Advertisement

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Advertisement

ViewSonic Elite XG270QG review: Smooth operator

James Archer
4 Mar 2020
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
669
inc VAT

It’s expensive, but the 165Hz Elite XG270QG has one of the slickest IPS panels of any gaming monitor

Pros 
Very smooth picture
Bright and colourful
Highly adjustable stand
Cons 
Mediocre contrast
Too expensive
1ms response time adds artefacts
Advertisement

It could be argued that the world didn’t need another 27in, 1440p gaming monitor, especially one that costs as much or more than some 4K displays. To its credit, though, the ViewSonic Elite XG270QG manages to find a genuinely unique combination of IPS image quality and sheer competition-grade speed, even tossing in a few neat extras along the way.

READ NEXT: The best cheap gaming monitors to buy

ViewSonic Elite XG270QG review: What you need to know

Just like the recent Razer Raptor 27, the ViewSonic Elite XG270QC is another high-end, IPS-based 27in gaming monitor with a resolution of 2,560 x 1,440. That’s sharp but not to the point you’d need a truly monstrous GPU to run games smoothly. Also like the Raptor 27, it builds on these fundamentals with one or two interesting tricks, most crucial of which is its refresh rate. The Elite XG270QG runs at 144Hz by default but a quick trip into the OSD boosts it to 165Hz: about as high as monitors get without leaping all the way to 240Hz.

You also get native Nvidia G-Sync support – no AMD Freesync here – as well as what ViewSonic claims to be a 1ms grey-to-grey response time. This is only achievable with the highest pixel overdrive setting but, nonetheless, the Elite XG270QG stands alone in offering such a quick response time from a 1440p, 165Hz IPS panel.

ViewSonic Elite XG270QG review: Price and competition

Standout specs like this are particularly important in an arena as fierce as that of gaming monitors, particularly when you’re attempting to justify a price as high as £669. Besides the even more premium, HDR-enabled Raptor 27, the Acer Nitro VG270UP and Asus MG279Q both provide fast IPS panels at affordable prices but some even closer rivals would be the AOC Agon AG271QG and Asus ROG Swift PG279Q

These are also G-Sync displays that can hit the lofty heights of 165Hz and, while neither can reach a response time as low as 1ms, they’re considerably cheaper than Elite XG270QG. At £669, the ViewSonic Elite XG270QG on-paper specs aren’t the only things setting some very high expectations.

ViewSonic Elite XG270QG review: Design

Thankfully, ViewSonic has resisted using the price to justify over-designing the Elite XG270QG, which instead adopts a nicely grown-up look and solid feel. The panel, for example, is almost edgeless around the top and both sides, with only a conventional bezel running along the bottom.

The stand, which has a distinctive T-shaped base, is a blend of metal and plastic. It takes up a fair chunk of desk space but is secure enough to eliminate screen wobble and - even better - is fully adjustable. You can tinker with height, tilt and pivot adjustment to get as comfortable a desk set up as possible and the screen can even be rotated into a portrait orientation, should you ever want it.

The IPS panel has a matte finish, which helps repel the worst glare, but the Elite XG270QG also comes with adjustable light shields that can be optionally attached to the left and right edges. They’re a nice enough bonus, although a hood for the top edge would have completed the set.

The main source of aesthetic flare are some relatively modest RGB lighting areas: a hexagon around the stand mount (where you can also attach a 100 x 100 VESA plate) and two strips along the bottom edge of the monitor. By default these gently pulse in a solid blue, although it’s easy to customise colours and effects through the Elite Display Controller desktop software; you just need an upstream USB connection, although we will say in a well-lit room it’s a bit hard to notice the lights hitting the desk unless you position the screen quite low down.

There are a couple more practical bonus features tucked away: a headset hook on the left-rear side and two mouse cable bungees on the underside, all of which can be stowed away flush when not in use. The bungees are particularly clever: there’s one for both the right and left sides, so southpaws don’t need to have their cable drawn over to the opposite side when they’re trying to keep it tidy.

Also hidden are the ports, beneath a removable plastic cover. This is the first point where the Elite XG270QG stumbles somewhat: its DisplayPort and three USB 3.0 ports are all fine, as is the single 3.5mm audio jack, but there’s no USB Type-C and the sole HDMI input appears to be of the 1.4 standard - so it can’t support 1440p beyond 60Hz. It’s a weird spec; HDMI 2.0 would at least get to 144Hz.

The built-in speakers are also underwhelming. They’re not especially loud even with volume cranked up to full, they’re lacking in both low-end impact and high-frequency sparkle and they suffer from the same muddledness of so many integrated monitor speakers before them.

