Ultrawide monitors have become an enormous trend in PC gaming over the last 3-4 years. In late 2014 when LG launched the first PC monitors with a 21:9 aspect ratio, I indeed was a skeptic. To me, it seemed like such a radical new aspect ratio would be wrought with game incompatibility, and wouldn't offer much of an advantage over two monitor setups for productivity.
And in the beginning, this was mostly the case. In 2014, games didn't even enable the option for 21:9 aspect ratio resolutions, and those that did, generally resulted in distorted image and FOV settings.
However, gamers wanted these ultrawide aspect ratio displays, and the game support soon followed. Now, ultrawide monitors are a staple of every monitor manufacturer's product lineup.
What we are looking at today though, is the most intense of all of the ultrawide monitors, the 49" Samsung CHG90. And it just so happens to be one of the first AMD FreeSync 2 displays.
Still in the ultrawide category, the CHG90 moves away from the more traditional 21:9 ultrawide aspect ratio to a wider and squatter 32:9. This aspect ratio allows Samsung to maximize the width of the CHG90 while keeping the display short enough not to engulf your entire wall.
Essentially, you can look at this display as two 27" monitors sitting side-by-side, without the pesky bezel in the middle. Similarly, the resolution of the CHG90 matches the effective resolution of two 1080p monitors sitting next to each other, with a total resolution of 3840x1080.
To achieve such a big display size in a still relatively usable form factor, the CHG90 display features a 1800R curvature. This figure refers to the measurement of the resulting radius that the display would make if it continued to make a full circle. For example, a 3000R display would have less of a curve than a 1800R display.
The curve on the CHG90 isn't quite like any other display we've seen, however. Due to the immense size of the display, the entire panel isn't curved. The curve stops about 6 inches from the edge of either side of the screen.
When PC monitors made the mainstream transition to widescreen aspect ratios in the mid-2000s, many manufacturers opted for resolutions at a 16:10 ratio. My first widescreen displays were a pair of Dell monitors with a 1920x1200 resolution and, as time and technology marched forward, I moved to larger 2560x1600 monitors.
I grew to rely on and appreciate the extra vertical resolution that 16:10 displays offer, but as the production and development of "widescreen" PC monitors matured, it naturally began to merge with the television industry, which had long since settled on a 16:9 aspect ratio. This led to the introduction of PC displays with native resolutions of 1920x1080 and 2560x1440, keeping things simple for activities such as media playback but robbing consumers of pixels in terms of vertical resolution.
I was well-accustomed to my 16:10 monitors when the 16:9 aspect ratio took over the market, and while I initially thought that the 120 or 160 missing rows of pixels wouldn't be missed, I was unfortunately mistaken. Those seemingly insignificant pixels turned out to make a noticeable difference in terms of on-screen productivity real estate, and my 1080p and 1440p displays have always felt cramped as a result.
I was therefore sad to see that the relatively new ultrawide monitor market continued the trend of limited vertical resolutions. Most ultrawides feature a 21:9 aspect ratio with resolutions of 2560x1080 or 3440x1440. While this gives users extra resolution on the sides, it maintains the same limited height options of those ubiquitous 1080p and 1440p displays. The ultrawide form factor is fantastic for movies and games, but while some find them perfectly acceptable for productivity, I still felt cramped.
Thankfully, a new breed of ultrawide monitors is here to save the day. In the second half of 2017, display manufactures such as Dell, Acer, and LG launched 38-inch ultrawide monitors with a 3840x1600 resolution. Just like the how the early ultrawides "stretched" a 1080p or 1440p monitor, the 38-inch versions do the same for my beloved 2560x1600 displays.
The Acer XR382CQK
I've had the opportunity to test one of these new "taller" displays thanks to a review loan from Acer of the XR382CQK, a curved 37.5-inch behemoth. It shares the same glorious 3840x1600 resolution as others in its class, but it also offers some unique features, including a 75Hz refresh rate, USB-C input, and AMD FreeSync support.
