Easiest monitor on eyes for daily usage

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  • #21369

    Hi Everyone,

    A few years back I had an eye surgery(I had high myopia/near sighted before Lasek) and when I look into a monitor at the office, even if I use refreshment tears , I get eye dryness and strain with red eyes at the end of the day. The monitor that I am using is an LCD monitor of Lenovo Thinkvision 19″. Not sure about the model number but most likely a 7-8 years old LCD.

    I addressed this situation to the management and I just got an approval from my company that I can buy a better monitor for eyes. My daily work in the office mainly involves in reading (lots of lotus notes emails, spread sheets, text typing and web browsing) – No graphics,gaming or 3d for sure.

    I did my due diligence via google and found out that a few major criteria cause dry/strained eyes (Tom`s Hardware forums)

    1) The monitor is too bright. Most calibrators set it at 120cd/m2.
    2) The monitor is set to a cool color temperature. A slightly warm (or amber) temp reduces eye strain.
    3) The monitor has pixel inversion (pixel walk) issues. TN panels are much worse for this than IPS panels. Test it here.
    4) The pixel pitch isn’t right for you. In most cases a larger pixel pitch reduces eyestrain, though try not to go over .29
    5) The backlight is bad and flickers.

    After I searched further I found out that IPS panel based monitors are easier on the eyes (hopefully I am correct with my knowledge)  Therefore, I am focused on 3 monitors:

    I am between HP ZR2440W , Dell U2410 and Dell U2412m. Either of three monitors will be easier to my eyes than the current Lenovo that I am using I guess but which one would be the easiest on the eye?

    ZR2440W is using E-IPS whereas U2410 uses H-IPS? What about U2412m? Is it also H-IPS
    ZR2440W is 350 cd/m2 vs U2410 400 cd/m2  and U2412m 300 cd/m2

    What is the difference between E-IPS and H-IPS? I mean more importantly, do I need to worry about slight differences here such as 300 to 400 brightness or should I go with a monitor with higher hz such as 120 hz Benq and similar monitors?
    Sorry for too many questions  but the bottom line for me is that I just want to buy a monitor that does not tire my eyes that easily as I will be spending 8 to 10 hours a day in front of that monitor. Any other brand and model is welcome , does not have to be a monitor among the ones above, I am noob when it comes to monitors.

    Thank you

    Appreciate your kind reply

    Declan

    #21374

    Hi canuck (Declan) and welcome to the forum!

    It sounds like you’ve already done some good research and some important points have been covered. I wouldn’t actually agree with some things, though. Pixel inversion only becomes problematic in very specific circumstances and I haven’t come across a modern monitor where this would be significant enough to cause eyestrain. There also isn’t any correlation between panel type and inversion severity/likelihood – I’ve seen a pretty even spread of decent vs. poor performance on monitors here over the past few years.

    One area that IPS panels are certainly stronger for, though, is presenting colours accurately and consistently. I wouldn’t say that this makes a scrap of difference to eyestrain on the surface, but there is something which many monitors use called ‘dithering’ to consider. It’s effect can be similar to pixel inversion problems but more generally more widespread and noticeable. Many modern monitors, especially cheaper ones, use something people refer to as ‘FRC’ (Frame Rate Control) to simulate a greater number of colours than the display can actually produce. This is explained nicely on Lagom which you’ve already visited. Many modern Full HD monitors use ‘6 bit+ FRC’ (i.e. use dithering). Most higher resolution models and modern VA panels are true 8-bit and use no dithering. Higher resolution models (WQHD+) tend to be 8-bit with no dithering or 8-bit with extra dithering to make up to 10-bit (with extra fancy processing on top sometimes). I wouldn’t get too bogged down in dithering though. I only mentioned it because IPS panels that use it seem to use much finer and less noticeable dithering (if at all) than TN, which is a plus. Full HD VA panels are relatively cheap and don’t tend to use any dithering which is a plus.

    Pixel pitch is certainly important and a larger pixel pitch can reduce eyestrain. I would refute the ‘try not to go over 0.29’ right off the bat, though. 27″ monitors with a 1920 x 1080 resolution are increasingly common and do not make everything uncomfortably large nor would most people strain to see anything. Some people are sort of ‘Full HD o-phobic’, usually without any actual experience of monitors that are this size and pixel pitch. The 2560 x 1440 resolution can definitely bring benefits to the desktop but reducing eyestrain isn’t one of them.

