Computer Monitor Testing Methodology & Analysis

Updated: Jun 17, 2024 2:08 PM

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Key Takeaways_

  • 77% of computer monitor reviewers are untrustworthy. That means only 23% of publications actually test!
  • 27 reviewers publish trusted computer monitor reviews, including RTINGs , Tom’s Hardware, and PC Mag. These 27 reviewers’ trusted testing methodologies and reviews fuel our Performance Criteria indicators and True Scores.
  • We spent 82 hours total evaluating 117 computer monitor reviewers for thorough testing and transparency.

Computer Monitor Category Analysis

Computer monitors aren’t quite new, but they’re far from old as far as categories are concerned. Much like televisions, thoroughly testing a computer monitor requires attention to detail and is an involved process.

Monitors are crucial for everything from creative work to everyday computing, yet finding comprehensive, tested reviews can be difficult. After three years of research, our investigation has shown that 77% of reviewers fail to properly test monitors, often lacking evidence of thorough testing.

How do we know what to test? Our process involves a meta-analysis of trusted expert testing methodologies, our own testing expertise, and real customer review pain points.

  1. First, we review existing methodologies from trusted experts and identify their important and frequently-tested Performance Criteria. Both quantitative and qualitative criteria are considered and collected.
  2. We leverage our testing expertise (we’ve tested and reviewed hundreds of products several years ago) to select the most important Performance Criteria for evaluating computer monitors.
  3. We then validate these Criteria by cross-referencing them with common pain points highlighted in real customer reviews.

This way, we ensure our evaluations are both rigorous and relevant.

Categories of Performance & Performance Criteria

We determined that the 10 Performance Criteria in 2 Categories of Performance below are the most important ones to test based on meta analysis of trusted criteria and expert testing methodologies, customer reviews, and our own testing expertise.

CATEGORY OF PERFORMANCEPERFORMANCE CRITERIAUNIT OF MEASUREMENTDEFINITION
Picture QualityBrightnessnits (cd/m2)How bright the monitor will get, usually under specific testing conditions, like 10% windows (which means 10% of the screen is a white box)
Picture QualityContrast Ratiox:1The difference in brightness between the whites (lit sections) and blacks (dim or unlit sections) of a monitor panel
Picture QualityColor Gamut (DCI P3 xy)%How much of the DCI P3 xy color gamut is covered by the monitor, which helps indicate color accuracy for HDR content, which includes certain movies
Picture QualityColor Gamut (sRGB xy)%How much of the sRGB color gamut is covered by the monitor, which helps indicate color accuracy for web content and games
Picture QualityColor Gamut (Adobe RGB xy)%A wider color range used by professional photographers and designers for accurate and vibrant color reproduction
Picture QualityColor Gamut (Rec. 2020 xy)%An even wider color gamut than Adobe RGB, targeting future displays with a focus on high-end content creation and future-proofing
Picture QualityColor Gamut (Rec. 709 xy)%The standard color gamut for HDTVs, ensuring content appears as intended for most users
Picture QualityReflections%The total amount of light, in percentage, your monitor reflects
MotionInput LagMilliseconds (ms)The delay between your input (e.g., moving your mouse) and what appears on the screen, crucial for gamers and fast-paced tasks
MotionResponse TimeMilliseconds (ms)How quickly a monitor’s pixels change color, affecting how well it handles motion blur (important for gaming and watching action movies)

To evaluate all these criteria, you can use the following equipment which expert testers use to ascertain the quality of computer monitors:

IMAGENAMEWHAT IT MEASURESWHY IT’S IMPORTANTPRICE
illuminance meterLight MeterBrightnessMeasures overall screen illumination for visibility and adjusting to ambient light$20 – $200+
LS-150 Luminance Meter | Konica Minolta SensingColorimeterColor gamutMeasures the range of colors displayed compared to color standards. Crucial for color accuracy in creative work$200 – $5000+
Calibration softwareColor gamut, Contrast RatioMeasures the difference between brightest and darkest parts for image depth. Calibration software helps achieve optimal settingsFree – $200+
Input Lag TesterInput lagMeasures the delay between user input and on-screen response. Essential for smooth performance in gaming and fast-paced tasks$100 – $500+
test pattern response timeTest PatternsResponse TimeAnalyzes how fast pixels change color to assess motion blur handlingFree online
high speed cameraHigh-Speed CameraResponse TimeThis captures rapid changes$500 – $5000+

What Tests are Quantitative and/or Qualitative? 

Quantitative tests feature something that is either measurable or binary in nature, which includes tests that measure recline angle and weight limit.

Qualitative tests, on the other hand, are based on things that can’t be properly measured or are a “feeling” someone gets. This includes things like setup and ergonomics.

When deciding the Performance Criteria, we looked at customer pain points we found in customer reviews and determined if they could be tested and if the tests are quantitative or qualitative.

Our Trusted Data Sources

Our Trusted Data Sources

We looked at 110+ computer monitor reviewers and found that 27 are trustworthy (60%+ Trust Rating). The three we have listed below are our most trusted for computer monitors.

  1. Samuel Breton – Rtings, MuckRack
  2. Chris Eberle – Tom’s Hardware, LinkedIn
  3. Tony Hoffman – PC Mag, MuckRack

Interested in a comprehensive analysis of our data sources? We’ve got you covered. Below, you’ll find a detailed list of every computer monitor review website we’ve identified, organized by their respective Trust Ratings from highest to lowest. But we didn’t stop there. We’ve meticulously reviewed each publication and verified the data by checking whether the authors have bio links to MuckRack or LinkedIn. We’re committed to not only checking the facts but ensuring their veracity.

Usage Cases

After identifying the most important Categories of Performance and Performance Criteria, we applied them to real-world applications.

Office

Gaming

Media Consumption

  • Important Categories of Performance and Performance Criteria:
    • Picture Quality (Brightness, Contrast Ratio, Color Gamut, Reflections)
  • Reasoning: Minimizes screen glare to avoid distractions and eye strain during extended viewing sessions
  • Related Guides: 4K Monitors, Monitors for Watching Movies, HDR Monitors

Media Creation

  • Important Categories of Performance and Performance Criteria:
    • Picture Quality (Brightness, Contrast Ratio, Color Gamut)
    • Motion (Response Time)
  • Reasoning: Testing picture quality ensures accurate color reproduction for professional editing tasks. Ideally, a wide gamut like Adobe RGB is preferred. With motion testing, while not as important as it is for gaming, a decent response time helps with overall image clarity while you work.
  • Related Guides: Monitors for Video Editing, Photo Editing Monitors, Monitors for Graphic Design

Wrap-Up

Our Computer Monitor Testing Methodology underscores our unwavering commitment to transparency and accuracy in evaluating monitor performance. These Performance Criteria fuel our Trust Ratings that we calculate for each reviewer during our ongoing research, which we analyze further in our Computer Monitor Trust List. The crazy fact that 77% of monitor reviewers lack enough testing emphasizes the need for our meticulous approach.

The Trust Ratings are the bedrock of our Computer Monitor True Scores, which is the most accurate product score on the web. Below are our monitor reviews sorted by highest True Scores. We invite you to learn more about how we score products with True Scores and how they empower you to make informed buying decisions online.

We also invite expert reviewers to contribute to a more trustworthy and transparent review system. By adopting stringent testing standards and/or supporting our efforts, you help elevate the quality of monitor reviews and ensure that consumers can make informed choices based on reliable information.

Let’s commit to higher standards together. Together, we can transform the landscape of monitor reviews for the better.

Courtney Fraher Avatar

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