Plugging it in and turning it on, I was immediately taken by the brightness of the image and the sharpness – icons and text looked particularly clear. That seems to knock the text fuzziness issue on the head. Working for some time in Word documents was a pleasure and having this level of resolution is a major boon for working with spreadsheets and images.
However, firing up our usual DisplayMate revealed that there were indeed banding issues, which could clearly be seen in the 256 Level Intensity colour ramp. In Multimedia and Gaming modes, which enable the Faroudja DCDi deinterlacing, the banding was quite severe. Switching to Desktop mode though, it was significantly reduced and was barely visible. Moving to a VGA connection the banding was reduced further still, but at the expense of overall sharpness, which is not what you want on a screen of this size.
In the 64-step grey-scale test the Multimedia and Gaming mode also caused problems and there was compression at either end. In desktop mode, the light steps at the edge of the screen could be resolved but it was a mass of solid colour at the black end. The claimed contrast ratio of 1000:1 is probably quite optimistic.
Working with large high-res images, I actually couldn’t see any effects of the banding, but colours and details did look subdued compared to the best I’ve seen. Comparing with other monitors it was a little like the difference between 16-bit and 32-bit colour, though not nearly as extreme. However, it’s still an issue and if colour accuracy is important in your line of work then I wouldn’t recommend this screen.
I then tested by watched a Superbit version of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon on DVD and then I tried some downloaded HD movie files. All appearing striking and smooth, with no hint of response time issues and there was detail in dark scenes despite the lack-lustre DisplayMate performance.
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