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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  • Scannall - Thursday, September 20, 2012 - link

    It seems to me that $500 is really too high for that. Microcenter often has the Auria 2560x1440 IPS in stock for $400, with the warranty and all that.

    I'm one of those that went the Korean monitor route. My budget was $300, and I ended up spending $295 delivered. I do acknowledge there is a little risk there. But mine arrived and works perfectly. And it looks far better than anything else I could have bought for the same money.

    Reply
  • piroroadkill - Friday, September 21, 2012 - link

    I agree. Either you go dirt cheap and you take a risk, or you buy a Dell U2711.
    I don't see the point spending more than the cheapest and getting something which is barely better, and still has a slightly cheap appearance.
    If I'm going to spend money on a monitor, it better look the part too (I have a Dell U2410).
    Reply
  • PubFiction - Friday, September 21, 2012 - link

    I went the Korean way but I heard alot of people cry about the warranty. So I think they will have a niche. Also the Auria seems to be hit or miss for availability. In fact even searching for it on the website is hit or miss, sometimes in the same day I can find it one minute and not the next.

    Also Korean monitors can be had for under $300, and $400 will get you the much better crossover stand.
    Reply
  • DigitalFreak - Friday, September 21, 2012 - link

    That Auria you say Microcenter has isn't on their website, and I've never seen it in my local store. Where are you located? Reply
  • Octavean - Saturday, September 22, 2012 - link

    The $399.99 AURIA EQ276W from Microcenter appears to be virtually identical to the the Nixeus NX-VUE27 reviewed here. The only difference appears to be the stand (no rotation or hight adjust) and the ~$30 to ~$100 markup.

    I don't see the point in paying more for the NX-VUE27 or taking a risk on the Korean single input solutions.
    Reply
  • jhoff80 - Wednesday, September 26, 2012 - link

    Yeah, I don't care what Nixeus has said, but this is definitely a rebrand of the Auria (or whatever initial product the Auria came from).

    Even the OSD is identical.
    Reply
  • lowlymarine - Thursday, September 20, 2012 - link

    I find it strange that you wouldn't include the measurements taken from the Korean panels (http://www.anandtech.com/show/5885/the-achieva-shi... especially since they're the most obvious competitor here.

    That said, I have (had?) a Catleap Q270 and can't recommend the experience either. Due to a questionable design decision (the side panel where you connect both the DC power plug and the DL-DVI panel was made of a conductive metal), it shorted out, causing sparks to erupt from the DVI cable when it touched the metal surface of the connector - mercifully, my video card was not damaged, even though that was the end of the DVI I was plugging in when it happened. So I contacted the eBay seller, who offered to pay for return shipping to Korea and to send out a replacement unit. That was a month ago today, and I still haven't received the replacement unit, although the seller did finally acknowledge receipt of the defective one and his intent to ship out the replacement "as soon as possible" on Tuesday morning. And of course, even when/if I do receive a replacement, it's likely to have the same potential for disaster.
    Reply
  • TheJian - Friday, September 28, 2012 - link

    Yet, Ryan tried to argue these are a popular thing in the forums last month...LOL. I debated it, and his 660TI remarks & conclusions in their 660TI launch review comments sections, until they (ryan and Jarred Walton) were reduced to insinuating I was an Ahole and uninformed etc...LOL. They really couldn't argue with my data :) EBay monitors...Jeez. If I'm that cheap or plain poor, I don't risk my money on some dude from Korea...ROFL Reply
  • Mygaffer - Friday, June 07, 2013 - link

    Its funny, you do you come off as an ahole. Reply
  • lowlymarine - Saturday, October 20, 2012 - link

    Since I happened to come across this post again while looking for the name of this display, I figure I'll update on what happened with my Catleap Q270. I did finally receive the replacement from Korea on the 18th of October (so just shy of two months without my display), and it DOES NOT have the same design flaw as the original unit. The side panel is now plastic, which should alleviate the path for arcing between the power jack and DVI port. Furthermore, color accuracy and backlight bleed on the replacement unit are much improved. Sadly, it does have a single stuck green subpixel in the top right quadrant, but it's hardly noticeable.

    I'd still say spending the little extra for a display where your warranty service (if necessary) will take a week instead of two months is probably worth it. But if you can't swing an extra $200 - not an insignificant sum, to be sure - there's a lot less chance of the same disaster I experienced befalling you, hopefully.
    Reply

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