Today we are looking at a monitor of a brand that we have never used, but which is in high demand: Viotek. Popular on Amazon, they make some of the cheapest gaming monitors you can get. So we're excited to see how they stack up and whether it's worth buying this type of monitor through a more well-known brand option.
The monitor we need to check today is the Viotek GN32LD. This FreeSync display is 31.5 inches tall and features a curved 1440p VA LCD that has a refresh rate of 144 Hz. The price is $ 470 at Amazon. This roughly corresponds to some other inexpensive brands such as Pixio and MSI, whose monitors are based on the same panel. However, it is much cheaper than the Asus ROG Strix XG32VQ or the Samsung C32HG70, for example.
When testing budget-oriented monitors, we always pay attention to a few things: Is the build quality good and is the display defective in some way? To address this second point first, our retail monitor was shipped with no issues, so no dead pixels. Viotek offers a full replacement if your monitor arrives with a dead pixel, so you don't have to worry.
The GN32LD is okay in terms of build quality. It's not particularly amazing, and I certainly wouldn't consider it a high-end construction, but it's okay for a gaming monitor. The base of the three-pronged stand is made of metal, otherwise the column of the stand and the rest of the monitor use gray plastic with some red highlights. The plastic used on the column feels particularly cheap because it has a really simple finish, although it's a little better on the back of the display itself.
Overall, Viotek uses a gamer design that I tend not to prefer. There are many strange angles and openings that it could probably have done without. There are also two RGB LED strips on the back, which add nothing to the design. I mean, you can't even see them in standard operation, and their RGB support is easy. In addition, the RGB collides with the red markings, making it an odd choice overall.
The stand is robust and supports both the height and the incline adjustment, although the height adjustment is very limited. There is no swivel support – not that swivel is so important – and there is no cable routing hole either, which in turn is a bit fussy.
My biggest problem with the design is the OSD controls. Viotek used four buttons at the bottom of the control panel, making navigating the OSD a problem compared to changing direction. All monitors should use directional switches with menus of this complexity without exception.
However, the OSD itself contains many functions that you can also find on monitors from other brands, so you won't miss much with the cheaper Viotek option. The OSD contains things like a mode for weak blue light, a crosshair to cheat on, a super resolution function and even picture in picture as well as the usual picture quality controls.
The input arrangement of the GN32LD is simple: DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort as well as an audio output socket. The monitor supports FreeSync with low frame rate compensation, so you get adaptive synchronization across the entire update range up to 144 Hz. And I still think the combination of resolution and refresh rate that the GN32LD offers – after all, it's a 2560 x 1440 monitor – is perfect for most gamers with reasonably high quality hardware and offers a great mix of smoothness and clarity.
The Samsung VA panel used has a 1800R curvature. I'm more of a guy with a flat screen and 16: 9 monitors, but with a size of 32 inches, the curve isn't too bad. In addition, there are currently not many options for monitors of this size and specifications that are not curved. So they're pretty firm anyway.
Let's talk a little more about the panel and see how our test data match Viotek's claims. For brightness, 280 nits of typical brightness are listed, and I measured a peak of 365 nits that will be too bright for most desktop users. However, the contrast ratio remains below 2500: 1 compared to its nominal value "3000: 1" somewhat behind Viotek's claims, although we as VA panel still get this nice high contrast ratio. It is also good to see that this contrast ratio is maintained across the entire brightness range.
New to our test suite is response time testing, one of the most requested metrics. We bought some of the fastest tools available to test response time and tested some of the monitors available. Over time, with more monitor reviews, we get a larger data set for some nice comparisons. The good news, however, is that we can now provide this key metric that says a lot about smudging, ghosting, and the suitability of this monitor for gaming.
Viotek claims a 3 ms gray-to-gray response time with overdrive, but in my tests with the “high” response time setting – the highest setting available and the optimal setting for this monitor – I only have an average gray temperature of 8.2 ms recorded. to-gray response, which is fairly slow, but is in a normal range for VA panels. As we know, VA is one of the slower LCD technologies, and this can be seen in this result.
It could also be useful to know that the rise times were significantly longer than the fall times on average, almost twice as high as in our test points, and that medium gray transitions (e.g. 20% white to 80% white) are particularly sluggish. I also recorded a 15.1 ms black-white-black transition time, which shows you the time it takes for the largest luminance transition if you are wondering.
It should be noted that both the average gray-to-gray response and the rise times generally took longer than the update window. This is a 144 Hz monitor, so the frame is updated every 6.94 ms, except that this panel only goes over in 8.2 ms on average. This means that in some cases you may not get a real 144 Hz update because the crystals themselves simply cannot go over fast enough to display an entirely new image at this speed. While you won't notice a noticeable overshoot, smearing and ghosting are problematic due to the long response time.
However, this is not a problem with this Viotek monitor, but all monitors that use the same Samsung VA panel have response times that roughly correspond to those shown here. So don't think that if you buy the MSI or Asus monitors instead, you'll get a faster display. They still use the same panel, so they also face the same inherent limitations of VA technology. Viotek's 3 ms response time is not exact, to say the least.
The good news is that the GN32LD has an excellent input delay of just a few milliseconds. While transitions are not particularly fast, the monitor processes its inputs quickly and gets to work. And yes, we can now also test the input delay that we normalized for the tools we use to estimate the processing time of the display. And unlike some other delay testing tools, our custom solution works with the display's native resolution and refresh rate.