It didn’t turn out to be very useful as at the time the software support was pretty poor. I never really got any sense out of the actual colour calibration beyond gamma adjustments and one of the background utilities had a habit of grabbing focus randomly which was ‘tiresome’ – particularly during games when it would just dump you back to the desktop. So it ended up living in sRGB mode as an overpriced basic monitor.
It was only recently that I gave wide gamut another go, just using the i1Profiler software and found the experience much improved.
There is still too much user intervention required. Premiere needs the colour correction explicitly turned on. Firefox needs the correction mode set to “not stupid” through the advanced config interface, and video is still not corrected. But overall, wide gamut is now a benefit not an annoyance.
Although the Spectraview is now the monitor it was always meant to be , I had been thinking about a monitor upgrade to something with a higher resolution, refresh rate and G-Sync support. I ended up choosing a Gigabyte Auros FI27Q-X and so far I’m very happy with it.
Headline benefits are:
- 27″ 16:9 ratio. The SV242W is 24″ 16:10. In practice that works out to about the same vertical height but 5cm wider.
- 2560×1440 (vs 1600×1200)
- 240Hz refresh at 8-bit, 200Hz at “10-bit” (versus 60Hz)
- Freesync premium / G-Sync compatible
- 100% Adobe RGB coverage (versus 99%)
Although I use Nvidia graphics, G-Sync compatible is actually better than G-Sync Ultimate, since Ultimate requires a special hardware module with active cooling. I did consider the Alienware AW2721D, but I couldn’t get over the idea having a fan in my monitor.
Running the gamut
The Auros is obviously better for gaming (although my 2070S doesn’t get close to 200Hz on any complex games), but what’s more interesting really is that it claims to beat the Spectraview at colour coverage.
Enter a rather cool little Website, iccview.de. This will take the colour correction file generated by your colorimeter and translate that into a rotatable 3D rendering of the covered colour space versus various standards. The monitor’s coverage is shown in colour and the target colour space as a framework. If the two are identical the framework is still visible, so you really need to look at the volume between the framework and the solid to find the gaps.
Starting with the Spectraview, and the claimed specs make sense. It is covering most of Adobe RGB, but lacking in a few areas, particularly some of the greens. sRGB coverage is basically 100% apart from a tiny amount on the purple. I’m not confident enough in my test setup to say that’s significant.
The Auros is just fantastic here, even with Adobe RGB there’s hardly any visible framework from any angle, so it’s exceeding the spec, at least a little, everywhere (and you can see this by switching the inputs to iccview).
The total colour volume is actually around 6% lower than the Sepctraview, but it’s more closely aligned with the Adobe RGB spec, rather than having a load of extra volume off in the bluey-greens and bluey-purples that doesn’t count.
Using the same tool with the Spectraview set as the reference colour space you can get a good comparison of how the coverage of the two monitors differ.
Whether it’s better to have the total colour volume vs following the Adobe RGB colour space more closely is a debate. But importantly, they’re both really good and we can see that when we start comparing to other monitors I have to hand.
Huion Kamvas Pro 12
Because I use bookshelf speakers I don’t have room for dual monitors arranged side-by-side. Instead I use a small monitor underneath my main for media control, Zoom etc.
Small monitors (13″ and below) tend to either be junk sold under a dozen brand names or horrendously overpriced. My current choice is actually a drawing tablet, the terribly named Huion Kamvas Pro 12 which I got on offer for an almost reasonable £170. The Kamvas (urgh) feels like a decently made product, it has a single connection for power and signal, which I like for neatness, and it claims 140% sRGB and 92% Adobe RGB coverage. The screen does look good with colours, but on plain white background it has that slightly “dusty” look you get with digitisers. Other minor issues, the bezels are huge by monitor standards and digitizer doesn’t work with fingers.
The actual measurements are pretty disappointing. The Adobe RGB coverage is not 92%, but somewhere around-or-under 85%. Total volume versus sRGB is around 124% rather than 140%, but it does seem to have full coverage of the space. These aren’t bad numbers in themselves, and it’s perfectly fine for what I’m using it for, it’s just a shame it’s not living up to the marketing claims.
Next is a Dell U2415. This is about 5 years old and cost £220 at the time. It’s similar to the Spectraview in being 24″ and 1600×1200. The spec claims 99% of sRGB.
It claimed 99% sRGB and that’s basically what it delivered, no more and no less. Adobe RGB coverage is around 73% and you can see how small that solid part looks compared to the previous monitors. But in use this is a perfectly fine office monitor, and the lack of a wide gamut means it’s very well behaved. You don’t ever have to worry about colour management as everything will basically just work.
I had to get this one out of the loft. The S1721 is a 17″ 1280×1024 (4:3 ratio) monitor. This particular example entered the world in April 2006.
So it’s not exactly cutting edge, but whenever I’ve used it it’s always felt like a good quality screen.
Turns out it’s just slightly behind the Dell U2415 as a decent sRGB monitor. If you need something to go with your Pentium 4 running Windows XP, you could do a lot worse.
Lastly I have a 15″ portable monitor available from Amazon. This one is branded UCDMA, I’m sure you’ll find it under other brands as well. The description tantalisingly promises “72% colors”.
This monitor is crap. The colour volume is a whopping 39% of Adobe RGB and 57% of sRGB. It’s getting it’s arse absolutely handed to it by a screen fifteen years old. It’s not even that cheap. Dell will sell you a 27″ monitor with Freesync for this money and it’d probably be pretty good.
This is all just to say I’m really happy with the Auros FI27Q-X. It does everything I want in terms of resolution, refresh rate etc. And gaining that hasn’t cost me in terms of colour support for photography work. It’s a genuine no-compromise upgrade.
Also, age is no bar to quality, and it’s still possible to buy some terrible screens.