Easiest monitor on eyes for daily usage

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  • November 28, 2013 at 12:25 pm #26386

    dagdrivaren
    Participant

    What a wonderful site!
    I’m about to buy a new monitor and like the people above I want it to be one primarily suitable to reading (surfing the net, reading articles of various kind) for longer periods of time. Well, as suitable as one can get, at least. I’m new to the topic (of monitors) but have been trying to get some sort of grasp of it the last couple of days and this site has been very helpful.

    So here are a few factors that I have understood to be significant for me (what others have I missed?):
    I understand that a screen with a VA-panel is what I should look for (particularly as my budget is strained) as the static contrast ratio is superior to other panels. And while I have never used a PWM-free monitor (and therefore don’t with certainty know to what extent it affects me) it seems foolish not to try to get a hold of one, if at all possible, given that it reportedly does make a difference to some. Also, the screen surface should ideally be semi-glossy, which however, if I’ve understood things correctly, is actually pretty uncommon, unfortunately. Furthermore, though not directly related to the concern of getting a screen suitable for reading, it would be nice if the stand is adjustable in terms of height (my current Samsung SyncMaster 2233RZ tend to give me a strained neck from looking down when using the computer).

    A 27″ screen would simply be too large for me, and perhaps unncessecarily expensive too. So either a 24″ or one that is smaller still, 22″ or 23″, is what I’m thinking. I can’t quite make up my mind as to the size. I’ve never had a monitor larger than 22″.
    I’ve seen you (and others) recommending monitors from Benq’s GW series and it seems like it could be a good pick. However, as I rule out a 27″ screen, I can’t get one with the semi-glossy screen surface, nor can I get an adjustable stand, right? (You’ve said that one can buy an adjustable stand separately though, which seems nice. Is it expensive?)

    Do you have any suggestions regarding size? Looking at the 24 inch screens, what’s the difference between the GW2450HM and GW2460HM and how significant are they given my needs?
    I notice on Benq’s site that the 2460 seem to have a faster response time (it only lists 4ms, whereas 2450 has 12ms and 4ms listed; I’m not sure what this means exactly). Other than that, I’m not quite sure what other differences of significance there are. Nor do I know how important the response time is, even.

    When I look at the 22″ inch screens I get even more confused as there are a lot of them. Are there any general disadvantages with the 22″ monitors as compared to the 24″ ones? And how do they compare to each other? While the 2265 series seem to be the newest, the 2255 series seem to have lower response time (just 6ms, as apposed to 25 and 6ms).

    As for the 24″ monitors, both 2450 and 2460 are available with the flicker-free backlight (assuming one can get a hold of one of the new ones) , and regarding the 22″ the 2255 and 2265 series are available PWM-free.

    My head hurts!

    November 28, 2013 at 12:32 pm #26387

    dagdrivaren
    Participant

    Also, while I’m at it, what’s Slim Bezel? The 2460 seems to have it while the 2450 doesn’t.

    November 28, 2013 at 1:19 pm #26388

    PCM2
    Keymaster

    Hi dagdrivaren and welcome,

    It’s great to hear you have found the site helpful, it’s a lot of effort but worth it when I read positive comments like that. 🙂

    You seem to have a good grasp of what you’re after – a VA panel 24″ or smaller for comfortable reading type tasks primarily that doesn’t cost too much and preferably offers a PWM-free (flicker free) backlight. Given BenQ’s drive towards an entirely flicker-free monitor range and that they are the ‘masters of VA’, really, this is a feature that’s worth having unless there is a very compelling alternative that does still use PWM regulation.

    The screen size to go for is a tough one, because some people prefer the slightly larger screens (for example 24″ over 21.5-22″) whereas others prefer to keep things relatively small. Speaking from personal experience I find 24″ to be a very comfortable size and find the increase over 21.5″ quite welcome without finding the size overwhelmingly large. I used to use 20-22″ screens a lot but have migrated to larger screens now, primarily using 23″+ (most of my personal monitors are actually 27″, one is a 29″ widescreen). So I think for most people 24″ is a good size with a good but not confusing choice of models with one that would suit you well.

    With BenQ going back and upgrading the panels of their older models, such as the GW2450HM, the core performance is actually very similar to their newer models (such as the GW2460HM). The main difference, which was a key selling point upon launch, was the ‘Slim Bezel’ feature you mentioned. All this means is that the plastic border around the screen is ‘thin’. At least, marginally thinner than on the GW50 series. There has been a big push to make the bezels even thinner and some of BenQ’s future models (such as the 24″ EW2440L) have taken things to the extreme here. The EW2440L may actually have a semi-glossy screen surface (unknown at this stage), but I wouldn’t worry too much about that. You can’t mount a fully adjustable stand to that model so it probably wouldn’t be worth you waiting until early next year for its release. Even the regular VA surface (such as that seen on the GW2450/60 models) is fairly light matte and doesn’t give the sort of graininess associated with some TN and older IPS panels. It’s quite similar to the surface used on some newer IPS models like the Dell P2414H and not something to worry about really.

