Brightness and Contrast

With the previous LED monitor I saw from BenQ, the exceptional thing about it was native contrast ratios that exceeded 3000:1 at all levels of light output. These superior contrast levels result in better highlight and shadow detail across the screen, and an image with more “pop” than other displays.

With the monitor set to its maximum light output, I managed to record 272 nits of output, which should be more than enough for most users. With the brightness set to the minimum value, we dropped down to 81 nits, which provides enough range for people that want to use the display in total darkness for print work. It’s very unlikely that anyone would need to use a monitor above or below these peak values, so the BenQ provides plenty of light output for everyone. (Note that it's possible to get the white output even lower if you tune the RGB colors in the "User" mode, though we didn't feel this was necessary.)

White Level - XR Pro and Xrite i1D2

Of course if the black levels are very high to go with those white levels, you’ll lose a lot of image quality. With the brightness set to maximum, our minimum black level was recorded at 0.062 nits. This black level is lower than many other panels can manage with their brightness set to the minimum value, which is good to see. Setting the brightness to the minimum gave us a reading of 0.019, which is a very good value as well.

Black Level - XR Pro and Xrite i1D2

Putting these numbers together gives the BenQ a contrast ratio of right around 4,400:1 at both minimum and maximum brightness levels. This is even better than the previous panel and is easily the best contrast we have recorded for a monitor (without any dynamic contrast at play). Unless we start to see LED backlight monitors, or OLED monitors, that can potentially put out absolutely no light on a solid black screen, it might be a while until we see numbers much better than these. There are a lot of LED lit panels out there now, but the BenQ currently performs better than any of them when it comes to contrast ratio.

Contrast Ratio - XR Pro and Xrite i1D2

Contrast ratio is one thing that can really make a huge difference in the quality of the image and is often not valued as much as it should be, but here it is just fantastic. BenQ has a huge advantage over everyone else it seems and hopefully this will motivate everyone to improve their own contrast ratios. [Ed: Please, can laptops get some of this high contrast love?]

Viewing Angles and Color Quality Uniformity and Gamut
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  • justaviking - Saturday, December 10, 2011 - link

    I just bought a 16:10 TV/Monitor.

    Very cheap, but after recently buying a smaller yet similar product for my wife, which she loves, so I thought I'd give it a whirl mostly because of the aspect ratio, and the bonus of doubling as a TV, and an unbeatable price..

    Hannspree ST289MUB 28" Class LCD HDTV - 1080p
    1920x1200, 16:10
    800:1 Native, 10000:1 Dynamic, 5ms, 60Hz, 2 HDMI, Black

    It was (still is) $200 after the sales price and a $50 rebate at TigerDirect.

    I wonder how a budget item like this would stand up to an AnandTech review. Is it a great deal or a waste of money?
    Reply
  • JWatson - Sunday, December 11, 2011 - link

    The Hannspree use TN panels. Meaning the black levels/contrast aren't nearly as good, as well the viewing angles. I used to have the older non-TV version of the Hannspree. It was a great monitor at 27.5 for just everyday computer purposes, but when it came to movies and gaming...well the blacks were not great, nor the viewing angles, or backlight bleed.

    To see what I mean by poor viewing angles try this link
    http://www.lagom.nl/lcd-test/viewing_angle.php

    Those letters should all be the same color. If you have a *VA or *IPS the text will have the same color. If you are using a TN panel, it'll show different color for the text depending on your angle.

    If you need to do any professional photo editing on the Hannspree...forget about it. You can't calibrate to be accurate enough. You need a *VA or *IPS panel monitor.

    If you just want a large, web browsing, office work, semi tv and movie watching, then the Hannspree is great for the price. I still recommend it as a budget monitor. However, If you're looking for quality...look elsewhere.
    Reply
  • justaviking - Monday, December 12, 2011 - link

    Thanks for the great link. It provides wonderful examples and offers a great tip of viewing at a distance equal to your diagonal size when evaluating the screen.

    I viewed the images on the $15 montior I have a work. At least I hope they only paid $15 for it. Ewww.

    I can't wait to try it on a few of my monitors at home. I figured there would be compromises on the Hannspree. But for the price and features I'm hoping it'll be acceptable.

    I don't have very demanding needs (no professional photography work, though I do enjoy video editing). But it'll be fun to compare a couple of the Samsung monitors I like with the Hannspree TV/monitor.

    There's no need to test my wife's laptop. It is horrible. A nice i5 processor paired with a screen that has about a 10 degree viewing angle. Gahh!

    Thanks again.
    Reply
  • SirGCal - Saturday, December 10, 2011 - link

    With most games locked to console specs and vertical fov, 16:9 actually has more viewable space. If they don't have locked vertical FOV (rare), then the 10's can show more due to their increased vertical pixel space... But still, since 16:9 is the 'industry' standard in everything accept desktop's, I fully expect the 10's to disappear. Besides, the higher res 16:9's are right around the corner anyhow with Ultra HD. 1200 and 1600 vertical pixels are most likely going away. 1080 will likely be the default standard with 1440 and 2160 being the higher end models. Maybe we'll even see some 4320s... I suspect we'll start to see these more often very soon (some already available...)

    Personally, I like the wider screen of the 16:9 anyhow, especially with vertically locked graphics engines in many of today's games.
    Reply
  • JediJeb - Saturday, December 10, 2011 - link

    Honestly I still prefer the 1280X1024 ratio, (4:3 I think it is) since most of my work deals more with vertical space than horizontal. Reply
  • kmmatney - Sunday, December 11, 2011 - link

    1280 x 1024 is a 5:4 ratio. LCD monitors with a 4:3 ratio were rare (and now extinct) , but I'm typing on one now (1400 x 1050). It's great very general work, and I prefer it over 16:9, but not 16:10. Reply
  • kkwst2 - Monday, December 12, 2011 - link

    I have a 19" 1280x1024 next to a 24" 1920x1200 at home, and used to like this setup a lot. But now at work I have a 30" 2560x1600 next to 1200x1900 (24" oriented vertically) and I like this much better.

    I use the vertical 24" for displaying Outlook, Word docs, and some more vertically oriented Excel workbooks. Also good for code. The 30" I use for graphics and layout stuff, as well as side-by-side spreadsheets. I used to think I would always want one screen that is more square, but now I really like the two screens with opposite orientation. The 30" is a luxury, but not necessary. When my 19" dies I'm going to two 24" at home with opposite orientation.
    Reply
  • ibtar - Saturday, December 10, 2011 - link

    I purchased an EW2420 (essentially the same panel) to compare to a ZR24w and just didn't care for it. The only thing it had going for it was it's contrast and black level. Colors just never looked quite right and A-MVA viewing angles simply do not come close to IPS. Despite the contrast ratio being nearly 5 times as high, I simply couldn't keep it. Reply
  • jabber - Saturday, December 10, 2011 - link

    And whilst I assume its just a budget E-IPS panel its a very nice monitor to work with.

    Reasonable adjustment, good viewing angles, calibration report in the box and a matte effect bezel!

    All for just £125! For a day to day work monitor its a bargain.
    Reply
  • jabber - Saturday, December 10, 2011 - link

    In fact just plugged my Spyder3Pro calibrator and ran the full calibration on the USER and sRGB modes.

    Other than a adjustment on the brightness the difference in calibration was minimal so pretty accurate out of the box.
    Reply

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