AW3821DW (Nov 2020) with GSync Ultimate

Sycraft

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How are you guys experiencing input lag and response time? I have heard very mixed things on it.

Is it really the same panel as the LG38GN950? And if so is it the same response time? Because that one seems to be a god of a monitor in IPS smoothness.
It is the same panel as the LG. Both are made by LG, they are the only ones who make a 38" panel. Dell may have programmed in different overdrive levels, no real way to compare unless a place like tftcentral does it, but same panel. To me, it seems responsive as hell. In every way as good as my old 27" Viewsonic 144hz IPS. Of course it is possible I'm not as fussy about lag as some, but I certainly haven't noticed any. That is also normally an advantage of Gsync monitors is they process fast so there is very little lag.
 

IonHawk

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I connected my old aw3418dw to really compare as I initially felt the aw3821dw felt less responsive. While I feel the 3418 might be SLIGHTLY quicker (maybe), the smoothness was not even close to the 3821. Night and day difference... to the point where the 3418 felt like it was closer to 60hz (and yes I checked that is was at 120) and the the 3821 had a soap opera affect it was so smooth.
With smoothness, do you just mean the higher hz or do you feel responsetime was smooth as well?

Thanks for both your responses btw! It's a shame there ain't a proper tft or similar review yet. I only saw the review included in this post and were a bit put off by the input lag and don't feel the ufo image looks that responsive. That being said, he obviously didn't have anywhere near as good equipment as Rtings or TFT so he could be wrong on it. Maybe I am overanalysing but I want to feel like I have a monitor that I will be satisfied with for years to come so I won't feel the need to upgrade soon again, both for the wallet and for the environment. Currently have a PG279Q which is honestly still a fantastic monitor. Would love an ultrawide that felt as good so many years after release. The new DP and HDMI standards makes me question whether I should wait another year to upgrade, but I had the same thought last year and not THAT much has happened(Although IPS response times have seen amazing improvements).

, .

EDIT: Looking a bit closer at input lag, perhaps I am over thinking it. The reported input lag there, if real, is just below one frame at 144hz, so it really shouldn't be a problem. Was just comparing it to the 27" with 1ms input lag. I guess response time would be the thing I wonder about the most, but seems like people are very satisfied with it. Again, too bad there are no hardcore reviews for it yet. :p
 
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cvinh

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I'm no expert but I noticed way more smoothness even at low frames 30-60 fps because of the gsync module. I'm coming from a X34 Predator 100hz Gsync and the AW was worth every dollar in my experience so far.
 

thelead

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With smoothness, do you just mean the higher hz or do you feel responsetime was smooth as well?

Thanks for both your responses btw! It's a shame there ain't a proper tft or similar review yet. I only saw the review included in this post and were a bit put off by the input lag and don't feel the ufo image looks that responsive. That being said, he obviously didn't have anywhere near as good equipment as Rtings or TFT so he could be wrong on it. Maybe I am overanalysing but I want to feel like I have a monitor that I will be satisfied with for years to come so I won't feel the need to upgrade soon again, both for the wallet and for the environment. Currently have a PG279Q which is honestly still a fantastic monitor. Would love an ultrawide that felt as good so many years after release. The new DP and HDMI standards makes me question whether I should wait another year to upgrade, but I had the same thought last year and not THAT much has happened(Although IPS response times have seen amazing improvements).

, .

