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Old 21st Aug 2011, 13:41   #1
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bit tech screen reviews

For years bit-tech has used a subjective approach to screen reviews, with standard tests such as Lagom, test images and so on to compare the image quality of every screen we test and review. We've played with calibrators and analysis tools in the past but found them to be misleading in the results they give.

The ViewSonic mentioned in this review is a good example - on paper the screen isn't anything like as impressive as it is to the human eye. So, while using a calibrator and other tools might prove that we've done tests, the numbers can often not only add no value to the analysis, but occasionally confuse and mislead the reader.

We still think the best way to judge a screen is by using it, looking at it, tweaking it and reporting what it looks like to the human eye.

Do you agree, and if not what would you want to see from a bit-tech screen review?
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Old 21st Aug 2011, 14:13   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Claave View Post
Woah there!

For years bit-tech has used a subjective approach to screen reviews, with standard tests such as Lagom, test images and so on to compare the image quality of every screen we test and review. We've played with calibrators and analysis tools in the past but found them to be misleading in the results they give.


So, measuring the image produced precisely with a colorimeter and giving people factual data such as black level, brightness, contrast, delta E etc is misleading? How so? How can giving information like black level 0.21 cd/m2 be misleading? People can then compare that figure to other screens, and if black level is important, they can make a objective choice. What about measured gamma out of the box? It SHOULD be 2.2... so if you measure it and it's 1.97, then it's incorrect, and tonality will be poor as a result. How can this be misleading? Seriously... just.. how?

Quote:
The ViewSonic mentioned in this review is a good example - on paper the screen isn't anything like as impressive as it is to the human eye. So, while using a calibrator and other tools might prove that we've done tests, the numbers can often not only add no value to the analysis, but occasionally confuse and mislead the reader.
Yeah.. may confuse us poor retarded readers. How can giving the facts about a screen's accuracy be in any way misleading? The fact that YOU find monitor A more pleasing than monitor B despite B being more accurate says more about you than it does the screen. Subjective "I like it" reviews are nonsense, as what YOU find nicer to look at may not be someone else's choice. Plus, colour temperature is something that can NOT be judged subjectively. No one's colour acuity is that precise. Even someone with very high colour acuity can only make a reasonably accurate judgement in a properly colour managed environment with balanced lighting an neutral walls. The human brain massively influences how we see colour based on the ambient conditions. A subjective view on colour is useless. Just measure the damned screen properly and give people facts. If they want to adjust it to their liking, they can, but at least they will be adjusting a screen that they bought knowing is capable of accuracy should they wish to calibrate it.

Quote:
We still think the best way to judge a screen is by using it, looking at it, tweaking it and reporting what it looks like to the human eye.
You're wrong. What you should do is set up the screen properly, and let your brain becomes accustomed to it. If you sit in front of a screen for long enough it becomes normal to you. Sometimes, just seeing a screen that appears more colourful, or more contrasty can make you think that screen is superior.. merely because it's different. It doesn't make it right. Colour vision is a product of the brain, not the eye, and the brain does a great deal of on the fly adjustments to the way we perceive colour. You can NOT make sweeping, subjective statements about the colour accuracy of a screen unless you are in a controlled environment. Sure, you may like it... sat there in the bit tech office, with whatever colour walls you have, and whatever kind of ambient light is falling through the windows etc... but someone else, with a different brain, in a different room, with different walls in different lighting may wonder what the hell you are talking about.


Quote:
For discussion on what you'd like to see from a bit-tech screen review, please post here:
http://forums.bit-tech.net/showthread.php?t=215232
I've made my views clear in that thread about what I'd like to see from monitor reviews, and it would appear to be not what you have in mind. I want monitor reviews that measure and test a screen, and disseminate the results so I can make a decision, or advise others based on FACT, not someone else's subjective opinion.

Quote:
This thread should be more focused on the LG screen of the review.

Thanks, and looking forward to your constructive feedback.
I hope that was constructive. Or by constructive, do you mean comments you just happen to agree with?