Based on my time with the XR382CQK, my hopes for those extra 160 of resolution were fulfilled. The height of the display area felt great for tasks like video editing in Premiere and referencing multiple side-by-side documents and websites, and the gaming experience was just as satisfying. And with its 38-inch size, the display is quite usable at 100 percent scaling.
There's also an unexpected benefit for video content that I hadn't originally considered. I was so focused on regaining that missing vertical resolution that I initially failed to appreciate the jump in horizontal resolution from 3440px to 3840px. This is the same horizontal resolution as the consumer UHD standard, which means that 4K movies in a 21:9 or similar aspect ratio will be viewable in their full size with a 1:1 pixel ratio.
Non-profit standards association VESA has put forth a new open standard called DisplayHDR for defining HDR specifications and performance for PC laptop and desktop LCDs. The new test specification, dubbed Display HDR 1.0, defines a transparent testing methodology and definitions along with specifying three tiers of HDR system performance that will identify displays as being certified for minimum, mid-range, and high-end HDR with their respective badges of DisplayHDR 400, DisplayHDR 600, and DisplayHDR 1000. Consumers will be able to easily identify which panels have HDR and how they stack up.
The new HDR standard was devised by VESA with input from over two dozen of its member companies including major OEMs of displays, panels, graphics cards, CPUs, display drivers, and color calibration providers. DisplayHDR is reportedly a fully open and transparent standard with automated tools that end users can download and run to verify the results for themselves. The standard includes three peak luminance tests, two contrast measurement tests (native and local dimming), color testing and validation of BT.709 and DCI-P3 color gamuts, bit-depth requirement tests (see below), and HDR backlight response time measurements.
DisplayHDR 400 represents the minimum entry-level tier of HDR per the VESA specification and specifies that a LCD display must feature at least 400 nits brightness (both short, local bursts and full screen flashes), 8-bit color depth, HDR-10, and global dimming. VESA notes that many non-HDR displays that advertise as supporting 8-bit colors, it is actually a 6-bit panel that uses a dithering algorithm to achieve a simulated 8-bits. DisplayHDR specifies true 8-bit at a minimum, and for DisplayHDR 600 and DisplayHDR 1000 displays must achieve 10-bit depth using 8-bit panels combined with 2-bit dithering at a minimum.
Display and PC manufacturers have reportedly had their hands on the DisplayHDR test specification for some time now and are working on validating their displays so that they can offer products with the DisplayHDR logos. New product announcements and demonstrations are expected during CES 2018 next month with DisplayHDR compatible products showing up as early as Q1 2018. VESA notes that while DisplayHDR currently only targets LCDs, it hopes to extend the open standard to include OLED displays in the future.
I think this is a good thing as there is a lot of confusing and conflicting advertising out there when it comes to HDR. A vendor neutral specification and badge that can also be independently tested may be just what the display market needs to push HDR into the mainstream.
Subject: Displays | April 28, 2017 - 07:25 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: acer, Predator, Predator X27, monitor, display, hdr, 4k, UHD, 144 Hz, g-sync, nvidia
Acer announced a number of products at their next@acer press event in New York yesterday, but this new monitor might take the cake: a 4K HDR display with a 144 Hz refresh rate. The Predator X27 combined just about every conceivable feature for a gaming monitor and combines it into one product, but don't expect this 27-inch monitor be released at a budget price (pricing has not been announced).
"Acer’s Predator X27 portrays astonishingly vibrant visuals without motion blur thanks to a high 4K (3840x2160) resolution at a 144 Hz refresh rate, a fast 4 ms response time and a 1,000 nit peak brightness. Featuring Acer HDR Ultra technology, it offers the best possible contrast quality of the high dynamic range with advanced LED local dimming in 384 individually-controlled zones that shine light only when and where it is required. It not only delivers a broader, more deeply saturated color gamut, but a luminance range several times greater than that of traditional dynamic range monitors. By dimming the backlight behind parts of the screen displaying black, blacks appear deeper and darker on those parts of the panel, a significant bonus for people who play games with darker scenes."