ViewSonic Elite XG270QG review: Controls and OSD

A little joystick sits dead centre beneath the lower bezel, flanked by a multipurpose button on the left and a power button on the right. Joysticks are generally more intuitive for navigation than multiple directional buttons and this one is no exception. Making selections can be fiddly, however, as pressing down on the joystick to confirm often registers as an up, down or sideways movement command. Some more resistance would have helped make for more decisive presses.

That multipurpose button on the left, meanwhile, primarily acts as a switch for the low blue light mode but it also quickly backs out of the OSD menu when you’ve got it up – handy if you’re trying out different settings.

On that note, there are plenty of individual options, organised sensibly below various tabs. The Display tab contains all the key tweaks, including brightness, contrast and colour profiles, while under the Game Mode tab you can enable overdrive or a “Dark Boost”, which seems to merely raise the contrast setting so it’s easier to make out darkened areas.

You can adjust these within the default Standard profile, but there are two custom profiles to play with as well. There are a few presets too, like “FPS”, “MOBA”, “Battle Royale” and “Movie”, but it’s always better to start with the Standard or a custom profile and change the settings to your exact preferences.

READ NEXT: MSI Optix MPG341CQR review

ViewSonic Elite XG270QG review: Performance

Fortunately, the Elite XG270QG looks great right from the off. Naturally, it benefits from the wide viewing angles typical of IPS panels and seems to get all the colour benefits as well. In Standard mode with the default “Native” colour profile, sRGB coverage is at 99.6% although a gamut volume figure of 136.8% of sRGB indicates the panel has been calibrated to DCI-P3 instead.

And, in the DCI-P3 colour space, it’s pretty good, reaching 93.8% coverage and 96.9% total volume. Peak brightness comes in at 398cd/m2, which is almost enough for DisplayHDR 400 certification, not that ViewSonic tries to claim it.

On these metrics, the Elite XG270QG confidently stands up to all its gaming monitor rivals. In particular, the AOC Agon AG271QG and Asus ROG Swift PG279Q only target 350cd/m2. Unfortunately, contrast is a weakness. 879:1 isn’t disastrously low but a display of this calibre and price should really be exceeding 1,000:1.

Brightness uniformity is much better, thankfully. The absolute worst it gets is -9.28% in the bottom-right corner – a fine showing – and there’s no visible backlight bleed around any of the edges either.

I also tested the sRGB colour profile but, oddly, this didn’t prove meaningfully different to the Native setting: sRGB coverage crept up to 99.7% but the volume remained significantly out of gamut, while contrast dropped slightly to 875:1 and peak brightness hit 397.3cd/m2.

ViewSonic Elite XG270QG review: Gaming performance

Even better is this monitor’s speed and smoothness. At 144Hz and especially 165Hz, it handles motion absolutely beautifully, with no visible ghosting on fast-moving objects whatsoever - quite an achievement considering how prone IPS is to blurring.

G-Sync works perfectly too, preventing tearing at low, medium and high frame rates alike. Yes, native G-Sync monitors are more expensive than “G-Sync Compatible” FreeSync monitors due to the inclusion of a dedicated processor, but Nvidia’s syncing tech is as effective here as it is anywhere. Unlike V-Sync, it also avoids introducing any input lag, maintaining the Elite XG270QG’s agile feel.

That said, the quoted 1ms response time is a cursed chalice: both the “Advanced” and “Ultra Fast” overdrive settings add a noticeable inverse ghosting effect, which detracts from the Elite XG270QG’s silkiness just as much as the heightened response-time adds to it. It’s just fine to leave overdrive on “Standard”, which sets response time to 5ms and that’s perfectly adequate unless you’re an aspiring competitive FPS player.

ViewSonic Elite XG270QG review: Verdict

For everyone else, the ViewSonic Elite XG270QG is more than fast enough and it achieves this without sacrificing qualities like vibrancy and accuracy at the altar of speed. Save for some lower-than-expected contrast, it has everything you could want from a gaming monitor.

That’s why it’s so maddening that, just like the Raptor 27, it then pushes its luck by simply asking for too much money. The AOC Agon AG271QG and ROG Swift PG279Q aren’t quite as bright and don’t cover as much of the DCI-P3 gamut, but these are nitpicks considering both are triple-figures-cheaper than the Elite XG270QG, and the ViewSonic monitor’s key advantage – a 1ms response time – only comes into play if you’re willing to make the image a little worse at the same time.

With regret, then, the ViewSonic Elite XG270QG isn’t quite full recommendation material, even if it is among the (quite literal) elite of gaming monitors.

Read more

Reviews