Out-Of-Box Performance: Brightness And Contrast Ratio
Right out of the box, there's a wide range of scores between the three 24"displays. Dell's UltraSharp U2412M leads the pack with excellent black and white luminosity. However, it still falls short of the advertised 1000:1 contrast ratio. Acer's S242HL bid's performance is far more disappointing, as the relatively high black production results in a 200:1 contrast ratio. Samsung's T24A500 is a middle-of-the-road finisher with a contrast ratio of 732:1.
A high contrast ratio helps you achieve brighter colors, but it's often the result of a miscalibrated color profile, which is why we measure color temperature as well.
Samsung's T24A550 is the outlier in our round-up with a cool color temperature of 7200 K, while Dell's U2412M and Acer's S242HL bid are closer to approximating 6500 K.
If you want a balanced image, you want to calibrate the display to 6500 K. Most DVDs, digital cameras, and online videos are calibrated for that white point because it represents the spectrum you see in overcast daylight. So, we do that too.