Onscreen menus of different LCD monitors only differ in terms of interface design and some minor nuances. All of them offer the same standard selection of setup options. That’s why we don’t usually discuss the onscreen menu at length in our reviews but only remark on the drawbacks and untypical settings available in it. But this review is entirely dedicated to one monitor, so I would like to discuss its setup options and give you some tips on how to use them.
The menu of the ThinkVision L220x consists of five sections whose icons are placed in a row at the top of the window (the sixth icon is for exiting the menu; it is redundant as you can quit the menu by pressing the Cancel button repeatedly).
Inside each section there are icons and text explaining the meaning of the icons. The text appears when you select an appropriate icon.
The first menu section contains brightness and contrast settings. Selecting an icon and pressing OK, you get a slider with a scale from 0 to 100. Note that the brightness of the screen changes the same moment you change the position of the slider. But if you press the Cancel button, the settings will be reset to their previous values. To save your changes, you must exit each menu section by pressing the OK button. The L220x differs here from most other monitors in which every setting is applied and saved just as you change it rather than when you press a certain button.
Like with nearly every other LCD monitor, the Brightness option means the regulation of the brightness of the backlight lamps. The Contrast option means the regulation of the maximum transparency of the LCD matrix (in other words, it is the regulation of the brightness of white without changing the level of black). That’s why you should try to achieve the necessary brightness of the screen by means of the Brightness setting. If the screen is too bright even at the zero level of this setting, you should use the Contrast setting then. Why? Because the backlight lamps affect neither color reproduction nor contrast ratio whereas the Contrast setting reduces the effective contrast ratio and the available dynamic range (you’ll have the same problems if you are adjusting the image with the graphics card driver, by the way).
I don’t mean you shouldn’t touch the Contrast setting at all. The monitor must be set up in such a way as to strain your eyes less. Both a very high and a very low level of white are no good for your eyes.
It is quite easy to select the necessary settings. Place a sheet of white paper next to the monitor and set the latter up (using the Brightness setting first and then, if not enough, Contrast) so that white on the screen was about as bright as the paper. Of course, the ambient lighting must be good. This is the natural requirement every doctor will tell you about irrespective of the monitor model. It is not good for the eyes if there is a high contrast between the screen and its surroundings.
The next two menu items are needed to set the image up at analog connection. They are unavailable at DVI connection, and I wouldn’t recommend you to connect a 1920x1200 monitor to your graphics card’s analog output.
So, you have set the monitor’s Brightness and Contrast up in such a way that its white is the same brightness as the sheet of paper. It differs in color, though. The monitor’s white is obviously bluish. It means you have to tweak the color temperature settings.
They are divided into two groups in the monitor’s menu: preset modes and manual adjustment.
There are four preset modes: Reddish, Bluish, Neutral (in between the previous two) and sRGB. The latter mode is called after the sRGB standard that describes typical monitor characteristics, namely a gamma of 2.2, a color temperature of 6500K, and 80nit brightness. The sRGB standard declares certain brightness, so when you choose this mode, the manual Brightness and Contrast settings are locked like in many other monitors. You’ll see shortly how close the sRGB mode settings are to the sRGB standard.
If you don’t like any of the preset modes, you have to use the manual adjustment.
Unfortunately, color temperature is set up by balancing three colors (red, green and blue) rather than by means of a single slider (in degrees Kelvin). In fact, green might be calculated automatically. Its level depends on the ratio of red to blue. If this correlation is broken, the screen will be either pink (lack of green) or greenish. However, the manufacturers don’t find time to introduce the appropriate algorithm into the onscreen menu.
The manual adjustment with the three parameters requires patience or a hardware calibrator (such as our DataColor Spyder 3). I will give you a few tips about that shortly.
When you choose the desired values for all the three colors, select the Save item and press the OK button. Otherwise your values will be reset to the previous ones when you quit the menu.
The last menu item contains settings that refer to the menu proper. You can choose the language, position of the menu on the screen, and the time-out for the menu to disappear automatically. You can also view the monitor’s current resolution or reset all its settings to the factory defaults.