Grayscale Tracking And Gamma Response
Our grayscale and gamma tests are described in detail here.
Aside from a little red push in the higher brightness levels, Racing is a decent fire-and-forget mode for the MG278Q. We found gains through calibration but if you don't have the means or desire, the picture looks just fine using its default settings. Other modes, like FPS, also have good grayscale tracking but less accurate gamma and color. We therefore recommend Racing as the go-to preset regardless of the monitor's intended use.
Usually a monitor's sRGB mode is pretty much spot-on but the MG278Q takes a small step backwards. The white point is decidedly cooler with visible errors at all brightness levels. With all Delta E values under five it's not a huge problem but Racing mode is better. Another thing you sacrifice in this mode is a brightness adjustment; output is locked at around 144cd/m2.
Calibrating the Racing mode produces the best possible result. All errors are now well-below the visible point and tracking is nice and linear. This is very good performance.
Here is our comparison group.
3.06dE is a barely-visible average so we think most users will be satisfied with an un-calibrated image from the MG278Q. If you're wondering about the sRGB mode, its average error is 3.79dE. Racing is clearly the best choice.
Calibration drops the average number more than 50 percent but the monitor' s fifth-place finish is unchanged. None of the displays have grayscale issues worth concern. Once again though, the MG279Q has taken the top spot. Its IPS panel is truly a premium part with a price to match.
There are no gamma controls in the OSD but different picture modes modify the tracking. Racing mode looks like the above chart whether you calibrate or not. Overall performance is good but there are slight anomalies at 20 and 90 percent. Each represents luminance errors of less than 3cd/m2 so you're unlikely to see any issues in actual content.
In FPS mode the gamma is lighter at 10 and 90 percent, which will bring out highlight and shadow detail a little more. The tradeoff is a higher black level and possible clipping in the image's brightest areas. You'll also see some over-saturation of color in the mid-tones with this approach.
If you use the sRGB mode, gamma is slightly different once again. The tracking runs a little light but the hump at 90 percent is now gone. In practice it's close enough to the Racing mode that there's no visual difference.
Here is our comparison group again.
A .39 value range isn't too bad actually. All the monitors in the group offer excellent gamma tracking so the MG278Q's last-place finish isn't a big deal.
We calculate gamma deviation by simply expressing the difference from 2.2 as a percentage.
By staying close to 2.2 (2.19 actually), the MG278Q's average gamma is almost exactly on-spec. Only the Nixeus deviates by a visible amount; that monitor has two gamma settings both of which miss the standard by a similar amount. The others are close enough to each other to make comparing the results a wash.