Brightness & Contrast
To read about our monitor tests in depth, please check out Display Testing Explained: How We Test Monitors and TVs. Brightness and Contrast testing is covered on page two.
ASUS ROG Swift PG258Q
Uncalibrated – Maximum Backlight Level
We’ve included a mix of ultra-wide gaming screens along with Asus’ PG258Q, which is the fastest monitor we’ve tested to date. We've also included Acer’s XR382CQK, LG’s 38UC99 and 34UC79G, and Asus’ PG348Q. All support either G-Sync or FreeSync, have high refresh rates, and are premium-priced.
Acer claims 300cd/m2 for the Z301CT, which is a little low for effective ULMB performance. Luckily, our sample exceeded that with a 355.6144cd/m2 measurement allowing for a little more headroom. Being the only VA panel in the group made the black level and contrast tests an easy win for Acer. With nearly 3000:1 and the inkiest blacks this side of a plasma panel, image depth doesn’t get much better than this. And it’s completely worth giving up some pixel density.
Uncalibrated – Minimum Backlight Level
The minimum white level is a comfortable 56.7839cd/m2 with the brightness control on zero. That’s a great way to play in a dark room. And with no reduction in contrast, the image still has all the pop seen at higher brightness. The black level is low enough that you can barely tell the Z301CT is turned on. If there is any ambient light present, you won’t see any glow from the backlight at all.
After Calibration to 200cd/m2
We were concerned that the Z301CT’s too-high contrast setting might mean a loss of contrast after calibration. Clearly this is not the case. We gave up nothing even after reducing the slider eight clicks. And check out those ULMB numbers. Yes, there is a 50% output loss, but contrast is practically unchanged. This is a huge step forward for the technology. With most G-Sync monitors, we’d recommend avoiding the backlight strobe because it robs the picture’s dynamic range. But it's not a problem here; it’s a truly usable feature. If you don’t have a G-Sync-capable video card, you can still enjoy a large reduction in motion blur with ULMB. Just max the backlight so you have enough brightness to work with.
ANSI Contrast Ratio
The difference between the Z301CT’s sequential and ANSI contrast results seems large, but in practice, it’s not a big deal. Our sample has good uniformity, but a little extra brightness in the black squares on the bottom of the screen lowered our result a bit. It’s still quite a bit higher than the others, and that is demonstrated in real-world content.
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