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The Secret Sauces of THG's LCD Tests

The Practical Tests

If these specific ("scientific") measurements are important so as to realistically compare monitors, it's also important not to forget the more subjective and practical test, such as playing games and watching movies which, at the end of the day, represent what you'll be doing most of the time with your monitor.

Games

We chose the following games for our tests:

  • Half-life 2 : it is fast and rich in color and visual effects.
  • Doom 3 : it starts off dark and moody in almost complete darkness and some effects (such as smoke) are famously difficult to render even on the best TFTs.
  • FarCry : another reference for the FPS. Interesting for the richness and depth of its colors and its backgrounds.
  • Warcraft 3 : just to see the STR on a TFT.

We used the "replay" function in order to reproduce the identical scenes on all the monitors... And also so as not to be distracted by the game itself!

Office Applications

  • Microsoft Office 2003
  • OpenOffice 1.2
  • Photoshop 7.0
  • The Gimp 2.0
  • Internet Navigation: Firefox, Mozilla, IE

The aim this time is to confirm that the monitor is pleasant to use and is not tiring to the eyes when looked at for long periods of time, for example. In addition, text-editing applications give a good indication of the clarity of the display. And I've already had some unpleasant surprises with VGA on a TFT even when provided with a DVI socket... It's therefore an important factor to take into account.

Movies

A good TFT must be capable of showing a movie reasonably well, without trails and with color rendering the most accurate possible.

We therefore chose some action movies such as Matrix (ever a favorite), among others, in order to test color rendering and trailing. Dark City is also a good test.