The ideal af­ford­able al­most-pro panel?


IT’S A TRUTH not ac­knowl­edged uni­ver­sally enough, that desk­top PCs get a raw deal when it comes to pixel count. Af­ter all, fairly af­ford­able lap­top PCs with full 4K pan­els are now widely avail­able. Heck, 1440p is no longer any­thing spe­cial for a smart­phone.

Back on the desk­top, 4K is about as good as it gets, de­spite the much larger phys­i­cal size of desk­top pan­els. At least, it is un­less you’re will­ing to spend megabucks. The net re­sult is that desk­top mon­i­tors can’t hold a can­dle to the best por­ta­ble de­vices when it comes to pixel den­sity, and thus dis­play crisp­ness and de­tail. The mit­i­gat­ing fac­tor, of course, is that Win­dows, and in­deed the In­ter­net at large, still doesn’t do a great job of sup­port­ing high DPI dis­plays.

That’s part of the con­text for ViewSonic’s new 32-incher, the VP3268-4K. It threads the nee­dle be­tween smaller 4K pan­els (that throw up is­sues in Win­dows when run­ning the scal­ing above 100 per­cent in or­der to main­tain leg­i­bil­ity) and larger 40-inch-plus 4K pan­els (that re­main leg­i­ble at 100 per­cent scal­ing, but suf­fer from rel­a­tively fat, ugly pix­els); 32 inches at 4K is some­thing of a sweet spot.

The VP3268-4K’s other defin­ing fea­ture is its sta­tus as a semi-pro qual­ity dis­play. For $820, you can’t ex­pect to get a full pro­fes­sional grade mon­i­tor, es­pe­cially not one of this gen­er­ous scale, but ViewSonic has de­liv­ered a nice dis­play all the same.

The foun­da­tion of the VP3268-4K’s ex­cel­lent per­for­mance is a gor­geous IPS LCD panel. In most re­gards, it’s a con­ven­tional rather than cut­ting-edge panel—it doesn’t sport snazz­i­nesses such as a quan­tum dot-en­hanced back­light or su­per-high re­fresh rate, for in­stance. In­stead, it de­liv­ers on core im­age fi­delity.

Sub­jec­tively, it’s a lovely thing to look at, alive with con­vinc­ing, nat­u­ral hues, and of­fer­ing plenty of con­trast. The lat­ter, in­ci­den­tally, is rated at 1,300:1, which is a use­ful step up on the typ­i­cal 1,000:1 static con­trast that most IPS pan­els are pegged at. Out of the box, you’ll strug­gle to find any sig­nif­i­cant flaws or de­fects. OK, the VP3268-4K prob­a­bly isn’t as punchy and sat­u­rated as Asus’s quan­tum dot-en­hanced ProArt PA329Q, but that is a sub­stan­tially more ex­pen­sive panel. With its su­per-slim bezel, high-qual­ity en­clo­sure, and fully ad­justable stand aug­ment­ing the classy visuals, the over­all ex­pe­ri­ence is ex­tremely impressive. We also no­ticed an ab­sence of in­put lag and de­cent pixel re­sponse, the lat­ter en­abled by the avail­abil­ity of pixel over­drive in the OSD menu. This isn’t pitched as a gam­ing mon­i­tor, in other words, but you can still have a darn good time play­ing games on the VP3268-4K.

The VP3268-4K is also impressive by the num­bers. ViewSonic ships it with sup­port for an ex­ten­sive ar­ray of color spa­ces, in­clud­ing sRGB, Rec. 709, SMPTE-C, and EBU, each of which is pre-cal­i­brated to DeltaE lev­els of be­low 2.0, and con­firmed in the fac­tory cal­i­bra­tion re­port. Tog­gling be­tween th­ese modes is a cinch via a com­pre­hen­sive set of OSD menu op­tions. While re­ally se­ri­ous pro­fes­sion­als may pre­fer to cal­i­brate the panel them­selves, for those who lack the hard­ware or in­cli­na­tion to self-cal­i­brate, the pre­cal­i­brated pre­sets will come in very handy.

The panel it­self is also a true 8-bit af­fair, with sup­port for a 14-bit look-up ta­ble; 10-bit per chan­nel color is also of­fered, al­beit through dither­ing, rather than na­tive sup­port. For na­tive 10-bit color, you’d have to spend a lot more money. Over­all, then, the new VP3268-4K doesn’t break new ground. It isn’t quite the last word in pro­fes­sional fea­tures. It’s not the ul­ti­mate gam­ing panel. But it is a fan­tas­tic screen at a com­pet­i­tive price.

ViewSonic VP3268-4K

OS­CAR WIN­NER Fan­tas­tic IPS panel; strong fea­ture set; great slim-bezel style.

NOT EVEN NOM­I­NATED Not quite a full-pro panel; Asus’s pricier ProArt PA329Q is also punchier.

$ 820,

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