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  • Monitor Specs Questions

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    This topic contains 27 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  mn– 1 week, 6 days ago.

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    • #1955605 Reply

      anonymous

      I’m thinking of replacing a 1K monitor with 2K and would like whatever
      advice anybody can provide.

      1. Most manufacturers have their own “technology” like Crystalclear,
      SmartContrast, SmartImage, SplendidPlus Video Intelligence Technology,
      AQCOLOR, Brightness Intelligence, UltraSharp, and PremierColor.  Are these
      concepts marketing nonsense, or serious improvements on basic
      specifications like color gamut, brightness (nits), contrast ratio, panel
      type, 8/10 bit-color, whatever else?

      2. Is response time of 14ms (typical)/6ms (GtG) acceptable?  If a
      specification is given for only GtG, is the “typical” time always greater
      than that?
      3. What technology/specification determines 16.7M vs. 1.07B colors?

      4. All else being equal, which would be better: 300 brightness/1.07B
      colors, or 350 brightness/16.7 million colors?

      5. More monitors than I suspected have built-in speakers, but they’re all
      2-3 watts per speaker. As a practical matter, are these things usable?  I
      have a Dell soundbar at 5w per.  Basically that’s OK.  Sometimes the sound
      could be louder, but that’s probably a function of the source, not the
      speaker.

      Thank you.

      EDITED inappropriate formatting

    • #1956283 Reply

      MrJimPhelps
      AskWoody_MVP

      Personally, if I wanted high-quality audio, I would not get a monitor with built-in speakers; I would get separate speakers. However, you can probably get acceptable audio quality from the built-in speakers.

      If your speakers have their own volume control, then there are two places you can turn the volume up or down: (1) on the speakers and (2) in Windows. Plus, if you stream a video, you can often adjust the volume on the streaming window.

      I recently bought a 27″ monitor from Office Depot. They had closed out that monitor, and it was the last one they had in that store – it was the display model. I picked it up for $60 less than the normal price, and it has been an excellent monitor. Unless I’m in bad need of a monitor immediately, I will look for one on sale, like the one I recently bought.

      Sorry that I don’t know the answers to your specific questions. But in my opinion, if you get a name-brand monitor, you’ll likely have a good monitor these days.

      Group "L" (Linux Mint)
      with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
      1 user thanked author for this post.
      vip
      • #1957029 Reply

        anonymous

        Thanks, @mrjimphelps, for your response.

        My use of audio on my computer is just functional; if I want serious listening I’ll fire up the stereo.

        I’m talking about speakers because I don’t have room on my computer desk for external speakers. I’ve always used Dell monitors with the Dell soundbar connected to the bottom edge of the monitor. That doesn’t look doable for my next monitor. In addition to what I said in 5. above, Dell has another
        soundbar with a different attachment method that would work on more monitors, but it’s only 2.5w per speaker. Don’t know if that’s enough.

        Still hoping a monitor guru can help with the technical specifics.

        Thanks again.

    • #1957061 Reply

      anonymous
      1. Research the marketing/feature names, these maybe related to color gamut, color rendering, and/or image processing software features.
      2. 14ms is still a little slow, which may mean it takes that much time fade from white to black and back to white. 6ms Gray-to-Gray is fast but it seems GtG is like a way to fudge the numbers. If you are a gamer or watch movies 14ms might still induce motion artifacts, 10ms (typical) is better. A monitor which has a gaming mode should turn off all or most of the image processing software since can it can cause a significant amount of lag. Some people may not even notice, yet other are sensitive to those effects.
      3. Twisted nematic has the lowest amount of colors (usually the worst viewing angle), Super Twisted nematic is better (more colors, can have better viewing angles closer to IPS panels),  In Plane Switching is the best (most colors, response times are getting better, viewing angles are wide). There exist another technology which is Vertical Alignment those panels may be the very best or similar to IPS technology. The color gamut coverage for IPS panels may still be improving so if you can get a get deal for the monitor you have always wanted…
      4. If you can supply you own speakers that would be best, as 2-3 watts function better in quiet settings; For example, some old (and small modern) televisions had 1.2 watts per channel and it nearly always meant the volume had to be raised far beyond normal during mildly noisy external events. 5 watts may be the best low powered speaker inside monitors, if you find higher powered speakers with all the other features you seek then consider your purchase.
      1 user thanked author for this post.
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    • #1960803 Reply

      anonymous

      Thanks, anonymous. But as I said, the only thing I’ve seen is 2-3 watts.
      No 5 watt-ers anywhere that I’ve seen. Also, the visuals are the most
      important aspect of a monitor, not the sound/speakers. Unfortunately I
      don’t have room on my desk for external speakers, as I mentioned above.

