I’ve been frequently criticized for my measuring the time it takes a black pixel to become white and black again, although the transition from black to any tone of gray may significantly differ from that “black-to-white” transition. So my measurements of the response time characteristic of LCD monitors are right from the technical point of view, but need correction from the user’s point of view. Well really, if two monitors have the same 30msec pixel response time, but can behave very unlike each other in reality. What shall we do then?
Still I stick to my point that subjective impressions are not a solid ground for a hardware reviewer, as they heavily depend on the tester’s tastes and habits. Moreover, it’s just hard to compare a dozen of monitors in practice as you forget about the first one when working with the ninth or tenth monitor. I don’t even mention different testing sessions that may take place several weeks apart from one another: the result can be not very objective, even if the tester is the same person.
Besides that, subjective impressions are dull and succinct like “this one is better than that one.” But why is it better? Well, if the specification claims “16msec response time” for the first monitor, and “40msec” for the second, I can well ground my vague feelings, but what if they both have “25msec”? Did one of the manufacturers declare the response time incorrectly, and it is actually smaller or bigger than specified? Or maybe it is correct, but the response time is different in some other operational mode like under reduced screen brightness or on transitions between black and gray? These questions can only be answered through objective, without that flimsy human element, measurements of the monitor parameters.
This is the reason for my measuring and publishing the pixel transition time (from black to tones of gray) for every monitor, starting from this review. The sensor I use for taking the response time measurements was redesigned for better sensitivity. For each tested monitor you will see a graph showing the correlation between the pixel rise time (the Y-axis) and the tone of gray (X-axis) into which the transition from black was performed. The tones of gray fall into a range of 32 (dark-gray) to 255 (pure white) with the increment of 32.
I also checked one more characteristic of the monitors. As 18-bit-color matrixes have become much popular (some of those 16.2 million colors declared in the specs are created by dithering), I viewed photographs and pictures of smooth color gradients trying to discern artifacts like untidy dithering or stripes in the gradients. However, all the monitors you’ll read about in this review provide a pretty good color reproduction for a home user, but this doesn’t mean all LCD monitors with 18-bit matrixes will have such good characteristics. If you work with colors professionally, there is a table in the end of the review with color coordinates of the RGB filters for all tested monitors.
The color profiles for the monitors are packed into one ZIP-file, you can download it here (23.5KB).