OLED and LCD have different advantages when it comes to HDR content. OLED delivers perfect black levels and infinite contrast, while LCD has greater brightness. The choice comes down to personal preference, application and viewing environment. In a typical office, OLED will have the deepest and most realistic picture. The PG42UQ demonstrates this well.
HDR Brightness and Contrast
There are brighter OLED TVs out there, but among desktop examples, the PG42UQ sports average light output. To see 438 nits, I measured a 25% window pattern. A full field comes in around 190 nits, the same as SDR mode.
You may notice that the G8 matches the OLED panels’ zero black level and infinite contrast results. That’s because its Mini LED backlight has its zone dimming feature engaged all the time; it can’t be turned off. In practice, it does a passable job of imitating an OLED, but ultimately, the PG42UQ and its peers deliver the best HDR imagery. While the XG43UQ may look like an also-ran here, its picture is quite good.
Grayscale, EOTF and Color
The PG42UQ offers three HDR modes, Game (the default), Cinema and Console. Game is by far the most accurate and is the one I’m showing here. Grayscale tracking shows some coolness in the mid-tones but good accuracy in the darkest and brightest areas of the image. EOTF tracking is nearly perfect, slightly dark in the lower steps and a smooth transition to tone-mapping at 65%. The other modes mask highlight and shadow detail with inaccurate luminance tracking and are not good choices.
I measured slight under-saturation at the inner targets for red, but other colors are closer to the mark. Green and blue are a little over-saturated. Cyan and magenta are a bit off-hue, but those errors are hard to spot in practice. Similar behavior is seen when the PG42UQ is referenced to Rec.2020. Saturation tracks linearly until the display runs out of color which is as it should be. This is very good performance, and the resulting picture is vivid and bright with sharp delineation between contrasting objects.
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