A couple of years ago, the most important factor in the race for the best computer display was millisecond (ms) response time. Today, everybody and his grandmother touts a low response time, prompting a shift of focus to contrast ratio.
The most ardent peddler of contrast ratio figures is LG. It's impressed us with the 3,000:1 Fantasy and Black Jewel ranges, and now it's about to unleash a 5,000:1 model -- the LG Flatron L226WTQ. It promises brilliant whites, dark blacks and is available to buy for around £210.
We'll get this out of the way quickly -- the LG Flatron L226WTQ has amazing contrast. Blacks are so dark you'll think the monitor was doused in crude oil and whites are so bright they could kill vampires. Hands down, this is the best contrast we've seen on any computer screen.
It's not all about throwing blacks and whites around. The Flatron L226WTQ is very good at distinguishing between like shades. This is great when watching night scenes as you can clearly distinguish the murderer in the black cloak from hapless, blood-soaked victim. By the same token, the L226WTQ does well with like light shades. Colour reproduction isn't a problem either -- great news for images or video editing enthusiasts that like to make out important subtleties in their pictures.
We tested the Flatron L226WTQ with a few of our favourite games including Crysis, and we're happy with its gaming performance. LG claims it has a 2ms gray-to-gray response time, and while it's difficult to verify this, we didn't see any signs of ghosting, blurring or tearing. The same was true of movies -- everything played back as smoothly as if the panel was lined with butter.
Butter or no butter, the L226WTQ does not have a glossy finish -- and thank goodness. Whereas some screens use gloss to improve the perceived contrast levels -- like the tech version of make-up -- the L226WT's natural approach is much preferred. The end result is a monitor that offers high contrast, great colour reproduction and a screen that doesn't look like a mirror.