As a professional with almost 25 years of working with digital imaging in many different industries I have specialised in colour workflow management, and as a result, I know a thing or two about displays, their accuracy, and how to measure, test and evaluate it. I can assure you that most people on this forum would like the levels of factual, measured testing they get in reviews of GPUs, CPUs, PSUs etc also in their monitor reviews. The majority of us are clever, educated people who will couple such a review with some research and arrive at a buying choice based on facts. Light and subjective reviews have no real place in Bit Tech. Leave them to "Trusted Reviews" or some other consumer based... mess. This is bit tech. Stop insulting us.

If you don't believe me, ask them yourself.. Start a poll.

Check how long every monitor thread is in the Tech forums! Some of us care about monitors as much as we do CPUs and Cases. Please stop treating monitors as if they're a novelty USB accessory or something. Damn it, even your MOUSE reviews are way more in-depth! If you don't have the expertise to do the job, find someone who can, and do it properly.

With the sudden onslaught of cheap IPS screens, when LG put one on the market at such a price point it will get attention. To give it a less than 1 page cursory glance is acceptable in your opinion?
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Old 21st Aug 2011, 18:50   #3
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As much as I appreciate an alternative subjective review might be a useful alternative to proper objective reviews, perhaps this is the wrong site for it?

Given Bit-Tech does proper objective reviews for other hardware products, it might be better to try to do the same for monitors.

If a subjective review is really your preferred option, maybe limit them to Blog posts so as not to taint the overall quality of the reviews you do? Just a thought, I'm not in the market for a new monitor anyway so it doesn't really affect me!
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Old 21st Aug 2011, 21:00   #4
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I totally agree with PookeyHead (of course).

I don't see Bit-tech CPU and graphic card review being like their monitor.

"This Core i9 3950 is very fast... lightning fast should we say. It play 1080p video fine, and games run impressively fast. Price is OK. 80%"

Benchmark, and in game FPS, and explaining the architectural design of the chip at an overview level, doesn't confuse people. Why would monitor detected measurement would?
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Old 22nd Aug 2011, 08:41   #5
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What you guys seem to forget is that everything takes time. The writers at Bit-Tech can't just stop the world around them and spend days and days reviewing monitors when there's a boat-load of other hardware around.
Personally, I feel that monitors is such a specialised piece of hardware that I would rather go to another site which specializes in monitors instead of Bit-Tech using valuable time on monitor reviews.

Because, let's face it, Bit-Tech reviews of almost every other piece of hardware is second to none.
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Old 22nd Aug 2011, 08:58   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Picarro View Post
What you guys seem to forget is that everything takes time. The writers at Bit-Tech can't just stop the world around them and spend days and days reviewing monitors when there's a boat-load of other hardware around.
Personally, I feel that monitors is such a specialised piece of hardware that I would rather go to another site which specializes in monitors instead of Bit-Tech using valuable time on monitor reviews.
If you're going to do it, do it right.

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Old 22nd Aug 2011, 09:22   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Claave View Post
For years bit-tech has used a subjective approach to screen reviews, with standard tests such as Lagom, test images and so on to compare the image quality of every screen we test and review. We've played with calibrators and analysis tools in the past but found them to be misleading in the results they give.

The ViewSonic mentioned in this review is a good example - on paper the screen isn't anything like as impressive as it is to the human eye. So, while using a calibrator and other tools might prove that we've done tests, the numbers can often not only add no value to the analysis, but occasionally confuse and mislead the reader.

We still think the best way to judge a screen is by using it, looking at it, tweaking it and reporting what it looks like to the human eye.

Do you agree, and if not what would you want to see from a bit-tech screen review?
100% agree with Pookeyhead. Additionally, the only way a monitor can be reviewed subjectively is purely on its aesthetics. The way it performs HAS to be viewed critically and based on pure data. No eyes are the same as any other. A calibrator, or range of tests, is the same all the time.

Come on bit-tech, pull your act together. I would think even a few members of the community would gladly put together a detailed review over a weekend if you sent them the hardware. Speaking for myself of course, but I'm certainly envious of a job that entails checking the latest hardware and putting down a couple of thousand words about it. It's not that hard.
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Old 22nd Aug 2011, 11:48   #8
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As with everyone else, I'm with Pookey on this one. Subjective reviews aren't really helpful (all they say is "I like this monitor, therefore you should too").

