Eizo CG2700X Display Review (ft. Eizo CS2740)

March 12, 2024  •  Leave a Comment

If you are looking for a wide-gamut, colour accurate monitor for content creation work in 2024, you'd be spoilt for choice with the myriad of competing products in the market space. Asus has their ProArt series, BenQ with their PhotoVue, Viewsonic's ColorPros - these are just some of the display brands which have recently thrown their hat into the niche content creation market with their colour-centric offerings. Even Apple has their desirable 5K Cinema Display that comes with an equally exorbitant price tag for the brand name. Still, there is one name that any photographer serious about colour critical work would take reference to when choosing such a display to aid in their creative work - and that would be none other than Eizo.

Personally, I've upgraded to an Eizo CS2740 monitor (non-sponsored, of course) and couldn't be more satisfied with its value and performance. I've been previously using my faithful NEC PA272W hardware-calibrated monitor since 2015, and while it's been a joy to use as with any impeccably engineered Japanese tech product, it is showing signs of its age. Hotspots have started to appear and grow more obvious over time, and dust particles have somehow lodged themselves between the display laminate, which cannot be easily cleaned without disassembling the monitor. I had a brief stint with the much-hyped BenQ SW271 display and found it sorely lacking in the quality department, which is a definite disappointment in contrast to all the supposed wide acclaim it had. Frustrated with the sub-par offerings of Eizo's competitors, I decided to go straight to the endgame and just buy an Eizo.

That's not to say that NEC's monitors are poor (mine still works), because they are the closest to an Eizo in the market (and for many years as well). The workmanship of NEC displays is top-notch, and they have a more palatable price tag compared to Eizo's premium. Problem is, servicing an NEC monitor (in Singapore, at least) is a hassle and it seems that they have pulled out of the reference displays market too, with all of their SpectraView series of monitors listed as discontinued on their website and on B&H. HP's DreamColor is a consideration, but support for them in Singapore is absent, if any. That more or less leaves Eizo in the running - and with their strong local and APAC presence, solid warranty and service delivery, it's probably the only logical choice for a no-compromise professional display.

So why am I now writing this review when the reputation and quality of an Eizo product more than speaks for itself? Well, recently I took part and won second runner-up in a local photography competition co-hosted by both Cathay Photo Singapore and Eizo APAC, which also came with the opportunity to loan the CG2700X display for a test drive. Curious to know how much of a difference the extra premium you pay makes for the CG2700X as compared to my CS2740, I went forward with the test drive of the sample unit loaned to me from Cathay Photo.

Disclaimer: This is an independent user review from a hobbyist photographer's perspective. Neither Cathay Photo nor Eizo APAC had any input to the content of this review, which is of a loaned sample unit without any obligations from either parties. As much as I can, I will be as upfront with all my product reviews as possible.

Initial Impressions

The Eizo CG2700X, just like the CS2740, is a heavy, no-nonsense, professional display with thick bezels on its front and cooling vents on its back. While not as thick and heavy as my old NEC, both Eizos are still heftier than the construction of the BenQ SW271, which is designed more like a modern-day bezel-less monitor. The CG2700X has a thicker top bezel for the built-in calibration sensor, and uses metal vents on its back for cooling, while the CS2740 depends on an external calibration device like my i1DisplayPro (now Calibrite) and uses mainly plastics for its construction. Nevertheless, it still feels as weighty and solid as its more expensive brethren.

Eizo CG2700X (left) and Eizo CS2740 (right) Eizo CG2700X (left) and Eizo CS2740 (right)

Both displays support hardware calibration, which means that the adjustment profiles are stored within the display itself and is handled by a dedicated ASIC chip that makes the necessary adjustments based on an internal 16-bit look up table (LUT). For more information about hardware calibration, you can refer to Eizo's explanation here.

The Eizo CG2700X also includes a monitor shading hood for better glare protection especially if your ambient environment is very well-lit. As my room isn't overly bright, I used mine without the hood to save some desk space. Additionally, the superior anti-reflective texture and surface treatment of the CG2700X panel allows for better contrast and reduced glare, which is noticeable especially when compared to my CS2740. Still, it's a welcome addition in the package especially since other brands also include hoods in their competing products.

