wall mounting options. It also has a rather sporty red line down the middle.
Out of the box, I was presented with some cables and a driver disc, along with the display itself and the stand. Attaching the stand itself was painless thanks to the simple thumbscrew operation. The display titled and swiveled with ease, but when it came to adjusting the height, I was presented with a rather cheap “stick a metal pin in the hole” style adjustment, which simply seemed out of place on such an expensive piece of kit. It did the job, but just felt out of place.
Turning the monitor on, I was immediately taken aback by the brightness. This is an incredibly bright display, something I instantly had to rectify using the OSD, dropping the brightness down to a more comfortable level. The VG2401mh has a built in blue light filter, which really makes a difference if you plan to spend a lot of time staring at it. The blue light filter works really well over extended periods, offering a real alternative to dry, tired eyes.
For those who have the option, connecting through the DVI to enable the hugely impressive 144Hz refresh rate will really make a difference in certain fast-paced games, resulting in a much smoother experience. However, even without reaching the 144Hz refresh rate, which really can take a toll on your graphics card, the VG2401mh is a joy to use. Relatively basic tasks such as everyday computing are sharp and easy on the eye.
As a display targeted at gamers, there are a couple of videogame based additions that make the VG2401mh stand out. The first is Game Mode, accessible through a shortcut button, which adjusts certain contrast and gamma settings to make darker areas of a game more visible. With the monitor’s already decidedly bright display, this may seem like overkill. But the Game Mode is easy to access and really does make it easier to see those things lurking in the shadows.
The other inclusion for gamers, activated via a hotykey, is the Aim-Point Assistant. This mode is purely for the shooters as it pops crosshairs onto the screen to improve your aim, even when firing from the hip. An interesting idea, but I am not sure that any serious FPS gamer will actually admit to using it. Still, it is certainly a nice addition.
The added extras of two USB 3.0 ports, which are always handy, and the speakers both add extra value to the display. I found the speakers to be slightly tinny and no substitute for a decent sound system or headset, but they are nice to have nonetheless.
The big thing that I noticed was how much of a difference having a premium display actually made. The fast response time, epic refresh rate and even the blue light filter actively improved my experience sitting at my desk. Gaming was more enjoyable and even less tiring. However, I am sure that the same effect could have been achieved with a much cheaper display.
The ViewSonic VG2401mh Gaming Display is a beautiful piece of kit. It is very well made and, aside from the excessive brightness on start up, performs admirably. My time spent with the VG2401mh has been a joy. That being said, the high price point for relatively limited extras will leave gamers with a difficult decision when it comes to their budget. For the hardcore PC gamer, the VG2401mh may be worth the extra cost, and it is those hardcore gamers that this display is aimed at.