      EDITED inappropriate formatting

    • #1960983 Reply

      dg1261
      AskWoody_MVP

      16.7M colors is more than enough, so don’t worry about that.

      Your #1 concern should be the panel type, and like anonymous said, IPS is far better than TN. TN panels will be duller and have more light bleed, and the restricted viewing angles will drive you crazy. If you do any type of photo or video editing, don’t even try it on a TN panel because you can’t count on the colors rendering accurately.

      Next should be size and resolution. Too few people seem to recognize that relationship, and what their own eyes will be comfortable with.

      A 27″ 1080p monitor shows the exact same amount of screen content as a 24″ 1080p monitor, it just spreads everything out a bit more — same content, spread across a larger surface area. That’s great if you find yourself squinting too much.

      OTOH, a resolution of, say, 2560×1440, for example, will show a lot more content than a 1920×1080 monitor, even for the same screen size, but everything will be squeezed smaller. More content is great if you like to have lots of windows open at the same time, but for a given screen size it means more squinting.

      So choose a compromise between screen size and resolution that’s comfortable for you. What’s good for others may not be ideal for you, and vice versa.

      If it’s not in the specs, you can do a little math to calculate the pixel size (aka, “dot-pitch”) and compare it to your current monitor’s dot-pitch to get a relative idea of whether text will be easier or harder to read on the new prospective monitor.

      As for volume level of the speakers, the internal speakers will generally be loud enough. Don’t make the mistake of equating input power with audio output power. Those are two different things, and only loosely related. It depends on the sensitivity of the voice coil, and size and shape of the speaker cone. A 3W speaker can sound as loud as a 5W speaker, though OTOH it will probably be a lower quality speaker to begin with.

      Regardless of whether they’re 3W or 5W, they’re not going to be high quality speakers anyway — they’ll sound tinny and lack bass. They’ll be adequate for listening to Windows’ beeps and bops or for YouTube videos, where the focus is more on the video than the audio quality. But if you’re in the habit of listening to background music while you’re working, you’ll be more disappointed in the audio quality than any lack of volume.

      All else being equal I prefer to buy monitors with speakers, even if I don’t plan to use them. Even if you use a good set of external speakers now, the internal speaker option is a kind of future-proofing, making it easier down the road to re-purpose the monitor for another system that may not have its own speakers. It’s also very handy for a desktop on which external speakers would be too much clutter.

      My recommendation would be to focus on panel type, size, and resolution, and accept whatever speakers come with that. They’ll be good enough … and if they aren’t, then they aren’t, and you’ll want external speakers.

       

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      • #1961874 Reply

        anonymous

        Sorry, dg1261, I forgot to ask. Do you have any opinion about the 14ms
        response time? Thanks.

        EDITED inappropriate formatting

    • #1961845 Reply

      anonymous

      Great info, dg1261, thanks.

      As stated in the OP, I’m considering going from 1K to 2K. It would be a
      24/25″ IPS monitor. So those issues are settled.

      One possibility is the Dell UP2516D, which claims 1.07B colors. Apparently
      this is 10-bit (real or fake), but apparently nobody can discern that many
      colors, so is there no benefit to such a color capability, or would there
      still be some (maybe general) visual improvement? Also, nits is 300, not
      350 (the max. I’ve seen specified for any monitor).

      I now have a Dell 1080p, 21.5″. Would going to a 2K 24″ or 25″ have major
      implications for how things will look size-wise? What about magnification
      or changing the scale? I’m told this could defeat the K-ness, like 2K or
      4K.

      Thanks again.

      EDITED inappropriate formatting

    • #1962199 Reply

      dg1261
      AskWoody_MVP

      I spend zero time gaming (this is not an estimate), so I’ll have to defer to anonymous on the response time question. Note that a slow response time manifests itself as smearing on fast moving, hi-def game content, but it won’t be noticeable at all if, like me, you’re not a gamer.

      I don’t believe the human eye can see more than 16M colors, so I really doubt you or anyone else will be able to discern the difference between 24-bit and 30-bit color in real world use. (3 color channels, RGB, times 10 bits/color = 2^30 = 1B colors. 3 channels times 8 bits/color = 2^24 = 16.7M colors.)

