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ViewSonic VP3881 38" Curved HDR Monitor Review: Professional sRGB

HDR Grayscale, EOTF, & Color

To run HDR benchmarks, we add an HD Fury Integral to the signal chain to simulate HDR10 content from our Accupel DVG-5000 pattern generator. This enables us to measure the VP3881’s grayscale in 5 percent increments, EOTF tracking and color gamut capabilities within a Rec.2020 container.

Grayscale Tracking & EOTF

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The VP3881 is one of the more accurate displays. It’s fortunate too because you can't make adjustments with HDR signals; selecting any of the Custom parameters immediately turns HDR off.

Our grayscale test shows a slight tendency toward blue in the 55-70 percent range. This is a commonality we’ve seen in most HDR displays. It corresponds to the transition point shown in the EOTF chart. You can see a little lightness in the darkest steps, and the transition is more gradual than spec, but these are minor issues. Though there is no more measurable contrast here, precision tone-mapping makes the image look better with well-mastered content.

Color Gamuts Within Rec.2020

Despite being an sRGB monitor, aside from 80% red, the VP3881 tracks the Rec.709 gamut within Rec.2020 perfectly. 

Moving up to DCI-P3, we see on-target tracking until the panel runs out of color. At that point, it makes a hue adjustment to approximate more vivid color. In practice, it works fairly well, imparting a little extra richness to HDR material.

In the Rec.2020 test, we see the same behavior where all targets that can be met, are. This is exactly the way any HDR-capable display should behave. We’re a few years away from true Rec.2020, but for now, the VP3881 is a good example of how color should work.

Ultra HD Blu-rays

One of the VP3881’s duties is likely to be video editing, so to test its mettle, we hooked up a Philips BDP-7501 Ultra HD Blu-ray player to watch Creed and The Martian. The monitor happily accepts 3840x2160 signals, cleanly down-converting the vertical resolution to its native 1600 pixels. And a quick check of the player’s signal info screen reveals support for 24p video. This puts it ahead of many other monitors that change the incoming cadence to 60fps, regardless of the signal’s original frame rate.

We had to manually select HDR from the Manual Image Adjust menu once a movie plays. The screen goes blank for several seconds and the audio cuts out until the new signal is synced. Once in HDR mode, there is no access to the aspect ratio settings or any other image parameters. As you can see from our results above, accuracy is not an issue, though it would be nice to have grayscale controls in a professional display.

What we missed most was a vertical stretch mode. Most ultra-wide monitor don't yet have, this so ViewSonic is on equal footing with its competition. Most movies are shot and mastered in the cinemascope format, which is a 2.40:1 ratio of width to height. A 21:9 monitor would be almost perfect for this if it could eliminate the black bars and show the image in its correct shape. Unfortunately, the bars are there, and the picture is stretched horizontally, creating distortion. For now, you’ll have to run your movie in a window to see the correct sizing, and you won't be able to use the screen’s full area.

Color and contrast look quite good despite the VP3881’s lack of an extended color gamut. Creed’s dark shadow detail pops nicely, even in the arena scenes which have brightly lit action in the center. The Martian is a great showcase for deep red and orange hues. This monitor won’t make Mars look quite as dramatic as some others, but the difference is small.

Measured dynamic range in HDR is the same as we found is SDR, but accurate tone-mapping means perceived contrast is greater. There are other monitors that can show HDR content with more drama, but few are as accurate in all areas of image fidelity.

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