High dynamic range or HDR. Everyone’s telling you”you need to get it.” “It’s an amazing thing.” But what they don’t tell you is what kind of hardware do you need to have a good experience? So behind me, I’ve got an assortment of monitors today.
Everything from ASUS’s ProArt PA32UCX, this is a $4,000 HDR monitor intended for content creators, all the way down to this. I’m excited about this one! This is the NEW SYNC X250FG Zero 165, used to be something else they got a sticker on there, HDR. So we’re gonna go all the way from the highest level of VESA certification, DisplayHDR 1,000, down to DisplayHDR 600, down to 400, and down to something that says HDR on the box, but doesn’t feature any certification whatsoever, and see if it does make a difference. And we’re also gonna see if I can find a graceful segue to our sponsor. (snaps fingers) – Origin PC: get up and running fast with Origin PC’s new EVO16-S ready to ship streamer bundle. This laptop ships within one to two business days and comes with multiple streaming accessories. Learn more at the link in the video description. (Upbeat music) – I just really have to know what’s under this sticker. It’s gotta be 144. My original intention was to start with the cheapest monitor and then work my way up. Determining if the additional performance was worth the additional cost. But, what I realized was that without the context of the god-tier monitor, I would have to go back and revisit those cheaper ones, because I might not have realized while looking at them, what I was missing out on. So I’m gonna get my desk torn apart here, and get this thing which I’m gonna be seeing in person for the first time. (grunts) Opened up here – whoa this one’s heavy! This is exciting. This is, as far as I’m aware, the first monitor with support for HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG, and I think there might even be one other HDR standard that it’s compliant with. And yes it costs four grand, but there’s a lot of techs that go into making a monitor that delivers a great HDR experience. So it features over a thousand zones of local dimming, it’s got a quantum dot layer to enable its otherwise, ya know, pedestrian IPS panel to achieve better contrast and better color reproduction, and, of course, it is meticulously calibrated before it leaves the factory; hence the calibration report. Would ya look at that? The stand doesn’t even cost $1,000. – Courage. – Holy crap, the move to OLED cannot happen soon enough for professional displays.
I don’t remember the last time I saw a monitor this thick but wasn’t from like 2002. Turning HDR on. I’m not necessarily convinced that that kicked in. (beep) – Got it sorted, it didn’t look good because the room was under bright studio lighting, so I’ve dimmed the room a little bit now, and this is a spectacular scene to use as an example of what a good HD display will do for you. We can see all the dimly lit details exactly as they would look to our eyes inside the weapon shop here. But when we switch back to this shop, where we can see people walking around in the bright sunlight, the look of our indoor characters doesn’t change, while these guys you can pick them out shockingly well on this monitor. This isn’t a gaming-focused display. But in games that support HDR, you can see a very similar difference in environmental lighting. Where shadows are dark and gloomy but still detailed, and then bright points, like the sun shining through the foliage, are kind of blinding to your eyes as you’re linking about, you know, looking for a jaguar to fight, or whatever the case may be. Man, this is a pretty game in HDR. The headline difference between HDR-1000 and HDR-600, is, obviously, the difference in peak brightness. It goes from 1,000 Nits, down to just 600 Nits. But, one slightly less obvious difference, is that on an HDR-600 monitor, the manufacturer is only required to hit, for a sustained period, 350 Nits, compared to 600 in HDR-1000.
Wow, that’s a heavy one. (grunts) – Digging around in the menus, as you can see just like our display HDR-1000 model, our 600 model also supports local dimming. When they created the specifications, the VESA organization said they didn’t think, that with modern technology,600 or 1,000 levels would be achievable without local dimming, so I guess that has stood up pretty well so far. HDR might have turned off when I was- (scratching noise) – Hey! No sweetie. Alright, some honest feedback for the Plex team. You guys gotta fix your zoom options here. You should never have black bars on all sides of a video! Immediately, you can tell that the darkness inside the weapon shop is not as dark. Now, to some people’s eyes, this is probably gonna look a lot better. But, the difference between the darkest representations of our scene and the brightest ones outside, is not as wide. As for whether I would look at this and go, “Yeah I need to spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars more on a monitor!” Probably not at this stage in the game. Interestingly, we see the same behavior, at least to my eyes, gaming in Shadow of the Tomb Raider. So, once again, the highlights, like the sun reflecting off of this branch here, are bright enough that it makes sense to me that the detail in the mist kinda clipped. But all of this darkness here in the foliage… It looks less like darkness, and it looks more like a boosted gamma filter over it. Ya know, like a black, equalizer, gaming feature, or something like that. With a 1080p, 144Hz IPS panel- (Object clanging on the desk) The VG271 Pbmiipx, great product name and scheme you guys have got over there Acer, seems, on paper, like it ticks a lot of the most important boxes. And at just over $200 on promo at the time of filming this, especially when you consider it includes HDR certification, it seems like basically the way to go. Of course for it to end up with a recommendation, it’s gonna have to live up to what it says on the outside of the box. And I’ve discovered something fascinating almost right away. No HDR enable button. And if we go into the monitor settings, you can see that it’s the same situation. It’s grayed out. Well, as it turns out, some of these more budget HDR displays are equipped with DisplayPort 1.2 rather than DisplayPort 1.4 ports. That means there’s a reason Acer included an HDMI cable in the box. To run HDR, you’re gonna have to hook up to your graphics card over HDMI. It looks awful. That’s okay because we should be able to enable HDR on the menu now.
