When it comes to reviewing gaming monitors, whether it’s for a best of guide or just a single product review, the testing process is hugely important. In order for us to recommend the best products the market has to offer, we must meticulously test each and every monitor with the same level of care and attention as the last.
For those who are interested in our testing methods, below will be a more comprehensive look at some of the tests we run and how each could potentially affect the performance a monitor provides.
Color Accuracy – Calibrated & Pre-calibrated
For me, color accuracy is one of the most important tests you can perform on a monitor. The color accuracy of your panel is hugely important when it comes to immersion and realism. Good color accuracy ensures that the image you’re seeing isn’t over-saturated or enhanced in any way – staying true to what the developer actually created.
For our color accuracy tests, we use a colorimeter to see how true the monitor is to the sRGB color spectrum. We run the test on as many presets as we feel necessary, concluding with a table of results that show the best preset for different scenarios.
After all the relevant presets have been tested, we go on to calibrate the monitor in full – using the same colorimeter. This will calibrate the colors of the monitor and match them to what is considered ‘true’. We run another in-depth color test once the panel has been calibrated to see what impact that has had on the monitor’s colors.
Below is a chart to outline the different ranking bands for a monitor’s color DE:
|Average||1 – 2.9|
Color gamuts can be quite confusing, especially if you’re fairly new to monitor tech. Color gamuts are ranges of color that sit within the complete color spectrum. Monitor manufacturers use color gamuts to tell the buyer what range of colors the monitor can reproduce.
During the calibration process of a monitor, the colorimeter will also record the Gamut volume and coverage of three major color gamuts – sRGB, DCI-P3, and Adobe RGB. It will give us a percentage of each and we can then extrapolate how accurate the monitor is for each of the color gamuts displayed.
Panel uniformity looks at luminance uniformity and color deviation across the face of your monitor. It’s important to test each monitor for panel uniformity as poor uniformity can diminish the viewing experience of certain scenarios – sporting events for example.
Testing panel uniformity utilizes software that splits your display in a grid, allowing you to use the centre square as a reference and test the others based on that.
After all sections of the monitor have been tested, the software generates a chart that shows us how far each of the individual squares deviates from the reference. In an ideal world, we want all the squares to be green – within the acceptable threshold for color and luminance deviation. Below are examples of good and bad panel uniformity.
Using the same colorimeter that was used for the above tests, we also like to test a monitor’s peak brightness (luminance). Simply put, we crank the brightness of the monitor up to its maximum potential then record the displayed brightness in candelas – a form of measurement used to determine how bright your panel is.
This test is a fairly important one, letting us know whether or not that particular monitor will be good for bright room situations. Certain monitors that can’t provide the right amount of brightness will be extremely hard to use in bright rooms.
Reflections And Panel Coating
Whether you’re in the market for an ultrawide curved monitor or just a standard 27-inch gaming monitor, panel coating and reflections are two very important factors to consider. The tests we run for this particular category are fairly rudimentary in concept. We simply use the monitor and position it where a strong light source is. Whilst this test isn’t overly scientific (at all), it is a good way of quickly figuring out whether a panel coating is good for mitigating natural light.
Backlight bleed can be tragic on a monitor – even more so if you’re the kind of person that likes to enjoy plenty of darkroom gaming and entertainment viewing. Backlight bleed is when the light from your monitor’s backlight filters through the edges of your panel. Light that is supposed to illuminate pixels in the centre becomes concentrated around the edges of the screen, making blacks look uneven and washed out.
We test a monitor’s backlight bleed by loading a black tile on the monitor and turning the lights out in a room. Doing this will showcase any impurities in the monitor’s uniformity and will also outline clear backlight bleed.
Like reflections, there is no scientific way to analyze how good or bad a monitor’s viewing angles are. As you may well know, viewing angles are often dictated by the panel technology used – with IPS reigning victorious over the alternatives. That said, as far as testing goes, we use a rotating table to turn the monitor and simply look to see when the colors start to deviate. The table offers the relevant degrees, allowing us to determine at what point the colors start to shift.
This is a great test for individuals that like to view their monitors from obscure angles or have several individuals around a monitor at any given time.
Testing a monitor’s build quality really comes down to the materials used and the strength and quality of the construction. We also test the mechanical features of a monitor, including all input/output ports and the OSD controls as well.
Often, many budget-oriented monitors will have very similar specifications, meaning manufacturers will have to use build quality as the compromising factor. For this reason, we meticulously test every panel we receive and rate it on a scale of 1-10 on how well built it is. This includes materials used, construction of the panel, and overall strength of fittings and mechanics.
Equipment We Use
For many of the color accurate tests, we use one of two colorimeters. Why two? Well, one offers a more advanced and in-depth color test of each profile – whereas the other offers a better (and nicer to look at) panel uniformity chart. This is probably a little overkill, but for the tests we perform, it’s essential for us to use both colorimeters.
For testing response times we also utilize an oscilloscope, measuring the transition time between shades of gray.
So, that’s pretty much everything you need to know about the testing process we do for each and every monitor that comes through the WePC doors. Hopefully, that has given you a slightly better idea of how we test our panels, and actually gives you added confidence in the recommendations we provide on our site.
If you have any questions regarding the testing process, feel free to drop them in the comments section below.