Ease of Use

The On-Screen Display (OSD) of many monitors tend to be complex to navigate and understand, and though Eizo's implementation has advanced settings buried under layers of submenus, I'm happy to say that the common settings are right at the top. Different calibration profiles and targets can be easily switched, as well as the display input. The CG2700X can be scheduled to perform self-calibration through the OSD, without the need for ColorNavigator (Eizo's proprietary display management and calibration software) to be launched. This means that you can leave the monitor on standby and let it handle calibration by itself once a month (as recommended by Eizo), or as often as need be (especially if you print regularly). 

Self-calibration feature of the CG2700X

All of these settings are a touch away (or a few touches away, for the more advanced settings) on both the CS2740 and the CG2700X, which uses the same OSD user interface and touch-sensitive 'buttons'. Personally, I prefer the implementation of non-physical 'touch' buttons as opposed to physical buttons - which can wear out and become unresponsive if depressed too often. Additionally, the brightness of the buttons can be adjusted or turned off (same with the beep volume), which makes for a less distracting and uncluttered display.

Different display profiles are a touch away through the OSD shortcut

Performance

Performance of such a specialised piece of equipment like the Eizo CG2700X is excellent, but is not without its caveats which will be further explored in this review. In short - you don't have to worry about viewing angles, black points and uniformity with this display, as all Eizo ColorEdge displays are engineered to exacting standards that guarantee good viewing angles of up to 178° in either vertical or horizontal orientation. Although that is par for the course for most displays these days - most monitors would not be able to stay consistently uniform across the entire screen. With Eizo's Digital Uniformity Equalizer (DUE) technology, both Eizo displays correct for any internal variances in brightness and colour tone. In my experience, Eizo's implementation of this technology is top-notch, flattening out any perceived differences in brightness evenly across the panel. Contrast this with the BenQ SW271 which lacks such a feature - resulting in noticeable brightness and tone falloff towards the edges when an image is not placed at the centre of the screen.

Additionally, what makes the display so great with rendering colour precisely and uniformly also makes the Eizo a wonderful screen for content consumption and productivity. Videos and images don't "pop" like a typical glossy OLED or LCD display, but are rendered faithfully and true-to-life. The high-quality paper-like matte screen cuts glare and reflections, and can be set to output less blue light to combat eye strain. Eizo also claims flicker-free images with their displays, and although I'm unable to keenly perceive flicker from most other displays, I'm still appreciative of Eizo's efforts to cut eye fatigue, especially since we live in such a screen-dominated world. More information about Eizo's eye safety features can be found here.

The CG2700X is rated for a peak brightness of up to 500cd/m², and supports HDR content by default. Since I do not do much video work, except for the occasional Instagram reel, the 350cd/m² of my CS2740 is more than enough for my needs. I also set my displays to a lower brightness value of 100cd/m², which is optimal for both photography and print work, and has the added benefit of mitigating eye strain for those long editing nights.

Calibration and Measurements

While the CG2700X comes with 8 different factory-calibrated profiles, including the popular AdobeRGB and DCI-P3 colour spaces, I opted to use the custom profile I applied for my CS2740. With that, I can compare both screens to observe any discernible differences between them. With a custom profile, I have the the added benefit of using the monitor's full native gamut, which does not limit the palette of the monitor as opposed to using a preset (e.g. the AdobeRGB profile will limit the display to only output colours within the AdobeRGB spectrum).

Creating a custom colour profile for colour calibration can be a daunting process if you are new to this - under the main ColorNavigator window, select an unused CAL advanced (ADV) colour mode and create a new target under 'Target Settings'.

This would bring up a new window with 4 options. Select 'Enter manually' to adjust parameters such as the brightness, black level, temperature and gamma to your use-case.

Note that you may need to enable the colour mode by right-clicking the mode and selecting 'enable' before you can do so.

These steps are the same if you wish to create different targets for different applications, such as DCI-P3 for video work and paper matching/softproofing for print work. Eizo has a handy guide that details the benefits of hardware calibration and the recommended settings to use for the process, which can be accessed here.

The below table summarises the settings I use for my photography work, which I feel suits most web publications and the occasional print job. For further reference, Image Science made a lengthy article with a detailed explanation of each setting for calibration that does a better job with the explanation of each setting. 

