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AOC U3277PWQU UHD Professional 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 are covered on page two.

Uncalibrated – Maximum Backlight Level

Today’s group is all 32” monitors, most with Ultra HD resolution and IPS panels. VA is represented by the review subject and Philips BDM3270, which has some of the highest contrast numbers we’ve ever measured. We're also including Acer’s BM320, Asus’ PA329Q, and the PV3200PT and PD3200U from BenQ.

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Maximum light output falls a tad short of AOC’s claimed 300cd/m2. This isn’t a big deal if you plan to use the U3277PWQU in a typical office space. We expect most of these screens will see duty in post-production editing bays, which are light-controlled and dark most of the time.

Thanks to that excellent MVA panel from Innolux, the black level is a super low .1213cd/m2. As impressive as that is, Philips manages to get down to less than half that figure at .0539. LCDs don’t get darker than that. To see better performance, you’ll need a plasma or OLED monitor.

Resulting contrast is more than double the next-best screen at over 2300:1. While that pales in comparison to Philips’ 5706.5:1, the U3277PWQU’s image still shows greater depth and detail than anything IPS has to offer.

Uncalibrated – Minimum Backlight Level

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AOC has opted to take the backlight to a very dim minimum level, just 37.9590cd/m2. We don’t expect many users to turn the brightness down that much. For our recommended 50cd/m2, set the slider to 6. The problem with AOC's approach is that it makes each click of the control coarser than it needs to be. Ideally, changes in brightness should be around 1cd/m2 per click, not two or three per click. The good news is that contrast remains properly consistent at 2300.9:1.

After Calibration to 200cd/m2

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The U3277PWQU has a uniformity mode that is designed to eliminate hot-spots from the image. In most monitors, this results in a noticeable drop in output and contrast. AOC has locked brightness at around 212cd/m2 so the output problem is solved. Contrast takes only a small hit, going from 2286.2:1 to 2048.4:1. This makes the mode usable, but you’ll have to read our test results on page five to see just how usable. Remember that the values above represent only the Standard mode (DCI-P3 gamut). sRGB has no adjustments available but still offers much the same contrast performance.

ANSI Contrast Ratio

With uniformity turned off, ANSI contrast is quite close to the sequential number. It’s only reduced by 19%. Thanks to the MVA panel’s extra dynamic range, that’s only a small difference in image quality. The U3277PWQU blows its IPS competition away and is only bested by the Philips. And that monitor only offers an sRGB gamut.

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