Results: Brightness And Contrast
To read about our monitor tests in-depth, please check out Display Testing Explained: How We Test Monitors and TVs. Brightness and Contrast testing is covered on page two.
Uncalibrated – Maximum Backlight Level
In addition to our review subject, the test group consists of four 28-inch TN panels: Asus’ PB287Q, Dell’s P2815Q, Planar’s IX2850 and Philips’ 288P6LJEB. To bring us up to six screens, we’re adding the excellent NEC EA244UHD 24-inch IPS display.
Samsung uses the same Innolux panel part as the other TN monitors, but manages to coax a little more light output from the U28D590D. There is a caveat, however. Out of the box, the HDMI Black Level is set to Low, which extends the dynamic range a little and clips the brightest details. When you change it to Normal, as we suggest, the max output drops to 339.2941cd/m2. It’s still plenty bright enough for any use we can think of.
The maximum black level lags just a bit behind the pack. It's not objectionable, though. Blacks are still reasonably deep with good detail.
None of the screens top 1000:1. But the U28D590D only misses the top spot by a hair. If you line them all up, only the Philips would appear to lack a little image depth. The rest would appear the same.
Uncalibrated – Minimum Backlight Level
A minimum white level this low doesn’t have much practical application, since the image is so dim. Turning the brightness up to 8 results in 50cd/m2 of output.
Of course, the black level is extremely low at this backlight setting. If you can work with such a dark image, you’ll enjoy very deep blacks.
Minimum contrast is fairly consistent with a drop of only five percent. The top three displays simply do a little better. We’re pleased to see that the U28D590D’s stock contrast performance is right there with the competition.
After Calibration to 200cd/m2
The calibrated black levels of all the screens in our group land close together. Even the Philips wouldn’t really stand out in a side-by-side comparison.
It’s common to give up some contrast when calibrating any monitor. We lost a little more with the U28D590D due to its HDMI Black Level setting. To avoid clipping and get the gamma tracking in line, we had to set it to Normal. The hit isn’t huge, but it does drop Samsung in the rankings.
ANSI Contrast Ratio
The Samsung’s ANSI contrast is solidly higher than its on/off figure. That’s rare in our experience, demonstrating good quality control. Remember that all of the TN-based panels here employ the same Innolux part. It’s up to each manufacturer to spend time testing every monitor before boxing and shipping. Samsung isn’t charging a lot for the U28D590D, but it is ensuring good performance from the factory.