Gigabyte Aorus CV27F Monitor Review: 27" Of 165Hz Curved Gaming Bliss

Gigabyte Aorus CV27F Review: Calibration and Display Quality

Next up it's time to see how the CV27F's VA panel handles color, brightness, and contrast. As mentioned previously, we used the factory default settings and then calibrated the display using our ColorMunki Smile colorimeter. DisplayCAL 3, which relies on ArgyllCMS for drivers to interface with the colorimeter, did all the calibration and testing. This might seem like overkill for a gaming display, but if games are an art form, we should see them the way the artists intended, right?

gamut coverage

Gigabyte's claims about the CV27F's gamut coverage hold up nicely. The panel can display the whole sRGB color space and right around 90% of the wider DCI P3 gamut both by gamut coverage and by volume. The difference between coverage and volume, as defined by CIE (explained in easier-to-digest terms at Reference Home Theater) is that volume takes into consideration the luminance value of a given color signal, where the coverage only considers the red, blue, and green channels. This panel does much better by volume on sRGB and Adobe RGB because of its relatively bright screen (for an SDR panel, anyway) and the deep contrast ratio, which we'll get to in a second. The average deltaE from the CIE 1976 specification is below 1, which is pretty accurate, but we should look at the tighter requirements of the updated CIE 2000 spec, too. 

CV27F test summary

We can ignore the measured vs. assumed target whitepoint score. The assumed whitepoint for these tests is 6500K, which was just a little too blue for our tastes and the lighting in our office. Instead, we calibrated for a slightly warmer 6200K. When DisplayCAL 3 measured against the display profile's whitepoint, the CV27F did much better. Average weighted deltaE was under 0.6, which is excellent. In the deltaH test, which only looks at neutral grays, and the deltaC test, which looks at R, G, and B balance, the results were even closer to spec. The last two rows in the above chart show the gray value and color that deviated the farthest from the spec. 

So far, everything has tested out well, but we haven't seen any mention of display brightness or contrast ratio yet. DisplayCAL 3's calibrated display device report gives us the answers we seek.

report on calibrated device

The factory defaults set the CV27F's backlight to 75% brightness. The monitor's maximum brightness is rated at 400 cd/m^2, and DisplayCAL measured right at 75% of that figure. Incidentally, while not pictured, measuring at 25% and 50% gave us enough reference points to say that the backlight's brightness scales in a linear fashion.  The contrast ratio is pretty good at 2600:1. It's a little short of Gigabyte's 3000:1 maximum contrast ratio, but if you turn up the backlight you can get there. 

All of these tests measure one point of the display. The backlight is a white LED array, though, so we should see how well it lights the whole panel. DisplayCAL has a 5x5 brightness measurement grid, so let's see how bright this thing gets across the whole display.

backlight uniformity

There's a lot of red in this chart towards the top, but subjectively the backlight situation isn't as dire as the testing might indicate. The CV27F may not be the absolute best monitor for color-critical work, but a 10 to 11% variance in backlighting isn't the end of the world for gaming. When blanketing the entire display in white, we could perceive very faint differences in brightness in the upper left and right corners, but so much of the time this space is usually dedicated to menu and title bars in application windows and heads-up displays in games. If DisplayCAL hadn't pointed it out to us, we would not have known the difference during real-world use. 

Gigabyte blessed the CV27F with full FreeSync HDR compatibility, and since Nvidia unlocked G-Sync compatibility for FreeSync monitors, that means our GeForce RTX 2060 can enjoy variable-refresh rate gaming goodness. To attain FreeSync 2 certification, it has to support Low Framerate Control (LFC) and high-dynamic range lighting. 

g sync settings

G-Sync wasn't enabled by defualt. NVIDIA reserves that privilege for what it calls "G-Sync compatible" displays that the company has tested and qualified. Any display that supports FreeSync 2 should work, though, and the CV27F is no exception. Turning on G-Sync was a simple three-step process: open to the NVIDIA control panel, select the G-Sync option, and check the Enable G-Sync box. When we talk about subjective game testing, we'll see how it did. The Display Specific Settings checkbox does nothing, since the CV27F hasn't been validated by NVIDIA yet, but it doesn't hurt to leave that checked in case it makes NVIDIA's list down the road.

hdr setting

Windows also recognizes the CV27F as supporting HDR video. The May 2019 Windows 10 update added the Windows HD Color toggle to the Display Settings if the monitor supports it, and the CV27F does indeed have HDR support. However, Aorus's monitor handles HDR video by dropping the brightness lower than we found to be comfortable in order to give itself headroom to show brighter scenes.

There's no zone backlighting, either, so when a scene in an HDR video or application has a bright section, the whole display gets brighter. HDR seems like a checked-off item on a feature checklist and less like a stand-out feature, however. Since the backlight maxes out at 400 cd/m^2, the CV27F doesn't really have the dynamic range to produce retina-searing HDR images. That's okay with us, because the standard-color video output on this panel looks great. 

Next up we'll get to the whole point of the CV27F: gaming at high refresh rates.

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