Acer has posted a video about the Predator X27, imbedded below:
Acer also announced a new curved gaming monitor with the Predator Z271UV, which offers a 1800R curve from its 27-inch display, but for HDR you'll need to stick to the X27. Quantum dot technology is incorporated into both display for wide color, and both feature NVIDIA G-SYNC variable refresh-rate tech featuring ULMB (ultra-low motion blur) along with with Tobii eye-tracking.
"Acer’s Predator Z271UV provides WQHD (2560x1440) resolution on a curved 1800R panel that puts every corner of the screen at the same distance from the gamer’s eyes – this creates more immersive gameplay with a wider field of view and increased perceived area of peripheral vision. It features a ZeroFrame edge-to-edge design perfect for use in multi-monitor setups, and provides spectacular color breadth covering 125% of the sRGB color space. It’s extremely fast with up to a 1 ms (3 ms native) response time that nearly eliminates motion blur and supports overclocking up to 165 Hz."
We await pricing and availability information for both monitors.
Subject: Displays | January 6, 2017 - 12:33 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: swift, ROG, PG27UQ, monitor, high dynamic range, hdr, display, CES 2017, CES, asus
While the announcement of a new 27-inch HDR display from ASUS leaked a bit early, the ROG Swift PG27UQ is now official, and Ryan spent some quality time with this impressive display at CES:
There is no shortage of lust-worthy specifications from the PG27UQ, with a 144 Hz refresh rate from its 4K panel, NVIDIA G-SYNC HDR with 384-zone local dimming from its direct LED backlighting system, 1000 nit peak brightness, and quantum dot technology for a wide color gamut.
Here are the specifications for the ROG Swift PG27UQ from ASUS:
- Display Resolution: 3840x2160
- Panel type: 27in (16:9) IPS panel
- Backlight Type: Direct LED; dynamically controlled across 384 zones
- High Dynamic Range: Yes, HDR 10
- Refresh rate: Up to 144Hz
- Brightness: 1,000cd/m² (peak)
- Quantum Dot Technology: Yes
- Input: DisplayPort 1.4 x2, HDMI x1
No specifics on pricing or availably have been announced yet.
(Update -- Scott Michaud @ January 6th, 11pm EST: ASUS has published a blog post claiming that the monitor will be available in Q3. OC3D claims that the price will be $1199, although that doesn't seem right and our anonymous sources have it closer to $1500.)
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Subject: Displays | January 5, 2017 - 06:30 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: UP3218K, ultrasharp, monitor, display, CES 2017, CES, 8k
Dell has announced the UltraSharp 32 Ultra HD 8K Monitor (model UP3218K), which is outfitted with a 7680 x 4320 resolution panel and offers 1.07 billion colors (10-bit) with 100% sRGB and Adobe RGB coverage.
The Dell UltraSharp 32 Ultra HD 8K Monitor (image credit: Dell via 9to5 Mac)
"With our new UltraSharp 32 Ultra HD 8K Monitor (UP3218K), we’re pushing the boundaries of innovation to feature four times more content than Ultra HD 4K resolution and 16 times more content than Full HD in addition to 33.2 million pixels of resolution compared to a 5K monitor’s 14 million pixels of resolution. The new UP3218K offers breakthrough realism with the finest details and color-critical performance for a truly transcendent visual experience thanks to Dell PremierColor, which offers 1.07 billion colors and 100 percent Adobe RGB and 100 percent sRGB, and an unprecedented 280 ppi to view most images in native format. Feast your eyes!"
The blog post on Dell.com does not offer full specifications for the UP3218K, but there should be an official product page up in the near future as Dell announced a release date of March 23. The price? $4,999.