EDIT: Looking a bit closer at input lag, perhaps I am over thinking it. The reported input lag there, if real, is just below one frame at 144hz, so it really shouldn't be a problem. Was just comparing it to the 27" with 1ms input lag. I guess response time would be the thing I wonder about the most, but seems like people are very satisfied with it. Again, too bad there are no hardcore reviews for it yet. :p
You're definitely overanalyzing (as I do as well). I hate that I like this thing so much lol. I seriously bought it with the intention to return it unless I was 95% satisfied. Does it tick every box? No but no monitor does unfortunately. Accurate colors, fast refresh, gsync ultimate module, cannot hear a fan, etc. This thing is amazing and worth the cost... unfortunately for my wallet :)
 

Sycraft

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You're definitely overanalyzing (as I do as well). I hate that I like this thing so much lol. I seriously bought it with the intention to return it unless I was 95% satisfied. Does it tick every box? No but no monitor does unfortunately. Accurate colors, fast refresh, gsync ultimate module, cannot hear a fan, etc. This thing is amazing and worth the cost... unfortunately for my wallet :)
Yep. What it really comes down to, for me, it it looks GOOD and gaming on it is really immersive and fun. The anxiety part of my mind likes to try and go "But was it the VERY BEST decision? You could be MISSING OUT!!!!" But that is stupid. I'm happy with it, very happy, so it doesn't matter. It is beautiful to look at on the desktop and a delight to game on. That's really all I can ask. Heck HDR is even serviceable, which is a surprise.
 

TimothyB

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I currently have have an LG 38UC99-W. Basically a 75hz non-HDR model, sadly, not G-SYNC compatible by any measure.

I had been eyeing the 38WN95C-W for gaming like features, all while looking like a normal white monitor.
  • Brighter display
  • HDR
  • High Refresh Rate
  • G-SYNC Compatibility
  • USB-C
  • Still white
  • No-Fan
Problem is, it's usually out of stock and rarely on sale. Even when Best Buy sent me a 10% coupon recently, the code was broken.

Then 2 days ago I learn about the new Alienware 38, which seems to have merged the best features of LG's 38GL950 (G-Sync) with 38GN950 (HDR 600), and LG's 38WN95C (White color and modern design), plus a fan that's actually quiet. Top it off, the Alienware brand appears to have amazing support, warranty, and quality control. Though, while it doesn't have USB-C, the USB 3 implementation is very robust.

So, I was quickly sold, especially with the $450 off, a pre-applied $15 off in the cart, the 10% newsletter discount, and the default Dell Rewards 3% back. Sadly, I missed out on the great cashback offers a week or two back.

Downside, compared to my current monitor, is the stand depth. The older 38UC99-W I have is only 9.1 inches deep, saving a lot of desk space. The Alienware is 11.56 inches, and the other LGs are still around 11. I'd consider an arm, but I may have to drill a hole because the sides of my desk are 4.5 inches, too much for nearly all clamps.

Should be here Tuesday. Very excited, especially just to experience G-SYNC for the first time to help smooth out more GPU intense games (Cyberpunk) that can't maintain a consistent/high framerate.
 

Sycraft

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Should be here Tuesday. Very excited, especially just to experience G-SYNC for the first time to help smooth out more GPU intense games (Cyberpunk) that can't maintain a consistent/high framerate.
Gsync (or some kind of VRR) is absolutely mandatory IMO. It is just too hard to maintain a framerate that is both high and rock steady with most games. So you either have to lock to lower FPS, which sucks, or deal with stuttering, which sucks. I will never buy a non-VRR display for gaming again, it is just a must-have.

Goes double for high refresh rate displays. Like ya, you can just have a 60Hz display and with enough GPU power, many games can be overpowered and run at locked 60. However higher FPS is really nice. But getting something to lock to 120Hz, never mind 144Hz is a very tall task. With Gsync, no problem, you get as much FPS as you can.
 

koven

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Using this monitor for a week now, it is great, superior to my previous LG UltraGear. Better QC, BLB, PQ, Gsync, etc. Impressed w/ HDR performance for a monitor. Using 10bit at 120Hz. Great experience playing Cyberpunk recently.
 

Mystique

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Using this monitor for a week now, it is great, superior to my previous LG UltraGear. Better QC, BLB, PQ, Gsync, etc. Impressed w/ HDR performance for a monitor. Using 10bit at 120Hz. Great experience playing Cyberpunk recently.
Can you notice the difference between 8-bit 144 and 10 bit 120? I don't see any on mine, so I've been lazy and leaving at 8bit for non work but curious about others experience?
 

koven

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Can you notice the difference between 8-bit 144 and 10 bit 120? I don't see any on mine, so I've been lazy and leaving at 8bit for non work but curious about others experience?