I'm intrigued as to why you think calibrators and analysis tools give misleading results - that would imply that either the tools you're using aren't up to the job, or you're not using them properly. Also, a set of numbers on their own don't really make much sense, but then you don't provide a sole set of numbers for any other reviews - they're always compared to other similar products, which is something that could be done with monitor reviews as well.
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Old 24th Aug 2011, 21:16   #9
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Agreed. Just follow TFT central/PRAD's review format. You can't judge a screen subjectively just like you can't judge any PC component subjectively (too much)
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Old 24th Aug 2011, 22:05   #10
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What annoys me the most about this, is that before I fully migrate to this forum several years back, as the only forum I am in, and I didn't know much about monitor (yes there was such a day), I was looking for a monitor comparable to a CRT, with other points, but I am not going to type a novel this time.
Many (not on this forum)m, suggested me different monitors.. all TN panels.. people were claiming how amazing they were, and how the colors where rich and all that boloney.

Well I bought the monitor oh so highly recommended.... not only the monitor was total crap compared to my CRT... and I mean really bad. text was even close to sharp, everything was bland and washed out, and it was glossy... this was my first actual live attempt to a glossy screen in my room. I packed it up and returned it.

I tried 3 other monitors, and they were all equally or even worst., even bought a Samsung without any adjustable stand... all returned.. except 1 Acer which I gave to my mom, as she wanted a computer... and it was the best one of all the them.

This is when I started to do deep research on LCD technology. I wanted to know EVERYTHING. My CRT was on a timer to die soon, already the image was geometrically shifted beyond adjusting.
And this when I finally knew what was what.. and understand people talking about different monitors. And thanks to proper review sites like TFTCentral which I discovered later, I knew that the suggest monitors were total crap, and find the proper monitor that meets my need.
I knew about the details of a monitor in a review (beside forum suggestion, DESPITE also giving me links to reviews that supported their claims).

My point is simple, subjective reviewing always leads people that view and trust the review, to be disappointing in their purchased, or be partially disappointed, and could have been fully satisfied if they knew what was the downside and strength of the monitors.


Example, if you say that XYZ monitor has beyond amazing colors.. ok I buy it, yea it's amazing colors.. but I disappointed as the backlight doesn't illuminate the monitor evenly, or not even close. It might be fine for you, but for me... it might bug me to hell..

The same way monitor manufacture thinks that 50 dead pixels is not noticeable on a screen therefor not covered by the warranty.. when only 1 would drive me mad.

When I look to buy a fan.. I want one that is quiet. Your quiet isn't mine.
For me quiet is that when I am in a closed, ultra quiet room, not even air form the central air unit (if you have one.. I don't, but used to), is turned on... so ultra quiet. I don't want to be able to hear my computer at idle. That's MY quiet. I don't care about being able to OC my CPU to 500 GHz.. I just want quietness.
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Old 24th Aug 2011, 22:36   #11
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Three four grades of monitor

The way I see it, there's three grades of monitor (Yes I know I'm simplifying things)

1 - Reference
The highest of the high end for the most discerning of pro work. Quality comes above everything and certainly before the price tag. NEC SpectraView

2 - High end consumer
More consumer orientated monitors, but ones designed for having excellent specs and colour accuracy. Will cost you a bit more than the average. (My old faithful Dell 2408)

3 - Good for the price
An average screen most people will be happy with.

4 - Yuck
Enough said.

Here's what I think BT should do:

- Don't review Tier 4. Not unless you're reviewing every single monitor out there.

- Tier 2 & Tier 3 - If you're going to justify why you say a £500 monitor is better than a £210 monitor you do need more detail than "I lived with it for a week and it looked good".

If you're going to limit your monitor reviewing to purely personal opinion, then it's not that different to an Amazon consumer review.

- Tier 1 - Keep on not reviewing these.
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Old 25th Aug 2011, 00:10   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guinevere View Post
The way I see it, there's three grades of monitor (Yes I know I'm simplifying things)

1 - Reference
The highest of the high end for the most discerning of pro work. Quality comes above everything and certainly before the price tag. NEC SpectraView

2 - High end consumer
More consumer orientated monitors, but ones designed for having excellent specs and colour accuracy. Will cost you a bit more than the average. (My old faithful Dell 2408)

3 - Good for the price
An average screen most people will be happy with.

