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Out-Of-Box Performance: Brightness And Contrast Ratio

Three 27" IPS LCDs: UltraSharp U2711, DS-277W, And MultiSync PA271W

Right out of the box, all three 27" IPS-based displays perform rather well in producing bright whites. DoubleSight's DS-277W leads the pack, but then it yields very poor blacks, which is why it suffers when we calculate contrast ratios.

NEC's PA271W surprises us here because it's preset for 220 cd/m2 and we get a reading of 212.3 cd/m2. It's rare to find an OSD menu that uses a nonrelative scale (0 to 100). But NEC's accuracy is refreshing. Even though it's spec'ed for a 1000:1 contrast ratio, we're getting nearly 1200:1 thanks to deep black production on par with HP's TN-based 2311x.

Likewise, Dell's UltraSharp U2711 performs well thanks to good black production.

Brightness can have an effect on how you perceive color. It can also help the display achieve brighter colors. But brightness often sacrifices contrast if a monitor has a poor color palette, which is why we measure that as well.

There's a relatively wide range of default color temperatures between our three 27" monitors. At its Standard Profile setting, Dell's U2711 operates with a slightly cool temperature (7018 K), while DoubleSight's DS-277W and NEC's PA271W are closer to approximating 6500 K.

If you want a balanced image, you'll need to calibrate the display to 6500 K. Most DVDs, digital cameras, and online videos are calibrated for a 6500 K white point, because this represents the spectrum you would see in overcast daylight. So, we do that too.

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