Results: Calibrated Brightness And Contrast
We consider 200 nits to be an ideal average for peak output, so we calibrate all of our test monitors to that value. In a room with some ambient light, such as an office, this brightness level provides a sharp, punchy image with maximum detail and minimum eye fatigue. It's also the sweet spot for gamma and grayscale tracking, which we'll look at on pages five and six.
This comparison normally includes a full grayscale calibration. Since the HP has no adjustments in that area, we simply set the brightness as close to 200 cd/m2 as possible.
Both monitors have little difficulty settling in at 200 cd/m2. The only way to do this on the HP is with a meter, since there is no other indication of the brightness level. The Asus PB278Q is set to 62 out of 100 for brightness and 75 out of 100 for contrast.
Calibration can sometimes raise the black level slightly, and some monitors are better at maintaining a low number than others.
The HP predictably stays near the top in this metric. It would be interesting to see how a grayscale calibration would affect this figure but, unfortunately, there’s no way to perform one. The Asus PB278Q also does extremely well with a very low 0.2830 cd/m2 measurement.
Maintaining a high contrast ratio after calibration is the toughest test for any monitor. Most screens take at least a small hit for the sake of color accuracy.
The HP has an unfair advantage because of its lack of calibration controls, but it looks great nonetheless. The Asus holds its own nicely at 706.9 to 1. Its image is still very punchy, and as you’ll see later, the color accuracy achieved is more than worth this small drop in measured contrast. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to perceive any difference with the naked eye.