Kogan’s Budget 240Hz Gaming Monitor Is Better Than I Expected

Kogan’s Budget 240Hz Gaming Monitor Is Better Than I Expected
Image: Alex Walker (Kotaku Australia)

When you put the words “Kogan” and “gaming monitor” in the same sentence, expectations are never high. But I figured it’s been a while since I’d messed around with any Kogan technology. And for a display that didn’t immediately excite me based off the specs, I came away finding more to like than I expected.

This piece originally ran on Kotaku Australia on August 21, 2020. Though the monitors it mentions are a bit older now, it has been retimed as weekend read because we love an Alex review.

Kogan’s 240Hz monitor, which is currently retailing for $369, doesn’t seem like the most exciting product off the page. It’s a 27-inch 1080p VA panel, sporting a 6ms response time and a fairly standard 300 nits of maximum brightness. There’s FreeSync support as well, which is basically mandatory at this point, and the chassis doesn’t support any tilt, swivel or height adjustment.

On top of that, it’s a 1500R curve. That’s the best amount of all the curved monitors, in my experience, but there are some gamers who absolutely swear by flat-screen panels only.

So, not a great start. And that’s before you start looking at other similarly priced 240Hz screens, like the very capable Samsung 240Hz VA model. But at the time of writing, Kogan’s offering is the cheapest by around $100 depending on where you shop, and I’d expect the price to drop a bit lower during big sale periods.

But all of that didn’t leave me expecting much. So after about a week or so of pushing it through the most punishing twitch shooters I play regularly — Counter-Strike: Global OffensiveValorantOverwatch, PUBG — plus other games, including retro shooters like AMID EVIL and Project Warlock, my opinion started to change.

Kogan’s Budget 240Hz Gaming Monitor Is Better Than I Expected

You have to manually enable FreeSync in the monitor settings — I’ve used other monitors where this is turned on by default — but once that’s on, the Kogan 240Hz screen starts to come into its own a bit. It’s still definitely not going to seriously battle with any of the top-tier 240Hz screens.

The colours out of the box aren’t fantastic, but I’ve used monitors that have looked a lot worse from the off. The kicker is that there’s no white balance or gamma controls in the monitor OSD, so it wouldn’t be a great fit for any photo or video editing — it’d be too hard to get the colour accuracy on point.

And even though it’s a 240Hz VA panel, there’s a definite softness to the overall image quality during motion. Instead of having that crispness at high motion, games at 240Hz on the Kogan screen have this smoothness, like a smartphone’s beauty filter has been applied to the whole game. It’s a bit weird to look at, although for some games it actually kind of works well, like in Valorant where a lot of the characters models are stylised to stand out from the background anyway. In something less stylised like PUBG, the effect isn’t as great, and it’s a bit detrimental in battle royales like Apex Legends or PUBG when half the battle is tracking small objects at medium to long distances.

kogan 240hz gaming monitor
There’s a small gaming LED strip on the back too. Image: Alex Walker (Kotaku)

It’s an experience I didn’t have with other 240Hz VA panels, like Samsung’s older but very good entry-level 240Hz screen and the recently released Samsung G7, which showed that VA screens are definitely viable for top-tier gaming. Both of those screens have newer panels than what’s in the Kogan 240Hz though: They’re hitting 1ms with their overdrive settings maxed out, while the Kogan screen is only quoting an absolute best of 6ms.

That response time is a killer, particularly if you compare it to slower refresh rate monitors with newer panels. I ended up preferring the VA-based MSI 27-inch MAG272CQR for competitive games — even though it’s 165Hz and not 240Hz, the difference between the MSI’s 1ms (or 2ms-3ms when using a less aggressive overdrive mode) was more pleasing on the eye and crisper at motion.

But those two monitors are in totally different classes. The MAG272C is retailing for $529 from Kogan, which is much better than the $829 JB Hi-Fi are charging, but that’s still a fair bit more than Kogan’s model. Also, Kogan’s offering has some good features for its price point, like 3x HDMI ports (2x HDMI 1.4, 1x HDMI 2.0) so you can plug multiple consoles in while your is PC connected via DisplayPort.

There’s no USB ports, sadly. But the monitor is easy enough to install with only three parts, and the construction is fairly light too. There’s a couple of 3W speakers in the back, which aren’t fantastic by any means, but it’s better than nothing if you need them in a pinch.

Kogan’s Budget 240Hz Gaming Monitor Is Better Than I Expected
There’s three HDMI ports on the back, plus one DisplayPort, which is pretty generous. Image: Alex Walker (Kotaku Australia)

The real kicker against the Kogan 240Hz screen is the value offered by other screens, including those from Kogan themselves. It’s hard to recommend a 240Hz screen with 6ms response time, when you can get 1ms panels around.

The Acer KG271P won’t impress with its colours, but its 165Hz/1ms combination is probably a better deal for most people. It’s also easier for most gaming PC’s to maintain 165 fps in more games, which is another factor to consider. Kogan’s own 1080p 165Hz screen is going for $279, which is an even better price for a 27-inch screen. And if you consider the fact that a likely customer for a Kogan gaming monitor isn’t likely to have a high-end PC, the 165Hz offerings are probably going to be better suited to those systems.

Still, if you could power it in the right games, Kogan’s 240Hz model is definitely better priced. The next cheapest option is Samsung’s CRG50 at $449, but it’s barely in stock at most retailers. After that, you’ll have to fork out at least $660 for a 27-inch screen.

So Kogan’s budget offering actually has more going for it than you’d expect. My only real reservation is that I’d like to see Kogan release a screen with a more modern 1ms offering, instead of its dated 6ms panel. It’s also probably not a great time to be buying a 1080p monitor, with the advent of next-gen GPUs on the horizon and the move towards 1440p and 4K as viable resolutions for all games.

But everyone’s in a different situation. If you only play Valorant or CS:GO and maybe a couple of other games, you’re not going to care about running games at 1440p, things like ray-tracing, or what the next-gen GPUs might offer. And if Kogan’s 240Hz screen comes down to $349 or even $299, it could be a very good value option.

And that’s not really what I was expecting. I’ve tried a ton of Kogan stuff in the past, and generally walked away fairly unimpressed. Their 240Hz curved gaming screen was better than that. It was playable, well built enough, and competitively priced. I’d still prefer a 1ms screen, or a monitor from the $400-500 mark with better features. But I can still see the Kogan screen making sense for some builds — especially if that price falls further later this year.

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