As an edge-lit IPS monitor, the EW3280U is limited in its ability to produce a truly wide dynamic range. Though it uses its three HDR modes effectively, it isn’t as dramatic as what you’d see from a FALD display. But in this price range, it acquits itself well.
HDR Brightness and Contrast
All the monitors have a DisplayHDR 400 certification, and the EW3280U exceeds that level comfortably. We used the monitor’s Display HDR mode for this and all our HDR tests as it is the most color-accurate of the three HDR modes offered (the other two use BenQ’s HDRi feature). You can use it for SDR material, but that might result in some detail clipping. Try it on a case-by-case basis to see which you prefer.
With the backlight driven to its maximum, black levels suffered significantly. The EW3280U finished last in the HDR black level test among the comparison group. The VA panels had an advantage, but the IPS-based Razer Raptor did well with an effective dynamic contrast feature that engages in its HDR mode. The resulting contrast for the BenQ is the same in both SDR and HDR modes. Though there is some visual impact when viewing HDR compared to SDR, it isn’t as dramatic as with the other screens in this group.
Grayscale, EOTF and Color
The EW3280U’s HDR color accuracy is among the best we’ve recorded. The grayscale chart shows no visible errors in Display HDR mode. The two HDRi presets are less accurate.
The luminance curve is close to standard with a respectable transition to tone-mapping at 65% brightness. That means below 65%, luminance is determined by the content and above 65, it’s determined by the monitor. A higher clip point is preferable. Though the EW3280U doesn’t have great contrast, it does a decent job with HDR when compared with other edge-lit HDR IPS displays.
DCI-P3 color in Display HDR mode measured well with only slight oversaturation in some of the blue and red points. Only 80% red is significantly off, coming closer to 90%. This will be visible in specific content dominated by that particular shade. But in general, since the overall coverage is so large, the EW3280U will look vivid and bright with color that simply isn’t possible on an sRGB monitor.
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