HP ZR24W IPS monitor hurts my eyes


I've recently bought the HP ZR24W, a since-discontinued e-IPS (H2-IPS) 24" screen, which was highly praised in its price category in numerous reviews. The screen is great, the colors are great, basically everything's great about the screen, but since I've switched to it (from an old 19" BenQ FP91G+ that died a few months back), my eyes have begun hurting regularly during and even after working on the screen.

I spend a lot of time in front of the PC (on average, about 3-4 hours a day since I also use a notebook when at school, but when I'm home all day I can do as much as 8 hours on the screen). Now, I know that's a lot, but I haven't changed those habits significantly over the past several years, and I've never had a problem with my eyes until I got the ZR24W.

I ran the BenQ at 10% brightness all the time, and never had a problem. I lowered the ZR24W to 0 brightness, 70 contrast, sRGB 6500K setting (also tried custom RGB: 40-50-40 setting - not much different), which someone said corresponds to the minimum luminance he could measure on the screen, about 110 cd/m2. Now, I looked through forums, and I realize 110 minimum is quite a lot. I don't know how much my old BenQ had at 10% brightness, but I'm betting a lot less.

What I want to ask - is the reason the screen hurts my eyes this high brightness level, or could it be something else about it? I've heard people complaining of the "sparkly" finish these e-IPS panels seem to have, and some suggested that this finish is in fact the reason why the screen hurts the eyes. I do notice the sparkliness (like looking at tiny jewels set into the screen, very visible on white backgrounds) when I look closely. However, my eyes hurt also from gaming, even games with quite dark backgrounds (e.g. NFSU2 - takes place entirely at night). The sparkling, while presumably still present, is not evident there.

Finally, is there any way, like a firmware upgrade, that I could reduce the output of the CCFL tubes below the current 0 brightness? I'm thinking there isn't, but just to be sure... Mainly, I want to know if my problem is with the screen model (high brightness), or e-IPS technology (sparkliness), so that if I decide to switch (I know, it's a new screen, but the brightness is really unbearable, this way I'll be wearing glasses in half a year) I do not end up with the same problem. Any help is appreciated! Thanks
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  1. first lets clarify some things...

    e-ips is not the cause for sparklyness.. that is the anti glare coating which can be found on quite a few different panel types.

    brightness has more to do with the backlight and/or the entire monitor design.

    you can not override the physical minimums and maximums of a monitor. you can reduce and double reduce settings in windows/gpu software and on the screen panel settings menu but you wont be able to go lower than the hardware allows. yes you can doublestack brightness lowering to a degree.

    as for why it hurts your eyes:

    some people are affected by ccfl flicker. its semi rare but i've heard of it. if your old monitor was ccfl backlit then this isnt the case most likely.

    you are sitting in front of a bigger monitor at the same distance.

    the sparklies in the matte coating possibly. remember that some antiglare coatings are NOT sparkly only the more aggressive ones.

    most likely the cause in this situation is the brightness levels and/or color temperature. remember that having things TOO dim and TOO much contrast can be just as bad as having things too bright and not enough contrast.

    in general its a mixture of multiple things. you have to adjust everything until you find a happy medium. i'm in front of a screen for literally 14 hours a day so i've found little ways to make it bearable!
  2. No, CCFL flicker's not it. My old screen was CCFL as well, and like I said, no problem. I did run it on 10% backlight, which was most likely less bright than 0% at the new one. At full backlight (or even anything above 50%) my eyes stung after a day of staring into it.

    you are sitting in front of a bigger monitor at the same distance.

    Yes, and pretty close too. The monitor's about 50 cm from the front edge of my desk, eye distance ~70 cm (or about 20"/28"). I can't put it any farther, as I have a small room where the only spot I can have it is in front of a window, so no wall mount (I do have blinds on the window, and the screen's always been there, so that's not the cause either), and a small table, and can't well fit a bigger one.

    Sparkliness: visible clearly on white, kind of pesky, but my eyes hurt from gaming too, even in games with only a minimum of white. Disappears at about 50% grey (e.g. the "grey, 50%" page background in MS Office), though I know the sparkly coating is always there even if you can't see the effect.

    I use a 6500K sRGB preset color setting that's pretty warm and easy on the eyes. I've lowered contrast to 50%, brightness is at 0%, software at default (except nVidia control panel gamma at 0.92 instead of 1.0).

