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AOC Q2781PQ IPS/QHD Monitor Review

Brightness & Contrast

To read about our monitor tests in depth, please check out Display Testing Explained: How We Test Monitors and TVs.  Brightness and Contrast testing is covered on page two.

Uncalibrated – Maximum Backlight Level

Today we have a broad range of prices represented by our comparison monitors. All are sRGB, 27”, QHD screens, but some have a larger feature set than the AOC Q2781PQ. We tried to include displays that exhibit similar performance though they may not all be on the same shopper’s list. They are NEC’s EA275WMi, ViewSonic’s VP2771, Acer’s BE270U, BenQ’s PD2700Q, and Nixeus’ PRO Vue 27P.

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AOC claims 350cd/m2 for the Q2781PQ, but we couldn’t quite get there in any of the picture modes with the brightness slider maxed. This isn’t a big deal, because there’s still plenty of output for the monitor’s intended purpose. And there’s no need for the headroom required by uniformity compensation or a backlight strobe.

Black levels are a bit high but still good enough for a third-place finish. Overall contrast is lower, however, at 904.4:1. Coupled with a dark default gamma, the image seems a tad murky at first, but once we make a few tweaks, it looks significantly better. Color is nicely saturated in either case.

Uncalibrated – Minimum Backlight Level

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The backlight won’t quite drop to our preferred 50cd/m2 level. But there is an upside. With a smaller brightness range, each click of the slider yields a very small change. When is this useful? When trying to level-match multiple screens. Having two or three monitors where one is even slightly off in output can be a significant distraction. With a fine-resolution control like the Q2781PQ, you can get levels precisely in line. And as expected, contrast stays consistent at all outputs.

After Calibration to 200cd/m2

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The User color temp mode features sliders that start at center-range. This makes it easy to dial in grayscale without sacrificing contrast. We also set gamma to the second preset to bring tracking almost perfectly in-line with the 2.2 standard. All of that means sequential contrast remains rock-solid at 906.7:1. It’s not a great score but it shows consistency and decent panel quality. And it is closer to the rest of the group than the Nixeus display.

ANSI Contrast Ratio

Our Q2781PQ sample doesn’t have any significant uniformity issues, but some slightly brighter black squares in the checkerboard pattern contribute to a lowered ANSI result. It keeps the monitor in fifth place, but we’d like to see just a bit more contrast in general. The grayscale, gamma, and color measurements on the next page help bring it up a few notches in the comparison.

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Christian Eberle is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He's a veteran reviewer of A/V equipment, specializing in monitors.