lcd monitor vs led
Macroblock To Focus On Fine-pitch Mini LED Display Modules For Indoor Exhibition
Macroblock to focus on fine-pitch mini LED display modules for indoor exhibition Siu Han, Taipei; Adam Hwang, DIGITIMES Wednesday 20 January 2021 LED driver IC design house Macroblock has stepped into the manufacturing of RGB fine-pitch mini LED display modules with the establishment of related production capacity at a factory in northern Taiwan, and will be promoting the module to be used in indoor displays used by enterprises and exhibition facilities, according to the company. With yield rates rising to nearly 100%, Macroblock already started shipped such modules in small volumes to two clients in the fourth quarter of 2020, the company said. Some market observers pointed out that as Apple is expected to unveil a mini LED-backlit 12.9-inch iPad Pro in the first quarter of 2021 and many other vendors will also launch mini LED-backlit devices in 2021, Macroblock, through cooperation with own-brand vendors and panel makers, will begin small-volume shipments for mini LED driver ICs in the first half of 2021 and shipments are expected to to significantly increase in second half. Seeing its key competitor Shenzhen Sunmoon Microelectronics having hiked LED driver IC prices by 5-10%, Macroblock currently has no intention to follow suit as Macroblock-developed LED driver ICs are for mid-range to high-end applications and already have quotes 50% higher than those offered by China-based competitors. Macroblock also hopes that large-size RGB fine-pitch mini LED display can replace conventional green screens used as background at photo or film studios. Macroblock has reported consolidated revenues of NT$205.6 million (US$7.2 million) for December, increasing 3.80% on month but decreasing 14.99% on year, and those of NT$1.901 billion for 2020, dropping 32.24% on year.
The Biggest Ultrawide Monitors In 2021
Sometimes bigger is better, especially when it comes to monitors. Wider spaces translate to better productivity and more immersive gaming. Although the best ultrawides offer something else besides sheer size, if you want the biggest display you can buy, these monitors have what you need. Whether you like the Samsung CHG90 or the Acer Nitro display, these ultrawide monitors are gargantuan and are real head-turners at home or in the office. Whether you’re a gamer, a video editor, or just someone who wants a super-wide display without the annoying bezels and wires, there’s an ultrawide on this list just for you. The biggest ultrawide monitors Samsung CHG90 Riley Young/Digital Trends Samsung’s big pitch is that this ultrawide is based on Quantum dot technology. It’s still an LCD monitor, but it uses light-emitting nanocrystals — Quantum dots — that absorb and convert light. Their size determines the color they produce, as larger particles gravitate to red while smaller particles shift towards green. The result is rich colors, deep blacks, and true white. They’re typically applied in a sheet over the LED backlight. This Samsung ultrawide supports 1.07 billion colors. It also sports a 1,800R curve while packing a maximum 144Hz refresh rate even at its default 3,840 x 1,080 resolution. There’s even HDR, a 1ms response time, a 3,000:1 contrast ratio, and a 350-nit maximum brightness. For ports, it includes two HDMI, one Mini DisplayPort, one DisplayPort, two USB-A ports, and audio jacks. It supports AMD’s FreeSync 2 technology as well for tear-free frame rates. If you can wait a little longer for a more premium version, the Odyssey G9, should debut in the first half of 2020 packing a narrower 1,000R curve, a 1,000-nit maximum brightness, a 5,120 x 1,400 resolution, a 240Hz max refresh rate, and Nvidia’s G-Sync technology. Read our full Samsung CHG90 review Asus ROG Strix XG49VQ Here’s a good solution for PC gamers on either side of the Radeon-GeForce spectrum. It’s an Adaptive-Sync panel that falls under Nvidia’s “G-Sync Compatible” banner for the GTX 10, GTX 16, and RTX 20 GPUs while also supporting AMD’s FreeSync 2 HDR technology. It’s an HDR 400-class display too, meaning it meets specific criteria to receive VESA’s DisplayHDR certification. This ultrawide has a native 3,840 x 1,080 resolution at 144Hz and a 1,800R curve. It sports a 3,000:1 contrast ratio, a response time of 4ms, a 450-nit maximum brightness, and supports 1.07 billion colors. For ports, it includes two HDMI, one DisplayPort, an audio jack, two USB-A ports, and one USB-B port that connects directly to your PC. If you need something smaller, the ROG Strix XG43VQ is a 43-inch version with a 3,840 x 1,200 resolution, 120Hz refresh rate, and FreeSync Premium Pro. It’s also listed on Nvidia’s “G-Sync Compatible” list. Acer Nitro EI491CRP What’s interesting about Acer’s ultrawide is that it provides three HDMI ports: One supporting v2.0 and two supporting v1.4. The big difference between the two is bandwidth, as the older spec handles 4K video at 30 frames per second (FPS) while the newer spec handles 4K video at 60 fps. We provide a chart listing the differences between the two along with information about the upcoming v2.1 spec launching in 2020. This