Not really, lol. Then again I cannot notice any difference from 120Hz vs 144Hz either. :p
 

Sycraft

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Can you notice the difference between 8-bit 144 and 10 bit 120? I don't see any on mine, so I've been lazy and leaving at 8bit for non work but curious about others experience?
For the desktop in SDR? No you won't see any difference. Windows only does 8-bit color, no matter what the actual outputs are. For SDR games in theory they can output 10-bit color and it would lead to smoother gradients. I've never seen confirmation of any game that actually does though. Where it makes a difference is HDR. You need 10-bit (ideally we'd like more) to deal with all that increased dynamic range.
 

Spartacus09

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My order on 12/10, to ship 12/11, has been delayed to arrive Jan 12 :(
They might ship earlier, they tend to under promise so they over deliver on estimates.
I would say its a 50/50 shot you might get it before Christmas.
 

supastar1568

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I pulled the trigger as well. Delivery date of Jan 13.

Should be a good step up from my aw3418dw.

Also, should be the latest monitor I need unless of course we can get OLED in this size at some point.
 

Mystique

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For the desktop in SDR? No you won't see any difference. Windows only does 8-bit color, no matter what the actual outputs are. For SDR games in theory they can output 10-bit color and it would lead to smoother gradients. I've never seen confirmation of any game that actually does though. Where it makes a difference is HDR. You need 10-bit (ideally we'd like more) to deal with all that increased dynamic range.
Thanks for that reply. I'll keep that in mind to auto-10bit on HDR enabled games as well!
 
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Does anyone else have some panel uniformity issues in terms of color and luminance? The right third of my monitor is obviously darker and differently tinted from the rest. To be honest, my LG 38GL950G was significantly better when it came to obvious panel uniformity, and I'm wondering if it's worth trying for an exchange. I don't expect a perfect panel, but this is probably worthy of an exchange if the rest of you aren't seeing any significant issues.
 

vatsav

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I pulled the trigger as well. Delivery date of Jan 13.

Should be a good step up from my aw3418dw.

Also, should be the latest monitor I need unless of course we can get OLED in this size at some point.
We are a few of a kind.

I just pulled the trigger as well after reading through all these comments. Same Jan 13 delivery date. And also upgrading my aw3418dw.

If I upgrade on top of that, it will be only for those Acer/Asus 4k monitors with FALD. At this point, I also might have to upgrade my RTX2070 to a 3000 series card.
 

FaRKle0079

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Well damn. Have had my AW3821DW for a couple of days and now it's developed a terrible flicker. It doesn't matter if I power cycle the monitor or not, if I change which video input I'm using, or which computer I have it hooked up to. Even the Alienware OSD menus are flickering when nothing's hooked up.

It's weird too, because it's flickering one of the last screens I had on it. When I run the diagnostic mode the flickering is showing my last desktop and open windows! Guess this one's going back.
 

TimothyB

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Price just dropped to $1389.99, $60 lower that the previous sale price.

I wonder how hard it would be to get an active order adjusted.
 

Sycraft

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Price just dropped to $1389.99, $60 lower that the previous sale price.

I wonder how hard it would be to get an active order adjusted.
Whine at them and there is a reasonable chance they will. Take a screenshot of the price and include that with your mail.
 

TimothyB

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Whine at them and there is a reasonable chance they will. Take a screenshot of the price and include that with your mail.

Oddly, I think the sale price is still $510 off this morning, but the retail price increased to what is called Est. Value $2049.99. So now it's $1539 after sale.

I took a screenshot yesterday, so I'll still try to get the lowest price it was.
 

FaRKle0079

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Just got an email from Dell saying my replacement monitor is backordered till 12/31. Maybe I'll just return the AW3821DW.

