Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Results: Grayscale Tracking And Gamma Response

Asus PQ321Q 4K Monitor Review: Top-Shelf Ultra HD For $3500
By

The majority of monitors, especially newer models, display excellent grayscale tracking (even at stock settings). It’s important that the color of white be consistently neutral at all light levels from darkest to brightest. Grayscale performance impacts color accuracy with regard to the secondary colors: cyan, magenta, and yellow. Since computer monitors typically have no color or tint adjustment, accurate grayscale is key.

This is the PQ321Q’s Standard color mode with the grayscale preset at 6500K. The graph shows a slightly warm result, where red rises slightly with brightness. If you look at the Delta E errors, however, they are all under three, which means they’re invisible. We were perfectly happy to use Asus' display in an uncalibrated state.

Since our goal is always perfection, we used all of the available controls to try improving the grayscale result.

This is a near-perfect chart. The Delta E errors at 30, 70, and 80 percent are only .07! And every other level is well below one, except zero percent. We’ve never seen any display, of any type, turn in such strong results. We attribute the performance to Asus' high and low RGB sliders and the extremely precise resolution they enable.

Here’s our comparison group of the last six desktop monitors reviewed at Tom’s Hardware.

We said in our review of the Dell P2714T that it was a display that didn’t need calibration. Now we’re adding the Asus PQ321Q to the same list. An average Delta E error of 1.48 is pretty much negligible. You won’t be able to see it with a naked eye. Only our i1Pro knows the difference.

The calibrated result is even more impressive.

Considering the error at zero percent is 2.16 Delta E, the average figure of .53 is almost unbelievable. If you take that brightness level out of the equation, the average drops to an incredible .37!

Gamma Response

Gamma is the measurement of luminance levels at every step in the brightness range from 0 to 100 percent. This is important because poor gamma can either crush detail at various points or wash it out, making the entire picture appear flat and dull. Correct gamma produces a more three-dimensional image, with a greater sense of depth and realism. Meanwhile, incorrect gamma can negatively affect image quality, even in monitors with high contrast ratios.

In the gamma charts below, the yellow line represents 2.2, which is the most widely accepted standard for television, film, and computer graphics production. The closer the white measurement trace comes to 2.2, the better.

The PQ321Q’s gamma tracking is almost perfect except for 10 and 90 percent, which are just a bit too bright. The error at 10 percent represents only .72 cd/m2 and the 90 percent error is 1.85 cd/m2. That's too tiny to see without the aid of instruments.

Here’s our test group again for the gamma comparisons.

A variance of .21 indicates very tight gamma tracking. You can see from the graph above that the PQ321Q’s gamma is extremely accurate. You’ll need to change the gamma preset from Standard to 2.2 to accomplish this. This really helps improve image quality, even though the measured contrast is on the low side.

We calculate gamma deviation by simply expressing the difference from 2.2 as a percentage.

The PQ321Q is only 1.81 percent off the target value of 2.2, matching the very best displays we’ve tested. Along with grayscale, this is an area where we’re seeing consistent improvement in newer screens.

