there are 3 main types of screens if you discount e-paper, oled, etcetera.
LCD panels can have either ccfl (labeled as lcd panels in stores) or led backlighting (labeled as led panels in stores).
LCD panels also come in several types. in general we have tn, va, 6bit ips and 8bit ips. of course there are various other subtypes as well.
as far as eye strain is concerned, everything depends on why you are getting the eye strain.
some people have an issue with backlight flicker. even the high frequency output from ccfl and led causes them pain. for such individuals only CRT panels or modifying a LCD with incandescent bulbs seems to work.
some people have an issue with response time and motion sickness. for such individuals only 120hz TN panels seem to allieviate the issues.
some people have a problem with backlighting being set to strong. for some reason people seem set on viewing a monitor at maximum brightness or in a dark room. you absolutely need ambient light or you will hurt your eyes no questions asked. you want the monitor to be dim enough that you do not have to squint because of the light but also not so dim as so you have to strain to view content.
some people have an issue with panel coatings such as the glossy (vibrant) coatings or sparkly (anti-glare) coatings. for some this causes eye strain.
sitting too close to a monitor or for a prolonged period of time can also cause eye strain.
dry eyes or not blinking can also cause issues.
as you can see....the reasons for eye issues are vast. what you need to figure out is what plagues you and pick an appropriate solution.
as far as color calibration goes.... i just use the nvidia control panel bars to match the color wheel with the displayed color. this works fine for the average user. there are professional color callibration units as well but unless you are a videophile these are not required. remember though, you can adjust outside of these "default" settings depending on what you like and how it affects you.
As mentioned above, there are a lot of possible reasons.
I've had a lot of experience with the motion sickness due to response time. I can probably help you find out if this is an issue for you or not.
If you can load your most demanding game, and put it at settings that give you about 30 average FPS, and play for 30-60 mins. Try to figure out how long you had to play until you first started to feel eye strain, then rest up or even wait another day so the symptoms are gone. Now lower the settings as low as they go, or at least low enough to get 60+ average FPS. Now play a while. If you can play a longer period of time before your eye strain kicks in, you are like me (though I feel nausea, but both are motion sickness symptoms).
If the higher FPS made it take longer before the eye strain kicked in, it is likely response time causing your eye strain. Insuring you have 60+ FPS will help you feel better, getting a 120hz monitor and getting over 80+ FPS may even eliminate the eye strain. That is what it takes for me.
As mentioned above, it could be a number of things, this is just one I have experience with personally.
EDIT: The motion sickness problem will only occur when controlling the action of a game. It will not occur when watching movies. It happens most often with 1st person games, but over the shoulder games also give me the same issue. Playing a game where the view is controlled by your mouse gives the most motion sickness issues. When testing, try to pick a first person game, like a shooter, that uses the mouse for aiming.
"If the higher FPS made it take longer before the eye strain kicked in, it is likely response time causing your eye strain. Insuring you have 60+ FPS will help you feel better, getting a 120hz monitor and getting over 80+ FPS may even eliminate the eye strain. That is what it takes for me."
Personally I think brightness is the cause. The samsung has very strong backlight, even when I turn the contrast up and the brightness down to 30%.
Thinking of getting an Eizo, but they are just so dam expensive. When I enquired them about different panel types they said this...
"IPS doesn't automatically translate to the best product available. IPS is just a glass type that will allow for good image quality, but if there is no attention to image control, images still aren't as good as they can be."
I get that the main characteristic with a IPS panel is that it can be viewed from an angle without changing colours. What are the main characteristics of a VA and TN pannel? Read a PC magazine where they reviewed ultrabooks and said the Samsung 900X3C 1600x900 TN pannel gave a WAAAAAAY better picture then the 2nd best ranked ultrabook on the review from Asus UX32VD that had a IPS panel 1920x1080 and 1080p full HD. Guess that proves what Eizo where talking about.
Did you test out the different FPS rates in a first person shooter to rule it out? I know you said you think it's the brightness, but you didn't mention anything about your experience at 30 FPS and 60+ FPS.
It's a lot easier if you rule stuff out, including turning down the brightness of your Samsung, and seeing if there is change as well.
I also wonder about some people who say that TN panels are just horrible. I know my old TN panel was pretty bad, but when my newer one sits next to the old one, the new one is worlds better. It makes me think that some people are recalling old or just poor quality TN panels.
panel type only alters the main characteristics of the panel.
TN - ultra low response times, only monitor which supports 120hz
VA - not sure about this one, i dont have much experience with them
E-IPS (6bit) - ultra wide viewing angle
S-IPS/H-IPS/P-IPS (8bit) - ultra wide viewing angle, better color accuracy
of course you can have a high quality tn panel which looks sharper and better than a low quality ips panel. the individual characteristics of the panel and the whole monitor package in general does matter.
in general i do not suggest buying cheap products as you do usually get what you paid for.
in regards to the laptop screen review a few different things come into play:
-size of the screens
-quality of the panel
for instance, a 1600x900 @ 15" might well look much better than a 1920x1080 @ 22". pixel density is what you want for sharpness.
having a vibrant coating will make colors pop and will naturally look better than panels with an antiglare or matte finish. the tradeoff is that the reflection from the coating is downright painful if you catch glare from lights.
having video settings at different points can alter how colors appear on the screen. such things as having sharpness bumped up can also affect images on screen. of course, panel type matters too.
keep in mind that reviews on monitors are also the opinion of the reviewer. just because they think it looks better does not mean that you will. our eyes are not exactly alike and view the world in different ways.
i do agree, eizo did make a good statment. quality matters not just panel type.
you dont have to buy a $1500 eizo though to get quality. i have an older viewsonic vp201b s-ips panel which i paid $650 for which was great. i have heard that dell also makes some good ips panels.
i do suggest you follow the advice on screen FPS. eliminating possible variables will help to figure out what the issue is. try each and every option out until you find a solution that works. there really is no other way about it.