    The response times you mentioned are different simply because for some of the models they’ve quoted what’s known as an ISO response time. This is the ‘old’ measurement standard indicating the time taken for a full white-black-white pixel transition. For VA models in particular this sort of pixel transition is quite slow, which is why you see some really large numbers specified here. The small numbers (4ms, 6ms) indicate a typical grey to grey transition done one way (for example a medium shade to a lighter shade as you might see when driving past some buildings on a game). There is actually quite some variation depending on the exact shade (called ‘grey value’ – not necessarily actual grey, could be any colour of a particular intensity) as we’ll explore in an upcoming article on responsiveness. I wouldn’t worry too much about all of this, though, as like for like the response times are very similar on the 24″ GW50 and GW60 models. I’m not entirely sure about the GW2255 and GW2265 as I haven’t tested them but I suspect they’d also be similar. And in turn they’re all quite similar to the GW2750HM we’ve reviewed. So a big improvement over some older VA panels and not something I’d worry about at all for your uses.

    And yes you can use VESA mounting on the GW2450/60 models. They specifically use ‘100x100mm VESA’ which the majority of stands you’d buy separately support. Compatible stands will mention ‘VESA100’, ‘VESA bracket’, ‘100mm VESA’ etc. A good solid stand (sometimes called monitor arms depending on the design) that’s actually more robust than anything that would come supplied with an adjustable BenQ monitor from a company like Ergotron might set you back €50. Cheaper but still highly rated options are available, you could perhaps find one new for around €30. Make sure it supports the weight of the monitor (which is 3.6kg for the GW2460HM and 4.1kg for the GW2450HM) and is compatible with VESA 100x100mm and it will work.

    November 28, 2013 at 3:24 pm #26389

    dagdrivaren
    Participant

    Thanks a bunch!
    And you do think that any one of these monitors would be a big step up compared to the (TN) monitor I have right now (Samsung Syncmaster 2233RZ), for reading and “casual use”, right? So it’s meaningful to get one, that is.

    So it seems like the 2×60 update is primarily cosmetic. While I do think it looks better (at least on picture), it probably doesnt warrant the extra money. At least not if I can get a hold of -50 model that’s flicker-free. So it seems to pretty much boil down to a matter of size.
    You’ve been really helpful.

    By the way, how much of a difference is it between using the HDMI port of a, say, GW2450HM and a VGA (I think it is, no?) port?

    November 28, 2013 at 6:55 pm #26390

    PCM2
    Keymaster

    I do think they would be a good step up from the 2233RZ for you, you’ll notice the difference in contrast and colours (in a good way) I’m sure. The extra resolution in itself is quite a nice thing as well.

    VGA connections on modern monitors like this aren’t actually that bad. If you look closely you might be able to notice some ‘noise’ in places which looks a bit like ‘dithering’ that you would get on, for example, the 2233RZ on certain shades. The overall image is actually quite similar. The only thing to be aware of when using HDMI is that you will have to correct the colour signal if using an Nvidia GPU (check the GW2760HS review calibration section for information on this).

    December 4, 2013 at 7:13 pm #26453

    BrianC
    Participant

    I’m a lawyer and do a lot of reading of documents… I’m looking at buying 3 x Samsung S24A450UW monitors. I want to have two in horizontal aspect and one in the middle in portrait aspect so that I can primarily review documents on the middle monitor. Generally I use the monitors on each side for document creation (Word/Outlook) or viewing our accounting software. Is this a good monitor for my needs?

    December 4, 2013 at 8:50 pm #26456

    PCM2
    Keymaster

    Hi Brian,

    I wouldn’t recommend using monitors like the Samsung that use TN panels if you plan to use them in portrait orientation. The viewing angle restrictions cause quite noticeable and distracting shifts in colour temperature and contrast across the screen in this orientation. A bit like this:

    BX2440 portrait white point shift

    Is the 1920 x 1200 resolution a strong preference? Did you also have a budget in mind? If you do want to keep the 1920 x 1200 resolution, which is understandable, I’d recommend a model using an IPS panel such as the BenQ BL2411PT. This will give much more consistent performance in the portrait orientation and potentially superior viewing comfort to the Samsung due to its flicker-free backlight and much better colour setup.

    December 4, 2013 at 9:18 pm #26461

    BrianC
    Participant

    The Benq is $329 and the Dell U2414M is $369. Is the Dell worth the extra $$?

