I’ve met very few people who are as passionate about what they do as PC gamers are. Millions of PC gamers around the world are constantly tweaking their systems to squeeze out that extra bit of performance when playing their favorite video games. But of course one important component when building a defining PC rig is the monitor. Yes you can have the world’s fastest graphics card, but if you’re still connecting it to a dead 14” CRT monitor then you may as well throw in the towel now. To aid gamers in their quest for the ultimate gaming monitor, Japanese manufacturer Eizo has come up with the Foris FS2333, a 23” monitor that aims to be every gamer’s dream.
Eizo is a brand I’m not too familiar with, given that I’ve seen my fair share of monitors from other brands. But ever the optimist, I unboxed the Foris to see just what was in store for me. Like with recent monitors I’ve reviewed, some assembly is required. The base stand for the Foris snaps on in one particular direction only, so you can’t get that part wrong. Once secured, you simply tighten a screw at the bottom, set the display on a flat surface, and pull out the safety ring at the back. All of this can be done using zero tools, which is a huge relief. You also have the option of mounting the Foris onto a standard VESA mount, if you want to save desk space.
Once set up, the Foris can be tilted or swiveled around quite freely. While I did find the monitor a bit stiff to adjust at first, I’m assuming that is down to the build quality being so strict and tough, that probably every screw and bolt was tightened to herculean standards. One huge advantage of the Foris which is often overlooked in other monitors, is the ability to adjust the height of the monitor. This makes it easier to adjust the Foris to almost any work surface, and ensure that it’s set at a comfortable eye level. And because the Foris is targeting the gaming market, there’s even an integrated handle at the back should you want to carry the monitor around to your next LANfest.
The overall build quality of the Foris is superb. Eizo have gone for a more traditional matte black look, making the Foris look a bit more industrial than other gaming monitors. You do have the option of applying one of the supplied color strips to the base of the monitor, but it does little to improve the overall appearance of the Foris. I’m not saying that the design is a bad thing – far from it, it’s probably one of the most sturdiest monitors I’ve seen. But if you’ve got a fantastic PC tower along with a great looking keyboard and mouse, shouldn’t your monitor also give off a cool factor of its own? You’ve also got two front-facing speakers hidden at the bottom of the monitor, but these are rather average and have almost no bass to them. But then again, most gamers would prefer a dedicated sound system or headphones, so I won’t be too picky.
What I did find a bit peculiar about the Foris is that instead of using buttons on the monitor itself to access the OSD, you have to use a small bundled remote to change any of the settings. The only buttons you’ll find on the Foris are for power, volume, and switching input sources. Everything else has to be done using the supplied remote control. This worried me a bit, as in the two weeks that I was testing the monitor, I misplaced the remote in the office three times. If you lose the remote, then you’re pretty much stuck. Luckily, the supplied CD has software which lets you adjust the settings of the monitor, but it’s a bit unwieldy to use. I think that if Eizo just put the controls on the monitor itself like almost every other manufacturer, it would just make things a lot easier.
The Foris provides connectivity in the form of VGA, DVI, and 2x HDMI ports. This is great for users who also want to connect their gaming consoles or other devices that need and HDMI connection. There’s also an Audio In port at the rear as well as a headphone jack on the left side of the monitor. Generally the Foris offers a decent amount of connectivity options, on par with other monitors on the market.
Of course, everything boils down to how the Foris measures up as a gaming monitor, and in this regard the monitor has a few tricks of its own. Firstly, the Foris comes with various ‘Smart Technologies’ that aim to give gamers an advantage in certain scenarios. The first is Smart Insight, which is best for FPS and RTS games. According to Eizo, the technology uses a technique called tone mapping to automatically brighten certain areas of the screen, giving you an extra edge when trying to pick out enemies in darker levels. It almost seems like an unfair advantage, but for some hardcore gamers this comes as a gleeful addition. The Smart Insight doesn’t always look great as it depends on what kind of game you’re playing, so games such as Counter-Strike and even Skyrim will get the most benefit as they feature a lot of levels with darker areas. The second bit of tech is Smart Resolution, reduces image noise and blur to a particular extent, thereby forming a sharper image. The effect at times can be minimal, whereas in some games it’s more prominent and a great improvement.
While lag is most often associated with networking, it can also be applied to displays. Most seasoned gamers demand the fastest response times from their monitors, for even a microsecond delay can cost them the game. Fortunately, the Foris has been built with a close collaboration with leading esports champions, Fnatic. This collaboration has led to the Foris being lightning-fast when it comes to display accuracy and response time, with Eizo reporting almost zero input lag on the Foris. Putting to the test was easy – I fired up Tekken Tag Tournament 2 on my PlayStation 3, and invited a friend to play the game using the Foris. Most modern fighting games are notorious for being demanding on monitors and TVs, where the slightest delay can cause a combo to break and a match to be lost. His comments were clear – the Foris does indeed perform well under demanding conditions, and despite a flurry of commands on his arcade stick, the Foris didn’t buckle once.
For non-gaming purposes, the Foris still does a great job. The IPS panel makes for better viewing angles, and everything from video, images, and web pages look crisp and clear. My only suggestion is to keep the Foris on one of the User modes, which will then let you tweak every setting of the monitor until you’re happy with it. There is also an ‘Eco’ mode which consumes less power, but it’s a bit off-putting. It works by dimming the display based on the surrounding light sources, but it dims the display to such an extent that you end up straining to see the screen.
The Foris FS2333 is certainly not to be messed with. Eizo have crafted one heck of a monitor here, and despite it’s rather deceiving appearance, it packs plenty of features to keep any gamer satisfied. My only one comment would be that Eizo need to make this in a bigger screen size – 23” just isn’t cutting it anymore. However if you’re on the market for a PC gaming monitor that offers great performance in a minimalist design, then the Foris FS2333 is for you.