    The backlight being ‘bad’ and flickering can be an issue, but I wouldn’t really use the word ‘bad’ to describe this. Although not always desirable, many modern backlights use PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) to dim the backlight. Essentially this causes extremely rapid ‘on-off’ pulses with decreasing frequency at reduced brightnesses. You can capture this using most smartphone cameras where it will appear as a relatively slow strobing. To the eyes it may appear as a rapid flicker. A video demonstrating what to look for below.

    Your office monitor will most likely be CCFL-backlit and shouldn’t really have noticeable or problematic PWM. Most office lighting causes more issues with this than your average monitor – even the ‘bad’ ones ;). I definitely agree with brightness being an issue – office monitors tend to be far too bright or are models with poor brightness control. 120 cd/m2 is too dim for many conditions, including bright office lighting and daylight. This is really the lower end of monitor calibrations and many would aim for 140-180 cd/m2. When looking at brightness figures for monitors you will almost always see a typical maximum of 250-400cd/m2 specified. What is more important is the minimum luminance which you’ll only find in proper reviews or on higher end models in the specification. Most modern models will give you a decent enough range of adjustment between 120-200cd/m2 where you’ll want to be.

    Another important factor to consider is the screen surface. Glossy surfaces are not suitable for most office environments and you may strain your eyes trying to see through reflections. Equally, some monitors use very high-haze (strong) matte anti-glare surfaces which give a grainy look to the image and can strain the eyes as text can be less clear than it should be. In an office though it really depends on your lighting. Some monitors may even have a matte screen surface that is too ‘weak’ or low haze, causing some degree of glare if lights are shining onto it.

    So where does that leave you? It’s difficult to say as it’s difficult to pinpoint the cause of the issue. With offices there are so many factors that can contribute to eyestrain and the rubbish monitors you typically find there wouldn’t really tick any boxes for ‘relaxing on the eyes’. Ideally you would be looking for a monitor with no dithering, a nice screen surface, no backlight flicker and a nice clear image where text and icons are always easy to see. Having good strong contrast will also help text stand out.

    Very few monitors will cover all of those bases, but I think VA panels are worth careful consideration due to their excellent contrast and general lack of dithering. One that comes closest to ticking all of the boxes in my mind is the upcoming BenQ GW2760HS. Unfortunately BenQ have no plans to release this in North America, so that’s probably out of the question. I know 27 inches isn’t the most office-friendly size though! And it doesn’t have an adjustable stand which could be an issue.

    If you don’t need height adjustment or anything like that on the stand then their earlier EW2430 and could also be worth a look. It doesn’t have a PWM-free backlight but I don’t think that is a major contributor to your eyestrain, personally. It has a low haze screen surface (again – suitability depends on your office lighting), is 24″, has no dithering and gives a nice image with excellent contrast. The newer GW2450HM (see our review of the 27″ model) is also very good and has a bit of a stronger matte screen surface. It’s not so strong that text is particularly difficult to see and it’s very effective at combating even high levels of ‘office glare’. BenQ also have some models with adjustable stands such as the BL2410T but I don’t have hands-on experience with these. The models listed previously can be mounted to any 100 x 100mm VESA mount, anyway.

    The IPS monitors you listed could well do the trick, too, and they should be much better than your current monitor. I personally think VA models are better for text work due to the superior contrast and affordability. If you do want to go down the IPS route then the U2410 is overkill really as you are paying a bit of a premium for a broad colour gamut and relatively inefficient CCFL backlight. The contrast is also weak and the screen surface is one of those ‘strong’ and ‘high haze’ numbers which I personally find quite abhorrent for text work. The U2412M has a similar screen surface. I wouldn’t let my personal feelings on the screen surface get in the way of what is otherwise an excellent all-round monitor on this one though. Newer revisions of the HP ZR2440W have a lighter matte screen surface but aside from this the performance is quite comparable to the U2412M. These models do use dithering but it is very fine and I’m not convinced it would cause eyestrain.

    That’s a lot to take in, I know. I should probably let you take a look at this and ask any questions you need to rather than bombarding with any further information.

    #21377

    Hi PCM2,

    First of all, I would like to thank you for the valuable time that you assigned to write this long, detailed and very technical article about my post. Hopefully, your answers will come handy to others looking for a monitor easy on eye.

    You are right, it is a lot to digest at the beginning but based on your answers I did some final research and I came down to a few and I would appreciate if you can briefly take a look and advise your opinion which one fits the best to my need.

    BenQ GW2750HM

    By the way, there is also a very detailed review for BenQGW2750HM on TFT Central.

