Ultrawide monitors found their niche in the gaming PC arena. They’re long, curved, and often a visual showcase to any hardcore desktop tuned for overclocking prowess. On that basis, the ELITE XG350R-C Ultrawide Gaming Monitor should be on your immediate shortlist if you want a epic display to compliment your beloved setup. This is also the kickoff flagship for ViewSonic’s newest gaming brand, and you only get one chance to make a big impression.
If you’ve never seen a widescreen monitor outside of your favorite retailer then it’s a different feeling being able to gawk at it in a personal space. Upon initial unboxing you can tell that the ELITE XG350R-C has overwhelming presence all its own, and it takes a little time to get acclimated to the sheer breadth that this monitor exudes. The exterior bezel is made of matte plastic which isn’t the sexiest utilization of available material, but the aesthetics are portrayed in broad angles and bright RGB lighting arrays that radiate from the rear and base.
Inside and Out
Speaking of the back, ViewSonic was adamant on adding connectivity. You get three USB 3.0 Type-A ports, one Type-B USB port, two HDMI (v2.0/HDCP 2.2), one DisplayPort 1.4 and a 3.5mm audio jack. They also managed to fit in two 5W speakers for convenience, the output is merely adequate but at least you do get onboard sound.
Notice how there’s no buttons on the front or side? Well, in order to do anything from powering the monitor on/off to navigating the user menu and its plethora of options, a mini-joystick controller tab handles everything with varying execution. The idea of eliminating buttons is admirable but takes time getting acquainted with its menu structure, input sensitivity, and reaching around the back. you’ll definitely want to configure any preferences beforehand.
The standard specs are impressive with a native UWQHD 3440×1440 resolution, 21:9 aspect ratio, HDR10, and 100Hz refresh rate with AMD FreeSync enabled. Things only add up from there as ViewSonic throws in their own Vertical Alignment (VA) display panel, which is supposed to provide the best quality in contrast and picture depth with great effectiveness. However, a VA monitor also comes with the built-in drawback of slow pixel response time and ‘ghosting’ of images, something that the XG350R-C tries to compensate with a rapid 3ms response rate.
Gaming in 21:9
Even with the stellar (3ms) millisecond count I still observed light blurring even after jumping into menu presets and falling back on the monitor’s “ClearMotion Blur Technology”, though it couldn’t be removed entirely and most apparent on text of smaller font sizes. Another quirk of this VA panel is how brightness would sometimes darken in extreme moments of transition on many of the games I tested the XG350R-C with. This was somewhat distracting when playing Resident Evil 2, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Final Fantasy XV and Forza Horizon 4—all of which can properly display in UWQHD/21:9 when detected.
The main goal of the ELITE XG350R-C is total immersion where field-of-view (FOV) can be enhanced to advantageous effect, this of course means enjoying video games that are able to support it. PC gamers will immediately pine for this because everything does draw you in and looks fantastic, but the practical benefits for office users and media editing is there too—ideal for multitasking duty and can essentially replace most dual monitor setups.
But does this hurt the overall experience for me? Well hardly, because I still enjoyed it more than I thought with a ultrawide gaming monitor. Sure, the technical workings aren’t prefect but being enveloped is what the ELITE XG350R-C delivers and greatly aides to your gameplay proficiency. It’s easy to disregard FOV but when you’re able to better see where enemies are and the nuances in certain environments, this monitor makes a legitimate case for itself and instantly blows 16:9 screens out of the water.
RE2 and FFXV were the best examples for the XG350R-C where knowing your surroundings in action is a near-constant. This also serves as an excellent alternative if you watch a lot of movies outside of a home theater arrangement because the XG350R-C is one of the few ultrawide monitors currently out with HDR10 capabilities. Colors are vibrant with just a hint of brightness to compensate for crushed blacks, and while it certainly won’t replace your living room TV this really pops by itself.
It’s also worth noting and a possible knock (depending on your budget) is that building or buying an enthusiast PC is practically a requirement to pair to this monitor. With increased resolution and maintaining a 60fps means needing more graphic horsepower, and having at least a GeForce GTX 1080, Radeon Vega RX VII or RTX 2070 is necessary to run games decently at high presets. Its glorious to behold with the proper components but cost of entry isn’t cheap, and anything less is downright choppy or compromised.
The idea of having any ultrawide monitor is a unicorn for most people. Although you can’t completely avoid the asking price, ViewSonic offers a fantastic value with their ELITE XG350R-C Ultrawide Gaming Monitor. The screen is huge and the whole package would make any follower of the PC master race beam with pride. Everything generally comes together for more than just gaming, but a dual monitor substitute that also happens to light up like a neon rainbow. If you’ve got the qualified PC and desk space is plentiful, then there’s no reason not to own this.