Question Is it normal for VA panels to be so washed out?

Jan 3, 2021
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Hi All!

I'm building a setup of 2 x 4K 32" monitors, primarily for work. I much prefer the monitors to be curved, especially since there are two of them so having flat monitors side by side at an angle always looks a bit weird and unnatural to the eye as the centre and the edges of the monitor are at different lengths from the eyes. However, unfortunately all the 4K 32" curved monitors are VA rather than IPS. I previously tried Odyssey G9, which is a VA monitor, and after using IPS monitors for ages it seemed a bit weird at first due to viewing angles issues but I got used to it in the end and was fine with it (returned it in the end in favour of 2 x 4K though).

I've been choosing between 2 x Philips 328E1CA and 2 x MSI Optix MAG321CURV and have ordered Philips 328E1CA in the end as the review I read on Tom's Hardware showed overall better performance. Now, here's my problem. Its colours are really really washed out and bleak no matter what angle I'm looking from – compared to an IPS monitor. The issue is present even when looking directly at the centre of the screen and not just at the sides. When looking at the sides, the contrast drops even further. It's particularly prominent with dark colours, e.g. when I look at dark themed UI of some programs, on an IPS monitor I see pleasant deep night blue, whereas on the Philips monitor it's a much lighter brighter grayish blue. My question is: is this normal for VA panels of this size, curve and resolution or is it just a problem with this particular monitor? Am I doing something wrong?

Just to clarify, I have two Philips monitors and the image looks equally horrible on both of them in terms of colour brightness. I've also tried changing the gamma from the default 2.2 on the monitor to the max 2.6 and whilst it does improve the image, it's still nowhere near what I call a decent image. I've also tried increasing the contrast. I'm just very surprised why none of the youtube reviews call out this strange feature of the monitor which stands out the most to me. Some reviews even say it's a "great colourful monitor".

I've uploaded a few photos showing how the different monitors look like. Of course the photos don't precisely represent what I see but I think they give an idea and show that the Philips monitor is undersaturated. The Philips one is on the right, on the left is a Dell IPS monitor and a Macbook pro on the bottom (also IPS).
Image 1, Image 2

I could order the MSI Optix MAG321CURV to test as well but I'm concerned it will look about the same as the Philips ones. Plus I understand that all VA panels have issues with contrast towards the edges and viewing angle issues which I quite hate. I might have to stick with 2 x flat IPS screens unfortunately.

Thanks in advance.
 

Dean0919

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Oct 25, 2017
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If you have Nvidia GPU, make sure in control panel it gives full range of colors instead of limited. Also, try another color profile and see if it helps. If it doesn't, then seems like it's the monitor itself like this and nothing can be done. The only solution in this case would be to manually adjust gamma in Windows calibration tool or in Nvidia control panel.
 
Reviews also have tools to objectively measure the output of the monitor. Unless you have those tools and are using it to verify whether or not your monitors achieve the same numbers as reviewers, for all I know, you may have has your IPS monitors on settings that were more vibrant and you're just used to that. I recently got a Samsung Odyssey G7 and while I do notice the image looking washed out, it depends on where I'm sitting and how I'm facing it. I've noticed the closer I am, the worse it looks, but that's because the viewing angle is simply exaggerated at closer ranges.
 

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