4 - Yuck
Enough said.

Here's what I think BT should do:

- Don't review Tier 4. Not unless you're reviewing every single monitor out there.

- Tier 2 & Tier 3 - If you're going to justify why you say a £500 monitor is better than a £210 monitor you do need more detail than "I lived with it for a week and it looked good".

If you're going to limit your monitor reviewing to purely personal opinion, then it's not that different to an Amazon consumer review.

- Tier 1 - Keep on not reviewing these.
I like the tiering here - however, Tier 4 should be reviewed because there are some gems among the turds - if you're doing to do subjective reviewing it's much easier to differentiate a terrible monitor from an ok monitor than a good from a very good - and that's more valuable to many consumers who may not have high budgets.
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Old 27th Aug 2011, 22:51   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bauul View Post
As much as I appreciate an alternative subjective review might be a useful alternative to proper objective reviews, perhaps this is the wrong site for it?

Given Bit-Tech does proper objective reviews for other hardware products, it might be better to try to do the same for monitors.

If a subjective review is really your preferred option, maybe limit them to Blog posts so as not to taint the overall quality of the reviews you do? Just a thought, I'm not in the market for a new monitor anyway so it doesn't really affect me!
Of course, because as we all know, monitors are not as important as all the other components. LOL

Why should they spend less time on monitors because there are other things to review? Monitors are a crucial piece of hardware for every computer user, and mission critical for others. It's what you sit staring at for hours at a time!

I'm sorry, but to have 8 page reviews of CPUs, and 600 words on one of the first monitors that brings IPS within EVERYONE'S reach is just pathetic.

Let's put this into perspective. Remember, Bit thinks technical reviews based on facts, measurements, and numerical data are misleading... Keep that thought for a moment while we compare and contrast.

Here's a Bit Tech CPU review.



Now then, here's a review that according to bit tech, you all want.



I don't think I need to say any more: Bit Tech, like most people just couldn't give a rat's ass about monitors. The annoying thing is that they patronise me in their rationale, saying that I will be mislead by facts. This is BS. I can establish whether a screen is good or not by examining the data from tests a damned sight better than someone saying whether they like it or not.

Sort it out.... please

You clearly can't be arsed reviewing monitors, so here's a suggestion you may find helpful in future.




There... pretty much as useful as the published one, and you don't really have to do anything.

You can have that.... that's free. I'll charge for the next one.

[EDIT]

I apologise if this sounds harsh, but I feel strongly about this. Rather than lick your wounded pride however, you should listen. I've been an avid supporter of Bit since 2004. I spent hours each day as a moderator until health forced me away from the computer altogether for a while. I spend a long time each day clicking ads to help you guys out. I only rant about this because I care about Bit. Since the Dennis take over quality of certain aspects has been questionable. I appreciate the necessity of securing funding, so you don't need to justify yourselves, but a decent monitor review is within your grasp if only you could be bothered, and I hope this thread is showing you that it would be appreciated. Seriously.. you want a reputation for crap reviews? Because you'll get one, as that monitor review (and many others on here) are pretty damned poor. Your other hardware reviews are still top drawer however.. what exactly is it about monitors that brings out the can't be arsedness in you?
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Old 28th Aug 2011, 03:33   #14
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+100 rep point, if I could.

I could have not said it better than PookeyHead, and I fully agree on every point and word down to the last one.
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Old 28th Aug 2011, 08:50   #15
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This is why I posted on here asking for advice from people I trusted, I never read the BT monitor reviews unless I need something to fill the last 2 minutes of a train journey, I think a lot of people would prefer fewer but longer features in the magazine, why put the double page spread with 5 or so pointless gadgets? This isn't FHM it is supposed to be a magazine about custom kit! Surely your readers want to see hard facts about monitors and all other components?

Maybe spend more time writing full and detailed reviews of components like monitors rather than 10 pages on Dremels?

