Brightness and Backlight Uniformity
The monitor’s Brightness and Contrast are set at 100% and 75%, respectively, by default. I achieved my reference point of 100-nit white at 30% Brightness and 48% Contrast.
The monitor regulates its brightness by modulating the power of its LEDs at a frequency of 180 Hz. The SA850 uses a white LED backlight, which helped make its case rather slim and light.
Unfortunately, the contrast ratio isn’t high at below 600:1. This is lower than the typical contrast ratio of e-IPS matrixes (600 to 700:1). The maximum brightness is high but you can easily make the screen as bright as is comfortable to you.
The three available MagicBright modes give you three different levels of brightness. The Cinema mode has a very odd color rendering setup (I’ll talk about them shortly) whereas the Standard and Game modes do not distort colors. For practical purposes, I guess that the monitor should be set up manually for a lower screen brightness than the Standard mode for productivity and Web applications, so you can use Standard for viewing photographs and playing games at night and switch into the Game mode for watching movies and playing games in the daytime.
The low contrast ratio may be due to the poor uniformity of the backlight. The picture based on the results of my measurements shows a bright spot in the center of the screen, just where I measured the contrast ratio. That spot is not as bright as the bottom left corner, though.
Although the extent of the variation in brightness is exaggerated in the picture for illustrative purposes, the monitor is obviously far from ideal, especially with black. Talking about the exact numbers, the average nonuniformity of brightness for black is 8% whereas the maximum deflection from the base level is as high as 45%! For white, the average and maximum are 3.6% and 8.3%, respectively. It’s hard to say why the monitor is so good with white and so poor with black, but the bright spot in the corner of the screen can be considered a defect. It is going to be conspicuous when watching movies, for example.