    BenQ BL2400PU

    I believe this is an alternative to GW2750HM  with a lower price and smaller screen size, less brightness and pixel pitch. They both seem to be VA panels but $50 difference worth going for 2400 you think?

    And I found two different monitors with very high contrast but not sure if they are VA panel. I googled  and barely found panel type but I believe they are TN panel?

    Acer P246HLABD 24
    AOC e2351F

    That Acer`s dynamic contrast outrun everything 🙂 but it is not all about contrast I guess panel type , brightness, pixel pitch seems to be important. The reason that I wanted share Acer and Aoc is the cost. Even though the company pays for it I wanna be under $300 or $250 if possible.

    Appreciate your final comments among these 4 monitors OR any other that comes up to your mind in a similar price range.

    Thanks again.

    Declan

     

    #21378

    Those last two (Acer and AOC) are just your run of the mill TN/Twisted Nematic panels (and not particularly good ones at that). Dynamic Contrast is one of those figures that is great for selling a product – people like huge numbers. In reality this figure is meaningless for the vast majority of users. Basically Dynamic Contrast includes a measure of the brightest white and the deepest black that a monitor can produce under very specific conditions. Those conditions include the monitor being set to a ‘Dynamic Contrast’ mode that allows the backlight to brighten and dim in relation to the image that the monitor is displaying. It also includes the monitor being given time (with the sorts of figures you’re looking at for the Acer, easily seconds rather than milliseconds) to alter the backlight brightness. LED-backlit monitors can do this very rapidly which is really when this ridiculous inflated numbers game took off. But in reality you will want to know how deep the deepest black and brightest white will be at a fixed brightness at a fixed point in time. This is known as ‘Static Contrast’ and is usually around 1000:1 for modern TN panels. Interestingly the Acer actually has a 600:1 static contrast specified – so it’s no wonder the sellers don’t go to great lengths to point this out.

    The BenQ GW2750HM has a specified static contrast of 5000:1 and the BL2400PU of 3000:1. The latter actually uses a slightly older panel than the GW50 series with slightly weaker contrast performance on average and inferior responsiveness. It does come with a fully adjustable stand, though, which is really its main USP.

    There’s also a review of the GW2750HM on our site which you may find helpful as well if you haven’t already read it – http://pcmonitors.info/reviews/benq-gw2750hm. Personally I think this one will fit the bill very nicely, as long as the size and fixed stand isn’t too much of an issue. The GW2450HM is another possibility if 27″ is too large, although I’m not sure on the availability of this one in Canada.

    #21385

    Hello PCM2,

    Thanks again for your detailed reply.

    Sorry about too many questions but this is the last one as I almost make up my mind because of you:

    Actually, I just found GW2450HM and in Canada with a good price. And the GW2750HM.

    Price difference is $75+tax which even helps better but as far as I can see, there are 2 differences between them other than the size (24″ is enough for me)

    brightness  250 vs 300 cd/m2

    pixel pitch 0.311 vs 0.276 mm

    I know this is now too much of a detail and maybe a stupid question as there might be a true answer but again coming back to being easier on the eyes, above 2 factor a deal breaker? You think that paying $85 extra is worth the difference considering the specs above?

    Thank you

    Declan

     

    #21388

    You will be wanting to use a brightness below 200 cd/m2 which both models will provide, so the brightness won’t be a problem. The pixel pitch should be fine on both as far as ease on the eyes go from a normal viewing distance on a desk. Viewing a 24″ monitor with 1920 x 1080 resolution is usually quite restful on the eyes, so to speak. If you are fine with 24 inches then the GW2450HM is the one I’d go for.

    #21405

    Dear PCM2.

    Just to let you know I ended up buying GW2450HM and so far I am very happy with my eyes at the end of day.

    I would like to thank you one more time with your all help

    Really appreciate it

    Have a wonderful life

    Declan

    #21417

    Really glad to hear it! Hope you continue to enjoy the monitor.

    #25750

    Hi, I am choosing a monitor, but i have hard time choosing one, mainly because my eyes are very sensitive.I have read a lot, why monitors tend to tire eyes and came to the conclusion that one of the main reasons(except proper lightening and not taking brakes) is flicker.

    1. So flicker free backlight monitor is a must. TFT central has a short list of them, so that is not going to be the problem.

    2. Next is FRC , I have read that modern FRC algorithms are really good, but the thing is they flicker. And if the monitor is 60hz the pixel would flicker at 30hz. Logic says to me, that this is not good for my eyes, but in practice I don’t know and because most flicker free monitors(TN and IPS) use FRC, maybe i have to choose 8 bit VA panel ?

