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How we test: Monitors

Everything you need to know about our benchmarking process for external displays

How we test: Monitors

In all likelihood, you’re going to be staring at a monitor for the majority of your working life - so it’s crucial to find one that offers a high-quality experience. In addition to looking at the design, the number of ports and the level of adjustability it offers, every screen we review is put through a series of tests to determine its technical aptitude.

When we review a monitor, part of our conclusions will be informed by our subjective experience: whether or not we found it pleasant to look at, how over or under–saturated the colours looked, and so on, in addition to how comfortable it was to use for different tasks such as editing documents or watching video content.

Along with using the screens over an extended period to assess their ‘real-world performance’, we run a selection of technical tests that check each panel’s colour performance across the sRGB colour space, as well as Adobe RGB and DCI-P3 where applicable. Other checks include brightness uniformity across 25 areas on the panel, gamma tracking and how close each panel gets to the target 6500K colour space. To perform these tests, we use a dedicated colorimeter in conjunction with the open-source display calibration and profiling software, DisplayCal. 

A colour calibrator on a LG monitor

We also test each monitor’s colour accuracy from a central point on the screen. The difference between the intended and actual colour is measured in the unit of colour difference, Delta E; the higher the figure, the poorer the match. A Delta E of less than 1 is considered perfect, and likely to be difficult for the human eye to distinguish. A score of between one and two is still strong, but anything above this suggests a panel that you shouldn’t trust for colour-accurate tasks like photo editing.

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