By Ed Chester
What about frame rate caps?
Limiting the appeal of these displays is that some games are capped at frame rates lower than 240Hz. For instance Titanfall 2 is limited to 144fps while Star Wars Battlefront 2 is limited to 200fps.
Do these monitors include Freesync or G-Sync?
AMD and Nvidia’s adaptive sync technologies work at up to 240Hz. and indeed all the monitors here feature one of these.
TN-The displays use TN-type panels. These have the worst viewing angles and colour accuracy but the fastest response of 1ms.
Response time – The time it takes for a pixel to transition from one colour to another.
Backlight strobing – A mode that flashes the backlight on and off. This tricks the brain into seeing a clearer image when there’s fast movement happening on screen.
For years 144Hz monitors have ruled the roost, but recently we’ve seen a new generation of 240Hz monitors hit the market.
Are they the next must-have for competitive gamers? I gathered up five of the most popular options to find out.
ACER PREDATOR XB252Q Review
As the most expensive monitor in this test, big things are expected of the XB252Q and in many ways it delivers. It’s up there with the rest of the displays here. It doesn’t outperform them but neither does it fall behind.
It also includes Nvidia’s G-Sync and ULMB technologies, which are what push the price up. Turning on the former at 240Hz makes for a wonderfully smooth gaming experience, meanwhile ULMB helps reduce motion blur, though this only works at up to 144Hz and with G-Sync turned off.
Other plus points include a particularly narrow bezel round the top and sides of the display. This immediately gives the display a sleek, premium feel. The menu system is also intuitive and the controls are easy to use. The stand offers a range of adjustments, and connectivity is decent, too. You’re limited to one DisplayPort and one HDMI as with all G-Sync displays, but there are four USB 3.0 ports, with two located on the side, and the power supply is internal so there’s no power brick.
However, when it comes to image quality, this display falters. It registered the lowest contrast of the displays on test, and its gamma score isn’t great, either. For the priciest option, it’s a disappointing result.
AOC AGON AG251FZ Review
Thanks to its lack of G-Sync, this display has an impressively low price. You’re still paying a £ premium over 144Hz displays, but here you’re getting more for your money to go with that faster refresh rate.
For a start, you get a more premium design and build than an entry-level gaming display. The sturdy stand and base are metal and offer a range of adjustments, while the display itself has a real solidness to it. The carry handle is also a nice touch.
There are several extras, too. On the side of the display there are a couple of USB 3.0 ports, headphone and microphone jacks and a flip-down headphone stand. Round the back you also get two more USB 3.0 ports, two HDMI ports and a DisplayPort. You even get a pair of speakers.
All this and the display delivers when it comes to performance, too. Combine this display with an AMD graphics card to enable Freesync and you have a smooth and responsive gaming experience. Image quality is also very good. Contrast is a touch low but otherwise it is right up there with the rest of the displays in this test.
The combination of value, extra features and a premium build makes this a compelling option.
ASUS ROG SWIFT PG258Q Review
The presence of G-Sync on this display makes it among the more expensive in this test, and this inherently impacts its sense of value – a 1080p display costing nearly £ is always going to be a tough ask.
However, the PG258Q does do its best to make up for that high price in other ways. It’s the best-looking model in this group test, thanks to a slim and low-profile bezel around the edges of the display, a fetching metallic finish and a dainty metal stand.
The latter’s legs give the display a lightness of look, plus they allow for the monitor’s party trick. A light shines from the centre of the stand, allowing you to project your own logo onto the surface below.
Elsewhere. Asus’ menu control system is excellent, as are the menus themselves. You also get the addition of Nvidia ULMB so you can choose between 240Hz or 144Hz with backlight strobing for reduced motion blur. Image quality is also decent, though notably this display isn’t significantly better than any cheaper rivals. Also, connectivity is limited to just one DisplayPort and HDMI.
This isn’t a big bargain, but it’s a solid option if G-Sync and a neat design are important to you. Also consider the Freesync- equipped Asus XG258Q.
BENQ XL2546 Review
These monitors are all powerhouses, but the XL2546 pushes things further. As well as its 240Hz refresh rate this is the only display to offer a motion blur-reducing backlight strobing mode that also runs at 240Hz.
The result is the pinnacle of gaming performance. You simply can’t get a more responsive, clearer- looking image than with this display. The returns in terms of real-world results are diminishing, but if you simply have to have the best, this is it.
What’s more, you get a few other extras, too. There are side wings that help block out any other distractions and there’s a wired remote that lets you switch monitor modes at the touch of a button.
A fully articulated stand, ample selection of connectivity – including side USB and headphone ports – and even a pop-out headphone stand further sweeten the deal.
Unfortunately, there are two key downsides. One is the high price – especially considering this display doesn’t have G-Sync – and the other is image quality. Out of the box. it’s downright awful, with inaccurate colours and very low contrast. Switch to the standard picture mode and it does improve, but still isn’t as good as some of the other displays here.
VIEWSONIC XG2530 Review
As the joint cheapest display in this group test, the ViewSonic XG2530 could be forgiven for scrimping here and there. However, this monitor delivers on almost every front.
Most importantly, its display provides the performance and image quality you’d hope for. It ticks along at 240Hz making for a lightning-fast, responsive feel and giving up next to nothing compared to its peers. G-Sync aside.
As for image quality, it again impresses in every regard. It provides the best contrast level on test. Colour balance is excellent right out of the box. and gamma response is very good. Just generally, it’s about as good as these 240Hz displays get.
As well as this core performance, you also get an adjustable stand and plenty of connectivity, with one DisplayPort, two HDMI and two USB 3.0. You also get basic speakers and a headphone output.
The display is less impressive with regards to its style. Its look is uninspired, with a generic exterior adorned by splashes of colour. Also, its menus are a little confusing and the buttons for navigation aren’t the easiest to locate.
That aside, though, this is an excellent choice for the price.