When it comes to choosing the best color-critical monitor, today's creatives enjoy a near-limitless range of viable options. But just because there are plenty of options available doesn't mean choosing the right monitor is an easy task. Finding the monitor that best addresses your needs and your budget can be a real chore, which is why I was delighted to review ViewSonic's latest monitor, the ColorPro VP2776, and see for myself if it would be a good option for my own configuration.
ViewSonic VP2776: Specs
At a glance, the VP2776 features a 27" IPS LCD screen with 2560 x 1440 resolution. The native resolution is regrettably not in 4K, but I believe this monitor compensates for this shortcoming with an impressive range of gamut coverage. With 100% color gamut coverage of both sRGB and Rec 709, as well as 98% of DCI-P3, the VP2776 fortifies its viability as a color-critical monitor with a peak brightness of 400 cd/m2.
As far as brightness is concerned, I tend to hover between 100-200 cd/m2 for editing, depending on the ambient light of my workspace, so this stat is compatible with my general workflow right off the bat. 400 cd/m2 might be troublesome for HDR work since it just toes the permissible brightness, but this monitor's VESA DisplayHDR 400 certification soothed my initial concerns. I was interested in seeing just what this bad boy could do.
ViewSonic VP2776: Setting Up
First, the stand is a flat base plate with all-metal construction that feels high quality and features generous height, tilt, and swivel adjustments alongside 90° of screen rotation in either direction. The stand also supports 175° of horizontal and vertical viewing angles that felt comfortable and natural as I gradually adjusted my posture throughout the day.
The monitor can notably accommodate an articulating arm via the 100 x 100mm VESA mounts, but I found the included stand to be so useful and unobtrusive that I don't see a reason to improve upon it.
This display also has excellent peripheral support and supplied 90W of power that kept my laptop charged with ease. The USB-C port helped keep the clutter on my workspace in check, while two HDMI 2.0 ports and the DisplayPort input made transferring my work simple. Overall, I found I didn't need supplemental accessories to improve the compatibility of my setup, which I consider a resounding win.
For working in bright spaces, ViewSonic includes a magnetic hood that is easy to attach and did the trick while editing in the strong daylight of my workspace. I was also delighted to discover that the hood is foldable and can be tucked away when I am not using it.
Also notable is the LED light bar housed on the back panel of the VP2776. Designed for working in dim lighting conditions, the light can be adjusted to emit either a yellow, white, or warm white glow, reflecting on the wall behind the display to lessen background contrast that causes eye strain.
The last of accessories is the Color Pro Wheel—a hotkey puck that doubles as a color calibrator. Whereas most pucks for color-critical monitors make toggling color profiles, apps, and other shortcuts easily accessible, the base on this control is a color sensor that can also be placed directly on your screen to determine your color accuracy.
I found that this was a phenomenal little tool—sophisticated but easy to use. While it worked well for navigation and configuring my own shortcuts, the navigation built into the display itself is accessible and intuitive enough on its own. In short, hotkey pucks are always handy, but the color-calibration feature is a great bonus.
Considering all the unique accessories included with this monitor, I found setup to be incredibly easy. The high-quality build of the monitor and stand itself certainly helped. All-metal construction and ergonomics that work exactly as they are supposed to? Sign me up.
ViewSonic VP2776: Color Accuracy
As I mentioned above, the VP2776 has great color gamut coverage that I feel is suitable for most hobbyist and semi-professional work. With each monitor being individually calibrated for ΔE <2 accuracy alongside the VESA DisplayHDR 400 certification, ViewSonic has demonstrably gone to great lengths in ensuring these monitors perform consistently well.
Putting aside those selling points, I found the VP2776's out-of-the-box calibration to be stellar, as well as its color accuracy across my multi-monitor setup. I decided to calibrate it with the included multipurpose puck and was able to match my other monitor's color with uniform brightness, to boot.
With so much attention paid to its consistency, I have no reason to believe this monitor would perform any less accurately for other users. For newer editors who do not have a color calibrator, I think the hotkey puck is a handy tool for fine-tuning your setup. Of course, the puck isn't the most important reason to consider this monitor, but it is nice to know that important steps have been essentially taken care of for you in terms of color performance.
ViewSonic VP2776: HDR Support
I want to emphasize first that the display offers support for HDR and it does the job. Processing HDR input and outputting an HDR signal worked well when I tested various media.
For those regularly working with video content, I found that the 400 cd/m2 isn't quite bright enough for genuine HDR rendering. Pair this with the sub-4K resolution and the VP2776 becomes significantly less practical in a professional editing capacity. Especially if you are a retoucher, these two lackluster stats will make the job of pixel-peeping for thorough editing quite tricky.
With that in mind, I think this monitor would be perfectly adequate for someone who infrequently works in HDR and doesn't plan to in the foreseeable future. In my case, the brightness and resolution more than sufficed.
ViewSonic VP2776: Unique Features
There are many unique features in this display that I think are worth talking about. The first one I want to highlight is the nifty LED light bar on the back panel—a built-in inclusion that really won me over as someone who struggles with eye strain.
While the effect of this feature can be easily replicated by placing a light behind your monitor to offset your background, the ability to toggle the color and cast from the monitor itself makes adjusting for your ambient light far less clunky. In the winter months as daylight shifts so rapidly, this feature is nothing short of amazing.
Other features, such as the flat baseplate and foldable shade hood, are very small details that are uniquely well designed. I dislike crescent-shaped or leggy stands that seem to be favored for their aesthetic effect, preferring a stand that is sturdy and either completely out of the way or on which I can put things.
In a similar vein, the magnetic and foldable shade hood isn't necessarily reinventing the wheel, but I do think it speaks to a room of designers who sought to curate a user experience so seamless that it feels luxurious.
I also really like how the hotkey puck has duality as both a controller and a color calibrator. It works perfectly in both respects and saves me the time of fishing out a calibrator when I need it.
Ultimately, these design choices coalesce to realize a product that is utterly low profile and space-saving, which is refreshing for someone like me, with limited working space. I realize that these might not be the priorities for everyone, but to me, they distinguish between a serviceable monitor and a great one.
ViewSonic VP2776: Verdict
Overall, it is abundantly clear that a lot of care went into the production of the VP2776. With thoroughly designed features, this is a monitor that is as functional as it is capable. When you add the solid gamut coverage and overall great performance, it feels almost shocking to me that the VP2776 is available at the current price.
This is why it is a bit of a shame that I can't recommend this monitor to professionals looking for good HDR performance. The peak brightness and resolution just skirt the line of workable, making it a great monitor for those who might need something for HDR editing, and not so much for people who will be relying on that function all the time.
The VP2776 is, however, a terrific monitor for hobbyist creative and semi-professional capacities. The wide range of connectivity options and solid power output is very peripheral-friendly, making this a decent general-use monitor on top of its grading functions.
As a feature-rich and seamlessly integrated display, I believe this is a solid option for emerging creatives. If you can stomach going without 4K resolution, the VP2776 is an impressive color critical monitor and definitely worth checking out. However, if 4K resolution is a must-have feature, be sure to check out the ViewSonic VP2786-4K instead. For a little extra coin, you'll get all of the same features as the VP2776, plus 4K UHD resolution.
What features do you look for in a color critical monitor? Are you excited about the VP2776? Let us know your thoughts in the Comments section, below.