REVIEW: Viewsonic VP3881
An ultra-wide format screen offering high colour accuracy over 37.5 inches of display area
Our verdict on the colour accuracy of Viewsonic’s display
The built-in GUI gives access to various preset colour options for PC and Mac use
The Viewsonic VP3881 breaks new ground by being the first desktop monitor to combine a 38-inch (37.5 inch viewable) ultra-wide, curved, 21:9 IPS 3840x1600 resolution display, with colour accuracy that makes it suitable for graphics professionals. The VP3881 has advertised 100% SRGB coverage, 10-bit HDR colour and a Delta E (colour accuracy rating) of below 2, along with a wealth of settings to tweak the image, offering the tools artists need to ensure they can get the best image possible.
The ultra-wide form factor first showed up a few years ago, pitched for use in games and for watching movies over design use. But it’s brilliant for any desktop task, as the sheer width of screen real estate here is comparable to using two smaller monitors without a bezel breaking the continuity of the desktop.
Subtle curvature works very well with displays of this width, offering an almost 3D-like window onto your desktop that becomes noticeable in full screen applications. When running design software, the sheer amount of space you have is absolutely a benefit to the creative process, with more windows and views of your scene visible on screen at once, than if you’re using a 16:9 screen. In fact, the VP3881 makes even a large 4K 16:9 display look old fashioned and dated.
The screen has a very thin bezel around the side, and despite the width, is less than an inch deep. It admittedly wobbles more than we’d like, it can also tilt back and forward, rotates 120 degrees in its stand and can be raised and lowered. The massive stand can be disconnected if you wish as the VP3881 is also 100mm VESA wall mount compatible.
The VP3881 comes equipped with a modern set of display connectors. The list of inputs include two HDMI 2.0 inputs, a USB 3.1 Type C connector, capable of delivering power as well as data and a hub of three traditional USB 3.0 Type A ports. A downside here is there’s only a single Displayport input. One more would have been nice.
The built-in GUI gives access to various preset colour options for PC and Mac use, a number of settings for different games, various colour standards, and separate categories of display modes aimed at graphics professionals called Photographer and Designer, which includes a CAD/CAM mode. There are five gamma settings, sharpness, contrast, brightness controls, precise individual RGB colour setting, an Ultraclear setting and more.
A downside to this GUI are the six physical buttons used to navigate the menus that are hidden at the rear of the screen, which requires the user to reach around to operate. Until you’ve memorised their precise location, you could easily make a mistake, press the wrong button and close a menu or accidentally power off the screen.
Even after we’d spent time with the VP3881, we still occasionally powered it off, leading to uttering a string of expletives we can’t repeat on these pages.
After a reset to factory defaults, we tested the out-of-the-box settings with a Datacolor Spyder 5 Elite colorimeter.
These devices can be extremely useful if you’re really pedantic about colour accuracy, and Viewsonic sells a separate X-rite colorimeter accessory that works well with the VP3881 directly on its website.
The results confirm all the claims from Viewsonic. 100% SRGB, extremely low Delta E results in the colour accuracy test, some below 0.5, brightness deviation between 4% and 0.2%, contrast of 540:1 and a maximum brightness of 334 candelas.
Although the brightness result is slightly low, these colour accuracy and brightness deviation results are excellent.
But notably, one result in the tests was rather average, a 79% Adobergb score, which is a fairly typical result for most IPS screens, but also coincides with our subjective view of the image quality, obvious from when we first turned the VP3881 on.
It is fine and nothing to really complain about in any way, but there’s nothing that takes your breath away, like you get with a display from Asus’ Proart line, HP
Dreamcolor display, Eizo, or one of Apple’s more recent products.
It lacks a certain vibrancy to the colours, immediately noticeable if you have experience of working with a lot of different high end displays. It’s a slight disappointment, although it’s worth noting all examples of display we gave are in a far higher pricing tier. Sadly, it seems, that level of colour accuracy in an ultra-wide display is not an option here.
That leaves the huge amount of customisation possible on the VP3881 as the real stand-out feature that makes it a display suitable for graphics professionals.
And that feature alone still makes it one of the top choices for artists if you’ve fallen in love with the ultra-wide form factor.