Calibrated LCD Performance: Brightness And Contrast Ratio
Frankly, it isn't very meaningful to compare the out-of-box performance of one monitor to another. If you want to know what a monitor is capable of, you need to normalize settings in the same way you benchmark two graphics cards. That's what calibrating a monitor does; think of it as benchmarking under controlled settings.
Once calibrated, HP's TouchSmart 310 starts looking more impressive. While we cannot maintain a 200 cd/m2 white luminance, we can calibrate the black to a deeper tone, which results in a contrast ratio of over 1000:1. In comparison, Gateway's ZX4931 starts to falter as we calibrate. In order to achieve a 6500 K white point and a 2.2 target gamma, we have to drop white luminance. The ZX4931 still produces respectably dark blacks, but the drop in white luminance results in a contrast ration of ~800:1.