The Zero-G is rated for 440 cd/m^2 of brightness, but with the default contrast setting I couldn’t get close to that. I only managed to produce 348 cd/m^2 of brightness with the Brightness at max and Contrast at 50. Pushing the Contrast higher might push that value higher, but it also introduces clipping that makes those settings unusable.

The curious value with the Monoprice is the minimum white level. At the default Contrast setting of 50 and the Brightness at 0, we still see 267 cd/m^2 of light output. That’s over 30% higher than our bright target for calibration and pre-calibration readings! I like to see the minimum level be closer to 80 cd/m^2 or below, so this is a small range. As you see on the chart, the Monoprice really sticks out here.

White Level -  XR Pro, Xrite i1D2 and XR i1DPro

Black level also has issues. With the Brightness at 100 and Contrast at 50, we see a black level of 1.3178 cd/m^2. We really look for a value of 0.300 cd/m^2 or below to be excellent, and past 0.500 cd/m^2 is not great. Beyond 1.0 shows that we have grayish blacks, not black-blacks, and the contrast ratio is going to really suffer.

At the Brightness level of 0, our black level is a more respectable 0.3216 cd/m^2. The minimum brightness levels are what I’d expect to see at maximum brightness on a typical display. As almost everyone is using LG panels in their 27” 1440p monitors, there is something in the electronics of the Monoprice that is certainly strange.

Black Level - XR Pro, Xrite i1D2 and XR i1DPro

The contrast levels, as you can imagine from that maximum brightness reading, are strange. We see a respectable contrast level of 836:1 at minimum brightness, but a maximum brightness contrast of only 272:1. When these values don’t line up with each other, or with the 200 cd/m^2 calibrated values, I go back and run this at multiple levels to see what is going on. Below is the data for the light output and contrast ratio at different brightness levels.

Brightness Level

Light Output (cd/m^2)

Contrast Ratio

0

267

836:1

10

290

888:1

20

312

944:1

30

330

992:1

40

352

1054:1

50

354

1054:1

60

354

1055:1

70

354

1054:1

80

355

830:1

90

356

520:1

100

358

272:1

As we see the light output doesn’t really change from 40-70, and past 70 the black level rises causing the contrast ratio to fall. Contrast Ratio should be constant, with small fluctuations due to reading error. Because of the behavior seen here, I chose to do all my calibrations at the default settings of Brightness 50 and Contrast 50. However, there is something going on with the electronics inside the Monoprice display, and it doesn’t look right.

Monoprice looked into this and informed me that the backlight level is controlled by the scaler and not by the pcb mainboard. This is causing the brightness controls to not function as I expect them to, and it sounds like it won't be changed.

Contrast Ratio -  XR Pro, Xrite i1D2 and XR i1DPro

Introduction and Design Monitor Bench Test Results
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  • steven75 - Monday, August 26, 2013 - link

    That require long term thinking/planning, which (sadly) many people do not seem capable of. Still, to each their own. Reply
  • mikato - Monday, August 26, 2013 - link

    Yeah that's my thinking... Dell U2412M Reply
  • grave00 - Wednesday, August 28, 2013 - link

    I had a Samsung 305 plus go out twice, second time for good. That was your high end monitor for you. Faulty design but I enjoyed it while it worked. Point is, your largely just paying markup. It's all coming from a few places. Monoprice isn't some high end American brand and neither is Dell. I say this having one good Shimian and one current X-Star I'm going to have to send back for an entire line of dead pixels. Still going to save money in the end and get to 120hz or bust. I have no extra faith in the big names. Marketing. Reply
  • KAlmquist - Wednesday, August 28, 2013 - link

    Another reason to buy a good monitor is that, unlike most types of computer technology, it won't become obsolete in a few years. Sure, it's possible to get a lemon which dies the moment the warranty expires, but chances are that when you buy a monitor you are buying something that you will be living with for a long time. Reply
  • Gen-An - Monday, August 26, 2013 - link

    Am I the only one who saw "Zero-G" and thought of Minmay's song "Zero-G Love" from Super Dimension Fortress Macross? Reply
  • bji - Monday, August 26, 2013 - link

    Yes. There are thousands of names related to the word "Zero-G", not everyone is going to be familiar with the one you want to name-drop. Reply
  • arcanes - Monday, August 26, 2013 - link

    Nice review and I agree with the conclusion.
    I honestly don't understand why manufacturers don't calibrate their displays before shipping them. Is it too much to ask for?
    Question for the guys here - why do you want a cheap, uncalibrated 120hz 27 ips 2560x1440 display? for gaming? if so, ignoring the lag, show me the recent game you can run at 120fps@2560x1440 on high settings. Lets see, Crysis 3? no. Battlefield 3? no. upcoming direct x 11 games? haha. Maybe call of duty. And even for that you will need at least the 650$ 780gtx video card. So enlight me for your reason please.
    Reply
  • max1001 - Monday, August 26, 2013 - link

    Time is money and yes it is too much to ask for a cheap monitor. Reply
  • DanNeely - Monday, August 26, 2013 - link

    Even if it's not generally reachable when gaming 120hz should be beneficial for non-gaming use by making the desktop response smoother. Reply
  • Grimmm - Monday, August 26, 2013 - link

    From my personal experience going on a year now with a Catleap 2B and a 670, Skyrim, Borderlands 2, BF3 on high (not ultra) to name a few.

    BF3 ultra benchmark numbers at 1080 are mostly worthless for comparison, not everybody needs 16xFSAA when they'd rather have a higher framerate (that they can actually use)

    With Skyrim/BL2, I've had people walk over from the other side of the room when doing a bit of LAN gaming because the combined colors/smooth motion was "unbelievable"

    With a great processor to prevent bottlenecks there, you can easily hit 80+FPS ultra (minus object detail, which is just wasteful extra tessellation) in Crysis 3 on a pair of 760s ($250 each)

    Hopefully this was enlightening for you :P
    Reply

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