ViewSonic XG2700-4K 27-inch UHD Gaming Monitor Audio / Video Review
With a SuperClear IPS panel and AMD FreeSync in tow, few combatants can come close to this domineering gaming monitor.
Written by: Herman Exum September 7, 2016
ViewSonic’s XG2700-4K Gaming Monitor will test brand loyalties. But being a part of the PC master race is never easily, when the goal is about maximizing your gaming build whenever and wherever possible — having the best graphics card isn’t enough anymore — you must also have your display integrated too.
AMD is looking to solve problems like inconsistent frame rates and screen tearing by way of their FreeSync technology, offering the perks of dynamic adaptive performance without any of the associated drawbacks. This is an impressive display, with an arbitrary recommendation of being faithful to the scrappy Radeon camp.
We must quickly go over the styling first and I’ll just say that if you’ve seen any recent gaming monitor, then the XG2700 is the exact same 27-inch beast. The body is heavy and has no qualms with a thick bezel, broad stand base, and slab-sided color scheme of black and red plastics. Also par for the course is adjustable height, tilt, and orientation for horizontal and vertical viewing which we always appreciate. For some added class, the main buttons are the lower right are “touch sensitive” rather than physical.
One external feature I can’t roast are the number of available inputs, and the XG2700 has things covered one DisplayPort (1.2a), one Mini DisplayPort, three HDMI (two MHL + one 2.0 UHD/4K), four USB 3.0, one USB 2.0 (type B), and a 3.5mm audio jack. There’s even a little loop to keep those cords organized.
ViewSonic is in good company here, more specifically a direct competitor against the likes of the BenQ XL2730 reviewed some time ago. Both of them are similar in price, size, and general specs but the XG2700-4K has a few more tricks up its sleeve. The obvious inclusion is 4k/UHD resolution, something which few other gaming monitors have right now. The another big difference is the use of a IPS panel (dubbed as SuperClear), where others still opt for a Twisted Nematic approach. The latter comes with the inherent advantage of bolder colors and viewing angles that maintain composure from the farthest sides.
This is simply better in picture quality due to the fact that the XG2700 had relatively accurate hues right out of the box. We usually have to mess around with the presets or compensate with the mild adjustments in contrast or RGB offsets, not so much with this one. However, as a gaming monitor you do have a good amount of options to play with, specifically ‘Low Input Lag’ that utilizes a built-in process reducer to better correspond between inputs and alleviate probable delay, and black stabilization which noticeably brightens dim or heavily contrasted shades for better visibility.
Other manual enhancements include internal response time correction, multiple source image modes (picture-in-picture, side-by-side, and quad modes), and a ‘blue light filter’ to help with prolonged eye strain. A quick calMAN overview showed a fairly uniform profile that had a accuracy preference for blue and green.
When we actually played games the XG2700-4K didn’t disappoint. For games like DOOM (2016) and The Rise of the Tomb Raider the experience was fantastic considering my established reluctance of IPS screens and demanding performance. However, the XG2700 easily impressed with settings and resolution (3,840×2,160) on high, of course the low input process reducer turned to ‘advanced’ did help things a little. Furi was my biggest test in terms of response time and the XG2700 never skipped a beat here either, we initially had the aides disabled and found the advertised 5ms (actually recorded at 7m during our testing) pretty close to what we wanted and should be satisfactory for RTS (Warhammer 40K) and MOBA (DOTA 2) titles. There are no options to bump the refresh rate beyond 60Hz though.
So what about AMD FreeSync? I actually had to borrow a Radeon R9 380 (GIGABYTE GAMING-8GD) for a week in order to try and bring out the XG2700’s full potential, and you know what I discovered? The advantage was so minor that it never made a difference.
Yeah, it really played little part in making this monitor better in the grand scheme of things. Yes, the R9 380 is still a robust card, and my current machine is still going strong but we never experienced screen tearing or abrupt frame stutters with a GeForce GTX 1070 installed either. My takeaway is that being able to utilize FreeSync technology is just icing on an already decadent cake, and is probably more valuable to users who have capable cards on much older builds. The only criticism to bring up is that FreeSync is a DisplayPort-only affair, solely intended for PC and/or VESA-approved TVs.
The ViewSonic XG2700-4K Gaming Monitor is an excellent pick even without the use of FreeSync capabilities. it follows some generic styling troupes but offers so much more underneath, which is a great thing because everything from 4K/UHD, game-focused picture options, to its detailed IPS panel isn’t a common package. Few others can touch the XG2700-4K right now, and regardless of my findings, AMD owners should be happy knowing they own one of the best game displays in their corner.