      Also, don’t forget that your video subsystem would need to be putting out 30-bit color, which I don’t think is very common. Otherwise, the extra capabilities of a 30-bit monitor won’t be put to use.

      As for the brightness, the difference between 300 and 350 nits is not much. It may be somewhat noticeable in a brightly lit office cubicle, but I wouldn’t be concerned in a typical home or home office. I wouldn’t worry unless it’s in the 200’s.

      I’m not sure what definitions you’re using for 1K and 2K or if you’re reading more into their meaning, but those terms simply pertain, very loosely, to the general range of horizontal resolution. They’re not hard and fast definitions. Your current monitor is 1920×1080, so at just under 2000 pixels across some would say it’s essentially a 2K monitor. When I hear 1K, I usually think of 1024, 1280, or 1366 horizontal resolutions. You’ll get a better idea of how two monitors compare relatively if you refer to them by the actual resolutions (1920 vs 2560) and not obsess over what you call the “K-ness”.

      As for changing the output resolution of the computer’s video subsystem … don’t. LCD monitors are digital, not analog, so don’t work well at anything other than their native resolution. Anything else just makes the display look fuzzy or out of focus.

      You can use the Windows display control panel to make slight adjustments to text size, but as far as the output resolution goes, stick to the monitor’s native resolution. If you do increase/decrease text size, stay close to 100% — say, 90%-110%. If you try to go larger than that you’ll run into problems with text overflowing and spilling out of windows, and the occasional clickable button disappearing below the bottom border of some window where you can’t get at it.

      The UP2516 is a 25″ QHD (2560×1440) monitor, while your current monitor is 21.5″ HD (1920×1080). I cobbled together the attached graphic to give you an idea of how the physical size and content size of the two compare. Note that the higher resolution of the 25″ monitor means things are smaller so as to cram in more content, but the increase in physical size from 21.5 to 25″ is not quite enough to compensate. You’ll see more text, but the text will look smaller on the larger monitor. Only you can decide if that’s going to be okay or if it’s going to be too small.

      Attachments:
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      • #1964094 Reply

        vip
        AskWoody Lounger

        OK, dg1261, I’m now ‘vip’, the ‘anonymous’ who started the thread. I now
        see the graphic; appreciate what time and effort you put into it.

        While the 25″ text is a little smaller, it’s certainly not objectionable.
        Icons may be a different story.

        Thanks again.

        EDITED inappropriate formatting

        Windows10 Pro x64 v1903 8GB i5-4570

    • #1962201 Reply

      dg1261
      AskWoody_MVP

      BTW, I just noticed I forgot to mention the connector format earlier. That should be one of the top concerns.

      The 2516 only supports HDMI and DisplayPort. If your computer only has VGA or DVI, that will be a problem. There are adapters to convert from one to another, but that’s just another issue to be aware of.

       

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      • #1962453 Reply

        anonymous

        Thanks again, dg1261. Yo’ absolutely the man.

        I use DisplayPort now, so it would be HDMI or DP for the new monitor. Not
        sure why anybody would be using VGA or DVI these days. I vaguely remember
        seeing references way in the past to people having audio problems with HDMI.

        I’m not a gamer either. It’s just that 14ms is way bigger than any other
        spec I’ve seen.

        Apparently I’ll have to set up an account here to see your graphics. Don’t
        have time to deal with that now; I’ll get to it as soon as possible. I
        guess I don’t understand the whole graphics/display/scaling thing. If
        somebody gets a new monitor–bigger, smaller, whatever–it seems to me all
        the components should be smart enough to work together to fit all the
        contents on the screen properly. If I look at a monitor in a computer
        store, everything looks normal. I don’t get it.

        I appreciate the time you’re giving me. I’ll look at your attachment as
        soon as possible. Thanks again.

        EDITED inappropriate formatting

    • #1962769 Reply

      dg1261
      AskWoody_MVP

      If somebody gets a new monitor–bigger, smaller, whatever–it seems to me all the components should be smart enough to work together to fit all the contents on the screen properly.

      They *are* smart enough. The display system talks to the monitor and the monitor tells it what its native resolution is. The display system then sets its output resolution to match, sending out enough content to fill the pixels. That’s “all the contents”. But “all the contents” will vary depending on how many pixels are available to fill. Note the content is based on how many *pixels* there are to fill, not how many inches.

