Acer, Dell, LG, And Samsung: Four 23" LCD Monitors, Rounded-Up

Calibrated Performance: Color Accuracy And Gamut

We use a Spectracal-certified X-Rite i1Pro along with Coloreyes to measure color gamut and color accuracy. For those unfamiliar with the terms, color gamut refers to the range of colors that a display can reproduce, and color accuracy refers to the display's ability to output the color requested by the GPU. Typically, professionals represent these values by showing a gamut and a delta E value, which is a mathematical representation between display's output and the original source. The higher the delta E value, the more inaccurate the color representation. An uncalibrated delta E is largely a worthless number. Delta E is dependent on the black and white luminance levels, contrast ratio, color temperature, and target gamma.

Suppose there are two displays sitting side by side. One has an uncalibrated delta E value of 3.0, and the other 2.1. It's hard to compare the two without first calibrating the color space. It's almost like benchmarking a GeForce GTX 580 at 2560x1600 with anti-aliasing enabled against a Radeon HD 6970 at 1920x1080 without AA. Do the results of that test mean the 580 performs better? Not necessarily. Monitor calibration is to display quality what quality settings are to game benchmarks. By calibrating a display, we normalize the settings and create an environment that facilitates fair comparisons.

Dell’s S2330MX leads the pack, rendering almost 70% of the Adobe RGB1998 gamut. That’s pretty good for a budget-oriented LCD monitor. The S230A550H falls slightly behind, which suggests that it uses a slightly inferior TN panel. Samsung still has a leg up, though, considering how Acer’s rock-bottom price translates into a much lower gamut value.

Interestingly, the IPS236V falls behind the S230A550H. That’s not completely unexpected. The IPS236V uses an older and less expensive IPS-based panel called S-IPS. Thanks to advances in technology, many of the higher-quality TN displays can perform on par with cheaper IPS offerings. That’s precisely what we see here. Simply, don’t assume that IPS is always better than TN.

As part of our post-calibration verification, we evaluate the profile against a GretagMacBeth's color palette. As mentioned earlier, delta E is a measure of color accuracy. But it only paints a partial picture of color performance because we interpret colors within a spectrum, not from individual points.

Overall, the four 23” LCD monitors in our round-up deliver low delta E values, which means that the displays are rendering colors in an appropriate manner (though Acer’s S231HL Bid seems to have a slight problem rendering blue hues accurately).

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    Top Comments
  • Flying-Q
    I've noticed that Tom's seems to be focussing its attention on 23" 16:9 monitors. For the previous 3 years the most commonly advertised large monitors were 24" 16:9 with a noticable number of 24" 16:10 panels in the mix. I upgraded from a 19" 4:3 monitor 2 years ago to a 26" 16:10. At that time the market seemed to be flooded with 16:9 monitors.

    I have a friend with a 26" 16:9 monitor and he always wishes he had followed my choice for the vertical real estate gain. Going from 1080 pixels to 1200 pixels is just over 11% more space. That means MS Office can display two A4 pages side by side at life size even with the 'ribbon' showing.

    When gaming, the 1920x1200 resolution gives a greater feeling of being there due to the extra vertical space whilst maintaining the 'widescreen' ability to keep eye-attention.

    It seems that the computing world is beginning to be dictated to by the panel manufacturers who are geared for widescreen TVs in the same way that 4:3 computer moniters were originally just converted TV tubes. I have spent a lot of time in front of computer monitors over a great many years and I have found the 16:10 format to be the most satisfying to the eyes and the best for productivity.

    With these points in mind it seems that the computing industry is on the verge of losing a significant asset in the 16:10 format.

    Therefore,

    Toms Hardware will you please investigate the availability and future of this format.

    Q
    10
  • Other Comments
  • compton
    I thought the LG used not S-IPS but e-IPS, 6 bit + AFC. I actually thought it was almost identical to the CCFL backlit Dell U2311H (except the module is for LED backlight in the LG's case, not CCFL).

    I guess I was wrong.
    0
  • compton
    ^ I mean the panels, not the two monitors themselves.
    0
  • klyzet
    Im not sure if that input lag test is accurate.
    Why dont you guys test it the usual way? with a CRT monitor side by side running a timer (with ms ofc) and take some photos?
    2
  • illusiongamer12
    why no review a viewsonic monitor they have a 150$-180$ monitor with these same specs
    0
  • tlmck
    Also noticeably absent is the ever popular ASUS brand. I don't have one myself, but it seems a lot of people do. Would have been an interesting comparison.
    4
  • Eman25th
    Can anyone tell me why the prices haven't dropped? i bought my asus 24" screen 2 years ago for 178$
    2
  • acku
    404334 said:
    I thought the LG used not S-IPS but e-IPS, 6 bit + AFC. I actually thought it was almost identical to the CCFL backlit Dell U2311H (except the module is for LED backlight in the LG's case, not CCFL). I guess I was wrong.




    LG's QA website.
    2
  • kyuuketsuki
    I own the LG IPS236V, and I find your numbers completely non-believable. The contrast ratio is not that abysmal, and it can reproduce decent (though not the best, I admit) blacks. Also, on a review of the IPS226V, while being the 22" model, it is otherwise identical, and DigitalVersus found it to have a contrast ratio of over 1000:1. I'm wondering where the huge disparity in numbers is coming from, and I don't think it's DigitalVersus mussing things up.

