To read about our monitor tests in-depth, check out Display Testing Explained: How We Test PC Monitors. We cover Brightness and Contrast testing on page two.
Uncalibrated – Maximum Backlight Level
To compare the AW2521H’s performance, we have the fastest monitors from our review database. In addition to the 360 Hz Asus ROG Swift PG259QN, we’ve rounded up the Aorus FI25F, Asus TUF VG259QM, Pixio PX279 Prime and Samsung 32-inch Odyssey G7 (C32G75T).
Brightness isn’t a problem for any of these screens; all come close to or exceed 400 nits. The AW2521H just tops 460, which is more than enough light for any environment. Luckily, you can dial it down to an ideal 50 nits for dark-room gaming if you wish.
With a fairly high minimum black level, the AW2521H won’t win the contrast contest. Its 890.4:1 ratio is a bit lower than average for an IPS panel. This can be mitigated using the variable backlight option, which raises the number to around 1,300:1.
After Calibration to 200 nits
The AW2521H’s black level and contrast stayed pretty consistent after our calibration to 200 nits (see our recommended settings on page 1) and the variable backlight off. We turned variable backlight back on after adjustments were complete, and the image improved greatly. The variable backlight’s Mode 0 provided the fastest response and made black levels much better without clipping detail. We recommend its use for all content.
ANSI contrast is slightly better than static at 918.9:1. It’s still last place in the comparison group, but the AW2521H is a well-made panel with a properly fitted grid polarizer. Of course, it’s hard to ignore the Samsung’s VA panel and its 1,921.4:1 score. Though the Samsung only runs at 240 Hz, it boasts far more image depth than the other screens.