Pic­ture qual­ity

Cru­cially, how good are their dis­plays? We look at the whole pic­ture…

Mac Format - - RATED -

The good news is that, broadly, all th­ese dis­plays are at least com­pe­tent, and if you’re won­der­ing if 4K is worth it, the an­swer is yes – es­pe­cially at th­ese prices. Whether you opt to power them at their na­tive 3840×2160 (which means mi­nus­cule in­ter­face el­e­ments but mas­sive amounts of space) or at pixel-dou­bled ‘Retina’ mode at, say, 1920×1080 (which means big­ger, more us­able in­ter­face el­e­ments with bags of de­tail), you quickly ap­pre­ci­ate the ex­tra pix­els. If you do cre­ative work es­pe­cially, the de­tail you see in pho­tos and film is a huge boon, and apps are quickly be­com­ing Retina-op­ti­mised.

There is an ob­vi­ous win­ner here in terms of im­age qual­ity, though, and that’s the model from Dell. It’s not re­ally a sur­prise, since its panel is IPS, gen­er­ally con­sid­ered to pro­duce richer images with wider view­ing an­gles com­pared to the TN tech­nol­ogy used by the other dis­plays here. And that cer­tainly proved true in our test­ing.

We cal­i­brated all the dis­plays us­ing X-Rite’s i1Dis­play Pro, and then ran a qual­ity check on them; the Dell had the most colour-ac­cu­rate dis­play, with a ΔE value of 0.85. That sounds tech­ni­cal, we know, but you just have to know that in this con­text a ΔE value un­der three is usu­ally con­sid­ered to be good enough for gen­eral use, though im­age pro­fes­sion­als will usu­ally de­mand a ΔE value of less than two. What’s more, the Dell was the only dis­play here that worked at 60Hz with the Mac Pro, and is the only one here listed on Ap­ple’s sup­port page. Images were ter­rific on it, and view­ing an­gles su­perb.

View­ing an­gles for the oth­ers were worse – es­pe­cially ver­ti­cally – which was ex­ac­er­bated by the big pan­els. In­deed, though we couldn’t con­firm it, it’s pos­si­ble they’re all us­ing the same panel – al­though dif­fer­ences were still ev­i­dent.

The model from Len­ovo gets a poor rat­ing partly be­cause its glossy screen is prone to re­flec­tions, but also be­cause its black lev­els look a lit­tle grey. It had the sec­ond worst colour ac­cu­racy score (ΔE 2.08, com­pared to the AOC’s 2.64), but even those val­ues are per­fectly ac­cept­able for most peo­ple.

The rest are all within spit­ting dis­tance of each other, though the Philips de­serves a nod since its back­light­ing seemed the most even of the TN dis­plays.

£499

6

Philips 288P6

philips.com

6

£474

5

Len­ovo Pro 2840mD

len­ovo.com

5

£444

4

Iiyama B2888UHSU

iiyama.com

4

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