Brightness and Contrast

For this review, I altered the way I measure brightness and contrast. With display vendors including dynamic modes that shut off the backlight completely on all-black screens, those can’t be used for testing anymore as it leads to infinite contrast ratios. Additionally it doesn’t do a real world, accurate test of what the real contrast and brightness levels would be. Instead I am now measuring the screen using a 5x5 ANSI contrast pattern, once regular and once reversed. This allows for getting a better idea of panel response, and it will reward companies that use better backlighting systems (like LED array systems) that have precise control, less backlight bleeding, or that move to a technology like OLED in the future.

The downside is that new results are not directly comparable to old results. It also doesn’t scale well from a large display to a smaller display, as the smaller targets on small displays mean you might more easily read light from another target. I would expect that numbers now will look a little worse than before because of the harder testing, and nowhere near the ridiculous numbers often quoted by vendors. It will provide better data for the readers, however, and so it is the way to move forward.

White Level -  XR Pro, Xrite i1D2 and XR i1DPro

With the brightness set to maximum we get a white level in the center of the ANSI pattern of 259 nits. This is lower than I expected from the specs, but a full field white might be able to generate a brighter square as well. For the minimum white level I set the brightness level down to 20. With it set to 19 I could get a reading on white of around 1 nit, but black was below what the meter could read, and so I had to set it up to 20. Set here, I had 3.8 nits of light output (which is rounded up to 4 in the chart). Some displays only get down to 70-80 nits, which might be brighter than some users want, so this is a good number to see. I just wish the brightness control functioned all the way down to 0 to provide better control of the backlight overall.

Black Level - XR Pro, Xrite i1D2 and XR i1DPro

The black level of the Nixeus with the backlight set to maximum is 0.553. This seems high, but this is our first pass with the new ANSI testing method, so we will have to see if this winds up being high or low after a couple more reviews. The black level of the Nixeus with the brightness at 20 is 0.008 nits, which is quite low. It’s really as low as we’ve measured before, but this is somewhat a result of a backlight that stops being functional below this setting.

Contrast Ratio -  XR Pro, Xrite i1D2 and XR i1DPro

The resulting contrast ratios here are 469:1 at maximum and 455:1 at minimum. These unfortunately come in at the bottom of the list for 27” monitors--and really it's the bottom of the chart for all the monitors we have reviewed recently. Getting good contrast ratios becomes harder as the display gets larger, and the backlighting systems to really pull them off become more expensive. I think we are almost stuck with these lower contrast ratios until we start to see more screen innovations, like OLED or backlit-LED array displays, but those are also very expensive. I’m not too happy about the sub-500:1 number as dynamic range is very important in a display, but it’s a compromise you’ll have to weigh yourself.

Introduction, Design, and OSD Nixeus NX-VUE27 Color Quality
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  • Sabresiberian - Friday, September 21, 2012 - link

    Uh, can you say Sony GDM FW900?

    ;)
    Reply
  • hcforde - Friday, September 21, 2012 - link

    I got one of the first shipments and have ordered 2 more. I use mine mostly for productivity but have run a number of games just to see how they look and feel. I am mostly playing Crysis 2 with all the eye candy turned up(no AA as it is not necessary). Coming from a 1920*1200 monitor, I do not notice any lag either. I am running 2-2GB 5870's Xfired.

    A bit disappointed that other "bargain" monitors were not shown against this one. Apples-to-apples comparison are always better in my opinion.

    I would recommend it to gamers that want to play at 2560*1440
    Reply
  • Scannall - Friday, September 21, 2012 - link

    They did a review of one of the bargain ones earlier this year.

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/5885/the-achieva-shi...

    It looks like, from the results the bargain one did a lot better.
    Reply
  • atotroadkill - Friday, September 21, 2012 - link

    They used a different new testing method for the NX-VUE27 than the one for the achieva. Reply
  • atotroadkill - Friday, September 21, 2012 - link

    Some of the testing methods used for the NX-VUE27 was different than that review. Reply
  • cruzinbill - Friday, September 21, 2012 - link

    I think that I will just stick to korean monitors. 2 for 550 shipped and it seems to be actually nicer quality than this one. If you go through a good seller for the Korean models you can normally get one with 0 dead pixels as well.

    Only complaint on them is the base could be more sturdy..... but I dont flash dance on my desk so its not an issue.
    Reply
  • Wkstar - Friday, September 21, 2012 - link

    Two Catleap 2703's for $600. delivered
    They are Perfect !
    I do Not have any Pixel or Lightbleed issues
    The stand is good, I do not dance on my desk so they do Not wobble
    I have never wanted a stand that rotates, or pivots, So No problem there
    I do Not rub the Bezel like some people do slot machines, So there is no fingerprint problem

    They do Not make me coffee in the morning so that is a Major problem
    Reply
  • IceDread - Friday, September 21, 2012 - link

    The price is too high for what you get.

    Looking at the input lag alone however makes this monitor not acceptable. 2 frames of input lag.. !
    Reply
  • cheinonen - Friday, September 21, 2012 - link

    I'm away from home and will update the article when I return, but some notes from Nixeus after the review went up:

    - A few monitors in the initial batch suffered from the "no backlight below 19" issue I mentioned. For anyone with this, Nixeus will RMA it and repair the issue, and so I will have mine fixed after I return and then update the appropriate sections. This also makes it clear that my display was straight off the line and not hand-picked as well.

    - The packaging has been updated since I received mine. The stand was updated late in production, and so custom packaging couldn't be completed in time it seems, but now it is packed better.

    - The price of $500 is being set by the reseller due to current demand, but will drop back down to the $430 original price in the future once production catches up with demand.

    I'm also going to mention that lag on a 27" is going to be an issue for testing going forward until I find something else to test with. Right now I can get the response time measured, but not the lag time correctly when using the scaler. Since I have to use a CRT to measure it, and the CRT is only 1920x1200 at the maximum, that presents an issue. I keep the aspect ratio the same as the display under test (16x9 or 16x10) but the LCD has to scale using this method. I would assume you would get faster results with the native resolution, but that's just a guess unfortunately.
    Reply
  • Sabresiberian - Friday, September 21, 2012 - link

    These aren't actually out yet - first run is expected to be in the hands of those who pre-ordered first week in October - but they are selling their base model for $319.99. That includes a 1-year warranty. Shipping is extra, unlike the Korean models, but for continental U.S. buyers it's less than $30 so not bad at all. Their panels are "A" grade, not "A-".

    http://www.overlordcomputer.com/Default.asp

    Supply is limited and you need to pre-order to be sure to get one at this point. I have one of the "Pixel Perfect" and "Overclockable" monitors ordered which I should get mid-October or so.

    I'm hoping you guys at Anandtech will test these Overlords out. It would be great for you to run an overclocked one @ 120Hz and see what you get.

    ;)
    Reply

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