End User Testing
Testing by the end-user is extremely subjective to personal tastes and attributes. Through this testing, I will be as unbiased as possible towards the monitor itself in regards to panel type and branding and offer my experience with the actual display itself. I will be testing both calibrated and uncalibrated versions at a range of different brightness settings.
I first set up a YouTube video with qualities ranging from 720p to 1440p; finally settling on this GoPro 4K video at the 1080p resolution. This video is extremely diverse, with a huge colour range in a multitude of different environments to put the monitor through its paces.
I was seriously surprised once the calibration was finished and I cycled through the calibrated and uncalibrated settings; there was very little difference. All I could visually tell was the calibrated settings actually made the display cooler which made the whites slightly bluer. Due to this, the test was almost pointless to run twice as the results were 99% the same.
In both uncalibrated and calibrated views, the colours were rich, but somewhat washed out compared to other monitors I have tested. That could be down to TN panels are designed more for response times rather than colour vibrancy which IPS panels deliver. The scenes such as the festival was clear and details were easily picked out, but due to the 1080p resolution, some finer details were lost which would have been picked out by a 1440p display. The better scenes were those in the water or Arctic as there was less fine detail to pick out and the already cool display gave brilliant whites. The scenes with intense lights, such as the car scene, the light was clearly visible but it blurred around the LED edges which detracted from the clarity.
Sound, what sound? No built-in speakers are featured on this monitor, which is good, but also bad. It’s good for people like me who use headphones and speakers, but it’s bad for users who may be purchasing those peripherals last.
For this test, I chose to run the benchmark tool for Grand Theft Auto V thanks to the diverse landscape, sounds and vehicles. What I am looking and listening for is picture immersion, picture clarity and sound clarity.
Despite the poorer than expected performance in the video test, the calibration for the monitor was absolutely perfect for this particular game. Every scene was clear and details were pretty impressive for a 1080p screen. The colours were extremely well presented, but started to get washed out as I pushed the screen brightness over 60%. That being said, I was playing this benchmark in an extremely dark room and we all know that the brightness only really helps to combat against room brightness and direct light. Something I noticed with this particular setting, while in the jet section of the benchmark, I couldn’t clearly pick out the detail on the wings like I have been able to with other 1080p monitors and distant detail was harder to define such as the tips of the blades in the wind farm.
That was my first every taste of G-Sync and I think I like it. Up until now I’ve never actually experienced any sort of screen tearing or stuttering that annoyed me beyond belief, maybe I just always had my settings correct to my graphics card and game for the best experience. However, when you are reviewing a G-Sync monitor, you need to force these things to happen, so I had to swap out our usual GTX 980Ti for a GTX 960 and crank the settings all the way up in GTA V. This resulted in tearing and stuttering with V-Sync off and on respectively. So I switched to G-Sync and noticed a huge improvement to the visual quality in terms of tears and stutters, with no noticeable drop in FPS.