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
The monitors in today’s comparison group are based on either the 2013 or 2014 version of Innolux’s UHD/TN 28-inch panel part. We know of no difference in spec between them, and our test results suggest no major changes were made from one year to the next.
Represented here are Samsung’s UD590, Asus’ PB287Q, Planar’s IX2850, Philips’ 288P6LJEB and Dell’s P2815Q.
Samsung is the only company to rate its monitor at 370cd/m2 – a spec it nearly reaches. All of the others claim 300cd/m2. Monoprice doesn't quite reach that level, but it comes close. Turning on the Dynamic Contrast gets you a little more light (312.6731cd/m2, to be exact). However, that exacts a toll on gamma tracking and overall image quality.
None of these Ultra HD displays sport great black levels. Monoprice comes close to the top position, though. Until VA panels make the jump to 4K resolution, we will likely see similar results for most high-res screens.
A result of 852.1 is middling in this group. Fortunately, thanks to clarity that’s a cut above, the image looks more contrasty to the naked eye. It’s a bit subjective, we realize. But using a clear front layer really enhances the CrystalPro 4K's look.
Uncalibrated – Minimum Backlight Level
The backlight doesn’t go down far enough in our opinion. Many users prefer a dark-room setting of 80cd/m2 and we like 50cd/m2. With a 100-step backlight control, that means each click is worth about 1.6cd/m2. Planar comes closest to our preferred minimum brightness level.
Due to the high brightness at Monoprice’s minimum setting, you can’t get a super-low black level.
We like lower output settings like this for gaming and movie-watching. Low levels mean that the black bars in cinemascope movies disappear, and games will look more three-dimensional.
Contrast is at least consistent through the backlight control's entire range. Even though that range is smaller than we’d like, you still see the same image depth no matter what your brightness preference is.
After Calibration to 200cd/m2
Calibration can often shuffle the field depending on how the white balance controls work. In Monoprice’s case, adjustment improves its black-level standing to a close second.
Contrast is reduced by only three percent after calibration. Few monitors can match that performance. There is essentially no penalty for adjusting the Monoprice to a high standard of color accuracy. All it takes are a few small tweaks of the RGB sliders.
ANSI Contrast Ratio
ANSI contrast remains solid at only a 1.5-percent reduction from the on/off number. It doesn’t get much better than this, folks. Excellent screen uniformity is partly responsible for such an excellent result. You’ll see just how good that is on page seven.