So, you're looking to get a new monitor, or perhaps you are looking to get a new beast of a laptop but you need something that has a killer display. It can be hard to know what to choose out of the hundreds of options available nowadays.
Perhaps you are someone that values colour accuracy for your display for gaming and entertainment? Perhaps you are someone that wants to use their computer or laptop for more than just gaming such as video production or graphic design?
If this then you need to look at something with a calibrated display to ensure that the colours that you are seeing are accurate.
But what do you need to look for to get a display that gives you all of this? Well, let's jump in and see exactly why display calibration is important and what you should look for when making your purchase decision.
Why is proper display calibration important?
If you are someone that truly values their gaming experience or are someone that uses their computer for things such as graphic design, photography, video production, etc. proper display calibration is critical.
Display calibration means that the display has been correctly calibrated and tuned to ensure that all of the colours that you see on the screen are accurate, true representations of what they should be. Just because you are seeing a colour on your monitor does not mean that it's the correct colour, after all there are many different shades and tones of colours.
When it comes to gaming and consuming entertainment such as movies on your computer you want to make sure that you are experiencing it in the way that the developer or director intended. Colours are part of what helps create the atmosphere that draws you in when playing a game or watching a movie and those developers and directors have carefully specified what colours to use in order to create that feeling of immersion.
Displays will try and use the correct colours that have been specified however they often do not get it right. For example, you might be playing a game and enter a room that looks like it has pastel blue lighting, but the game's developers might have intended for you to see the room in a more vibrant shade of blue. The issue here is that your monitor has not rendered the correct blue colour. This can break the immersion of the game, leaving it feeling a bit more lacklustre.
Now, if you are someone that uses their computer for more than just gaming, calibration is even more important. Let’s say that you like to do some video production, you spend hours tweaking your video and applying filters etc. You have edited the video to do some colour correction and then you render the video file. How can you be sure that the colour correction that you did was actually, well, correct?
This is a huge problem for content creators, the colours they are seeing look great to them on their display but when other people watch the video on their own screens they see completely different colour tones. This is because the content creators monitor was not calibrated when they created the video and did their editing.
Colour calibration ensures that the display is configured in such a way that the colours you are seeing on your screen are correct, eliminating a lot of the issues that you may face when gaming or creating content.
Factory Calibration and Certification
Although you can do some colour calibration yourself, the best way to ensure that you get a colour accurate display is to choose one that has been factory calibrated and certified. This is by far the best option as not only does it come calibrated out of the box but it is also done to the highest standard possible.
Some of the leading calibration and certifications come in the form of X-Rite Colour Calibration and Pantone Validation, as comes with the AERO 16 laptop. Let’s dig into both of these a little deeper.
X-Rite Colour Calibration
Although displays may look similar on paper, they can actually differ greatly when it comes to colour production. This means that an RGB colour may look one way on one display and different on another. This is where X-Rite colour calibration comes in.
X-Rite colour calibration uses a range of devices that are used to correctly measure display colours along with a whole heap of mathematical equations that analyse the colour that is being shown on the screen.
Once data has been collected from these tests the display's colour settings are then modified in order to ensure that the colour being shown across different displays are the same as each other and also a true representation of the colours being displayed.
The Pantone Matching System (PMS) is a colour matching system that is used to ensure that colours produce consistent hues and consists of a huge number of standard colours.
This is important when you are someone that does things like graphic design and is critical when it comes to utilising correct colours, especially when printing those colours. The Pantone Matching System ensures that you are using the exact colours that you should be. This is needed when working with things such branding and logos as you need to ensure that the exact colours are being used. Afterall, there are literally millions of colour variations and something such as a slightly different shade of red can negatively impact a company's branding if that was not the correct shade of red.
So, now we know what the Pantone Matching System is, what does Pantone Validation mean?
Simply put, Pantone Validation is a certification that means that the display device that you are using fully complies with the colour standards that have been set by the Pantone Matching System.
This certification is important because it means that you can be safe in knowing that the colours you are seeing when you are designing a new logo, creating a poster for print etc. is colour accurate and that the end product meets the Pantone colour standards.
What is Delta E?
Delta E is a unit of measurement that is used to measure the difference between 2 colours that are displayed on screen. These measurements are the difference between the colour that is displayed on screen and the original colour standard of the content that it is displaying. Delta E represents the colour accuracy of a display.
Delta E uses a scale of 0 - 100 when it comes to its measurements with the lower the number meaning the better the display's colour accuracy.
The Delta E measurement ranges are as follows:
<= 1.0: Not perceptible by the human eye
1-2: Perceptible through close observation
2-10: Perceptible at a glance
11-49: Colors are more similar than the opposite
100: Colors are exactly the opposite
When it comes to purchasing a monitor or laptop, it’s important to choose one that has a low Delta E measurement, typically you want to choose something that has a Delta E measurement of 2 or less. This ensures that you are getting a display that has consistent colour accuracy across the entire display.
A good example of this is the Gigabyte AERO 5 12th gen laptop that has a display that is Delta E<1.
What to look for in a display
Now that we have a better understanding of what display calibration and certification is available, let’s take a bit of a look at what you should look out for when purchasing a new display or laptop.
Firstly, try and choose something that has the calibration and certifications that we just spoke about. You can easily find this by looking for the X-Rite Colour Calibration icon and Pantone Validated icon on the products website and packaging. Choosing a product that has both of these ensures that you are getting a display that will give you the best image possible.
Aside from X-Rite Colour Calibration and Pantone Validation, you want to also make sure that you choose a display that has an in depth colour settings menu so that you can tweak everything to be exactly how you want it.
Ensure that the display has the resolution that you are looking for and at a refresh rate that you want. If you are gaming then a higher refresh rate is best. If you are looking for something more for productivity use then the refresh rate is not as important and you can instead focus on things such as higher resolution.
Lastly, make sure that you choose something that has enough ports for you. Make sure to not only think about the devices you have currently but also think about the future. What else might you want to connect later on down the road? Choosing something with a USB-C connection is always a good option as this can be used for connecting things such as additional displays, laptops and the new generation of input devices.
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