Results: Brightness And Contrast
Before calibrating any panel, we measure zero and 100-percent signals at both ends of the brightness control range. This shows us how contrast is affected at the extremes of a display's luminance capability. We do not increase the contrast control past the clipping point. While that would successfully increase a monitor’s light output, the brightest signal levels would not be visible, resulting in crushed highlight detail. Our numbers show the maximum light level possible with no clipping of the signal.
For the comparison group, we’re including the 144 Hz Asus VG248QE and BenQ XL2720Z, plus a 60Hz BenQ RL2460HT. Rounding out the group are our recently-reviewed QHD professional screens from NEC.
The G2460PQU is the brightest monitor we’ve seen in a while. In fact, only Planar's PXL2790MW measures higher in our tests. It’s a shame there’s no backlight strobing feature available, because the extra output would likely combine to provide blur reduction and decent brightness.
A bright display often means higher black levels, though.
Sure enough, we measure a less-than-great black level result. But if you need to turn the backlight up all the way, it’s not a big deal. Why? Because as you’ll see below, this screen maintains solid contrast ratios at all light levels.
The max contrast result doesn’t suffer at all considering the G2460PQU’s prodigious output.
Any contrast ratio over 1000 to 1 is good. Even with an elevated black level, the image still has plenty of depth and detail. You’d have to be sitting in a brightly-lit room or outside to really need this much brightness, though it's good to know the option is available.
We believe 50 cd/m2 is a practical minimum standard for screen brightness. Any lower and you risk eyestrain and fatigue. The G2460PQU bottoms out at 91.5339 cd/m2. For our taste, that's a little high if you're gaming in a dark room. A small amount of ambient light helps offset the effect, though.
Even though AOC finishes last in our comparison group, .0866 cd/m2 is still a decent black level result. The other screens have much lower white levels when their backlights are at the minimum, which accounts for their superior black levels. The exception is Asus' VG248QE. That display has almost freakishly-high contrast.
The G2460PQU maintains its contrast result of over 1000 to 1. While the Asus is another universe at over 6500 to 1, it’s not consistent at different backlight settings like the other displays are. I prefer monitors to not have a sweet spot for contrast. Rather, I like to see the same contrast performance at all backlight settings.
Since we consider 200 cd/m2 to be an ideal point for peak output, we calibrate all of our test monitors to that value. In a room with some ambient light (like an office), this brightness level provides a sharp, punchy image with maximum detail and minimum eye fatigue. On many monitors it’s also the sweet spot for gamma and grayscale tracking, which we'll look at on the next page. In a darkened room, many professionals prefer a 120 cd/m2 calibration. We have found it makes little to no difference on the calibrated black level and contrast measurements, though.
The G2460PQU’s black levels don’t suffer after calibration like some displays do. We didn’t have to make any large adjustments to the RGB sliders or the contrast control, so excellent contrast can be maintained without sacrificing color accuracy.
The corresponding reduction in contrast is very minor.
Sometimes you're forced to choose between high contrast or better color accuracy. That’s not the case with the G2460PQU. It only loses eight percent in the final contrast ratio measurement. We doubt anyone will notice.
ANSI Contrast Ratio
Another important measure of contrast is ANSI. To perform this test, a checkerboard pattern of sixteen zero and 100-percent squares is measured. The test is somewhat more real-world than on/off measurements because it gauges a display’s ability to simultaneously maintain both low black and full white levels, and factors in screen uniformity. The average of the eight full-white measurements is divided by the average of the eight full-black measurements to arrive at the ANSI result.
The G2460PUQ’s ANSI contrast stays solid at 953.9 to 1. That’s only a two-percent drop from the uncalibrated, full-brightness result. There is absolutely no penalty for calibrating this display, and you can set the backlight at any level to enjoy consistently excellent image depth.