Articles: Monitors

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There are a lot of examples for that. Do you know that there are two methods of measuring the contrast ratio (static and dynamic), two methods of measuring the response time (GtG and ISO13406-2) and two methods of measuring the viewing angles (for a contrast ratio of 10:1 and 5:1)? And if the specified parameters of two monitors are measured in different ways, it is impossible to compare them. The comparison just won’t make any sense.

Trusting your eyes doesn’t work always, either. The shop window is not the best place for comparing monitors because they are not set up properly, work at different levels of brightness, and may have some color-enhancing technologies enabled. Here you can only evaluate the exterior design and ergonomics of the monitor while its color accuracy, response time and other parameters should be checked out in reviews or with users of the same model.

If you have made up your mind as to the specific model, you must make sure the sample brought to you is free from dead pixels. To do this check, a special test program is launched displaying red, green, blue, white and black screens and you can see if there are any unwanted black or white dots. If you find a dead pixel, you can ask for another sample. It may be more difficult to replace the monitor if a dead pixel appears after a while because monitor makers do not usually consider a small number of dead pixels as a defect. Of course, the lack of dead pixels does not mean that they won’t appear in an hour, month or year, but you shouldn’t neglect this test. In some shops you can also ask to connect the monitor to a PC so that you could check it alive.

The rest of the monitor’s qualities are hard to test when shopping. Nonuniform brightness of the backlight can usually be noticed only under dim ambient lighting. A squeaking of the power adapter can hardly be heard in the noise of the shop. Color accuracy is perhaps the only parameter you can evaluate more or less correctly: colors must not be bluish. There should be little or no banding in color gradients, and the different levels of gray should have the same tone, without deflecting into red, yellow, pink or blue.

Talking about the visual qualities of the monitor, I can’t pass by the frequent question, “does this model strain the eyes?” In my opinion, supported by practice, almost every case of permanent eyestrain is due to the incorrect installation or setup of the monitor, particularly when the screen is set too high (your eyes should look downward in order to be half-covered with the lids and dry out less), when you work at nonnative resolutions or at analog connection with low signal quality, or when the screen brightness or color temperature is too high. You can refer to our general setup recommendations and specific example for details.

Before I proceed further, I want to say it once again: this article is the result of my personal experience of working with different monitors. The models mentioned below are those that I distinguish among others for some reason and recommend to people who ask my advice. If I don’t mention some model in this review, it means either that I don’t think it noteworthy (it is just a regular monitor like many others) or that I don’t know that model well enough to make judgments about it.

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