Setting Value Info
Brightness 100cd/m² Mimics the intensity of reflected light off a print, also easy on the eyes
Black Level Minimum If you print regularly, a black point of 0.4cd/m² is recommended as paper has a lower contrast level
White Point 6500K/5000K 6500K - D65 sRGB colour standard for web use 5000K - D50 standard for printing and publishing
Gamma 2.2 Most screens in the world uses a gamma of 2.2, which would work in most web or print jobs
Priority Standard Best left to 'standard' as per Eizo's recommendation for a CG2xx0 or CS model. Can be biased towards grey balance if you absolutely need your greys neutral.
Gamut Native For print work, it's useful to display the full spectrum of colours. If you are doing video, it may be more logical to set it to DCI-P3 or Rec.709.
ICC Profile  4.2 4.2 is the latest version and most modern software should be compatible with it.

Once your desired settings are dialed in, hit the 'Calibrate' button and follow the on-screen instructions to calibrate your monitor. For a display without a in-built calibrator like my CS2740, you will be prompted to hook up your external calibrator to your computer. With the CG2700X however, the process is automated via the self-calibration functionality. Calibration with both monitors is a snappy affair, taking no more than three minutes. A sped up clip of the process is shown below.

Calibrating the CG2700X (top) vs CS2740 (bottom)

Once calibration completes, ColorNavigator will display the result of the calibration. With the CG2700X, you can obtain a superior contrast ratio of nearly 1500:1 - much higher than my CS2740's 782:1. This positions the CG2700X as a better monitor for mastering video content with its superior low black levels. For print work, you will need to increase the black levels to a recommended value of 0.4cd/m², which will decrease your contrast ratio to around 250:1 if your peak brightness is set to 100cd/m² - both monitors will handle this without a sweat. That said, the CG2700X is definitely more versatile of the two with its better contrast ratio and lower black levels - ideal for both the production and consumption of video content.

CG2700X calibration result

Validation

ColorNavigator will prompt you to perform a validation of the calibration, which gives you an idea of how accurate your screen is. The process runs through a set of validation colour targets and uses the colorimeter to measure how 'off' your screen is to a particular colour. The ΔE result is shown as a summary and for each particular colour measured. Usually I would skip this step as it is not necessary, but I performed it for both my monitors to compare their abilities in rendering colours accurately.

Generally, monitors with a ΔE of 3 and below are considered very good, and a ΔE of 1 and below will be imperceptible to the human eye. 
Both monitors performed admirably in this regard, with very low average ΔE values of less than 0.5.

Most LCD monitors will struggle with displaying accurate colours at lower brightness values, and that is the same for my CS2740 - resulting in a higher maximum ΔE score. Not for the CG2700X. It is able to achieve deeper blacks as compared to the CS2740, displaying more accurate colours in the darker shades - hence its lower maximum ΔE value.

The above validation result shows the performance of the CG2700X for each individual colour tested. Note the topmost colour patch tested (0,0,0 - black), again showing its ability to display deep black levels and darker colour shades accurately. The CS2740 scored a ΔE of 2.03 vs the CG2700X's 0.74 in this regard. To read more visual perception between colours and how the ΔE is defined, read this article.

Gamut Volume

Both displays are marketed as true 10-bit (1024 shades per RGB value) screens, which means they can display up to 1.07 billion colours simultaneously without the use of frame-rate contol (FRC) dithering like cheaper monitors. Typical consumer displays are 8-bit, which only displays up to 16.77 million simultaneous colours.

To make up for their shortcomings, FRC alternates colours for each pixel so quickly that your eyes will perceive the 'intermediate' colour. While this is usually imperceptible in real life, it's satisfying to know that Eizo does not skimp on quality and the potential for flicker from using FRC - which is why they could market their monitors as flicker-free indeed.

I measured the gamut coverage for both displays to compare how well they cover popular colour spaces like AdobeRGB and DCI-P3 for photo and video work. This time, I used an external open-source software (DisplayCAL) to determine this metric and to validate the results from Eizo's ColorNavigator.

The CG2700X and the CS2740 are both marketed to cover 99% of the AdobeRGB spectrum, and from the looks of it, this claim is very accurate. The CG2700X even manages to edge out the CS2740 here with its near-perfect AdobeRGB coverage score of 99%. Additionally, the CG2700X claims to cover 98% of the DCI-P3 space, and the measured result is very close to the spec. While the CS2740 does handle video well, it has a somewhat lower DCI-P3 coverage score which puts it more into the territory of a photography-first monitor for print.

DisplayCal also does its own validation on the screens, which basically confirms the validation result from ColorNavigator. The CG2700X scored a maximum ΔE of 0.76 versus the CS2740's maximum of 2.33, both of which are close to what ColorNavigator reported.

