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Viewsonic Elite XG320U Review – IGN

Gamers looking for an HDMI 2.1 monitor finally have options. Several HDMI 2.1 gaming monitors are now theoretically available (though not always in stock) and pricing has dipped below $1,000.

The Viewsonic Elite XG320U is part of this rising wave of HDMI 2.1 displays meant to bridge the gap between PC and console gaming. Packing 4K resolution, a 32-inch display, VESA DisplayHDR 600 certification, and a maximum refresh rate of 144Hz, it’s certainly attractive at a glance.

A closer look reveals a few flaws – and an unexpected perk.

Viewsonic Elite XG320U

Viewsonic XG320U – Design

The Viewsonic Elite XG320U sticks with a simple, barebones design. The chassis is matte black with modestly sized bezels and a plain, angular stand. Nothing about it screams “gaming monitor” aside from the monitor’s LED lights which, by default, pulsate with color. Fortunately, this can be turned off.

Though it looks plain, the XG320U feels sturdy and durable. Its plastics are rigid and the stand has a weighty feel that keeps the display planted on your desk. The monitor won’t wobble like Jell-O if your desk is less than rock-solid.

The stand is adjustable for height, tilt, and swivel, but it doesn’t pivot into a vertical orientation. This is typical for a 32-inch monitor, as most lack a stand that’s tall enough to allow the display to pivot 90 degrees. Adjusting the display’s height required more force than with most monitors I’ve tested.

A headphone hook is located on the left flank of the display and flips into place. It’s easy to reach and large enough to handle most headsets. The downward-facing ports benefit from the stand’s L-shaped design, which stays out of your way while connecting peripherals.

Viewsonic XG320U – Features

The Viewsonic Elite XG320U’s connectivity is perhaps its most important trait. The XG320U has one HDMI 2.1 port, one HDMI 2.0 port, and one DisplayPort. This means you can connect a modern game console and a gaming PC simultaneously.

It also has three USB 3.2 Type-A ports, Micro USB, and a 3.5mm audio jack, all of which is useful for connecting gaming peripherals.

While this array of ports is decent, I think Viewsonic settled for the bare minimum. It’s disappointing to see just one HDMI 2.1 port instead of two and the lack of USB-C seems old-fashioned (though many gaming monitors share this flaw).

The XG320U’s on-screen menu system is a tiny disaster. A small joystick centered below the monitor’s chin is used to navigate options and features. This is not unusual. The menus, however, are awful.

Viewsonic went for a semi-transparent menu design. The result? Reading the menu is difficult if you have a bright desktop background. The menu layout is terrible, too. Common options like brightness, gamma, and color adjustments are not immediately obvious, instead packed into long, scrolling lists that become annoying to navigate.

As a final twist of the knife, the monitor’s power button, which is located beside the menu joystick, wobbles a bit. As if it were a joystick. I often turned the monitor off thinking my finger was on the joystick when it was actually on the power button.

Speakers are included and fire from the bottom bezel. They have clear, balanced sound that’s acceptable for watching YouTube or listening to a podcast but not well suited to gaming. The maximum volume is low, however, and lacks any hint of bass. You’ll want to use external speakers or a headset while gaming.

Viewsonic XG320U – Gaming Performance

The Viewsonic Elite XG320U has outstanding sharpness, vibrant color, and is preset to a high level of brightness. These traits add up to a vibrant, alluring image that looks great when playing colorful games like Final Fantasy XIV or Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy.

Size helps, too. This 32-inch monitor dominated my desk with beautiful, immersive scenery. The combination of a large panel with 4K resolution delivers a sense of clarity you just won’t see outside of the realm of 4K displays. A 32-inch, 1440p monitor is more practical, but you’ll be hard-pressed to return to it once you lay eyes on 4K.