I happened to buy the LG 38GN950 from Costco over black Fri too, and it arrived a couple days after the Alienware. Since my AW3821DW died, I decided to set up the LG, and I have to say, although the LG loses in a paper specs war, after using both I feel the LG is a more complete product overall.

Pros of the LG over AW:
-sRGB mode
-Auto input switching
-Better OSD/options
-Built in crosshair (for you no-scopers)
-Smaller stand base (takes up less desk space)
-Lighting (sphere lighting) that's actually useful (and really does enhance the experience)
-Official Freesync support

Pros of the AW over LG:
-Two more USB ports
-Nicer design/aesthetics
-Stand that pans the screen (LG can only raise/lower and tilt)
-G-Sync HW module
-Integrated PSU (LG has a power brick external to the monitor)

That's not to say the AW is a bad monitor in comparison. I just don't think it's as easy to use or useful overall. There are stupid things like no auto input switching, and then other things that were overlooked like how useless the max brightness of the RGB LEDs are. They're not bright enough to add anything to the experience unless maybe you have a white wall and white desk beneath. Also, even though it's advertised as being able to vary the light based upon what's going on, on the screen, neither the manual or Alienware Command Center SW show that as an option. With LG it's clearly presented and easily selectable.

The LG cost me $150 more than the AW (after CB, discounts, ect.), but it might be worth it...
 

TimothyB

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Just got an email from Dell saying my replacement monitor is backordered till 12/31. Maybe I'll just return the AW3821DW.

I happened to buy the LG 38GN950 from Costco over black Fri too, and it arrived a couple days after the Alienware. Since my AW3821DW died, I decided to set up the LG, and I have to say, although the LG loses in a paper specs war, after using both I feel the LG is a more complete product overall.

Pros of the LG over AW:
-sRGB mode
-Auto input switching
-Better OSD/options
-Built in crosshair (for you no-scopers)
-Smaller stand base (takes up less desk space)
-Lighting (sphere lighting) that's actually useful (and really does enhance the experience)
-Official Freesync support

Pros of the AW over LG:
-Two more USB ports
-Nicer design/aesthetics
-Stand that pans the screen (LG can only raise/lower and tilt)
-G-Sync HW module
-Integrated PSU (LG has a power brick external to the monitor)

That's not to say the AW is a bad monitor in comparison. I just don't think it's as easy to use or useful overall. There are stupid things like no auto input switching, and then other things that were overlooked like how useless the max brightness of the RGB LEDs are. They're not bright enough to add anything to the experience unless maybe you have a white wall and white desk beneath. Also, even though it's advertised as being able to vary the light based upon what's going on, on the screen, neither the manual or Alienware Command Center SW show that as an option. With LG it's clearly presented and easily selectable.

The LG cost me $150 more than the AW (after CB, discounts, ect.), but it might be worth it...

Thanks for the comparison.

I suppose the longer warranty from Dell/Alienware is slightly compensated by the LG coming from Costco.

The lighting really does add to the experience. I have have 3 HUE Plays on the back of my current Ultrawide, for 3 zones and super bright. Having something useable built into the monitor, like all LG, is a nice added experience to gaming. I

Stand. I think both stands are larger and deeper than my current 38UC99-W, but the AW3821DW pushes it even further. So I plan to put the monitor on an arm.

Question:
Is there a real benefit for variable refresh-rate by having the G-Sync module? Sure, it can cover the full range, but likely you'd be avoiding frame drops lower than the range of compatible g-sync monitors, and even then, you are going to notice it.
 

Sycraft

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Question:
Is there a real benefit for variable refresh-rate by having the G-Sync module? Sure, it can cover the full range, but likely you'd be avoiding frame drops lower than the range of compatible g-sync monitors, and even then, you are going to notice it.
I don't think I've ever seen a good test of it. I've never seen a reputable monitor test site really see how they stack up. nVidia, of course, claims that their module is needed for the best experience. AMD fans claim Freesync 2 is just as good.

