Grayscale, Gamma and Color
Our grayscale and gamma tests are described in detail here.
Standard and sRGB deliver almost identical grayscale tracking. The EX3501R easily qualifies for our “doesn’t need calibration” list.
The Custom mode runs slightly blue before calibration. We made a few small changes and got all errors to 1dE and below.
The third chart above reflects the change in gamma we mentioned earlier (more on that in a moment). This is excellent performance delivering pro-level accuracy in a reasonably priced gaming monitor.
The 2.52dE number comes mainly from the 70-100% brightness range. There are no visible errors below that point. A few clicks of the RGB sliders and contrast control takes the average to just .97dE. While this is an excellent number, a few monitors tested here managed better (these are all premium screens, after all).
The EX5301R’s gamma presets are very accurate and track flat at every level. Gamma 3 rides just under the 2.2 mark and looks a little light. With VA’s higher native contrast, there’s room to deepen the presentation a little without straying from the color targets. To that end, we chose Gamma 4, which generated the third chart above. The average value is just above 2.2, but the picture is noticeably better in every way. That is the reason for the 15% improvement we made in sequential contrast.
In the second graph, sRGB shows a little dip at 10% and 20% brightness. There, shadow detail is strong but less black than it should be.
Our gamma decision regarding the EX3501R is something we like to call “pushing the standard.” It offers better color and depth without straying from targeted values. By tweaking until the numbers are just short of wrong without being so, we can realize a monitor’s full potential. This is also reflected in the color results below.
Color Gamut & Luminance
For details on our color gamut testing and volume calculations, click here.
Standard and sRGB mode have near-perfect color saturation and luminance. The primaries are a tiny bit oversaturated but are still on target. Luminance levels are almost perfectly neutral. This is color we normally see only in professional displays. T
he EX3501R is clearly one of the more accurate gaming monitors we’ve tested. Calibration pushes the brighter saturation points a little. The overall error level is lower but only by a small amount. Visually though, the picture is more vivid and three-dimensional. Our changes have a definite impact on image quality. The charts make it look subtle, but we can easily see the difference with our eyes.
Calibration takes the average color error from 1.74 to 1.31dE. On most monitors, that would be an invisible difference, but since we changed gamma presets, it’s more obvious in the EX3501R’s case. This affirms what we’ve said many times: gamma is the key to everything. Slight issues with grayscale and color can be hidden when gamma tracking is flat and on point. Resulting picture quality is head and shoulders above the norm.
MORE: Best Gaming Monitors
MORE: How We Test Monitors
MORE: All Monitor Content