    Question: did you go into the Menu > Picture and change the Black Level setting to Low? It defaults to High for some unknown reason, and at that setting the blacks are indeed terrible. At Low, the blacks are much, much better, and the slight decrease in white levels isn't much of an issue given that this is an extremely bright monitor.
    2
  • kyuuketsuki
    Also, what was the Gamma setting on the IPS236V?
    0
  • acku
    96459 said:
    I own the LG IPS236V, and I find your numbers completely non-believable. The contrast ratio is not that abysmal, and it can reproduce decent (though not the best, I admit) blacks. Also, on a review of the IPS226V, while being the 22" model, it is otherwise identical, and DigitalVersus found it to have a contrast ratio of over 1000:1. I'm wondering where the huge disparity in numbers is coming from, and I don't think it's DigitalVersus mussing things up. Question: did you go into the Menu > Picture and change the Black Level setting to Low? It defaults to High for some unknown reason, and at that setting the blacks are indeed terrible. At Low, the blacks are much, much better, and the slight decrease in white levels isn't much of an issue given that this is an extremely bright monitor.


    Gamma set to 2.2. We did set to low. And as you know we measure luminance (nits) not illuminance (lux). Maybe this unit sat in the review pool too long... Not sure, but those were the readings that we achieved.
    1
  • Anonymous
    Please test also the absolute input lag of a CRT (you only have to do it once, I guess) for reference.
    2
  • Flying-Q
    I've noticed that Tom's seems to be focussing its attention on 23" 16:9 monitors. For the previous 3 years the most commonly advertised large monitors were 24" 16:9 with a noticable number of 24" 16:10 panels in the mix. I upgraded from a 19" 4:3 monitor 2 years ago to a 26" 16:10. At that time the market seemed to be flooded with 16:9 monitors.

    I have a friend with a 26" 16:9 monitor and he always wishes he had followed my choice for the vertical real estate gain. Going from 1080 pixels to 1200 pixels is just over 11% more space. That means MS Office can display two A4 pages side by side at life size even with the 'ribbon' showing.

    When gaming, the 1920x1200 resolution gives a greater feeling of being there due to the extra vertical space whilst maintaining the 'widescreen' ability to keep eye-attention.

    It seems that the computing world is beginning to be dictated to by the panel manufacturers who are geared for widescreen TVs in the same way that 4:3 computer moniters were originally just converted TV tubes. I have spent a lot of time in front of computer monitors over a great many years and I have found the 16:10 format to be the most satisfying to the eyes and the best for productivity.

    With these points in mind it seems that the computing industry is on the verge of losing a significant asset in the 16:10 format.

    Therefore,

    Toms Hardware will you please investigate the availability and future of this format.

    Q
    10
  • amigafan
    Tom's hardware readers are mostly developers who need 16:10 (extra vertical space) not 16:9 (for movies). I would like to see 16:10 monitors reviewed.
    7
  • dww
    I'd like to add to the call for reviewing 16:10 monitors.

    I love my 1920x1200 Samsung 2443BW but worry that when it needs replacing there won't be any affordable replacements. Tom's can't tell manufacturers what to do but perhaps more reviews would result in more sales and hence more interest in making 16:10 displays.
    5
  • __-_-_-__
    Eman25thCan anyone tell me why the prices haven't dropped? i bought my asus 24" screen 2 years ago for 178$

    it reached the lowest price point. you can't expect to buy an LCD for 1$.
    remember CRT TV's. they were produced for over 50 years, yet the price remained the same for several years after reaching a certain minimum.
    It will be the same with OLED and AMOLED. currently you can buy a 17" OLED for 4k$. in some years in the future you can buy a 24" OLED for 178$. Just like you did for your LCD.
    2
  • Anonymous
    I suspect the truth is - a display is a display is a display. For all but the very specialised applications
    around - they are probably all more than good enough. I'd rather someone warned me that my
    black samsung bled light round the edges - had a dark "reflected shaddow" along the top edge of the image about 4mm down if it was slightly higher than my eyeline (caused by the shiny black plastic case - not as I originally thought - by dead LCD electronics - its a weird effect)

    I'd like reviewers to get out of the tech details and into the real world.

    Another example of this is video cards. I neither know nor card how they work. For all intents
    and purposes the only reason to have a better graphics card is to play games. Very little else
    has any reason these days.

    And I dont want to know how many pixels a second in mode 2 with X operaing system and Z memory
    it can do.

    I want to know where the new card sits IN RELATION to my existing card for ease of play.
    Nothing else anyone says helps me choose. And no one seems to do that.

    I read the review here this week to see if upgrading my GT320 card would play Far Cry better.
    I still havn't the faintest idea. Not a clue. I'm getting the sense that others are reluctant to upgrade
    just to get the newest thing on the block these days too. Just because its newer and even performs better doesnt mean its worth having.

    And guess what. I design electronics for a living so I'm not dumb to tech talk. So whats the point?
    Lets have reviews targeted at users not specification matching.
    -5
  • spookyman
    lol...

    Why not buy ASUS 24" LED monitor over these? The picture quality is better and you can get it less then $200 sometimes on New Egg.
    1
  • Marcus52
    There have been some new 1920x1200 monitors released in the last 6 months, so the format is far from dead.

    ;)
    1
  • jgutz2006
    Why arent more monitors shipping with DisplayPort? need more non legacy displays out there for Eyefinity/Nvidia Surround!
    0
  • warezme
    I'm tired of cheap (as in quality) 1920x1080 monitors. The industry is stuck on making a cheap product for a quick buck.
    4