Grayscale, Gamma & Color
The XB252Q defaults to its User picture mode when changes are made to any of the image controls, including the brightness slider. It offers adequate, if not impressive, out-of-box accuracy, but a few tweaks will improve things.
Our grayscale and gamma tests are described in detail here.
The first three charts are almost identical. Whether you choose the uncalibrated User mode, sRGB preset, or Action gaming mode, the white point is a bit warm with visible errors starting at 50% brightness. In actual content, it’s not a big deal, and we suspect most users will be satisfied. If you have the means, or if you’d like to try our settings from page three, there are some gains to be had that leave only 10% brightness with a visible issue. That translates to a slight blue push, but you’ll be hard-pressed to see it in test patterns or real-world material.
Only the ViewSonic manages to average less than 3dE in its default state. The other screens all have slightly visible issues, though only the Monoprice exhibits significant problems. Gaming monitors are not known for hyper-accurate color, so that means a third-place finish for the XB252Q in the pre-calibration test.
After adjustment, the entire group is well below the visible error threshold and leaves Acer in fifth place. You won’t see a problem with any of the screens, even if they were all lined up together. This level of performance is typical for the category.
The first three gamma charts all indicate a contrast control that is set too high. The detail clip is severe and can easily be seen in our 11-step grayscale pattern. The top two brightness levels, 90 and 100%, look almost the same. That means highlight detail will look flat and washed out. Luckily, we were able to reduce the contrast slider 10-clicks without significant penalty. Dynamic range is still good with a sequential contrast ratio just under 900:1. Making this change increases gamma a bit with tracking close to 2.4 when the preset is on 2.2. This makes the picture a tad dark, but we increased brightness to compensate. There’s plenty of headroom after all. All of this has a positive effect on color accuracy, which you’ll see in the next section.
Gamma tracking rides above the 2.2 standard but values stay in a tight range of only .15; good enough for a second-place finish in the first comparison. With an average value of 2.36, the XB252Q is a tiny bit too dark, but upping brightness takes care of that minor aberration. Most importantly, color saturation tracks well at all levels; we’ll show you those results now.
Color Gamut & Luminance
For details on our color gamut testing and volume calculations, please click here.
The XB252Q nails the outer gamut points (100% saturation) almost perfectly but is a little over-enthusiastic at lower levels. Not only do the saturation measurements exceed their targets, luminance is past the neutral point as well. This is all due to the contrast slider, which is set too high by default. Reducing it 10 clicks fixes gamma tracking and color in equal measure. Luminance levels have dropped a little too far, but that doesn’t translate to actual content. Color detail is excellent, and all hues look natural and vivid, as they should. The only head-scratcher here is a slight hue error in magenta after calibration. It’s not a big deal, but typically secondary colors line up better after grayscale adjustments.
Our tweaks have taken the average color from 3.58 to 2.59dE. It’s a modest gain but one you can see with the naked eye. The XB252Q trails a bit behind the other screens, but we’re picking nits. Users would be satisfied with any of the displays here.
While a last-place finish in the gamut volume test might be of concern, it should be noted that four of the panels exceed the correct sRGB volume. Acer comes quite close to an ideal 100%, just like its main competitor, the PG258Q.
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