The AW5520QF’s different picture modes present a variety of white points and color interpretations. The best accuracy without calibration is in the Standard mode, which is the default. If you want to calibrate, there are three Game modes and Custom Color mode. We used the latter for our tests.
Grayscale and Gamma Tracking
We describe our grayscale and gamma tests in detail here.
Standard mode is a good choice for SDR content. It has no visible grayscale errors, and the gamma runs close to 2.2. We wish it were a tad darker, though. There is so much contrast available that a true 2.2 or 2.3 curve would increase image depth. But that’s picking nits.
Calibrating the Custom Color (2nd chart) mode takes all the grayscale errors below 1 Delta E (dE). This is professional-level performance, but for $4,000, it should be. Gamma is still a little off the mark, however. We wish there were additional presets, since we’d rather see a higher value. That would enhance color saturation and refine highlight detail.
The AW5520QF is mid-pack among our comparison sample in both grayscale and gamma. However, the differences are small, so you’d be hard-pressed to see a difference when looking at the monitors side by side.
Once calibrated, the Alienware could use a tweak to its gamma. An OLED screen should measure no lower than 2.2 at any brightness step. This monitor looks amazing but isn’t performing at its full potential. This is a small thing, but for $4,000, it should be perfect.
Color Gamut Accuracy
For details on our color gamut testing and volume calculations, click here.
We measured all the AW5520QF’s image modes, and none of them render an sRGB color gamut. DCI-P3 is the native spec, and the monitor covers nearly all of it. That’s great for HDR-enabled material, but most games and videos are mastered to sRGB or Rec.709. There’s no reason Alienware couldn’t include the appropriate preset; users should have a choice. While the extra color looks fine in most cases, it isn’t accurate.
he out-of-box errors are measured against the sRGB gamut, and our adjustments actually increased the dE value slightly. You need sRGB for most games, since that is their mastered color gamut. This monitor is reasonably close to sRGB in terms of average error but DCI red and green are oversaturated by sRGB standards; the AW5520QF is too expensive to omit that option. Either way, you won’t see a problem, since anything below 3dE can’t be seen with the naked eye. When compared to DCI-P3, the error is just 1.26dE, an impressive result.
The AW5520QF came in last among our comparison sample in the sRGB gamut test, but the other monitors are impressive in their near-perfect rendering of sRGB and Rec.709. The AW5520QF doesn’t have those gamut options.
In the gamut volume calculation, Alienware managed to beat the Asus PA32UCX pro monitor. In fact, 94.35% is the largest DCI-P3 volume we’ve ever measured. Combined with the AW5520QF’s phenomenal contrast, the picture quality is quite something. Obviously, with nearly 140% coverage of the sRGB gamut, you won’t want to use this OLED for color-critical sRGB work without a color profile present to reign in the gamut.
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