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Aorus FO48U 4K OLED Gaming Monitor Review: Contrast Beyond Comprehension

Phenomenal contrast and color accuracy

Aorus FO48U 4K OLED
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Aorus)

To read about our monitor tests in-depth, please check out Display Testing Explained: How We Test PC Monitors. We cover brightness and contrast testing on page two.

Uncalibrated – Maximum Backlight Level

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Gigabyte Aorus FO48U

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
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Gigabyte Aorus FO48U

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
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Gigabyte Aorus FO48U

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

If maximum brightness is your goal, an OLED monitor is not for you. Though progress has been made, a premium LCD will be much brighter. You can see that the 43-inch screens approach 1,000 nits, while the FO48U is just over 385 nits. This is major progress for OLED though. Most LCD-based HDR monitors top out around 400 nits. And you can see the Aorus OLED has topped its closest rival, the Alienware AW5520QF, which only managed 126 nits in our test.

OLED black levels are unmeasurable by any currently available instruments, so mathematically, their contrast is infinite. Obviously, the next best solution is a VA monitor, but they literally pale in comparison to the FO48U. It truly doesn’t get better than this.

After Calibration to 200 nits

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Gigabyte Aorus FO48U

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
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Gigabyte Aorus FO48U

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
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Gigabyte Aorus FO48U

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

To set a comfortable light level, we adjusted a 25% window pattern to 200 nits. A full-field pattern at the same setting yielded around 100 nits. This is typical operation for any OLED. Black levels remained unmeasurable. The picture is simply stunning with the blackest blacks and bright white highlights.

We were also unable to calculate ANSI contrast for the OLED screens. Though the pattern represents a 50% average picture level (APL), the black squares are completely devoid of light. Turning off individual pixels is the OLED’s secret sauce and key to success.

Christian Eberle
Christian Eberle is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He's a veteran reviewer of A/V equipment, specializing in monitors.
  • mihen
    Already able to see some very minor burn in after playing a game for 10 hours that has a fixed UI. Only visible on dark gray screens. I was at 100% brightness =/, went down to 30% as suggested by others.
    Reply
  • saunupe1911
    Why would I even consider this over a 48 inch LG C1 at $1299....$1596 with 2 year burn protection?
    Reply
  • deesider
    For people who use this size of monitor (or TV), how far away do you sit from it?

    I just can't imagine sitting at a desk with a 48" screen. I use a 27" as my main and prefer to sit at least 1 metre away.
    Reply
  • Bryman
    deesider said:
    For people who use this size of monitor (or TV), how far away do you sit from it?

    I just can't imagine sitting at a desk with a 48" screen. I use a 27" as my main and prefer to sit at least 1 metre away.
    I sit about 38 to 44" away on my LG c1 when using for gaming/pc and 48" when watching TV
    Desk is 33" deep
    Reply
  • larsv8
    deesider said:
    For people who use this size of monitor (or TV), how far away do you sit from it?

    I just can't imagine sitting at a desk with a 48" screen. I use a 27" as my main and prefer to sit at least 1 metre away.

    If you check my sig to the pcpartpicker build I had a custom desk built to place my 48 incher further away.

    It sits about 42 inches away, but its wall mounted so a little bit closer.
    Reply
  • Spike_xps720
    deesider said:
    For people who use this size of monitor (or TV), how far away do you sit from it?

    I just can't imagine sitting at a desk with a 48" screen. I use a 27" as my main and prefer to sit at least 1 metre away.
    I have Acer Predator CG437K 43" monitor and I am sitting 33" from it. I love this monitor. All 4K details are bigger and gaming experience is great.
    Reply
  • rdmetz
    mihen said:
    Already able to see some very minor burn in after playing a game for 10 hours that has a fixed UI. Only visible on dark gray screens. I was at 100% brightness =/, went down to 30% as suggested by others.
    That's just image retention no oled is going to burn in after 10 hours. It will go away with varied content.

    I've gamed for 1000's of hours (some at 100% for hdr the rest at 80%) on my 2019 lg c9 and have zero signs of permanent burn in.

    Almost all panels that exist today are just LG display panels and for the most part should have similar burn in protections.

    If you're talking about a panel pre 2018 then yes burn in was a bit more likely and even I, with the same game I've put thousands of hours in on my 2019 c9, saw permanent burn in on my 2016 after just 3 months and maybe 300 hours of said game.

    Today its very very difficult to burn in your screen unless your absolutely careless or are purposefully disabling protections built in and enabled by default.
    Reply
  • rdmetz
    deesider said:
    For people who use this size of monitor (or TV), how far away do you sit from it?

    I just can't imagine sitting at a desk with a 48" screen. I use a 27" as my main and prefer to sit at least 1 metre away.

    I game on a 65" C9 OLED and while I have a desk and keyboard mouse setup about 24" in front of it (it's wall mounted) but I do most of my gaming about 4 feet from it using a controller.

    My vision isn't great and honestly only with a large screen and pretty much "immersed" can I actually stay competitive in the fps type games I like to play. Seeing "deep" into the picture is hard for me unless my vision is pretty much dominated by screen. I've grown quite accustomed to it and just make sure any hud elements are pulled in as close to center as possible so I don't have to move my eyes too much.
    Reply
  • Friesiansam
    [URL='https://www.tomshardware.com/uk/author/christian-eberle']Christian Eberle[/URL] said:


    This is thanks to its ability to shut off individual pixels on the fly to create an infinitely low black level. The word infinitely is not an exaggeration.
    It is an exaggeration. To be infinitely black it would have to be invisible, emitting or reflecting absolutely no light whatsoever. Even Vanta Black still reflects a very tiny amount of light.
    Reply
  • mihen
    rdmetz said:
    That's just image retention no oled is going to burn in after 10 hours. It will go away with varied content.

    I've gamed for 1000's of hours (some at 100% for hdr the rest at 80%) on my 2019 lg c9 and have zero signs of permanent burn in.

    Almost all panels that exist today are just LG display panels and for the most part should have similar burn in protections.

    If you're talking about a panel pre 2018 then yes burn in was a bit more likely and even I, with the same game I've put thousands of hours in on my 2019 c9, saw permanent burn in on my 2016 after just 3 months and maybe 300 hours of said game.

    Today its very very difficult to burn in your screen unless your absolutely careless or are purposefully disabling protections built in and enabled by default.

    Thanks, I was worried when I noticed it.
    Reply