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.
Uncalibrated – Maximum Backlight Level
Today’s group is evenly split between IPS and TN panels and some form of adaptive refresh. From Asus we have the PG258Q, PG279Q, and MG278Q. AOC brings the AG271QX and AG271QG panels from its Agon line. We tried to stick with the newest possible screens, hence the absence of anything from Acer. We’ll be adding the company's latest panels to our roster in the very near future.
Monitors with blur-reduction (a.k.a. backlight strobes, a.k.a ULMB), must have sufficient output overhead to compensate for the unavoidable loss in brightness that comes with the technology. Few displays actually measure up, but the Asus PG258Q is a notable exception. Unfortunately, ViewSonic has not heeded this advice and falls slightly short of its claimed 350cd/m2. In G-Sync mode it’s not a problem; there’s plenty of light available. But you’ll see below how it affects ULMB operation.
On the upside, the XG2703-GS has excellent black levels and posts a fairly high contrast ratio of 1114.4:1. Among IPS screens it’s one of the best we’ve measured.
Uncalibrated – Minimum Backlight Level
The XG2703-GS drops below the useful point with a minimum output of only 36.2946cd/m2. Perhaps if ViewSonic had engineered the lower limit higher, it could have maxed out higher too. Clicking Brightness up to 4 provides the necessary 50cd/m2 required for in-the-dark gaming. Contrast remains consistent at 1097.5:1. Any setting of the backlight will present the same image depth and dynamic range.
After Calibration to 200cd/m2
Calibrating the XG2703-GS doesn’t affect contrast which is a good thing. But ULMB mode brings a huge 76% drop in output. You can turn the Brightness slider up to 100 and see a maximum output of 120cd/m2 which is perfectly fine. The problem is, the settings are not independent so you’ll have to adjust the slider every time you switch modes to keep output constant. Another positive is that contrast does not change so if you equalize peak luminance, the image quality is the same.
ANSI Contrast Ratio
Very few IPS or TN monitors we’ve reviewed can top 1000:1 in the ANSI test. The XG2703-GS just manages to squeak over the line. ULMB won’t exact a penalty here either. ViewSonic’s choice of this particular AU Optronics part is obviously the right one. It’s one of the best AHVA parts we’ve seen to date. Even the corner light bleed, which we’ll talk more about later, doesn’t harm this test result too much.
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