Measurements such as the ones mentioned in the previous sections are important for being able to make serious comparisons between monitors. But more subjective, practical tests are important too, such as those made with games and movies - after all, these are what you're going to use your monitor for.
We chose the following games for our tests:
- Unreal Tournament 2004: a fast game, rich in colors and visual effects
- Doom 3: takes place in almost total darkness, and certain effects (like smoke) are reputedly difficult to render even by the best TFT panels
- FarCry: another reference FPS. Interesting for the depth and colorimetric detail of its scenes
- Warcraft 3: to see what an RTS game looks like on a TFT
Wherever possible, we use "replays" in order to reproduce scenes identically on all the monitors... and to prevent ourselves from being distracted by the game itself.
- Microsoft Office 2003
- OpenOffice 1.1
- Photoshop 7.0
- The Gimp 1.3
- Internet navigation
The goal here is more to see whether the monitor is pleasant to use, doesn't tire your eyes with long use, etc. In addition, applications such as word processors give a good idea of a monitor's clarity. And I've already had some unpleasant surprises using the VGA input of a TFT which also has a DVI connector... So that's an important factor to take into account.
A good TFT must be able to present a film decently, without blurring and with color rendering that's as faithful as possible.
We chose certain action movies like The Matrix (once again), among others, to check color rendering and blurring. Dark City will also be used for this purpose.
This article was intended to familiarize you with the testing method we will be using from now on for articles concerning TFT monitors. We wanted a test that was as complete and objective as possible, without neglecting the practical side of things. We'll also make a point of commenting on the design and build quality of the monitors. These often constitute an added value that can make the difference.
So, we are all set for a fall season that promises to be hot, with the upcoming appearance of 10-ms and even 8-ms panels. The competition should be interesting.