       

      If I look at a monitor in a computer store, everything looks normal.

      Careful, depending on what’s on the monitor, you may not be getting a fair idea of how the monitor will look doing normal computer work. Frequently, what you may be looking at is a video or a graphic image, not a computer display. It’s common for monitors in a showroom to show the same video on all screens, re-scaled to fill each one, regardless of how many inches or pixels each screen may have.

      In this case, “all the contents” means something entirely different. It’s fixed by the video or photo. Think of any movie or video you’ve ever seen; if you watch it on a larger screen you’re not going to see more content. If it’s a scene in a restaurant, you’re not going to see extra tables off to the side that you didn’t see on the smaller screen. The amount of content is fixed.

      In contrast, the amount of content a computer can display is not fixed. If there are more pixels to fill, the computer can display more program windows, or more columns in Excel, or more text on a webpage, or more icons on the desktop.

      That’s very different than a photo or video. If all you see is videos or photos, that won’t tell you how normal text will appear, or how clear or legible it will be.

       

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      • #1962829 Reply

        mn–
        AskWoody Lounger

        They *are* smart enough. The display system talks to the monitor and the monitor tells it what its native resolution is. The display system then sets its output resolution to match, sending out enough content to fill the pixels. That’s “all the contents”. But “all the contents” will vary depending on how many pixels are available to fill. Note the content is based on how many *pixels* there are to fill, not how many inches.

        And how the content is defined can be an interesting issue if you have multiple monitors…

        I am fairly consistently annoyed at how Windows 10 will autoscale things based on what it gets from the monitor identification as the DPI figure. So yes, it *does* attempt to recalculate content based on screen inches. (And ends up doing something you don’t want, a lot of the time.)

        Also do consider the viewing distance. High resolution viewed close is viable nowadays and if adjusted correctly will cause a lot less eye strain than in the old days… for most people. Varies by individual.

        Note that a slow response time manifests itself as smearing on fast moving, hi-def game content, but it won’t be noticeable at all if, like me, you’re not a gamer.

        There are other possible uses where slow response can be a problem, but that’s a question of how much and for whom…

        Your #1 concern should be the panel type, and like anonymous said, IPS is far better than TN. TN panels will be duller and have more light bleed, and the restricted viewing angles will drive you crazy. If you do any type of photo or video editing, don’t even try it on a TN panel because you can’t count on the colors rendering accurately.

        Though there are exceptions. A good TN panel can have better color accuracy than a bad IPS panel. Also a question of what exactly you’re doing and how… and on what kind of a budget.

        Also the color space can be sort of important for some kinds of work and much less so for other kinds. The “HDR” modes on some of the fancy entertainment-oriented models can be rather inaccurate compared to things like AdobeRGB…

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    • #1964855 Reply

      dg1261
      AskWoody_MVP

      While the 25″ text is a little smaller, it’s certainly not objectionable. Icons may be a different story.

      Just so there’s no misunderstanding, let me be clear that my graphic only shows *relative* sizes, not absolute — relative sizes of the two screens, and relative sizes of text on the two monitors. I don’t know what settings you’re using on your system, but compare the text size in various places on your screen to my graphic and imagine them smaller by the same relative amount as in my graphic. (Or, you could resize my graphic until it matches the text on your screen.)

      I don’t know which OS you’re using, but in Win 7 and 8.1 you can change the size of the screen icons. In Win 7, the setting is under Personalize->Window Color->Advanced. I don’t know if it’s still there in Win 10, but if it is I’ve never found it.

      iconsize

       

      Attachments:
      • #1965378 Reply

        vip
        AskWoody Lounger

        Windows 10. Not sure what you mean by “screen icons.” I have my desktop
        icons set to large.

        EDITED inappropriate formatting

        Windows10 Pro x64 v1903 8GB i5-4570

    • #1967435 Reply

      vip
      AskWoody Lounger

      What is color calibration, and how important is it that it be done at the factory as opposed to the buyer doing it? I’m a little color vision-deficient and can’t be doing anything like that myself.

      Windows10 Pro x64 v1903 8GB i5-4570

      • #1968400 Reply

        mn–
        AskWoody Lounger

        It’s for those who need to compare screen colors with real life, or a specific reference system. Photo and video, print media work, that kind of thing.

        It’s something that needs to be redone occasionally to compensate for things like display hardware aging, too.