There we go. The good news is these are HDMI 2.0 ports, so we get to take advantage of that smooth 144Hz refresh rate. The bad news is, popping open the NVIDIA control panel, you can see we can’t enable G-SYNC on this FreeSync display because we’re not hooked up via DisplayPort. So you’re gonna have to pick one or the other. In the scene in the weapon shop, the shaded areas look quite similar to our display HDR 600 monitor, but where we see the difference, and this is interesting, it is actually in those characters in the background. This is where the lack of Full Array Local Dimming is going to hurt this display. So, see this? Instead of brightness in the hair and off the, ya know, shoulder armor of these Vikings walking around back here, we just see clipped white. So you’re losing detail in the image there. Our gaming test shows this well again. While the shadows don’t look that different to me than the display HDR 600 monitor, they still got kinda that gray haziness, it’s here in the highlights where we run into real problems. So instead of seeing the sun shining through the foliage, we’ve just got a completely clipped zone where you can’t even see the trunk of the tree here. Like you’re losing a lot of the image because it simply can’t represent it. Coming into this brightly lit, colorful clearing though, we see a good example of the game better in HDR, even in HDR 400 than it would in standard dynamic range. The problem though is that the whole game doesn’t look like this on a display that just can’t handle HDR well. And, if your lowlights are awful, then you’re not giving your highlights a chance to shine through. And yes, that was a completely intentional double entendre. Can you just die, please? Whoops, that was a bad shot. Now for the NewSync X250FG Zero 165 HDR.
This one is very interesting to me because you might think, “Gee Linus, you’re already only spending $200 on a brand name monitor to get that one from Acer. How much lower do you need to go?” Well, this puppy was purchased for just around $150, that’s $50 cheaper. There are already some compromises compared to the Acer unit. This stand is about as wimpy as one as I’ve seen in the last little bit. (clanging) But it is made of metal to its credit. And the power supply, rather than being integrated into the monitor, is just a power brick with a super janky adapter on it. To NewSync’s credit, the inclusion of a DisplayPort, rather than an HDMI cable, seems to suggest that its got a DisplayPort 1.4 connector. But we will find out very shortly if that’s the case. Look at that, it does! There’s my 165Hz refresh rate. Hey, it’s got a joystick type menu. Oh, it’s backward. You go this way to confirm. Now that’s curious, HDR is enabled, but it looks like an absolute butt. Yup, that’s working. Wow, even in this scene though. You can see that clipping in the ferns here. This raw sun coming over here. (mumbles) Oops, I didn’t screw that in. I’d say the main issue for me so far though is the green cast – oh wow! Okay, I lied. The main issue is the dynamic range. Compared to our last one, you know with display HDR 400 certification, rather than just the ability to accept an HD signal on the like processor level, is night and day. There’s almost nothing left of our background characters here. Look at this, you can barely see his pecs. Okay, I’ve got very low expectations for the rest of this, let’s move on to gaming.
Yup, it’s even worse. The clipping extends down to here. We’re losing detail not just in like a tree trunk. Like I bet I could lose that whole tree in the sun shining behind it. That is truly remarkable right there. And our shadows barely even look like shadows. It just looks like the whole scene was shot in like a camera cinematic mode. We could probably use that camera up there to show what ungraded cinematic footage looks like versus once you’ve applied a grade to it. There ya go. That’s worse than just playing the game in SDR. On that subject, why don’t we just try that? Look at that, look at that, so much better! It’s still got a green cast to it, still not a great display, but this is it. SDR, the game looks way better. So, in conclusion then- (metal bangs on the table) HDR: not a gimmick, but if you’re looking to spend more than a couple of hundred dollars you’re probably gonna have to wait a little bit before you can have the HDR experience that everyone is talking about and saying is so great. With that said, if I was looking for an entry-level HDR display, I would go for one with VESA’s display HDR certification versus one that wasn’t able to get it, because it encompasses far more than just the darkest darks and brightest brights on the display. It also specifies that it needs to be able to cover a certain color gamma and other important specs like that. So NewSync monitor, maybe not a terrible budget gaming display if you need a 165Hz 1080p display, and you’re willing to tweak the color profile a little bit to get rid of this green cast, but for HDRI wouldn’t recommend it. Not the way I would recommend our sponsor for today’s video. (snaps fingers) Manscaped! – [Yvonne] Does Manscapeddo neckbeards, too? – I shaved it today. – [Yvonne] Oooh! – [Linus] Manscapedcreated the world’s first all-in-one manscaping kit that makes manscaping safe and easy.
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