    I like the 1920 x 1200 resolution because of the Pixel Density and because 8.5″x11″ documents will fit nicely on the screen in portrait mode. I don’t want to spend more than $350 (with the exception of the Dell). I’m not stuck on the 1920 x 1200 resolution if you think that is not the best form factor or there are better monitors out there for my purposes. Thank you so much for helping me with this!

    December 4, 2013 at 9:52 pm #26462

    PCM2
    Keymaster

    I think that the 1920 x 1200 resolution would work well for your uses but would recommend the BenQ over the Dell. The U2412M uses an older panel with a stronger anti-glare surface and poorer colour setup. It also uses PWM to modulate its backlight. The BenQ is a superior product with a comparison made to the U2412M at various points in the review.

    December 9, 2013 at 5:46 pm #26560

    dagdrivaren
    Participant

    I’m back to pester you again!
    I’m still considering what monitor to buy. It may be dificult to get a hold of a GW2450HM with the flicker-free backlight in Sweden. Lot’s of stores sell them, but I can’t seem to find any which holds the updated revision. And only a few stores hold the GW2460HM screen, and none that are well known and reputable (so to speak). Also it does cost a bit more (50-60 pounds or something, where you located in the UK?). Actually, the GW2460HM go for the same price as GW2760HM (and GW2750HM too, for that matter).

    One feature you didn’t mention above with regards to the difference between GW2450HM and GW2460HM is the pre-configured Reading Mode that the latter has (and not the former). I thought I’d ask you about it. On the one hand it sounds like something I could find useful, particularly as I’m completely and utterly clueless when it comes to calibrate a monitor (it was just recently that I figured out that having the brightness maxed out maybe isn’t the best idea when I pretty much never play any games; unfortunately that’s not a joke). On the other hand, judging by what the reviewer (you?) wrote about the feature in the review of the GW2760HS, he/you didn’t seem all too impressed.
    So, I did understand it correctly when I say that one can create pretty much the same preset manually?

    Oh, by the way, one can create specific presets – if that’s the right word (settings for brightness, color settings, and so forth) – manually and save them, right?
    If so, I’m wondering how dificult it is, given how little I know about calibration and what type of settings are more appropriate for reading. I will try to read up on this, to be sure. Still, I’m wondering how I’ll manage to do it short term.

    One last thing. Do you think you could recommed any reading for starting to learn about calibration of monitors. I’ll read the GW-series reviews and the information on calibration there more carefully. Also, I didn’t find any guides or articles on the topic here but I found this article over at TFT-Central: Calibration Guide. Any other suggestions, or are those enough? More specifically, will I learn about creating presets (or calibrating a monitor properly for) suitable for reading?

    *edit* Haha, I’m sorry for bombarding you with questions like this. The fact that the GW2460HM cost as much as the GW2760HM makes the choice between them a little harder. At first I thought that I was certain that 27″ is too large (and, I assumed, quite a bit pricier), and I’m still a bit sceptical, but I really don’t have any experience with screens larger than 22″, as I’ve said earlier. What are your thoughts, considering that they cost equally much. (That is, if I can’t get a hold of a flicker-free GW2450HM.)

    December 9, 2013 at 6:34 pm #26564

    PCM2
    Keymaster

    The GW2460HM is only around £160 here (yes I’m based in the UK) so it is a little more expensive than the GW2450HM but only by about £25. I was quite dismissive of the ‘reading mode’ on the GW2760HS because it upset the contrast and colour balance too much. I am not against the idea of that sort of mode if it’s properly implemented but I do find that generally presets on these sorts of monitor take too much away from the image and upset the balance. You’re usually always better off doing things yourself using the most flexible preset available – which is usually ‘User’ or ‘Standard’ on BenQ monitors. I was quite fond of the ‘Low Blue Light’ modes of the new EW2740L, though, and expect to see a similar implementation on the upcoming EW2440L. The contrast was actually very high indeed using this setting although the image appeared warmer to varying degrees (as the mode is intended to lower blue light, this makes sense) there wasn’t an obnoxious green tint as per the 60HS’ reading mode.

    This may seem counter-intuitive at first. The reason we don’t have a calibration guide is because we like to keep things as simple as possible. If you give people ways to ‘experiment’ with their monitor and they are new to that sort of thing (i.e. the very people the guide would be designed for) they often end up making things, from a technical perspective, ‘bad’. I am all for making monitors look good ‘by eye’, and there’s lots of room for subjectivity and individualism here. I find people are a lot happier and get better results if they simply follow the advice given on a per monitor basis in our reviews. Or use a hardware calibrator for even better results. Our reviews give them a good settings base to work from and also mentions a website that is used in our calibration (and in some of our testing) that can help even on monitors we don’t review – Lagom.