        Of course sometimes you can find displays that are “deliberately miscalibrated” for the user to be better able to tell things apart on screen, or less eye strain or something. Same adjustments, different use. Comprehensive adjustments might be relevant for things like color vision… hm, oddities.

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    • #1968291 Reply

      Paul T
      AskWoody MVP

      Color calibration is setting up the computer/monitor so that what you see is the same as you would see in real life. As you have trouble with colour anyway I wouldn’t be too bothered with exact colour rendition.

      cheers, Paul

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    • #1968873 Reply

      vip
      AskWoody Lounger

      Thanks to mn- and Paul T.

      Some monitors come with a color calibration report or at least say they’re calibrated. Sounds like something that should be done as part of the manufacturing process. If somebody needs to change something for a specific application, so be it, but other than that it doesn’t sound like something anybody should normally have to deal with; it’s just ‘right’ from the factory.

      Thanks again.

      Windows10 Pro x64 v1903 8GB i5-4570

      • #1969588 Reply

        mn–
        AskWoody Lounger

        Oh actually there’s multiple different and mutually exclusive ways for it to be “right” … which is why many displays have different presets for “movie”, “gaming”, “text” or “office” … and then typically “standard” as the one setting that’s calibrated but not optimal for some of those other uses.

        I got yelled at when I set one of the TVs at home to “standard” mode 😉 spouse and kids preferred the enhanced mode.

        • #1970151 Reply

          vip
          AskWoody Lounger

          As you imply, it should be calibrated right for ‘standard,’ and if somebody wants to monkey with it for some specific use, OK. The basic point is that the basic stuff should be done at the factory, and there shouldn’t be any finishing necessary by the customer.

          Windows10 Pro x64 v1903 8GB i5-4570

          • #1970161 Reply

            jabeattyauditor
            AskWoody Lounger

            The basic point is that the basic stuff should be done at the factory, and there shouldn’t be any finishing necessary by the customer.

            That’s simply never been the case with electronics.

            If you want to do color work that matters, you need to be able to adjust your monitor and/or printer to match the physical world.

            Would you accept a car stereo with no tone controls of any kind? A basic (flat) sound profile could certainly be set at the factory.

          • #1970163 Reply

            mn–
            AskWoody Lounger

            Problem is, most people like the extra-vibrant colors, overenhanced contrast and such.

            Just check with any place that sells televisions… accurate color reproduction doesn’t sell in the consumer market.

            And for abstract things like text, program code, technical drawings and such, there is no such thing as nature-accurate reproduction to begin with – and readability depends mostly on the individual eye and somewhat on the environment / ambient light, both of which are often adjusted for by tweaking some setting or other off the standard baseline.

    • #1970986 Reply

      vip
      AskWoody Lounger

      Thanks for the ‘color calibration’ responses.

      All I’m saying is it should be ‘naturally right’ (as best that can be determined) from the factory, and the user can take it from there. And I’m wondering what’s different about a monitor that’s color calibrated at the factory and one for which no such claim is made by the manufacturer.

      Windows10 Pro x64 v1903 8GB i5-4570

      • #1971029 Reply

        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        Price? It costs to calibrate.

        cheers, Paul

        • #1971036 Reply

          vip
          AskWoody Lounger

          Well if the manufacturer doesn’t calibrate, what’s the result? Is the monitor even close to ‘accurate’? Is there consistency; do buyers get noticeably different visuals on their different monitors? Seems to me the monitors should be exactly the same, like a hamburger at McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s, wherever.

          Windows10 Pro x64 v1903 8GB i5-4570

          • #1971050 Reply

            mn–
            AskWoody Lounger

            Well if the manufacturer doesn’t calibrate, what’s the result? Is the monitor even close to ‘accurate’?

            Exactly, it isn’t…

            do buyers get noticeably different visuals on their different monitors?

            YES. Very much so. They bought one cheapest-model monitor three or five years ago, then they buy a second one from a different manufacturer now – a proper office-ergonomy monitor with better specs to expand the desktop, not that they tell anyone what they’re intending to do – and THEN they’re upset that they look different and want me to spend an hour adjusting them to make them look the same…

            And that without getting into real-life color accuracy at all.

            Seems to me the monitors should be exactly the same, like a hamburger at McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s, wherever.

            Well the hamburgers are noticeably different between the McDonalds closest to my home and the one closest to my office, too, so they don’t calibrate properly either.

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