Hardware Reviews

ViewSonic VP3268-4K review: A monitor worth almost £1,000?

ViewSonic VP3268-K review

Truth is, most people don’t need the ViewSonic VP3268-4K. If all you’re looking for is a cheap 32in 4K monitor then Amazon is flooded with alternatives. It’s overkill for my needs too, because I don’t demand absolute colour accuracy; but I’m still sorely tempted to buy it.

ViewSonic VP3268-K review: Colour accuracy

Colour accuracy: these are the two words that explain why you’re paying almost £1,000 for a 32in 4K monitor when rivals such as the Acer ProDesigner BM320 cost less than £500. For a monitor to claim such a thing, it needs to reproduce almost 100% of the target colour space and have minimal variation across colours. To test this, I reach for my trusty x-Rite i1Display Pro colorimeter and put the ViewSonic through its paces.

It did even better than I hoped. The most remarkable score was 0.51 in our Delta E tests; anything less than 1 shows that a panel has excellent colour reproduction. To give an idea of its excellence, see a summary of its scores below: it only has one blemish, with reds less accurate than the rest, but its brilliant scores elsewhere more than compensate for this.

ViewSonic VP3268-K review

ViewSonic VP3268-K review: Brightness

There’s one caveat here. All those scores were post-callibration, performed at the factory, and that was done at rather dim brightness level of 120cd/m². Indeed, if you slip the ViewSonic into sRGB mode then it will force you to stick at 120cd/m² to ensure colours remain accurate.

Now, 120cd/m2 is fine in a dark-ish office, or for designers who put hoods around their screens, but in my averagely lit office I prefer my screens at 160cd/m² or higher. However, pushing the brightness higher did hit the VP3268-K’s Delta E results, as the snippet below shows:

ViewSonic VP3268-K review

This means that if you want to use the ViewSonic at higher brightness levels then you’ll have to live with reduced accuracy. Does that matter? Not in my view. Unless you’re continually tweaking colours, you can use the ViewSonic in its default mode most of the time and switch to sRGB mode when you need to. I must admit that I got used to 120cd/m² as well, and ended up leaving it in sRGB mode most of the time.

ViewSonic VP3268-K review: Gamma

There are two other key factors to consider when talking about colour accuracy: gamma and gamut coverage. We test using a Windows PC, which uses a gamma of 2.2. Gamma is an incredibly complicated topic, as this Scientific American article shows, but when choosing a monitor to go with a PC you want it to track as closely to 2.2 as possible. If it’s too high, then colours appear overblown; too low and they appear too dark.

So how does the ViewSonic perform? Exceptionally well, as the image below shows. For most monitors, the grey dots would be significantly off-kilter compared to the target clear dots. The image below tells us that, here, at 120cd/m2 in sRGB mode, the ViewSonic is almost spot on at every intensity.

ViewSonic VP3268-K review

ViewSonic VP3268-K review: sRGB and Adobe RGB colour spaces

Finally for image quality, let’s talk about the sRGB colour gamut. This is the main colour space – that is, an agreed standard for displaying colours – that’s used on the internet and in most Windows applications. Here, we’re looking for an ideal of 100% sRGB gamut coverage, and the ViewSonic VP3268-K did pretty well with a result of 93.8%. This actually increased to 98.4% at 170cd/m².

To illutrate what this means, I’ve included the monitor’s results at 160cd/m² (on the left) and 120cd/m² on the right. The ideal would be for the coloured lines, which indicates the colours the monitor will display, to overlay the dotted lines of the sRGB colour space perfectly. At 120cd/m², it does as good a job as I’ve seen.

ViewSonic VP3268-K review
Left, the results at 160cd/m2; right, its results at 120cd/m2 in sRGB mode

This isn’t a panel tuned for Adobe RGB, though, where it only scored 66.4%. If you’re working in Adobe products and outputting into print – rather than creating content destined to be viewed on-screen – then consider a monitor tuned for such things.

ViewSonic VP3268-K review: Video editors

There’s good news for video editors too. Most monitors are pre-calibrated with magazine designers and photographers in mind, but ViewSonic also pre-calibrates for the Rec 709, SMPTE-C and EBI colour spaces. You get a print-out in the box that shows your panel’s performance in ViewSonic’s calibration tests too.

Note that if you want to edit with confidence in 4K HDR then you’ll need to spend twice this amount on the Asus ProArt PA32UC, which comes with Ultra HD Premium certification.

ViewSonic VP3268-K review: Gaming performance

This monitor isn’t designed for gaming, as a grey-to-grey response time of 14ms indicates. Nor is there support for AMD FreeSync or Nvidia’s equivalent. Despite this, I suspect most casual gamers would be perfectly happy with the results – especially as you can use a pixel overdrive setting (sadly, tucked deep in the OSD settings – see below) that will reduce ghosting.

ViewSonic VP3268-K review: OSD

I’m less enamoured by the ViewSonic’s OSD. This a simple five-button affair, with all the buttons mounted behind the right-edge of the screen. They’re easy to reach, and if you stick to the basic OSD (for changing brightness, flicking between colour spaces and choosing display inputs, for instance) then they work fine.

It’s when you head into the “Main Menu” that things get tricky and you long for a joystick-style control. ViewSonic forces you through a painful system of selecting which main control you want (such as audio adjustments), then scrolling down using the up and down controls, then hitting the tick option, then going into the submenu. At every step of the way, accidentally pressing the Close button (which is very easy to do) means you have to start all over again.

ViewSonic VP3268-K review: Bonus features & design

ViewSonic VP3268-4K reviewFortunately, that’s my only real grumble about this monitor. ViewSonic includes a smorgasbord of bonus features, including a four-port USB 3 hub. Admittedly, the fact these are all tucked at the rear of the monitor makes them tricky to reach, but it’s a great way to boost a laptop’s USB ports.

There are also four different video inputs – two HDMI 2.0 (with HDCP 2.2), one full-size DisplayPort, one mini-DisplayPort – all of which can be used simultaneously thanks to a four-way picture-in-picture mode. A mic and earphone jack complete the line-up, but I was surprised by the quality of the built-in 5W stereo speakers. If you want to watch a film on this monitor then you’ll be perfectly happy with its output.

ViewSonic VP3268-K review: Pivot, swivel, adjust

ViewSonic VP3268-K reviewI’ll reserve my final words of praise for this screen’s stand. It’s functional rather than stylish, but that’s absolutely fine by me. It’s so sturdy that I had no hesitation in swivelling it by its full 60° to the left or right, although its viewing angles are so good that neighbours will have no problem seeing what’s on-screen.

It perfectly stable in portrait mode too, which is quite an achievement with this size of screen. And because the bezels are so slim – 8mm at the top and sides, 10mm at the bottom – you might even be tempted to mount two side by side.

Its other stats are predictable, with 130mm of height adjustment and tilt figures of 5° forward and 21° back, and, naturally, there’s a 100 x 100mm VESA-compatible mount.

ViewSonic VP3268-K review: Worth the asking price?

So bearing all this in mind, is the ViewSonic VP3628-K worth almost £1,000? For the majority of people, no, it’s not. This is a high-quality screen in every way, with fantastic viewing angles, but not so stunning to be worth two £500 monitors with a similar spec.

If sRGB colour accuracy is important to you, however, then yes, buy it. This monitor offers the sort of results I’d expect from an Eizo screen but for half the price. Viewed from that vantage point, it’s a bargain.

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About the author

Tim Danton

Tim Danton is editor-in-chief of PC Pro magazine and has written about technology since 1999. He enjoys playing with gadgets, playing with words and playing tennis. Email tim@bigtechquestion.com

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