Brightness And 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’s group consists solely of curved monitors with either G-Sync or FreeSync adaptive refresh. Acer’s Z35 and AOC’s C3583FQ are AMVA panels with 2560x1080 resolution. Acer’s XR341CK and X34 share the same pixel count as our review subject, as does the LG34UC98 FreeSync screen.
There aren’t many situations where one would need more than 300cd/m2 output and all the screens deliver that. The PG348Q is at the lower end with 309.2163cd/m2, but that number exceeds Asus' spec of 300.
More importantly, its black levels are at the darker end of our IPS screens. The AMVA twins take this contest but give up resolution to do so. At some point, we’re likely to see higher pixel counts from this technology. Although gaming monitors have made improvements in motion processing and refresh rates, contrast is still an area in which they have room to grow.
Overall contrast from the PG348Q is strong at 1081:1 in the sequential test. It’s almost a dead heat between it and the two Acer IPS panels. But check out the AMVA screens at the top. Their performance more than doubles the next best. Is it worth accepting lower resolution? Perhaps so.
Uncalibrated – Minimum Backlight Level
The PG348Q’s brightness slider brings the backlight down to a fairly useless 27.3569cd/m2. Even in the dark, the picture looks drab and dim, although it maintains the same contrast ratio. At least performance is consistent. To get our preferred minimum of 50cd/m2, set the brightness slider to 8.
After Calibration to 200cd/m2
Calibration required us to lower the contrast slider seven clicks to fix a gamma and color tracking issue. Luckily this did not reduce dynamic range at all. The difference here is negligible. In fact the PG348Q is now the best of the IPS panels in the group. You’ll see on the next page in the gamma and color results how important the contrast adjustment is. This is excellent performance and ranks as one of the better IPS monitors we’ve tested for its dynamic range. That guarantees good image depth and a more realistic picture.
ANSI Contrast Ratio
A few small uniformity issues hold our sample back in the ANSI contrast test. It’s not a big problem, but it does put the PG348Q in last place. Another example would likely measure differently. The cause is a bright zone along the bottom of the screen. It’s not quite in the category of IPS glow or backlight bleed though. 871.4:1 is still a decent ANSI result.