    Unless you have a colorimeter or other hardware calibration device you’ll be wanting to get things looking as good, to you, as possible. The Lagom website is helpful for this because it lets you know when you’re pushing things too far! On modern monitors (the exception being some TN panels, generally) the default contrast setting is almost always optimal. Don’t touch that. Brightness is simply set to your own preference and to suit the lighting in the room, as mentioned in the review. Colour channel adjustments are where things get complicated and where a bit of trial and error comes in if you don’t have a colorimeter. I recommend looking at familiar images and large white spaces (a word document for example) to see if you can pick up any ‘tints’. Use the ‘Black Level Test’ and ‘White Saturation Test’ on the Lagom website as well. They can both help you identify if one particular colour channel (or two) is dominant and should be lowered because the greys tend to absorb that sort of thing quite readily. Also pay attention to the ‘White Saturation Test’ after adjusting colour channels as they can identify if you’ve pushed a channel too far from its native comfort zone. Sometimes a mild tint to the greys here (particularly on the bottom row) is OK and you won’t notice this outside of that test, but other times it is indicating a problem and you may want to consider dialing things back a bit.

    It’s a shame to hear the GW2460HM isn’t easy get hold of for you, nor the GW2450HM flicker-free variants. They’re the go-to models given your requirements! Perhaps the EW2440L will be worth considering when it’s available (Jan 2014 apparently) but this doesn’t have an adjustable stand nor allow VESA mounting! The OSD layout on the 60HM models is the same as on the 60HS and EW40 series using BenQ’s new ‘Intuitive UI’ style. When you say can you create your own presets… Yes and no. You can customise settings to your taste, which will be done in any preset. That preset will remember your settings even if you switch to another preset. So for example you can set the ‘User’ Picture Mode to your custom settings for daytime and then use another preset (‘Reading’ or a ‘Low Blue Light’ preset in the evening for something more restful). I am completely against the notion of using different presets for different tasks because if you’ve set up your monitor for comfortable general use then it doesn’t matter whether you’re gaming, watching a video, browsing the internet or doing work. What matters are the lighting conditions in your room! I actually really like the way the ‘Low Blue Light’ modes on the EW40 can be cycled through using a ‘Custom Key’ (a shortcut key if you prefer) so you don’t have to access the main menu or cycle through the other presets first. In fact you can enable the mode for evening viewing very quickly indeed. Then use another ‘Custom Key’ to cycle through the other presets to get back to your ‘User’ mode or other desired preset. There is no reason why you couldn’t use these ‘Low Blue Light’ modes for daytime viewing if you find it more restful but I don’t think it’s necessary if you’re using an appropriate brightness elsewhere.

    December 16, 2013 at 8:44 pm #26720

    sbaragnaus
    Participant

    Hi, I’m looking for a new monitor for websurfing-office (primary use) and multimedia via external dvb decoder with hdmi connection (secondary use) to replace my old 19″ 16:10 hd ready monitor (0.28 dot pitch).

    I think eye-care is very important (I also use f.lux), so I’d like to buy a non-PWM monitor like Benq GW2760HS.

    The distance between me and the monitor is about 67-77cm. Do you suggest me to buy a 24″ or a 27″ model? I don’t want to hurt my eyes.

    Thanks in advance

    December 16, 2013 at 9:07 pm #26722

    PCM2
    Keymaster

    From that viewing distance either a 24″ or 27″ model would be fine. Given the choices currently available I would recommend considering a 27″ model (like the GW2760HS you mentioned). This would also be easier to focus on if your eyes get tired towards the end of the day. As a f.lux user myself I actually found the ‘Low Blue Light’ modes on the new EW2740L really nice to use in the evening. It also has a flicker-free (non-PWM) backlight and is generally a very nice and comfortable monitor to use.

    December 24, 2013 at 7:54 pm #26824

    thesharing
    Participant

    Hello everyone,

    My LG W2442PA monitor broke off some days ago, so i bought an Asus VG248QE.

    The colors are too bright also if i correct it (also, via service menu), i looked around in all sites and tried everything i found but did not achieve anything enough.

    With LG I passed days and days on PC without any problem, with this 30 minutes is enough to give me eyepain and headcache, nausea…

    Hell, what’s wrong? I’m going to send it back so can someone suggest me a good monitor?
    I wish to be high competitive n gaming, but all other applications will not suffer like this Asus do.

    Please, help me.

    December 25, 2013 at 12:43 pm #26831

    PCM2
    Keymaster

    I put your post here as this thread covers some possible reasons for your visual discomfort. The backlight on the VG248QE is quite unforgiving, using PWM (flickering) at a frequency that really bothers some users. The easiest way to see if it’s the PWM causing issues is to set the monitor to 100% brightness and reduce brightness digitally in your graphics driver. If you still get discomfort it’s something else causing it, if not it is likely the PWM.

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