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Viewsonic VX2880ml

An attractive and affordable 4K monitor that's limited by its 30Hz refesh rate

VX2880ml
VX2880ml

The VX2880ml uses a TN panel, rather than IPS, and its viewing angles are slightly narrower as a result. Image quality is excellent, producing images that are sharp with bold colours and inky blacks.

Viewsonic has aimed to make the monitor one of the most affordable in its class, which could explain why it has gone with a 30Hz refresh rate, rather than the conventional 60Hz used by computer monitors.

At 30Hz, whether you're using the desktop, playing games or doing anything else, there's a tendency for 'ghosting' to occur, which makes cursor trails visible and operation juddery, rather than smooth. The VX2880ml supports DisplayPort 1.2 in its settings, but selecting it doesn't make any difference to the 30Hz limitation.

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It's a shame the ViewSonic didn't go the whole hog and make the VX2880ml 60Hz, as picture quality is impressive. I loaded up Skyrim on our test machine, which displayed fantastic colours with a sharp picture that crammed in oodles of detail.

Unfortunately it simply wasn't smoothly playable at 30Hz. It only became playable by lowering the resolution to 2,560 x 1440, or 1920 x 1080p, which brings the refresh rate back up to 60Hz. Of course, that renders buying a 4K monitor somewhat pointless unless you're prepared to switch between resolutions for general use, gaming and viewing video content.

The VX2880ml has an inbuilt front-facing speaker which is housed in the chin below the bezel. While it's fine for watching YouTube videos, it's not as good for listening to music due to a lack of mid-range and bass tones. You would be best off hooking up a dedicated stereo headset or headphones for that.

Verdict

The VX2880ml finds itself in a tricky position due to the 30Hz limitation meaning you would find yourself not wanting to use it in full 4K mode for anything other than viewing multimedia content. Sure, it's one of the cheapest 4K monitors on the market, but having to sacrifice such vital functionality greatly reduces its value.

We liked

We liked the VX2880ml's impressive image quality and attractive, distinct design. It stands out from the crowd and would look good on most desks. It produces sharp and crisp images with vibrant colors, wrapped up in an attractive, affordable package.

When set to 1440p or 1080p, its low 5ms response time makes it more than suitable for general productivity work, browsing the web, gaming or anything else, even if it'll produce far less detail than at 4K resolution. There's a good range of connectivity ports on its rear that are well-positioned and make it suitable for wall mounting.

We disliked

The 30Hz limitation is the VX2880ml and will be a deal-breaker for many. While it's suitable for use as a TV to stream or play 4K video, doing any actual work or gaming is seriously compromised experience due to laggy cursor trails and other side effects of 'ghosting'.

The VX2880ml also has poor speakers and its menu controls are fiddly to use. While its stand looks good, it's not as sturdy as a big flat monitor base and is a slight pain to set up. Additionally, while the VX2880ml's image quality is good, being a TN panel means that viewing angles aren't as strong as they could be compared to IPS.

Final verdict

If you're looking to use a 4K monitor at full resolution to be productive, play games or even do day-to-day general tasks at 3,840 x 2,160, the VX2880ml isn't for you. If you want to watch 4K videos, movies, streaming and other content, and then switch to a lower resolution for other tasks, the VX2880ml fits the bill.

Lowering the pixel-resolution to a still-roomy 1440p to use it at a full 60Hz, which gives you less detail and less desktop space, then it's still a smartly designed and affordable monitor.

But the bottom line is that the VX2880ml is a highly compromised offering that will find it difficult to go up against an increasing number of monitors offering true 4K capabiliities with full 60Hz refresh dates - even if they are more expensive - they just might be worth it.