Grayscale Tracking And Gamma Response
Our grayscale and gamma tests are described in detail here.
Standard is the XR3501's default picture mode and it measures reasonably well. You can see slight errors at 50 percent and above that top out at 4.74dE for the 90 percent level. That's tolerable in our opinion but we know there's room for improvement.
We had hoped the sRGB mode would yield better grayscale tracking but it's pretty much the same story as with the Standard mode. What has improved is the gamma tracking, which we'll show you below. It's obvious that we'll have to use one of the Custom modes to unlock the XR's full potential.
The two Custom picture modes unlock the RGB controls, which require only minor adjustment to bring things in line. We also had to change the gamma preset and drop Color Vibrance one click to maximize performance.
Here is our comparison group.
The XR3501's out-of-box grayscale tracking measurement is just over the visible threshold. At this point in time, Dell's U3415W is the way to go if you want ultimate accuracy without calibration in an ultra-wide curved display.
Our adjustments result in pro-level tracking and only a tiny bit higher number than the Dell. While this monitor is premium-priced, you're mainly paying for the fast refresh rate, AMVA panel and unique curvature; not precise color accuracy, so this result is a nice bonus.
The Standard mode locks gamma at the number three preset. Obviously that is too dark by a visible amount. Even at high backlight settings the picture lacks depth and looks more like an ordinary display.
If you don't calibrate, we suggest choosing the sRGB mode for its perfect gamma tracking. If you use the Custom mode as we did, select the Gamma 1 preset. This is the best result we've seen in a while; it's pretty much perfect.
Here is our comparison group again.
None of these screens vary too much in their gamma values. The Dell and LG screens' results suffer a bit from small dips and spikes in their tracking. A range of .15 or less is a completely invisible error. The XR3501 wins the day in this test.
We calculate gamma deviation by simply expressing the difference from 2.2 as a percentage.
With tracking right on the 2.2 mark the XR3501 sets a standard for all others to follow. This is excellent performance and one of the main reasons for its stellar image quality.