Grayscale, Gamma & Color
Our grayscale and gamma tests are described in detail here.
While we don’t expect professional-grade precision from a gaming monitor, the AG271QX doesn’t quite impress in its out-of-the-box state. Whites look a little green, and the issue becomes more apparent as light levels rise. Switching to sRGB mode improves grayscale tracking significantly but the brightest step looks slightly red. This preset would be more useful if output weren’t locked at 320cd/m2. That’s a little too bright for extended use. Also, there are gamma issues in this mode that can’t be fixed. More on that below.
Back in the Standard mode, we calibrated the User color temp to a reasonable standard, but it wasn’t easy. Dialing in the 80% level to perfection leaves lower steps with visible errors. Getting the above result was an exercise in compromise. By tweaking green up a notch, we were able to get every step right except 100%, which is still a little off. The entire white balance calibration is also a compromise with gamma and color performance. We’ll show you that detail below.
The AG271QX’s 4.29 default average grayscale definitely needs to be addressed. The sRGB mode takes that error down to 1.97dE but leaves other flaws in place. Our recommendation is to use our settings for contrast, gamma, and RGB to achieve the best possible balance of performance in every area.
At the AG271QX’s default Gamma 1 setting, the tracking is too light, which makes the image look somewhat washed out. You’ll see full detail, but depth will be lacking. With only 1000:1 native contrast available, gamma needs to be spot-on for a more realistic image. sRGB mode fixes the grayscale tracking but not the gamma, which becomes even lighter and cannot be adjusted. Calibrating the User color temp while setting gamma to 3 and reducing contrast one click provides the best possible result. Now the trace sticks pretty close to 2.2 with only a small dip at 90%. It isn’t enough to cause clipping, so we’re satisfied with the final chart.
A .35 range of values is good enough to put the AG271QX in third place for this review. That’s decent performance when compared to any monitor in our database. The average value of 2.18 means the deviation is less than 1%; excellent performance. In the gamut tests below, you’ll see how important it is to get gamma tracking right.
Color Gamut & Luminance
For details on our color gamut testing and volume calculations, please click here.
Looking at just the outer points (100% saturation) tells us that the AG271QX has an accurate native color gamut. Only blue shows slight over-saturation, and that is compensated for with reduced luminance. However, the light gamma tracking throws many other points off their targets. The mid-tones, which are what users see the most, look a bit drab and lacking in vividness. A little extra luminance is engineered in, which helps somewhat, but this is not an ideal solution. sRGB takes luminance even higher but does nothing to address saturation. That takes the average from 3.55dE to 4.48dE. With our adjustments in the Standard mode, every measurement is now on-target, and luminance levels show far better balance. The error is now a scant 1.62dE.
On the surface a 1.62dE color error may seem impressive, and it is indeed well below the visible threshold. But this is a tough competition, and other screens manage to measure a little better. Still, none of the monitors have any serious color issues. They all present a natural look with decent accuracy and depth. If you seek a bolder presentation, the AG271QX offers a Game Color slider in the OSD. That can be used to pump up the picture much like the color control on your HDTV.
If gamut volume is important to you, the Agon offers some bonus blue, which takes the total to 102.09% of the sRGB space. Since the other primaries are nearly perfect, this monitor can be used for proofing work without a custom profile, though picky users will want to generate one anyway.