    If I decided to get a different screen, do you think I'd have this problem on every IPS? Or on every sparkly-coated screen? Or is it the high brightness?

    Also, when I put up a black screen, the panel has a rather strong bleed of glow when viewed from an angle - I believe this is what is referred to as "IPS glow". I understand that it's a limitation of the technology that cannot be adjusted away, except that it decreases in magnitude with overall brightness of the display. I found that in order not to see the glow head-on, I'd have to be about 40-50 cm farther away from the screen than I normally am - an impossibility given my available space. Could this be the source of my problem?

    Re: brightness setting: I've tuned it down quite a bit, so much so that most of my black depth went down the drain, and still it's kind of uncomfortable to look at. Again, I suspect the glow a bit. Maybe glow+sparkles? That'd mean no IPS for me, or a much bigger table, or a much smaller screen, though...

    BTW, I'm new here, how do I give you the "best post" award? -Thanks
  3. i'm not sure about the long term effect.... but i've seen bad instances of heavy anti glare coatings and i didnt like them at all. i bought a smartphone cover one time and it had these sparklies. it irritated the hell out of me. one thing i did notice though was that text was harder to read with this coating and maybe you are over straining your eyes without realizing it. anti glare coatings do come without a sparkly effect. in fact i'm using one right now and i have a monitor at home which has the same type of coating. all this coating does is make everything "matte"... perhaps they refer to it as a matte coating not anti glare.

    a brighter backlight could definitely cause irritation as well. make sure you have ambient light around you.

    no, i can verify that not all ips screen models have problems. i used to use my old panel for 6 hours in a row (after coming home from using a tn panel for 9 hours) and my eyes didnt hurt at all. i did this for 5 years or so. your issue lies with either the anti glare coating on that model or the bright backlight if i had to guess.

    ips glow? thats a new one. do realize that the actual panel type isnt the cause here. even if it was a tn panel the glow would still be there. the backlight is what emits light not the panel. if there is a glow around the edges only then that is backlight bleed due to poor design or fit of the bezel around the screen. all monitors "glow" in a dark environment. there is no monitor made which doesnt. turning down the brightness subdues this. however, you should NEVER use a monitor in the dark as it is a surefire way to hurt your eyes. ambient light is always suggested.

    there should be a button for best answer. i've never used it so i'm not quite sure where it may be.

    in general i would suggest not blaming the panel type (ips) and focus on what is probably the actual cause of your problem. i've seen quite a few panels with no issues. my number one choice is one of the VP models from viewsonic. they should be 8bit ips panels and the 2 that we own have really nice matte finishes without sparklies.
  4. Hi, Misasek I have the exact problem with this monitor. My eyes is hurting just when I look to the screen. It's nothing to do with settings or even the distance or time, it's about how the monitor emits light (the quality) and the frequency of it. I wear eye glasses with filter and help me a lot. But I'll sell my monitor and find a better one which is more combortable for my eyes. Recently I test it an Apple monitor that is perfect for my eyes. No tired or hurting eyes for a long time viewing.
  5. Also I believe it's the antiglre filter too. I'm thinking to remove it.
  6. It's the refresh rate being too low which is hurting your eyes i think.:no:
  7. TopAndroidAppz said:
    It's the refresh rate being too low which is hurting your eyes i think.:no:

    That should have 0 affect on these monitors which are solid state. The refresh rate was an issue with CRT's. Refreshes do nothing now, unless the image changes, in which case it just changes the color with no flicker, unlike how the old CRT's did.
  8. I use the same HP LCD every day and I'm pretty happy with it. Yes, the backlight was too bright at beginning, but I used the same solution as with my previous monitor (Viewsonic VP930). I set brightness to about 80% and didn't touch it, but used contrast to adjust light - it's at 46% now, as it's evening.
    I am very sensitive to fluorescent flicker and I've found out that with brightness at 80% and above there is no noticeable flicker. To check for flicker I wave my hand in front of a white image and look for the specific "choppy effect" around my fingers (somewhat like with CRT displays).

    I've had a same problem with Viewsonic LCD, and exactly the same solution - brightness was fixed at 80% and I adjusted contrast.

    Maybe this will not help you because you've said that you're not sensitive to flicker, but someone else might find this useful.

    By the way, I find VP930 a tiny bit more present for eyes, and I think it has little bit better viewing angles, despite it's age, but the size of ZR24W was what I was looking for and the image quality is very decent.

    Also, I agree, ambient light is very important.
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