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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
We’ve brought in data from other recently-reviewed pro screens for today’s comparison. Dell is represented with its 5K-resolution UP2715K. Also present is another BenQ, the SW2700PT which earned our rarely-bestowed Editor’s Choice Award. Filling out the ranks are NEC’s PA302W, Asus’ PA328Q and the ViewSonic XG2700-4K. The latter straddles both the pro and gaming categories with its inclusion of FreeSync. All screens feature Ultra HD resolution and factory calibrations.
Maximum output is in a fairly small window from 326 to 361cd/m2. The PV3200PT comes up a little short of its 350cd/m2 spec but that’s a minor flaw. One would rarely turn brightness up that high unless working outdoors on location.
All the panels are IPS-based so black levels are good but not great. The PV3200PT manages a solid second-place finish.
And it’s cracked our preferred threshold of 1000:1. With high resolution and excellent color, this contrast level promises a rich saturated image with plenty of depth and realism.
Uncalibrated – Minimum Backlight Level
It seems that many professional displays have low minimum backlight levels. 11cd/m2 is certainly bordering on useless and 23.6436 isn’t far behind. We’d rather see these monitors bottom out around 50cd/m2 so there would be finer control of output. Most panels have 100 steps regardless of their actual performance, so the larger the range, the coarser the adjustment. Only NEC seems to have higher resolution in this area.
The PV3200PT’s black level remains steady at .0231cd/m2 and ranks in third place here.
Minimum contrast differs by a negligible amount. This is the consistent performance we expect from any professional display.
After Calibration to 200cd/m2
Our calibration consisted of turning the backlight down to 200cd/m2, nothing more. No color or gamma adjustments were necessary. Here you can see the significant impact of the PV3200PT’s uniformity compensation. It drops output by 41 percent. You can turn up brightness to compensate but that won’t increase contrast because it also raises the black level.
UniComp apparently has no effect on the black level.
Given that UC only lowers max output, it follows that contrast has been reduced by about the same amount, 41 percent. You’ll see on page seven that uniformity is OK without the feature and not much better with. This result is sample-specific so your mileage may vary. In our case however, we see no value in the compensation option.
ANSI Contrast Ratio
Native ANSI contrast is excellent at 959.5:1. This is only a tad lower than the sequential number which is fairly typical among well-made monitors. UniComp reduces this figure by 32 percent. Again we don’t see a need for it. The PV3200PT looks just fine in its default state.
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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. Christian began his obsession with tech when he built his first PC in 1991, a 286 running DOS 3.0 at a blazing 12MHz. In 2006, he undertook training from the Imaging Science Foundation in video calibration and testing and thus started a passion for precise imaging that persists to this day. He is also a professional musician with a degree from the New England Conservatory as a classical bassoonist which he used to good effect as a performer with the West Point Army Band from 1987 to 2013. He enjoys watching movies and listening to high-end audio in his custom-built home theater and can be seen riding trails near his home on a race-ready ICE VTX recumbent trike. Christian enjoys the endless summer in Florida where he lives with his wife and Chihuahua and plays with orchestras around the state.