The monitor’s brightness and contrast settings are set to 64% and 100% by default. By choosing 52% contrast and 36% brightness I achieved a 100nit brightness of white.
Unfortunately, the color reproduction setup is deficient even when examined “by the eye”. The image has a noticeable lilac hue and black becomes violet at high brightness settings (this has nothing to do with the well-known effect of S-IPS matrices when the characteristic violet hue appears if you’re looking at the screen from a side). Moreover, the monitor is more or less good at representing colors only at its default settings. As soon as you change the brightness or contrast setting, either darks become the same as pure black or lights become indistinguishable from white.
The viewing angles, on the contrary, are superb thanks to the S-IPS technology.
I drew the graph above at the default settings. As you can see, the color reproduction is overall good, except for the too intensive blue color.
This graph was drawn at 36% brightness. Alas, about one fourth of darkest red and green tones and one fifth of darkest blue tones are indistinguishable from black. A similar thing happens when you try to increase the brightness above the default. The monitor just stops to distinguish between light tones, the blue color suffering the most in this case.
You can see that the level of blue is too high by the measured color temperatures: gray is considerably colder than white, especially at the 9300K setting. Note also that the User mode defaults to 9300K rather than to 6500K as with many other monitors.
The L172WT has a typical response time of an S-IPS matrix. Unlike with TN+Film matrices, the graph doesn’t have a sudden fall in its right part, on black-white transitions, thanks to which they declare small response times. Thus, although the specified response time of this matrix is 25 milliseconds, it is in fact not much slower than the supposedly fast TN+Film matrices.
The maximum brightness of the monitor is lower than the manufacturer’s enthusiastic 550 nits, but the available 300 nits are quite enough for a majority of applications. The contrast ratio was good (for an S-IPS matrix) at the default settings only. The matrix can’t show its potential because the brightness is changed through the matrix rather than through the backlight lamps and this adds to the inaccurate color reproduction setup. When the brightness setting is high, the level of black goes up (becoming gray or even violet in this particular case). When the brightness is low, the monitor quickly reaches the minimum level of black and only worsens the reproduction of dark tones from that point on, as I wrote above.
The Flatron L172WT was devised as a very interesting product – a widescreen 17” monitor on an S-IPS matrix (both things are rare today) with a built-in TV-tuner. Thanks to its fast matrix (don’t get misled with the specified 25 milliseconds – look at the response time graph above instead!) this monitor will behave well in movies and in games, but the highly inaccurate color reproduction setup negates these advantages (the monitor has a good contrast and a wide dynamic range only in a small range of settings, near the default ones).