My previous monitor had an accident and it seems he ain't coming back from the dead, which means it's time to pick out a new one.

My question is what does the "Contrast" value mean?

I normally see lines like:

Contrast: 1000:1


Contrast: 15000:1

Which one of these monitors is best?

Higher number in the left side means better or worse?

  • Dynamic or static? – Tester101 Sep 8 '09 at 20:32

Basically contrast is the measure of the difference between pure black (#000000, if we were talking in hex codes) and pure white (#FFFFFF).

The larger the contrast the more values between these two extremes that can be displayed, so you'll get better discrimination between colours. You'd definitely want a high contrast monitor if you were doing a lot of photo manipulation and video editing. You might even want one for gaming.

So the second monitor has better contrast, though this shouldn't be the only thing you use to choose between the two.

  • All the other specs are much alike, brightness is 300 300cd/m2, the resolution is a tad bit different. While the second one is FHD (1080p) the other one is not quite there yet (1050p). Response time is 5 ms for both. I don't have any more information on them. But the second one is appearing to be the best buy. – Tiago Veloso Sep 8 '09 at 20:34
  • @Fork - I'd agree with Wil though - try to take a look at both monitors, side by side if possible, to see which one looks best to you. – ChrisF Sep 9 '09 at 8:01

If I was you, go to your local big computer shop and try to find either the same model or ones with similar specification to compare.

A lot of it is marketing spiel. I see monitors all the time that say fastest 2ms refresh - never see blur again e.t.c. - I am using a 7 year old NEC monitor (1880SX) that has a refresh rate of 33ms and a contrast of (I think) 250:1, at its time, it was also rated as "never see motion blur again!" - I think it is brilliant and would not change it for the world.

I have a second monitor that is newer, MUCH higher specifications, however you would think it is older when you look at picture quality (however, it is still not bad!)

Also, shockingly, Manufacturers lie! even if one has a higher rating than another, it may have been under a special condition that you would never be able to repeat. The only real way to compare is to buy it, or look at the model and see!


The specs are important, but the lesson I've learned (having been burned many times in the past) is don't trust the manufacturer. Go see the monitors, on and in use, yourself. Check out the colors, the white, the black, the grays and especially the tans. (The tans always give away a bad monitor -- bad monitors display tan as gray.)

Certainly, given the two you're interested in, I'd go with the 15000:1. But I try not to buy monitors sight-unseen anymore. Remember -- the better your screen, the easier on your eyes.

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