The wave of next-generation gaming monitors has finally arrived, although you might not have noticed. It seems like everything hardware related, from GPUs, components, memory, and even consoles, have been harder to find lately, which is a shame when there’s so many great new games available that need a home. But what good is newer, more powerful hardware if you don’t have a newer, more powerful display to truly make them sing?
Which is where something like ViewSonic’s Elite XG320U Gaming Monitor is well positioned, especially for futureproofed high refresh-rate gaming. Right off the bat, you’ll get an embarrassment of next-gen ready features like HDMI 2.1 connectivity, 4K/144Hz, and a stellar Fast IPS (FIPS) panel that looks stunning playing both standard and HDR content. This is truly a display that seems to check all the boxes any serious gamer could want. But there’s gotta be a catch for $999.99 MSRP.
Design: Looks ELITE
The reason I mention any supposed caveats is because, while the Elite XG320U is a 32-inch monitor equipped with HDMI 2.1 for just under a thousand greenbacks, it’s not prohibitively expensive compared to other options I’ve played with from ASUS, Samsung, Acer and LG either. The specs are also promising; native 3840×2160/4K resolution, 1ms response rate, overclockable 150Hz refresh rate, and that aforementioned upgrade to a FIPS display from the cheaper, less color-accurate VA type panels.
But let’s quickly talk about the look of this monster of a monitor. ViewSonic continues their edgy, though relatively understated design, from last year’s 27″ XG270QG, albeit with a noticeably larger screen size. The same appearance from the tuckaway headphone hook, ELITE branding, and rear rubberized cable anchors are identical like before, just larger in scale to accommodate the larger screen, along with the same aluminum base and stand that’s reassuringly wide and heavy.
ELITE monitors utilize a button-style joystick controller for managing the onscreen menu (OSD), which is meant to eliminate redundant buttons and provide a more intuitive and singular approach to navigation. Separate quick-access and power buttons help alleviate confusion if you just want to turn on the monitor and jump into the action, a setup that works fine after getting acquainted and customizing everything to your liking.
Because this is a premium gaming monitor there’s RGB lighting, of course, and you’ll have two rainbow arrays under the front bottom bezel and near the rear body that can either breathe or alternate their glowing hues. You can also disable the lightshow and opt for a space saving VESA mount, if you choose.
When using the included stand you’ll have 60° swivel range, 20° vertical tilt, and a very accommodating 178° viewing angle range. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to turn the XG320U from a horizontal to vertical orientation, but is anybody surprised by that? This monitor is freaking huge… get a separate VESA mount if you must but choose wisely!
On first impression the Elite XG320 is generally exceptional doing most of what it does. The sheer size of the screen alone is an eyeopener and out-of-the-box picture settings were some of the best and most vibrant I’ve seen for a gaming monitor. Again, this is a high-end 4K display, and getting the most from all these features meaning you’ll need a gaming rig with enough juice to make them sing. Those with lesser hardware shouldn’t worry, though, as the XG320 can still make your relatively ancient machine look better than ever.
For most, the biggest appeal of the XG320 is the promise of 4K gaming with high refresh rates with HDR, and I’m happy to say it delivers, for the most part. Again, the power of your hardware will ultimately determine the maximum resolution and performance you’ll get, but simply having a larger display can do wonders for making cinematic games more cinematic and
HDR and brightness on the XG320U is fantastic at 600 nits but is undeniably weaker in terms of contrast depth. IPS panels produce excellent colors, but this particular monitor doesn’t have LED backlighting or local dimming to help. As a result, differentiation in dark scenes can look somewhat flat. When there’s an abundance of color the XG320U is amazing but falls short when it comes to achieving pure inky black levels. SDR performance exhibited similar results, only with a less accurate and/or oversaturated color gamut.
ViewSonic claims that the XG320U can reach a maximum 150Hz refresh rate, which is beyond what most PC hardware can output at 4K. Even ViewSonic’s own XG2431 can only reach its smooth 240Hz refresh rate because its panel is limited to 1920×1080 resolution. For most people though, the default to 144Hz upon detection will be more than enough, so you probably won’t feel the need to enable the 150Hz option through the UI.
Broader 4K Gaming
As a visceral display, the XG320U will be worth paying for the privilege of engaging 4K on PC. However, seeing a game like Forza Horizon 5 with both speed and performance essentially uncompromised is bright and beautiful while whizzing across Mexico, with the more convincing details appearing picturesque to match arid deserts and rustic fishing towns. Halo Infinite is another title that pairs nicely with this XG320U, a cinematic open-world presentation and straightforward first-person shooting action remain solid, but immersion is dialed up since you sit closer to the screen. Other favorites such as Red Dead Redemption 2, Final Fantasy XV and Death Stranding are also worth playing again on this monitor. they’re older titles, but the XG320U really shows how well produced these titles can actually look with the right hardware. The experience is just different enough to justify if you’re normally tied to something like a OLED TV or home theater projector, but don’t need the real estate that these large displays typically provide.
For multiplayer games like Overwatch and Monster Hunter: World, the realized potential of the XG320U will largely depend on your current GPU. At 4K resolution, something like my MSi RTX 2070 will occasionally hit a peak of 68fps on maximum setting for these titles, and a RTX 2080Ti handled the payload at a more desirable average of 86-102 fps on medium presets. Fast-moving objects and action retain clearness and naked eye ghosting is almost nonexistent as well.
To further help reduce motion blur, the PureXP preset incorporates black frame insertion that flickers the display at an extremely high frequency, although peak brightness is decreased to compensate. However, you’ll also have to sacrifice HDR and FreeSync/G-Sync VRR while in use. Speaking of which, this monitor does feature AMD FreeSync Premium Pro (with generic support for Nvidia GPUs), meaning variable refresh rate to eliminate flicker and screen tearing to match framerate and latency. FreeSync is nothing new but the XG320U does all of it with DisplayHDR 600 included.
This is also where those that HDMI 2.1 port (along with HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.4 and various USB ports) come in because this is truly next-gen gaming ready for everything PC, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S consoles. Granted, you’ll only get a 4K/120Hz threshold with the latter two choices, but the XG320U could easily work as a substitute TV – for all the features that can fit on your desk.
Conclusion: Next-Gen Ready
In every way that matters, the Elite XG320U Gaming Monitor feels geared to the hilt for the newest consoles and GPUs with 4K resolution, fast refresh rates, HDR600, and HDMI 2.1 that makes everything work in harmony. This is a fantastic addition to a growing line of upper-class 4K gaming monitors by exceeding what most users will actually use here, or even can at the moment. Even with some dull contrast characteristics there’s much to celebrate here, and the XG320U is more than powerful enough for gamers, content creators, and everybody else in between.