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Color Performance and Calibration
With a new panel on-board, I was curious to see how the Predator X34P stacks up in color performance, particularly as the X34 is an excellent monitor out of the box. Unfortunately, the same can't be said of the X34P, though with a few tweaks this monitor can deliver decent results.
The main problem with the X34P out of the box is white balance: by default, the monitor is too warm, with a white point around 6000K and an average of 6185K. This screws with grayscale performance as you can see, with a deltaE average of 4.68 and gamma that's completely wrong. On the other hand, the X34 is nearly accurate by default, with a much better CCT average that leads to a sub-1.0 deltaE average in grayscale.
Poor color temperature skews color performance in saturation and ColorChecker tests, again producing deltaE averages above 4.5. Had Acer shipped the monitor with a better color temperature, more in the line of the original X34, performance would have been great as the monitor is capable of 98.7% sRGB coverage.
With the following set of tweaks in the on-screen display, you can get the Predator X34P back on track to producing great colors. Note you will have to set the gamma to 1.9, rather than the default 2.2, as the 1.9 gamma mode actually produced gamma 2.2 in my testing. Strange, but that's how it is.
The main thing to note is making these adjustments to the X34P does reduce the contrast ratio to around 830:1, whereas the X34 can maintain a 1100:1 contrast ratio with similar performance. That's a notable difference and a key negative impact to the different display used.
|Color Mode||Warm||User: R=42, G=42, B=46|
On a more positive note, you can achieve pretty decent performance with a few OSD tweaks. The panel doesn't perform as well as the original X34, but deltaE values around 1.0 across all tests is still very good without performing a full calibration. Color temperature I slightly too loose at the low end, though gamma is fixed and only a few color points exceed a deltaE of 2.0.
Even better greyscale performance can be achieved through full calibration using SpectraCAL's CALMAN 5 software. In particular, the color temperature curve is flattened and greyscale performance improves to a sub-0.5 deltaE. Saturation and ColorChecker results remain largely unchanged, however with deltaE values near 1.0, this is a decent place to end up anyway, especially for a gaming monitor.
However it's disappointing to see the X34P unable to match the X34 at any stage. When fully calibrated, my X34 achieves sub-0.5 results in the saturation and ColorChecker tests while maintaining a decent contrast ratio. It's unlikely anyone would be able to tell the difference between this and the results put up by the X34P, but it's clear the older panel is better from a color performance standpoint, and more importantly, comes better calibrated out of the box.