    3. The other thing is refresh rate of the panel.I know that refresh rate doesn’t make the panel flicker, but many people say that 85hz or higher is more easy on the eyes. And well its true that 120hz panel is perceived as more smooth than 60hz. So maybe slow 25ms VA panels would be bad for the eyes?

    4. And finally I am wondering which one glossy or semi-glossy coating is better for the eyes. Of course I am going to use curtains, if it is glossy.

    So, my main deviation is between

    120hz, 6 bit + FRC, flicker free backlight, TN panel
    60hz, 6bit + FRC, flicker free backlight, IPS panel
    60hz, 8bit, flicker free backlight, VA panel

    I am going to use my monitor mainly for reading, and if the monitors allows it for gaming, and am willing to sacrifice color performance for my eyes health.So my goal will be something like

    85hz+ , 8 bit , flicker free backlight

    but I haven’t found one.

    I would really appreciate any comment.

    #25753

    Hi inflames678 and welcome,

    I merged your recent thread with this one as some of your questions are covered here. I think you are probably making your job of choosing a new monitor unnecessarily difficult by theorising about things that in actuality make very little difference. Different people have different sensitivities to these sorts of factors, but it would be a bit of a push to suggest some of them actually make a real difference to visual comfort. Opting for a PWM free model can certainly make sense – we also have a list here, but TFT Central’s list is also an excellent resource. Provided the brightness and viewing conditions (lighting) are appropriate very few people have any eyestrain or related issues using PWM-free monitors regardless of whether they use FRC. The XL2420TE (or 11T/20T European models) is one example of a monitor users are very happy with (those who usually suffer eyestrain using other monitors) but this uses a moderately ‘heavy’ matte surface and also employs dithering.

    So FRC I wouldn’t really wouldn’t worry about. PWM can be an issue, but fortunately there are a number of decent PWM-free options out there. Refresh rate can certainly have an effect in that some users fine it ‘straining’ to view moving content if there is a fair degree of motion blur. Others don’t care about this at all and it makes no difference to their visual comfort. Screen surface should be appropriate for your viewing environment, usually the best bet for being ‘easy on the eyes’ is a very light matte or ‘semi glossy’ screen surface.

    If you do want to avoid monitors that use 6-bit + FRC, want a PWM-free backlight and also want to have a bit of a higher refresh rate and good light matte surface (so you don’t have to worry about grain or potentially bothersome reflections) then your best bet is to go for a 29″ model (such as the AOC q2963Pm). These can be safely and easily overclocked to 72Hz+ (often a fair bit higher) and unlike your typical VA models which are also sometimes quite overclockable have good enough pixel responsiveness to make good use of the sort of 72-85Hz refresh rates. They also have a fairly light matte screen surface that’s not far off ‘semi glossy’ in its level of ‘graininess’ and some, such as the AOC, use PWM-free backlights. They are also 8-bit without dithering.

    #25769

    I will take your advice and wont care about FRC.
    29” is a bit too big for me though , aren’t there any smaller IPS monitors with flicker free backlight and higher than 60hz refresh rate ?
    Also you said there is a list of PWM free monitors here, but i can’t find.
    thank you

    #25777

    The list of flicker-free monitors is here, just for reference. The ‘Full HD’ IPS models tend to be the best overclockers, but frustratingly the ‘WQHD’ models tend to have the PWM-free backlights! I’m currently testing the Dell P2414H and will see how it overclocks tomorrow. It’s got a flicker-free backlight, AH-IPS panel with reasonably light matte screen surface and could be a decent overclocker but I’m not sure yet.

    #25781

    Thank you again.Expecting your full review.

    #25782

    I’m currently working on an article all about monitor responsiveness which will delay the review being published a bit. Our sample runs very happily without issue at up to 78Hz if you’re interested. From a ‘low eye strain’ perspective this monitor really ticks all the boxes except being FRC-free. But the dithering on this is really well masked, as good as I’ve seen a monitor with dithering. I wouldn’t expect this factor to cause eyestrain and I think unless you’re looking at a 29″ model you’ll have to ignore FRC as a requirement if you want to tick all of the other boxes.

    #25783

    Thanks a lot for helping me choosing a monitor. I will most likely buy the Dell P2414H, I was thinking about Benq BL2411PT but it is 60hz and have nothing more than the dell.

    P.S. I will write in a week or so how easy is on the eyes.

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