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Subject: Displays | January 3, 2017 - 06:06 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Predator, monitor, display, curved, CES 2017, CES, acer, 30-inch
Acer has announced a trio of Predator gaming monitors, beginning with the 30-inch Predator Z301CT display, which is "the world’s first 21:9 curved monitor with eye-tracking functionality". In addition to Tobii Eye Tracking this ultra-wide gaming monitor offers a curved 21:9 VA panel with a 200 Hz refresh rate, NVIDIA G-Sync variable refresh-rate support, and is equipped with Acer's "ErgoStand" full-motion stand (height, swivel, tilt).
Predator Z301CT Specifications:
- Size: 30-inch 21:9 Gaming Monitor
- Curvature: 1800R
- Panel Type: VA (8-bit)
- Maximum Resolution: 2560x1080 @ 200Hz
- Refresh Rate: 200Hz
- Response Time: 4ms
- Brightness: 300 cd/m2
- Contrast Ratio: 3,000:1 (Native)
- Color: 100% sRGB
- Colors: 16.7 Million
- Support: Tobii Eye Tracking, NVIDIA G-Sync, Acer DarkBoost, BlueLightShield and Flicker-less Technologies
- Other Key Features: GameView OSD Navigation Key, Cable Management
- Viewing Angles: 178 Degrees (H) 178 Degrees (V)
- Input signal: DisplayPort v1.2a, HDMI v 1.4, USB Hub 3.0 x 4 (1 Up, 4 Down), Audio Out
- ErgoStand: Tilt -5 ~25 Degrees; Swivel +25 Degrees, Height Adjustment Up to 4.7 Inches
- Audio: Powerful DTS Sound, Two 3W Speakers
- VESA Wall Mounting: 100x100mm
The Predator Z301CT carries an MSRP of $899 and will be available in February.
Next we have the Predator XB2 Series, which includes the 24.5-inch Predator XB252Q and 27-inch Predator XB272.
These 1920x1080 monitors offer NVIDIA G-Sync with NVIDIA's ULMB (Ultra Low Motion Blur) technology, 1 ms response time, and a 240 Hz refresh rate. Both displays feature Acer's "ZeroFrame" design with minimal bezels for multi-monitor setups and the same "ErgoStand" as the larger Z301CT above.
The two Predator XB2 Series displays have identical specs other than display size, including:
- Design: ZeroFrame
- Maximum resolution: 1920x1080 @ 240Hz
- Refresh Rate: 240Hz
- Response time: 1ms
- Color: 100% sRGB
- Panel Type: TN (8-bit)
- Brightness: 400 cd/m2
- Contrast Ratio: 1000:1
- Support: NVIDIA G-Sync, NVIDIA ULMB, Acer Dark Boost, BlueLightShield and Flicker-less Technologies
- Other Key Features: GameView OSD Navigation Key, Cable Clip
- Viewing angles: 170 Degrees (H) 170 Degrees (V)
- Input signal: DisplayPort v1.2, HDMI v 1.4, USB Hub 3.0 x 4 (1 up, 4 down), Audio Out
- ErgoStand: Tilt -5 -20 Degrees; Swivel +45 Degrees, Height Adjustment 4.5 Inches, Pivot 90 Degrees Clockwise
- Audio: Powerful DTS Sound, Two 2W Speakers
- VESA Wall Mounting: 100x100mm
The XB2 Series displays will start at $549 (presumably for the 24.5-inch model) and will be available in February.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at https://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: Displays | December 28, 2016 - 12:01 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: thinkvision, qhd, P27h, P24h, monitor, Lenovo, display, CES 2017, CES, calibrated, 2560x1440, 100% sRGB
Lenovo has announced a pair of new desktop displays with the ThinkVision P27h and ThinkVision P24h ahead of next month's CES.
ThinkVision P27h - front view (Image credit: Lenovo)
Both of these displays offer QHD (2560x1440) resolution, factory-calibrated with 100% sRGB coverage. The P27h and P24h connect with a single cable USB Type-C cable, which provides power, video, and data. Both monitors also offer an onboard 4-Port USB hub and digital display ports. (No photos of the P24h are available. Further details and specifications to come.)