Ask a Category Expert

Create a new thread in the Reviews comments forum about this subject

Example: Notebook, Android, SSD hard drive

Display all 49 comments.
This thread is closed for comments
  • 9 Hide
    cynic77 , January 23, 2014 1:05 AM
    "We’re sure it’s only a matter of time before an Ultra HD panel becomes available in wide-gamut form."That time is now. The Dell 24" UP2414Q and 32" UP3214Q are Ultra HD monitors that cover 100% sRGB and 99% AdobeRBG. This Asus you've reviewed has already been outclassed.
  • -6 Hide
    cynic77 , January 23, 2014 1:12 AM
    "We’re sure it’s only a matter of time before an Ultra HD panel becomes available in wide-gamut form."That time is now. The Dell 24" UP2414Q and 32" UP3214Q are Ultra HD monitors that cover 100% sRGB and 99% AdobeRBG. This Asus you've reviewed has already been outclassed.
  • 2 Hide
    cats_Paw , January 23, 2014 1:34 AM
    Dat Price...Good thing is you need a crazy GPU to use that resolution anyway so by the time the 4k Monitors and tvs drop down in price we might have gpus that manage them in the upper midrange of the GPU segment.
  • 2 Hide
    Shneiky , January 23, 2014 2:24 AM
    In the last chapter of the article, last paragraph:" crop of TN-based panels were announced at CES for sub-$1000 prices, and as those become available to test, you can be we'll review them. "Shouldn't that "be" be "bet"?
  • -1 Hide
    lockhrt999 , January 23, 2014 2:30 AM
    If they are putting that much resolution on this screen then why not make it 3D too (polarized)? I think it's perfectly doable and won't exceed budget.I'm talking from professional point of view. I bored of using anaglyph 3D for content creation.
  • -3 Hide
    panzerknacker , January 23, 2014 3:43 AM
    For me this is just a gimmick that can't be taken seriously. The way they had to logically divide the screen in 2 because there are no scalars yet simply screams 'niche product that you pay way too much for only to be the first person on earth using it'. Also for gaming this screen is completely useless to me with a input lag of 80ms, you take this to a LAN party and get crapped upon by those using a $100 tn panel. In the end I think this screen is a step in the right direction but for me personally they could rather revert to producing crt's again.
  • 1 Hide
    wtfxxxgp , January 23, 2014 3:48 AM
    Wow. That's pricey. O,o
  • 1 Hide
    huilun02 , January 23, 2014 4:08 AM
    Tiled screens but at least its 60Hz goodness. And proof that no bezel is possible.
  • -2 Hide
    zodiacfml , January 23, 2014 4:50 AM
    Good job but too pricey. The backlight used is for cheap TN screens. There still is no single port/cable in the market. The cutting edge is too inconvenient.
  • 2 Hide
    AMD Radeon , January 23, 2014 5:00 AM
    i bet no one will use the internal speaker
  • 1 Hide
    santiagoanders , January 23, 2014 5:51 AM
    That resolution comparison chart is quite misleading, I think owing to the 4k label with 3840x2160 underneath. The sizes show that 2k is half (in both dimentions) of 4k, but that 2k is larger than 1080p, leading to the conclusion that 3840x2160 is more than 4 times the pixels of 1080p (which it is not).
  • 1 Hide
    santiagoanders , January 23, 2014 6:10 AM
    I see that you lifted the image from wikipedia, where Accuruss made the mistake. He supposedly extended the 4k image from here, which equates 4k to 4,096 × 2,304 (the RED ONE format), but he mislabeled it as 3840x2160.
  • 3 Hide
    clownbaby , January 23, 2014 7:18 AM
    I'm seeing a lot of shallow criticism to this monitor. Many of the "problems" are not problems on the professional end as I would view them. High accuracy monitors have always demanded a substantial premium and been designed with only the professional sector in mind. This is certainly not a piece of hardware with gaming in mind. I see the dual hdmi input option as a secondary input. Lots of monitors still have VGA inputs, but nobody complains about them. Anyone with the thought of buying a $3500 monitor and not matching it with an appropriate system is putting the cart before the horse.It wasn't but 2 years ago that I started replacing my 16:10 1920x1200 IPS panels with 2560x1440 IPS/PLS panels. Color accuracy isn't of the utmost importance for me, so this model reviewed won't be on my radar, but 4k screen real estate is something I'm very much looking forward to. I'm also very much looking forward to monitors with similar pixel density in a 21:9 ratio, maybe 39" width. I'm sure there will very shortly be 4k TN options designed for gaming, and the top of the next generation of graphics cards will be ready for them. For now however, the only benefit to 4k is in the professional sector as consumer level gaming and video content are quite a ways off.
  • 0 Hide
    geok1ng , January 23, 2014 7:32 AM
    Just to add about the cheap 4K TVs: The Seiki 39" is only 30hz at 4k, but true and real 120hz at 1080p, and this without the "tiled display" cavets.
  • 0 Hide
    dgingeri , January 23, 2014 8:09 AM
    To cynic77: Those Dell monitors are only 30Hz at 3840X2160, so they aren't going to be nearly as good as this Asus. The Asus outclasses everything right now. Asus also outclasses Dell's 2560X1440 monitors because it's capable of 144Hz refresh rate, where the best Dell can do it 60Hz. It is looking more and more like Dell's days as the average user near top tier monitor supplier are ending, with Asus taking over. Sure, there are higher end monitors, but not that most people could afford.
  • 0 Hide
    Sparq17 , January 23, 2014 8:14 AM
    At this price, really more interested to see if Asus will plan to release a 4k at 120Hz refresh rate? I think this sort of future proof would justify an upgrade for a lot of people. Just wish we knew when??
  • 0 Hide
    Sparq17 , January 23, 2014 8:18 AM
    At this price, really more interested to see if Asus will plan to release a 4k at 120Hz refresh rate? I think this sort of future proof would justify an upgrade for a lot of people. Just wish we knew when??
  • 1 Hide
    ceberle , January 23, 2014 8:35 AM
    Quote:
    "We’re sure it’s only a matter of time before an Ultra HD panel becomes available in wide-gamut form."That time is now. The Dell 24" UP2414Q and 32" UP3214Q are Ultra HD monitors that cover 100% sRGB and 99% AdobeRBG. This Asus you've reviewed has already been outclassed.


    We are aware of Dell's new 4K screens. In fact, both the UP3214Q and UP 2414Q are sitting in our lab right now!

    - Christian -
  • 2 Hide
    ceberle , January 23, 2014 8:37 AM
    Quote:
    To cynic77: Those Dell monitors are only 30Hz at 3840X2160, so they aren't going to be nearly as good as this Asus. The Asus outclasses everything right now. Asus also outclasses Dell's 2560X1440 monitors because it's capable of 144Hz refresh rate, where the best Dell can do it 60Hz. It is looking more and more like Dell's days as the average user near top tier monitor supplier are ending, with Asus taking over. Sure, there are higher end monitors, but not that most people could afford.


    Dell's UP3214Q will handle 60 Hz via DisplayPort 1.2. We've had this monitor in the lab for a few weeks now and it's quite impressive! Reviews of it and the UP2414Q are coming soon!

    - Christian -
  • -2 Hide
    panzerknacker , January 23, 2014 8:56 AM
    For me this is just a gimmick that can't be taken seriously. The way they had to logically divide the screen in 2 because there are no scalars yet simply screams 'niche product that you pay way too much for only to be the first person on earth using it'. Also for gaming this screen is completely useless to me with a input lag of 80ms, you take this to a LAN party and get crapped upon by those using a $100 tn panel. In the end I think this screen is a step in the right direction but for me personally they could rather revert to producing crt's again.
Display more comments