Hi all, and welcome to my testing thread!
My name is Chris. I’m 36 and live in Manchester, UK. I’ve been gaming in various forms since the late 80s, so it’s a pretty important hobby I’ve had nearly my entire life.
You’ll have seen from the other tester threads the box Spectrum came in, I won’t retread here, suffice to say I agree with their conclusions.
I currently game in a 27” 1440p monitor from about 2013. I got it before high res high frequency monitors were common. One of the only ways of getting one was random Korean imports that you could overclock to refresh rates that differed from model to model. It’s complete luck what your maximum refresh rate could be. Also given it’s older age it’s a DVI monitor with no other inputs of any kind.
First thing I want to show you is just how slim Spectrum is. In photo below is my current monitor. It has thick bezels on all 4 sides.
Now Spectrum in comparison:
Talk about thin!
The paint on the stand and monitor is very evenly applied. The only bits I saw aren’t so even is in this photo:
Given my current monitor’s DVI operation I am stuck on slightly older hardware, specifically an ASUS Strix Vega 64, one of the last DVI GPUs you’ll find. As a result my testing of the monitor requires some compromises, either because it’s not a real 4K capable card, or the HDMI 2.0 (damn your current GPU shortage!)
My other use case is work. Like a lot of people, I am currently working from home. I work via a Surface Pro 4, using a mini-DP to DVI adaptor. My work is all Office based, Teams, Excel etc. Every morning I have to unplug my keyboard (with its own USB hub in the back for my mouse) and DVI cable from the back of my PC into the SP4. If I want to game on my lunch or at end of work day, the reverse.
Talk about faff!
Spectrum’s KVM switch just works. With a few clicks I can switch from my work use to my PC. It’s hassle free.
Other than that, it displays output from my SP 4 no problems at all. Everything is crisp and clean. I haven’t played with Spectrum’s OSD in my work use case. I simply need a screen that works.
But we’re not here for that, are we? That’s boring. On to the gaming!
I’ve tested a fair few different games. Given the lack of 4K capability, (and because a fair few people have asked over the course of Spectrum development), most of my testing has been done at 1440p.
Given the style of the Borderland franchise, Spectrum seems like an ideal case and boy it makes the game look gorgeous. The game uses such a wide range of colours, and Spectrum makes them all bright and vivid. As I’m not a photo guy, I’m not great at taking photo but if you have any requests for locations, I’m happy to hop into the game and take some for you! (Just realised that pressing print screen on keyboard would probably do a better job than my phone!).
For a comparison between 4K and 1440p upscaling, I’ve taken pictures of the title screen. 4K first, and then 1440p
There are noticeable parts that are blurrier than then 4K. I especially notice it in her hair. However I would say it does a bang up job and it’s less obvious in game with motion.
For another comparison, here’s an in game shot. Again 4K first, 1440p second.
I have to look hard to spot the difference in these shots.
Some people have requested some eSports games, so I’m happy to oblige.
League of Legends
Just wow. With this game I can play it at 4K at 120 refresh rate (No HDR though and 4:2:0 subsampling) at a few hundred fps. With backlight strobing on combined with the pixel response rate, this plays buttery smooth compared to my old monitor. It’s easy to track enemies for skill shots. Oh, and it looks good to boot! I can try and get some video capture and upload it to YouTube if people wish.
Same situation as LoL. I can play at 4K with about 100fps. Movement of the ball is easy to track. I’m not great at spotting this, but didn’t see any ghosting which I would expect to show up given the speed of the game.
I have a few other games that I’ve played around with but not extensive time spent on them. A bit of World of Warcraft: Shadowlands and GTA 5. Colours on WoW seem richer. GTA 5 however is a bit disappointing. It doesn’t seem to benefit much from Spectrum sadly. I might give CS:GO a try if people want, and older games like HL2.
In terms of negatives and bugs etc, I have found one critical bug so far. If Spectrum is plugged into my GPU HDMI when I start the PC, no signal is output to the monitor. Even my old DVI monitor doesn’t get a signal if it’s plugged in at the same time. I’m not sure whether the KVM is working or even if Windows is booting. A hard reset then causes my PC to go into a diagnostic and repair loop when Windows tries to start. I then have to switch PC off, do a BIOS reset by shorting out the motherboard, and switch on PC with only DVI plugged in. I can then start, setup BIOS again and boot to Windows before plugging Spectrum in. It’s frustrating if the PC crashes with Spectrum plugged in, or I forget to unplug HDMI before switching PC on. Hopefully it’s fixed before release.
The second issue is sadly the limited number of dimming zones available. On any very dark scenes with bright sections there’s lots of haloing, and you can see each zone as it gets switched on and off. The best example of this is during BL3 loading screen.
As usual, the camera is picking up more light than my eyes do so it doesn’t look as bad as the video makes it seem, but it’s still noticeable to the naked eye. This however is the only real time I’ve seen this happen. I haven’t noticed it on Elite Dangerous, which has a space game has areas of very dark and very bright. I suspect the BL3 loading screen is simply an extreme example with no little space of the screen taken up by bright elements.
If you guys have any games you’d like me to try, just give me a shout. Hopefully I have it!