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Old 30th Aug 2011, 18:34   #16
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Hi all

We've stayed away from this thread to gauge the interest level in screens without biasing it – we need to base our decisions on facts as well as feedback, and hopefully you can all understand that. Also, please read all of this post – there’s some good news, but we’ll start with what many will see as bad. Please bear with me!

With 2,618 people reading the last screen review, and an average time on page of 2mins 30 (pretty good for the interwebs), we can see that for many people our reviews are fulfilling their purpose. We’re therefore keen to not throw the baby out with the bathwater (who is?).

the good news
However, we’re always looking to improve our testing methodology where possible and practical, and with over 500 views of this thread, we can see there’s significant demand to do just that.

We’ve done some research and got our eyes on a colorimeter and some analysis software that should produce the desired numbers to back up our opinions. We’ll therefore work on getting these together, trialling them and writing up our findings. This may take a little while, but in the meantime we’ll hold off screen reviews.

We can say that, as the target readership of bit-tech isn’t interested in professional-level screens, we’ll continue to avoid reviewing these, as suggested by a previous poster. We also feel that bit-tech screen reviews should reflect this thinking: they should focus on the concerns of a PC hardware enthusiast using their PC for gaming, non-professional image and video work and similar tasks.

That may leave a few out in the cold, but if you rely on your screen for image-based work, we’d advise giving our screen reviews a skip and using resources that will serve your needs better. These resources should test and review professional-level screens as well as high-end consumer screens and will therefore be best placed to make a verdict. Given the lack of infinite time or infinite monkeys-with-typewriters, we have to draw the line somewhere.

In summary
We’re always happy to receive constructive feedback (though please, a little less angry in future?) and will always consider the points being made. We always aim to respond with how we genuinely feel, based on our experience and knowledge. For example, in recent years we have added input lag testing to our screen reviews – a clear example of demand from readers influencing and enhancing our test methodology.

After further research and prompting from your good selves, we believe it’s possible to raise the level of our screen reviews still further. The trial of the new testing methods will take a while – I’d guesstimate a few weeks at least – so stay tuned for the report!
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Old 30th Aug 2011, 19:40   #17
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Any chance of a review of the colorimeter you decide on?
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Old 30th Aug 2011, 19:56   #18
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Would be nice to see the monitors tested with some consumer level devices (PS3,X360 or even PVRs) as you can connect a lot more things to monitors these days and the scaling engines and picture processing engines won't always match your expectations or add significant lag, these are useful things to have in a review.
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Old 30th Aug 2011, 20:15   #19
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Nice to see you're taking this seriously. Thank you. I'm a little concerned about the lack of interest in "professional" interest however. I'll wait and see what that looks like. Where does professional begin? Is a Dell U2410 professional? Would the criteria be price, or other features (such as hardware LUT)?

Either way.. Good. I don't expect Bit to be reviewing the latest high end Eizo screens costing over £2000, but there are people on here who do game on 30" panels, me included, so would something like the Dell 3011 be classed as professional? U2711? Just curious.

While most professionals will opt for something that can be hardware calibrated, plenty of serious amateur photographers on here (we do have a active forum for this after all) would be interested in the "pro-sumer" or high end of the consumer market.

Incidentally, for testing, you can't really go wrong with the Lacie Blue Eye Pro system for generating accurate, detailed reports with good graphical information that would be ideal for on-line reviews. Both Prad and TFT use this system and it's software. It may also be useful to pick up a Xrite i1 Display 2 colorimeter (or an older DTP94) while you still can, as these are particularly good at giving accurate black level reports.
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Old 30th Aug 2011, 23:41   #20
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I would back up everything Pookeyhead has said.

You only need to look at the popularity of the photography forum to realise that bit-tech users are going to be interested in screens which are of a "professional" quality and spec
(although how you define that is anyone's guess. There are far more low end hp and dells used in a professional environment than Eizos and Lacies)

I do think though that producing a full set of reports for low end monitors isn't really going to be beneficial in most cases. It is a similar situation to low end graphics cards which may only get a page. Bit-tech is an enthusiast site though and as such should keep that in mind when selecting and reviewing any hardware. The low end monitors aren't going to be of interest to most of the readers.

In summary, treat them like you do graphics cards and cpus. Lots of facts, and focus on the higher performance screens.
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