Comparing the native gamut coverage for both CG2700X (in rainbow) and CS2740 (in white) displays, it is apparent that Eizo has managed to squeeze out slightly more colours from the CG2700X. This is why it supports both AdobeRGB and DCI-P3 spaces so well - quite a feat of engineering indeed! This definitely makes the CG2700X the more versatile monitor for photography, print and especially video work.

Screen Uniformity

DisplayCal has a useful tool for determining screen uniformity (under Tools > Report > Measure Display Device Uniformity) that performs a rigourous series of tests with an external colorimeter across the entire surface of the screen. The default patch layout is a 5x5 grid, where you will be prompted to take brightness measurements throughout the screen using this grid. This gives you an idea of the brightness distribution and any colour shifts across the screen.

Typical consumer displays have an uneven spread of luminance and colour temperature across the screen, and they generally experience higher falloff the more you deviate from the centre. Eizo's ColorEdge CS and CG monitors combat this via their proprietary DUE technology by automatically correcting non-uniformities in luminance and chrominance for all tone values across the entire image area - equalising brightness and colour shifts across the entirety of your screen. This is important for creative content production and printing, because there's no point calibrating your display just for it to be most accurate in the middle of the panel - you are going to need to work on your images or videos across the canvas of your screen, so you need every part of the display to be as accurate as it is in the centre.

CS2740 uniformity test results

First up is my personal CS2740 display - with DUE enabled, the results are spectacular, showing green across the board (ΔE < 2 deviation for each patch from the centre as reference). This is a very impressive result, which reflects in real-world use. Opening a white background shows no noticeable shifts in colour or brightness when viewed off-centre, which means that you can process your work with confidence that your end result would look as close as what you have envisioned on your monitor.

CG2700X uniformity test results

Next up - the CG2700X. It almost passes all patches with flying colours, except for the last two in the bottom right where it slightly exceeded ΔE > 2 for maximum brightness deviation. Still, it passes the uniformity test, though not at the exacting level of my CS2740 - which is an odd result. This could be due to sample variation, or the engineering sample unit that was sent to me.

For curiosity's sake, I did a test without DUE enabled on the CG2700X - and as expected, the brightness and tonal shifts were significant especially off centre. I would recommend to keep this setting on for almost all use cases.

CG2700X uniformity test results without DUE enabled

To dig deeper into the reason behind this deviation in the CG2700X's performance in screen uniformity, I did a long exposure of both displays with a black frame displayed on screen in a darkened room to observe how each monitor handles backlight bleed and blooming. Note that all LCD monitors will show some amount of backlight bleeding or haloing, but Eizo keeps this to a minimum. Nevertheless, I had to use a significant amount of exposure time for the backlight bleed to show up. This is generally not an issue in real life though.

Ignore the pin-point bright spot in the CG2700X pictures - it's a scratch on the engineering sample that I was sent. The 25s exposure is probably too extreme an example for showing backlight bleed, but it does show how even the CS2740's screen is. There is some glow around the corners, though this is very much inconsequential to my eyes when editing my photos. The CG2700X one-ups the CS2740 by having a screen that is much closer to black in the 25s exposure - definitely a testament to its superior contrast ratio. 

However, there appears to be more unevenness especially in the bottom right of the display where backlight bleed is most severe on the CG2700X. This does correspond to the drop in uniformity across this region as seen in the earlier uniformity tests. I could also make out the bottom row LED backlights through the screen in the longer exposure. Again, this could be plausibly due to my CG2700X being an engineering sample - so this result could be more of an exception than the norm.

In both of the shorter 5s exposures, both displays handled backlight bleed admirably, and I was hard-pressed to make out any blooming in the images. 

Conclusion

The CG2700X is a no-nonsense piece of kit that aims to provide a solidly neutral canvas for your digital editing needs. With its superior contrast ratio and screen uniformity surpassing most of its competitors in the market, the CG2700X promises a result that you can knowingly trust that what you see is indeed what you get - on print or on digital media. It takes away the hassle of hooking up an external calibrator, quietly and faithfully keeping track of your calibration schedule and performing re-calibration every time it is needed. It does have a steep price tag of $5,101.00 (from Cathay Photo's online store, the local distributor for Eizo products in Singapore), but if you are a professional looking for an uncompromising image or video editing tool, the CG2700X is tough to beat. All in all, you do get what you pay for and more with this professional-grade display. For me though, I'm happy enough with my trusty CS2740!


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