If you would like to see my video review covering this monitor click here.
Of course I told them I was far too busy but said I would fit them in just this once!!
A few days later the monitor arrived from the Czech Republic.
Prior to taking it out of the box and indeed before they had even offered the sample for review, I had already seen and done some homework on it.
I knew how filled to the brim it was with gaming eye candy enhancing delights but one thing was staring me in the face that had me a little put off.
Those of you that know me or have seen my other videos know I don’t like too much bling. I am not in to the Power Ranger look at all. I much rather modesty. The XG2703 however had flashes of bright green and gloss black. Although it was clearly going to make my picture look much better I thought that it would stand out way too much for my taste.
Shortly, as in a few milliseconds, after it arrived I set about unboxing it.
First thing I came across was the accessories. It comes with an external power pack, plugs for both UK and EU, USB3 hub cable, DisplayPort cable and a user guide.
The monitor itself is fully assembled so is ready to go straight away which was very handy for my Christmas morning like impatience.
When I cast aside my own monitor with out a care for it, and put the XG2703 on my desk the first thing that hit me was that the bright greens and gloss black didn’t actually hit me in the face like I expected. I barely noticed them and actually thought it looked pretty sweet.
My own monitor, BenQ XL2411 is all black which suits me just fine and when I tried the Acer Z35 Predator I wasn’t keen on the red stand feet despite my own rig having a black and red theme. Green doesn’t appear anywhere in my setup so I really thought it would look right out-of-place but, at least on first impressions it didn’t stand out as not fitting at all.
The only touches of green are at the top and bottom bezels in hooded recesses and surrounding the cable management hole in the stand.
The Gloss Black is on a small kite shaped patch at the front and nother on the rear of the stand base and, at least with the way the light is in my office, they don’t chuck lots of reflections back. At the base of the stand is a nice clear patch of plastic with the XG batch etched in which is lit nicely when the power LED is illuminated as it sits just above it. Next after that is the cable management hole which, as mentioned, is one of only 3 relatively subtle green flashed visible from the front.
The screen itself doesn’t have the thinnest bezels on the sides but they are certainly thin enough to allow you to create a multiscreen set up with them. Which I have to say would be a beast of a setup!
On the right hand edge of the monitor are 4 diamond symbols with a G above them and a power symbol below them. These correspond to the button positions directly behind them to access the onscreen menu and the Power button (oddly enough!) On the right hand side above just above the buttons are 2 USB2 ports which are always handy!
Next I thought I would spin it round and have a look at the part of the monitor I see the least, the back! Again there are 2 sections of gloss and 2 green flashes, both of which contain the XG Series branding. Not that the back was never going to upset me even if it was pink and yellow as I can’t see it and neither can anyone else as its only a few inches from the wall but even if I could I wouldn’t actually mind it. Granted it looks a little flash but it really isn’t offensive. Also at the back, but this time in the stand itself, is a drop down headset holder. Now although this is a great feature to have, and will mean my Blue Snowball will no longer double as a holder, if you do use it, it will mean you have to move your monitor closer to you away from your office wall meaning you would need a deep desk or not have a wall behind it! In my opinion it would be far more functional on the side of the monitor.
So before I plugged it in I wanted to have a look around it so what better way than to also see how flexible it is. First off I checked its tilt range and it has a nice +/-5° to play with. It will also rotate through 90° and swivel 175° either side of centre. To finish it has a height adjustment range of 100mm. Certainly giving you plenty of versatility and what with the 178° viewing angles you get from the IPS panel i’m pretty sure you can con figure it just right and still get a belting picture.
So with it spun 90° I was able to see the rest of the connection options. First of all it has a 3.5mm audio out socket next to that is the HDMI 1.4 port followed by the DisplayPort 1.2. Then you have the USB3 hub upstream port followed by 2 USB3 downstream ports giving the XG2703 a grand total of 4 USB ports as a nice bonus.
So I’ve, by now, had enough of looking around it. I want to see how it performs! I connected it up with the provided DisplayPort cable and plugged in the external power supply. As soon as I turned on My PC the XG2703 burst in to life. When my login screen loaded in I could immediately see the difference. All the colours leapt out when compared to my XL2411. When it loaded in to desk top I was amazed about how much more real estate I had with the extra 3″ of screen and more importantly the 2560×1440 display! This can only help my work flow!
No messing now straight in to game and it needed to be pretty so I jumped on to Battlefield1 and WOW! it looked incredible! 3hrs later when I peeled myself of it I not only loved how it looked but found that my game play also actaully improved. Why was this?! Well first of all as mentioned I now have a bigger screen and a higher resolution but also now get the benefit of nVidia G-Sync technology, 144hz refresh rate (I will come back to that shortly!) and also the lovely colour range of the IPS panel, whiter whites and blacker blacks. Basically I could see things much better and clearer than ever before!
Over the two weeks of testing I tried the XG2703 out on numerous titles like Ghost Recon Wildlands, GTA V, Arma 3, DayZ and DCS to name a few. Each time the difference in how the games looked and played was obvious. This was replicated when I had a go at doing some editing on Sony Vegas Pro 14. Not only did I have more room on screen to play with but again the IPS Panel now meant I had a much better look at the colours of the videos I was editing and I could now finally starting playing with the colour curve and correct to good effect. I was falling in love!
Now on to the small gripes, and the first of those the sharper of you my have already picked up on and that is the refresh rate. Natively it goes up to 144hz when using the DisplayPort cable but it is capable of being overclocked to 165Hz in the onscreen menu just not for me! Sadly I could not get a succesful OC on it! I got in touch with my contact at ViewSonic who in turnfired it up to the engineers. Turns out it wasn’t a faulty unit (they sent me a replacement) but instead the XG2703 OC is not compatible with my EVGA GTX Titan Hydro Copper (Maxwell) GPU’s! Granted this is not going to effect everyone as i’m sure there aren’t many still on them but I was gutted I couldn’t try it to it’s full.
My next gripe is with the on screen menu buttons. The menu itself looks good and is layed out nicely with everything in a logical order and place. My issue is the buttons. Even with the symbols at the front, it’s not that easy to find the correct button to match the action you want to perform and often I either cleared the menu or ended up doing something other than intened. This is a common problem with monitors i’m finding with only a handful opting for a much more user friendly 4 way press button joystick to navigate.
My final one is not just aimed at ViewSonic but at pretty much every gaming monitor manufacturer. This rant is about built in speakers! Why are they in here!? This monitor most defintaly performs to a very high standard with the quality of the image it can display but the 2watt speakers are less than Meh! I don’t get why they are in gaming monitors. If people are willing to spend the amount of money required to get one of these bad boys in order to make their games look good surely they are also the kind of person that will want great sound too, either in the form of decent external speaker or with a decent gaming headset! Why not just leave them out altogether and return the saving to the consumer?
On to my final thought.
Well I loved it! As mentioned my games looked nicer and I consequently performed better. The desgin is actually far from the Power Rangers set I thought it would be and it is packed with features (all of which you can find here). As far as the cost it, at the time of writing, comes in at less than £640 and I certainly prefer its look to its rivals from AOC and Asus. This has a high end price I hear you say! Well thats because it is a high end monitor. It looks feels and works high end! I highly recommend this monitor for anyone who wants to upgrade there monitor as this packs eveything you could want for all except possibly the compative gamer wanting an improvement on the 4ms GtG time but that would mean sacrificing the IPS Panel for a TN.
If you have stayed reading to this point you will be pleased to know you have reached the end. If you haven’t already please watch my video review here. If you want to ask me anything please head on over to my Twitter page and post away