Review: ViewSonic XG2700-4K Gaming Monitor

Building a premium gaming PC can be an expensive business. Once you’ve counted the cost of the case, CPU, Motherboard, GPU, RAM and so on there can be little room left in the budget for a monitor. A large, high-quality display can really be the difference between good and great, but with the cost of top-end models stretching to the high hundreds, it pays to be fussy.

The sweet spot, for many gamers, would be a 27″ 1440p IPS display. We’re certainly heading towards a the 4K gaming era, but given the intense graphical processing demands of UHD, many PCs simply can’t produce sufficient horsepower for high-quality graphics with high FPS at this resolution. But, for early adopters with advanced hardware, 4K is most definitely a reality today.

At $649, the 27″ ViewSonic XG2700-4K Gaming Monitor may well offer the quality that high-end gaming PCs deserve, without necessarily breaking the bank. Let’s take a look.

First Look

In a world of garish gaming hardware, designed to set pulses racing, the XG2700-4K is classically styled – a conservative looking panel with a medium bezel and a large rear pillar. That bezel is certainly thicker than you’ll find on a 27″ competitor like the ASUS PG279Q (see our review), but not enough to really annoy.

There are a few red (obviously, it’s a gaming monitor) highlights on the stand and pillar – just enough to set it apart from standard desktop monitors – but otherwise, it’s a reasonably muted affair. That’s no bad thing – who wants to be distracted by illuminated LEDs and other trinkets in the thick of the action?

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Around the back, a pull-out hook is designed for hanging headphones when not in use. A small, red ring on the rear of the pillar offers a token attempt at a cable management solution but, given the wealth of connectivity options available on the XG2700-4K, you may well need to augment that with a healthy serving of velcro. Rear ports include DisplayPort and Mini DisplayPort, a standalone HDMI 2.0 port and twin HDMI/MHL ports. Two USB 3.0 ports are joined by a further two ports on the side, plus an additional USB 3.0 Type B at the rear. Add a 3.5mm headphone jack and a Kensington Lock Slot and you have an extensive line-up. Handily, Viewsonic has also equipped the XG2700-4K with an integrated VESA-compatible wall mount for easy installation.

Shipping with an AC/DC Adapter, Power cable, Mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort cable, USB 3.0 cable, Quick Start Guide and ViewSonic Wizard CD, unboxing and setting up the monitor takes no time at all. If you stick with the desktop position (rather than wall mounting) you’ll find the XG2700-4K really easy to manoeuvre or position in a multi-display setup. At 8.4 Kg, the display isn’t light, but with a 5° forward / 15° back tilt, a 175º swivel, 90º pivot into Portrait mode and a 120mm height adjust, you should get comfortable quickly.

From a build quality perspective, the XG2700-4K is pretty good. The panel, in particular, feels sturdy enough, although the plastics on the base feel a little more flimsy, with sharp edges at the front reducing the overall impression.

Using the Viewsonic XG2700-4K Gaming Monitor

Hook up, power on and you’ll be immediately impressed by the quality of the SuperClear IPS panel. The large, 3840 x 2160 resolution screen is impactful – even when simply showing an OS desktop – with pin-sharp detailing of text and icons. Even up close and personal, you’ll find it difficult to spot the pixels.

The touch-sensitive front controls are a welcome change for anyone used to tiny, physical buttons on the underside of their monitor bezel. As usual, menu navigation requires a little concentration as monitor controls are always a little cryptic, but the two input source buttons, up, down and power buttons are responsive and work well. For a high-end monitor, the on-screen display menu graphics are a little old-school, but the feature cupboard itself is well stocked. You won’t find too gamer-centric features, such as FPS counters or crosshair targeting but the XG2700-4K offers profiles for most categories of games (FPS, MOBA, RTS and so on) plus a few surprises.

Top of the list is perhaps the monitor’s multi-picture mode, which allows you to view feeds from up to four inputs simultaneously. I found it particularly useful watching a live football game in one area of the screen, while levelling up an agent in Tom Clancy’s The Division. More convenient than a two display setup, for sure. It’s a niche feature, perhaps, but with no noticeable input lag, it’s clear that the XG2700-4K is an accomplished performer.

Elsewhere, most users will want to take advantage of the XG2700-4K’s integrated AMD Freesync setting, that ensures in-game graphics rendering is fluid and free from artifacts. You’ll need a supported AMD GPU to take advantage of the Freesync but, like NVIDIA’s competing (and pricier) G-SYNC technology, Freesync will ensure your gameplay looks its best – at any framerate.

Alongside AMD Freesync, the XG2700-4K is well specified for gaming. Alongside that ultra-high resolution, you’ll find a GTG (gray-to-gray) response time of just 5ms, which is up there with the best. Refresh rates of 60Hz ensure that brand new FPS you’ve just picked up will be smooth.

The new Viewsonic monitor does lack a little brightness however. 300 cd/m2 sounds decent on paper, but for those that like to burn retinas during gameplay, the XG2700-4K’s output is a little dull, even at maximum output. look around and you’ll find plenty of brighter gaming monitors out there.

In terms of color performance, out of the box I found the monitor’s default profile to be a little too warm for my liking – although I generally prefer cooler colours on my displays. Under tests, the XG2700-4K able to accurately display 99% of the sRGB colour gamut, which is an impressive result.

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In action, I found the XG2700-4K to be a decent performer, although less accomplished than other 27″ gaming monitors I’ve tested previously. Obviously, a 4K monitor is going to test any GPU and CPU combination – but I did notice some degree of stuttering throughout The Division’s Falcon Lost Incursion, even with top of the range kit. Manual settings are available to reduce input lag and improve response times, which you should definitely investigate. I found they helped to smooth fast motion gameplay to more acceptable levels. If you’re going 4K, be sure you’ve got the horsepower for it.

While Windows 10 does a good job of automatically scaling for 4K UHD displays, some third-party apps (and games) are still playing catch-up, so expect to come across some odd looking menus and icons that lack scaling support at this resolution. It’s par for the course with any 4K monitor right now and the good news is that it should improve over time.

Elsewhere, the XG2700-4K excels at showing off your media at its best. 4K video streams offer intense detail and crisp clarity, with natural colors and skin tones. The 5ms response time comes into its own when watching fast-paced sports, such as football or tennis, with no ghosting of the ball, when in motion.

Summary

While IPS gaming monitors supporting NVIDIA G-SYNC tend to steal much of the limelight, AMD GPU owners seeking a premium 4K gaming experience should definitely take a look at the ViewSonic XG2700-4K. $649 is still an investment for any computer display, but the XG2700-4K offers rich, high quality visuals which will delight anyone with the raw power needed to game in ultra-high definition.

The monitor itself looks great on the desktop – sure, there are flashier designs out there and displays with thinner bezels, but the XG2700-4K still makes a statement. A few rough edges and cheap-feeling plastics on the base offer some room for improvement, but these are minor quibbles.

I was a little concerned with the responsiveness of the display at times – particularly during hectic FPS gaming sessions, but I was able to smooth out some of the juddering I experienced using the monitor’s manual refresh rate controls. Certainly, the demands of 4K gaming are great, and I’d only recommend a 4K monitor to those rocking a seriously powerful PC.

If that includes you, then be sure to check out the ViewSonic XG2700-4K – it’s a good-looking, high-quality display that’s sure to grab – and deserve – your attention.

 

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