Brightness, Contrast, Uniformity, Gamma
All of our display testing and calibration is made possible by Datacolor’s Spyder4Elite system, which consists of a full-spectrum seven-color sensor that plugs into a PC’s USB port. All of the measurements and charts we're presenting are generated by the Spyder4Elite software. The only change we're making is a quick crop to make the data easier to read.
The AU Optronics B173HW01 V5 17.3" FHD 16:9 Glossy LED-backlit LCD panel in the Blade is spec’d for 250 nits. Looking at our brightness measurements, it comes very close to its specification. The contrast ratio of almost 600:1 is also excellent.
We should point out that the measured white point of 7800 Kelvin means, out-of-the-box, the Blade’s screen tends toward blue. A white point of 6500 K is considered neutral, and close to the color of midday sun. If a screen measures below 6500 K, it takes on a warmer appearance that leans toward reds and oranges. Boosting the color blue is common in retail displays, since it makes those screens stand out next to others. In the Blade's case, its screen is slightly cooler, but not distractingly so. As we will see later, it also calibrates very well and can be made to look completely neutral.
The color temperature and contrast ratio of the Blade also remain consistent across most brightness levels.
While not represented in the data above, the AUO panel has excellent viewing angles: some of the best I've seen from a TN-based screen. In fact, it rivals what IPS panels are renowned for.
Looking at brightness uniformity, the Blade’s panel stays within 10% in all sections. The brightest section exceeds the panel’s spec at 260 nits. Overall, these are good results.
Color accuracy on the Blade is good. In simple terms, a Delta-E of one is often touted as the threshold where you can perceive a difference between reference and sample colors. That's a bit of a generalization though, since the human eye is more sensitive to certain colors. Typically, a Delta-E value below two is pretty good. Most of the Blade's screen achieves a Delta-E of 1.7, and only the bottom-right sections are over two. This means you're seeing colors pretty close to the source material.
The measured gamma response of the Blade is close to the standard 2.2 curve used in most Windows systems. Understand that gamma doesn't affect black or white performance, but it does affect midtones. If gamma is set too high, midtones appear dark. If it's set too low, they're pale. Adobe, Apple, and Microsoft all recommend a gamma of 2.2. It's an arbitrary value carried over from the NTSC standard, but it was originally chosen because it allows colors to appear more natural in slightly dim environments.