ThinkVision P27h - rear view (Image credit: Lenovo)
The ThinkVision P27h will retail for $329, with no announced pricing for the smaller P24h just yet. PC Perspective will be closely covering CES 2017, so stay tuned for more details and product announcements!
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: Displays | December 14, 2016 - 05:46 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: monitor, LG, ips, high dynamic range, hdr, display, 4k
Ahead of CES 2017 LG has announced their upcoming monitor lineup, which features an HDR (high dynamic range) model. The 32UD99 is a 32-inch, 3840 x 2160 IPS display that offers 95% DCI-P3 color and HDR10 support. (Specifics as to peak brightness, rated black levels have not been released.)
From LG's press release (pdf):
“As the availability of HDR (high dynamic range) content continues to expand across a wide range of categories, from movies to games, LG is leading the way in bringing this enhancement to desktop monitors,” said to Tim Alessi, head of product marketing at LG Electronics USA. “The enhanced picture quality offered by HDR technology is instantly recognizable to even the most casual user, and manufacturers are already pushing this promising technology to its fullest potential. From high-resolution displays compatible with HDR technology, to UltraWide monitors optimized for multitasking and gaming, LG is committed to delivering the most state-of-the-art and premium monitors in the industry today.”
HDR is a somewhat complex standard, incorporating requirements for bit depth and supported color space, brightness level, and black levels for the display - along with compatibility with one of the HDR standards; HDR10 or Dolby Vision. The fact that LG is using IPS for their new montior seems problematic given the high black levels associated with IPS (unless sophisticated local dimming is employed, such as with LG's Infinia televisions of a few years ago), as most HDR sets employ a VA panel of some kind. Of note, rival Panasonic only recently announced their work on very high native contrast IPS panels, but there is no indication that LG has developed a similar technology at this point.
HDR is all the rage in the 4K television world, and for gaming both Sony and Microsoft's latest consoles support the more common HDR10 implementation - with compatible games, UHD Blu-ray, and streaming content, that is. It was inevitable that HDR would make its way into the computer display space, and presumably more and more PC games will be offering support going forward (Shadow Warrior 2 was the first title to support HDR on PC). A quick primer on HDR (with respect to the "Premium" standard from the UHD Alliance) can be found here, and only time will tell if the HDR10 standard will win out over Dolby Vision, though at this point it seems likely.
Subject: Displays | August 31, 2016 - 01:44 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Z271T, XB271HUT, XB251HQT, Tobii, Predator, montior, gaming, g-sync, eye-tracking, display, curved, acer, 240Hz, 165hz, 144hz
Acer has announced three new G-Sync gaming monitors, all of which come equipped with eye-tracking technology from Tobii. The displays announced range from 24.5" to 27" in size, with refresh rates ranging up to 240 Hz.
Acer Predator Z271T
"Each new monitor features NVIDIA G-SYNC and high refresh rates for smooth gaming experiences without lag. The new Predator gaming monitors are available in different sizes and configurations to meet the needs of a wide range of users looking to take their gaming experiences forward."
- Predator Z271T: 27”, curved screen (1800R curvature), FHD 1920 x 1080, 144 Hz)
- Predator XB251HQT: 24.5”, flat ZeroFrame screen, FHD 1920 x 1080, 240 Hz)
- Predator XB271HUT: 27”, flat ZeroFrame screen, WQHD 2560 x 1440, 165 Hz)
Acer Predator XB271HUT
The Z271T is the sole curved display option, offering an 1800 radius curve and standard 1920x1080 resolution at 144 Hz. The flat-paneled versions provide a choice between very high refresh rates (240 Hz with the 1920x1080 XB251HQT) and higher resolution (2560x1440 at 165 Hz from the XB271HUT).
Acer Predator XB251HQT back, side view
U.S. pricing and availablity have not been announced.