The XG320U promises solid HDR performance, but I found results were mixed. The monitor can sustain a peak brightness of 460 nits. That’s a bit behind the Asus PG329Q, a 32-inch 1440p monitor with a similar focus on HDR. That monitor hit 520 nits. Still, the XG320U’s brightness is higher than most gaming monitors and can become eye-searing

Like the Asus PG329Q, the Viewsonic XG320U struggles with contrast. It uses an IPS panel and does not have local dimming or a Mini-LED backlight, so it fails to achieve a deep, inky black level in dark areas. The overall contrast is disappointing and often spoils dimly lit games. I noticed this most in Diablo 2: Resurrected, where the dark reaches of dungeons looked foggy instead of foreboding.

A lack of contrast means the XG320U delivers only half of HDR’s promise. Bright scenes are vibrant: the character huddles in Guardians of the Galaxy look fantastic. However, bright highlights in dark scenes fail to stand out and detail in dark areas will fail to impress.

This holds true in SDR, as well. The XG320U can look amazing when playing a vibrant game packed with detail. Toss it into a game that leans on dark scenes, however, and it will look surprisingly flat.

Viewsonic XG320U – Motion Performance

The Viewsonic XG320U quotes a maximum refresh rate of 150Hz but defaulted to 144Hz with my desktop gaming PC, and that’s what I left it at for most of my testing. It can achieve up to 120Hz when connected to an Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5 over HDMI 2.1. I verified this with my Xbox Series X but did not have a PlayStation 5 available.

The refresh rate is well in excess of what most gaming PCs can actually output at 4K resolution, even when played on the latest hardware. My venerable GTX 1080 Ti huffed, puffed, and managed to occasionally touch 144 FPS in Diablo 2: Resurrected, but otherwise never came close in the games I played while testing.

This monitor supports AMD FreeSync Premium Pro, though I did not have an AMD video card to test it with. It worked well with G-Sync in my testing. Better than expected, in fact, as it didn’t flicker when framerates dipped in Guardians of the Galaxy. Alt-tab transitions in and out of games also didn’t cause problems.

In Final Fantasy XIV I noticed scrolling text was often readable and a good amount of detail was preserved in scenery while panning the in-game camera. Fast-moving objects have decent motion clarity but lack the detail of the best high-refresh displays.

The XG320U has a black frame insertion feature called PureXP that can flicker the display at an extremely high frequency. This reduces motion blur drastically, but also decreases brightness. The monitor’s high maximum brightness means the display remains comfortable to use with this feature turned on. However, you can’t use PureXP alongside FreeSync Premium Pro / G-Sync or HDR. I doubt most people will want to use the feature given its limitations.

Your impression will depend on what you’ve used before. The XG320U certainly can’t match the screaming fast speeds of a 240Hz or 360Hz monitor, but it’s a huge upgrade over older 60Hz monitors. I think motion performance is adequate for its intended use – this monitor is built for image quality, not competitive gaming.

Viewsonic XG320U – Day to Day Performance

The XG320U has an ace up its sleeve. It’s a rather excellent monitor for serious content creation.

It has a true 10-bit panel, covers 95% of the DCI-P3 color gamut, and provides a wide variety of image quality adjustments including gamma and color temperature controls. Most gamers won’t care for these features, but streamers, YouTubers, photographers, and digital artists will enjoy them. The XG320U will let you edit content with accuracy and confidence.

4K resolution is a positive in day-to-day use, as well. Fonts look crisp, fine interface elements are easy to see, and 4K content can be enjoyed at its native resolution. The display has an effective anti-glare coating that makes the monitor comfortable to use in a bright room.

The XG320U’s 32-inch size won’t be for everyone. Personally, I prefer a smaller display for day-to-day use. A monitor this large can cause you to move your head to focus on the edges of the screen, which isn’t great for ergonomics. If you’re looking for maximum display space, however, this monitor won’t disappoint.

The downside is one already mentioned: the XG320U does not handle dark content well. That’s an issue if you often watch Netflix or Hulu on your monitor. Bright scenes will look great, but dark movies and shows lack depth.

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