RE­VIEW: View­sonic VP3881

An ul­tra-wide for­mat screen of­fer­ing high colour ac­cu­racy over 37.5 inches of dis­play area

3D Artist - - CONTENTS -

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.

Orestis Bastounis

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