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Results: Grayscale Tracking And Gamma Response

Dell UltraSharp 32 Ultra HD Monitor Review: UP3214Q At $3500
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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.

All of the picture modes in their default state are pretty close to the below chart, which was generated in the Adobe RGB preset.

For an uncalibrated monitor, we're impressed. All errors are under three Delta E and the average value is 1.87. The output level with no adjustments is 236.0479 cd/m2, and the black level is an excellent .1901 cd/m2. Adobe RGB mode returns the best contrast ratio we measured from the UP3214Q: 1242 to 1. You could easily select this mode, dial back the brightness to taste, and enjoy pro-level color accuracy with excellent gamma and contrast.

For our post-calibration chart, we chose the Custom mode and set it up for an Adobe RGB 1998 color space.

This is the best possible result from the UP3214Q. There are no errors of any consequence to discuss. Since Dell includes gain and offset controls for the RGB sliders, it’s easy to dial in excellent white balance. All we had to do was tweak 30 and 80 percent brightness window patterns to achieve an average error of .99 Delta E.

Here’s our comparison group again.

A monitor selling for $3500 should require little to no adjustment to render accurate color and grayscale, and Dell's UP3214Q fulfills that promise. The company includes test results with each screen and we had no trouble duplicating its numbers. An error below two Delta E is promised and delivered. The same is true for both the sRGB and Adobe RGB presets.

Of course, if a monitor includes calibration controls, we’re going to try them out!

This is the best result we could achieve in the Custom mode using the Adobe RGB color space. It is possible to create a custom sRGB color space, but for reasons we’ll explain in a couple of pages, using the preset mode is better. An average error of .99 Delta E is excellent. And because you can select either major color gamut, the UP3214Q is a true professional’s tool.

Gamma Response

Gamma is the measurement of luminance levels at every step in the brightness range from 0 to 100 percent. It's 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 UP3214Q comes with two gamma presets, PC and Mac (also known as 2.2 and 2.0). Regardless of the picture mode selected, the results are the same. It’s pretty much perfect except for small dips at 10- and 90-percent brightness. The only way to improve would be with a multi-point gamma control.

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

The aforementioned dips cost the UP3214Q, though a .25 variation in gamma values is extremely small. Our measurements indicate around one cd/m2 of additional brightness at 10 and 90 percent, which is an error you won’t see with a naked eye.

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

With an average value of 2.16, Dell rides very close to the 2.2 standard. When we checked out the Mac gamma, we got a similar result. Such an excellent result befits this display's status as a professional tool.

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