Vision problems, need a high contrast monitor

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    Dear PCM,

    I stumbled on your site after countless hours of surfing. Thank you for all of your hard work!

    I am developing some vision problems and need a monitor that provides high contrast deep black against brilliant white for mainly text use and light photo editing (no gaming or video watching). The “white” background of my current screen (a Win10 Lenovo 2-in-1 touch screen Flex 5 with UHD and NVIDIA GeForce GT 940MX 2GB) appears at best light gray to me–like white laundry after too many cycles of washing. I’ve shopped for monitors at various stores and have yet to locate the type of brilliant white against deep black that I seek.

    Of course, I might be limited by the color template white that Microsoft stamps into its Office applications. Perhaps there’s a workaround on that matter but I’ve tried using the “high contrast” settings but then lose color options. To me #ffffff white is nothing like the brightest whites I can find in a paint store.

    I know that monitors are theoretically capable of producing brilliant whites because I’ve seen them in some televisions on store display.

    I can’t believe that I’m the only person asking to find such a monitor. Yet I don’t see this request in forums, nor have I seen manufacturers trumpeting this feature in advertisements.

    Any guidance you can provide me will be appreciated!


    Hi BxPilot,

    Firstly, I’m sorry to hear about the vision problems you’re developing. Out of curiosity, have you been given a specific name for the visual condition you’re suffering?

    With the severe lack of contrast sensitivity which you’re describing, unfortunately there aren’t really any monitors that I’d consider ideal. The best contrast for modern LCD monitors comes from VA (Vertical Alignment) panels, but they only go up to ~5000:1 and more typically 3000:1. That’s around 3-5 times as strong as the contrast on monitors with other panel types, but it is by no means extreme and may well be insufficient for your needs.

    You might actually be better off considering TVs, such as those you’ve seen in the stores. Some TVs that still rely on LCD technology (which includes Samsung’s ‘QLED’ displays at the moment) offer backlight designs with lots of dimming zones. Called an FALD (Full Array Local Dimming) solution, it allows the screen to provide superior contrast by having some sections of the backlight very bright whilst other sections are very dim. In terms of dimming zones and in particular on a large screen, you really want as many as you can get. Text is actually one area where such a solution would need an extremely high number of dimming zones, as one pixel would have to be very bright and another adjacent pixel very dark in an ideal world. Otherwise you’d simply get a ‘halo’ around the text – and this is typically what you do get.

    Some TVs offer technologies such as OLED which provide vastly superior contrast performance to what any current consumer-grade monitor would offer. That sort of technology will filter down to monitors eventually, but in your situation it sounds like a very large screen with high brightness and contrast potential is actually ideal. So if budget allows I’d consider a TV using OLED technology, rather than a monitor. They aren’t always ideally suited to computing tasks, you might have read a bit about ‘burn-in’ or image retention when they display a static image for too long. This seems to have improved a lot with more recent models, though, so I wouldn’t be afraid of trying this out if budget permits.


    Thanks so much for the thoughtful advice. My diagnosis is quite lethal: aging. Young spirit, aging eyes. What can I say?

    I will search PCM for some advice on VA Panel monitors. Perhaps some of the stores here showroom them. Converting a QLED or OLED televison might be beyond my skills right now so let me check first the PA Panel suggestion.

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