Results: Grayscale Tracking And Gamma Response
Our grayscale and gamma tests are described in detail here.
No 28-inch TN-based Ultra HD monitor is marketed as a super accurate display. But Samsung’s out-of-box performance looks good in our grayscale tracking test. Only 90 and 100 percent show errors, and they are barely visible. Most users would be perfectly satisfied with the U28D590D in this state.
Good stock performance often means great calibrated numbers, and that’s certainly the case here. You could easily mistake Samsung’s chart for one generated by a professional monitor.
Here is our comparison group:
The U28D590D has so little grayscale error out of the box that calibration is not really required. If you want better performance without adjustment, you’ll have to spend about twice as much (and give up four inches of screen size) to put the NEC on your desk.
If you have the means to calibrate, you’ll be rewarded with grayscale tracking equal to a $1300 luxury business-class monitor. We’re impressed by each model's accuracy. However, Samsung leads the pack.
The U28D590D ships with its HDMI Black Level control set to Low, skewing dynamic range and clipping to the point where gamma tracking is severely affected. If you want optimal image quality, set it to Normal before changing any other options. You won’t have to deal with this if you use DisplayPort since the Black Level option is grayed-out.
Here is the result of changing only the HDMI Black Level setting. We didn’t make any other adjustments before generating this chart. The tracking isn't perfect, though it does represent a huge improvement over where we started.
After tweaking the RGB sliders, the gamma chart is pretty much unchanged. We tried all three presets and couldn’t get any of them to fall exactly on the 2.2 line. Ultimately, a slightly darker image was the preference. The chart represents Gamma Mode 1. If you want to lighten the picture, choose Mode 2.
Here is our comparison group again:
The average gamma is a tad dark, while tracking is super tight. A .08 variation is completely invisible. In fact, the U28D590D is tied for the top spot in our entire database with Dell's UP2414Q in this test.
We calculate gamma deviation by simply expressing the difference from 2.2 as a percentage.
A 3.18 percent deviation isn’t ideal, but given the fantastic tracking, it isn’t a problem either. Basically, you get the choice to go a tad light or a tad dark with the gamma preset. We chose the latter to gain a little image depth. If you have trouble seeing detail, go with the lighter Mode 2 option.