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 comparison group is a mix of gaming and business displays. We've included the other AMVA monitor in our database, BenQ's BL3200PT. Also present are two Acer 27-inch screens, the XG270HU (TN) and XB270HU (IPS). The ultra-wide category includes today's subject plus Dell's U3415W and LG's 34UC97, both of the IPS variety.
The XR3501 is by far the brightest ultra-wide display we've tested. It's a shame that with so much output BenQ has not chosen to include blur-reduction, because there's certainly enough headroom for it. It's also significantly brighter than the BL3200PT.
Here's why we should all be lusting after AMVA monitors. The black levels are far better than the best IPS and TN displays have to offer. Unfortunately, you have to look at HDTVs to find more displays using the technology. Hopefully BenQ's two offerings will inspire others to follow suit.
The max contrast of the XR3501 blows away all of the others, except BenQ's BL3200PT, which still ranks as one of the best-looking monitors we've tested. With almost 2000:1 contrast, the XR3501 looks simply stunning playing our favorite games.
Uncalibrated – Minimum Backlight Level
Turning down the brightness all the way yields a very useable 67.4588cd/m2. Considering the output potential of this screen, it's a decent range and every user should be able to find their preferred level.
The U3415W and XB270HU take the top two spots by virtue of their extremely dim minimum outputs. In terms of practical usability, the two BenQ screens offer superior performance as evidenced by the contrast result below.
The XR3501 remains consistent at all backlight settings with over 1800:1 contrast. It's hard to get much more dynamic range in an LCD without resorting to using a television as your computer monitor. With a screen like this, everything looks sharper; text pops from the background, photos and videos take on greater depth and you can use the display at a higher brightness setting without fatigue.
After Calibration to 200cd/m2
Our two AMVA screens stay at the top after calibration. And as you'll see in the next chart, the XR3501 has picked up a bit of contrast from our adjustments.
We thought this number might drop after a grayscale calibration but it didn't thanks to the XR3501's excellent gamma tracking. As you'll see on the next page, it's ruler-flat. At this point the visual difference between the two AMVA monitors is negligible, either one is a great choice.
ANSI Contrast Ratio
Maintaining good uniformity in an ultra-wide display is a huge engineering challenge. Our sample loses a bit of contrast in the ANSI test due to slight hotspots at the top of the screen. It doesn't translate to visible light-bleed but our instruments can see the difference.