Brightness and Contrast
To read about our monitor tests in-depth, check out Display Testing Explained: How We Test Monitors and TVs. We cover Brightness and Contrast testing on page two.
Uncalibrated – Maximum Backlight Level
For comparison, we brought in a group of VA panels. On the 16:9 side is MSI’s Optix MPG27CQ and Monoprice’s 33822. Ultra-wides include BenQ’s EX3501R, AOC’s Agon AG352UCG6 and the mega-wide Samsung C49HG90.
The MAG341CQ is rated at 250 nits but our sample only managed 213.6 at maximum brightness settings. But that’s not a deal-breaker as that is more than enough light for the average indoor space; although, you should avoid bright, sunny windows. We’d like to see at least 300 nits to provide some headroom for calibration, which can reduce peak output.
Black levels were VA-dark with our review monitor earning first place. This is precisely the reason for buying a VA panel and why they’re our favorite for entertainment. That extra depth is easy to see and really enhances gaming and video content. Resulting contrast is mid-pack in our group and about average for VA screens as a whole.
After Calibration to 200 nits
After calibration, the MAG341CQ’s black level didn’t notably change, but peak white dropped to 163 nits with the brightness slider maxed. Again, this was enough light for most indoor environments, but there was no headroom left.
We had to reduce contrast a bit to fix a gamma issue, and our changes to the RGB sliders cost us some dynamic range. 1,881.7:1 is still a respectable contrast ratio, but all the other screens here fared better, except for the AOC. In the ANSI contrast test, the MAG341CQ moved up a spot with a solid 1,660.8:1 score. While that wasn’t enough to win in this group, it’s significantly better than any IPS monitor short of a full-array backlight model.
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