One thing we do know is that a module plus an nVidia card does seem to guarantee no issues with VRR. It'll work, full range, no problems, period. That is not always true when you are talking a Freesync/VRR monitor used with an nVidia card. However that doesn't mean there will be problems, there are plenty of reports on ones that have none.
 

Grunt

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I pulled the trigger as well. Delivery date of Jan 13.

Should be a good step up from my aw3418dw.

Also, should be the latest monitor I need unless of course we can get OLED in this size at some point.
I will be interested to see what you think of the new monitor, like you I have a AW3418DW. Last week I purchased a LG CX 48 and I am happy with it. Only down fall is my GPU (EVGA RTX 2080Ti FTW3 Ultra) with only HDMI 2.0. I picked up the LG up on a military base exchange (retail store) for $1,300 (with %10 coupon) with no sales tax. Gaming at 4k at 120hz with the LG with no issues.

Have other members considered the OLED LG CX before going with the AW3821DW?
 
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Spartacus09

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I will be interested to see what you think of the new monitor, like you I have a AW3418DW. Last week I purchased a LG CX 48 and I am happy with it. Only down fall is my GPU (EVGA RTX 2080Ti FTW3 Ultra) with only HDMI 2.0. I picked up the LG up on a military base exchange (retail store) for $1,300 (with %10 coupon) with no sales tax. Gaming at 4k at 120hz with the LG with no issues.

Have other members considered the OLED LG CX before going with the AW3821DW?
I considered it but frankly I really wanted the 144hz and 48" just seemed like too much even though I have a large desk.
At the end of the day while gaming would be good, I feel like it would be borderline unwieldy for productivity use which I do 50 hours a week.
 

TimothyB

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Have other members considered the OLED LG CX before going with the AW3821DW?

I assume there’d be small functional annoyances due to its TV origin. Such as the brightness limiter depending on what’s displayed. One review mentioned the tv would dim after a short amount of inactivity. Sometimes cursor movement while reading wasn’t enough of a visual change to prevent that.

If I did get one, I’d never full screen productivity apps. Most likely work within the center of the screen, in a workspace similar to an Ultrawide, leaving the top and bottom blank. I also guess a black background or setup.

Not too worried about burn-in if careful. But it would always be on your mind. I’d always worry about forgetting to move Illustrator’s interface after being lost in work for an hour.

I have a 65in C6 from 2016, last 3D curved mode, which I game on all the time with consoles, or watch lets plays. Despite interfaces, never had an issue. I only said no to my girlfriend playing hours of Final Fantasy XIV on it, which half the screen is an interface at that point.
 

Sycraft

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I have a 65in C6 from 2016, last 3D curved mode, which I game on all the time with consoles, or watch lets plays. Despite interfaces, never had an issue. I only said no to my girlfriend playing hours of Final Fantasy XIV on it, which half the screen is an interface at that point.
Well that is the problem with desktop usage is it is basically worst case scenario other than digital signage. With games, particularly console games, the interface does tend to change a lot. Things pop up and change the screen when you do things like open bags, cutscenes take it away, and often the HUD actually isn't completely static and moves moves a bit with the camera/character, and it is usually varied in color. However on a desktop there's none of that. You have static areas that are perfectly static. The taskbar is always there, menu bars are always there. Worse some of the area can be very large and totally monochromatic meaning the inbuilt pixel shifting will do nothing.

I personally wouldn't worry about an OLED for gaming and indeed my next TV might be an OLED (though we'll see when I get one, but the time I do it might be a new technology). However desktop use? Nah, not until it is a monitor, designed for such, and they say they've gotten it to the point where it isn't an issue. I do a lot of desktop use on my computer.
 

Sycraft

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So something to give a try if you haven't is to turn on variable backlight for SDR content. I've tried gaming with it in Mode 0 and I have to say, overall I like it. While the zones are large, meaning that you can see them flicking on and off sometimes, overall I find the tradeoff of better contrast for dark scenes worth it. It'll depend on your preferences, of course, and also the game you are playing but I find it really does seem to be a benefit overall. Helps deal with low contrast and IPS glow, which are of course IPS panels two big disadvantages.
 

RESTfulADI

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I've been running the AW3821 for the last few days and overall I like it. I was able to figure out how to use a 3D LUT in Reshade to correct the oversaturation in games, and Firefox/Chrome support forcing color management in about:config/chrome://flags. Now my content looks correct but the Windows UI doesn't, seems like a good tradeoff to have a G-Sync module. Using the ICC profile and OSD settings from the comments here:

I still think I should have gone with the CX 48, the low contrast kinda of a deal breaker in 2021 (almost). If Samsung only made a less curved 21:9 G8...
 

thelead

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If all you’re doing is gaming on your PC, you can definitely get by with the OLED. I have a 65” C9 in my office and I would never do it but I use my PC as a work tool 90%. I know it’s not burn in but OLED exhibits image retention within SECONDS of a static image. I’m talking about one to two seconds of the Apple TV menu screen with show image retention if you go to a dark gray screen immediately after.
 

RESTfulADI

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If all you’re doing is gaming on your PC, you can definitely get by with the OLED. I have a 65” C9 in my office and I would never do it but I use my PC as a work tool 90%. I know it’s not burn in but OLED exhibits image retention within SECONDS of a static image. I’m talking about one to two seconds of the Apple TV menu screen with show image retention if you go to a dark gray screen immediately after.
I have a 55" B7 and a 55" Vizio OLED so I'm familiar. The Vizio is going back next month, I'm not dealing with their firmware problems. I was hesitant on the CX 48 mainly do to the reported VRR issues.

Regarding the AW38, if you're sensitive to oversaturation and incorrect colors like me and don't feel like installing Reshade in every game to fix the SDR gamut, I would think twice. If I had to use a 2D app regularly that can't be color managed, I would probably return it. I have no idea how you can ship an expensive monitor without an sRGB clamp mode, sRGB looks terrible out of the box. The OSD doesn't have gamma controls either. I created a 3D LUT from the ICC profile I linked earlier that works pretty well but the profile isn't quite well matched to my unit. I'm considering buying a SpyderX but I still don't know if profiling alone can clamp the display to sRGB or if I'll have to keep using Reshade.
 
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thelead

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Is your 'standard' preset mode oversaturated? I don't find mine to be oversaturated in that mode. Black levels are not correct (I set dark stabilizer to 2 to correct this) but I don't find colors to be oversaturated. That said, I haven't measured anything. I leave HDR on in Windows 10 so I'm not sure if this is variable to consider.
 

Sycraft

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Is your 'standard' preset mode oversaturated? I don't find mine to be oversaturated in that mode. Black levels are not correct (I set dark stabilizer to 2 to correct this) but I don't find colors to be oversaturated. That said, I haven't measured anything. I leave HDR on in Windows 10 so I'm not sure if this is variable to consider.
If HDR is on, Windows takes care of any oversaturation. The display reports its gamut to Windows and it corrects it for any SDR programs (all HDR programs are by definition wide gamut aware).
 

RESTfulADI

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Exactly, enabling HDR fixes sRGB but then you have to control brightness with the HDR/SDR balance slider and tolerate the diming zones doing their thing.
 

thelead

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Understood. The zone backlighting bothered me for a few days but I’ve gotten used to it I guess as it no longer bugs me. The brightness slider being in a windows setting is annoying. I have to look into creating some sort of script and assign it to a macro whenever I have some free time (that will likely never happen but I’ll just keep telling myself that).
 

RESTfulADI

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I switched to HDR always on to see how it goes. So far the dimming zone effect is less annoying than oversaturation in Windows and applying Reshade for every game. This might be the ticket.
 

Mystique

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Is there anything wrong with using HDR mode all the time for monitor longevity?
 
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