ultrawide also includes one DisplayPort connector but no audio jack. The Nitro EI491CRP has a native 3,840 x 1,080 resolution at 120Hz, though you can overclock the refresh rate to 144Hz. It also has a 3,000:1 contrast ratio, a 4ms response time, and a 1800R curvature. It’s an HDR 400-class display, with HDR support and a 400-nit maximum brightness. Unlike the first two on our list, it only handles 16.7 million colors, but it does support AMD’s FreeSync 2 technology for tear-free PC or console gaming. If you want something smaller, Acer’s Predator X34 packs a 34-inch screen with a 3,440 x 1,440 resolution. You can overclock its refresh rate up to 100Hz. LG 49WL95C If you need connectivity, this ultrawide has plenty. In addition to the USB-B port that connects to your PC, this panel provides one DisplayPort, two HDMI, and a headphone jack. It also includes four USB-A ports and a single USB-C port, the latter of which allows you to connect another display, charge a laptop, or transfer data to and from your PC. That said, this ultrawide mainly targets professionals, photographers, and digital artists who need an extremely large digital workspace. LG’s ultrawide provides a 5,120 x 1,440 resolution at a maximum 60Hz refresh rate. It supports HDR 10 but doesn’t fall within VESA’s DisplayHDR certification due to the panel’s 350-nit maximum brightness. Other features include support for 1.07 billion colors, a 5ms response time, and a 1,000:1 contrast ratio. Unfortunately, it doesn’t support adaptive synchronization technologies like Freesync and GSync. If you want something smaller, read our review of the LG 34WK95U-W. At 34 inches diagonally, it offers a 5,120 x 2,160 resolution, HDR, and Thunderbolt 3 connectivity. Alienware AW5520QF While other large screens make do by stretching the picture out as far as possible, this Alienware model has a unique idea. They brought computer gaming graphics to a screen the size of an HDTV with all the same specs you would expect in a computer monitor, including 4K resolution, extra-low input latency, a 0.5ms response time, and a 120Hz refresh rate. Ports for this monster include three HDMI 2.0, a single DisplayPort 1.4, four USB-A, a USB-C power delivery port, and SPDIF out. The flawless entertainment display provides a crystal clear gaming experience with no lag time. This means that Alienware is a perfect choice if you’re looking for an all-in-one screen for the home. We recommend you plan the placement and location of the screen as strategically as possible. You wouldn’t want to squander the visuals by putting it too close to you. As with a television, you get a remote control to operate and navigate this screen efficiently from a distance. Sit back and enjoy a movie night with the family or the crisp picture and excellent frame-by-frame visibility while gaming. This screen does it all. Editors' Recommendations
Dell Mini-LED 4K HDR Monitor Review: Setting The Bar At $5,000
In the age of digital photography, your monitor is as important as the camera you shoot with or the lenses you use. But as more high-end options hit the market every year, the line between “worth it” and “overkill” is starting to blur. Dell’s new 32-inch 4K HDR PremierColor mini-LED monitor, an elite display by any standard, is helping to draw that line a little bit clearer. One of the most valuable pieces of “gear” that a professional photographer or video editor can purchase is a color-accurate monitor. The vast majority of your audience will experience your work through pixels, not print, and editing on a crappy monitor is like shooting through a stained-glass viewfinder: sure, you can do it, but you have to keep your guard up the entire time or the final product will look nothing like you thought it would. When Dell offered to send me their new 4K HDR monitor with 2,000 individually controlled mini-LED dimming zones and a built-in colorimeter (AKA the Dell UltraSharp UP3221Q) for review, I almost said no. When Apple … err … neglected to respond to my request for a Pro Display XDR so I could do a side-by-side comparison, I was almost certain I would say no. Every review starts with a relevant question, and “is this a great monitor?” seemed like a stupid one. Of course it’s great, it costs $5,000. Anything less than “great” would be an insult. But then I found another, better question, and that question is this: where is the point of diminishing returns? In other words, does this display pack the right combination of features to justify spending $5,000? In the absence of direct comparison, I wanted to see if the real-world experience of using the pinnacle of mini-LED display technology would convince me that it’s worth spending several thousand extra dollars on features like true HDR performance and 10-bit color. What is “mini-LED” First, I should clarify a few of the terms I’ll be using throughout the review, because display terminology is a mess. Broadly speaking, two kinds of displays currently dominate the modern monitor market: LCD and OLED. LCDs use a backlight to shine light through a liquid crystal (LCD) layer, while OLEDs use an organic (OLED) compound that emits its own light. This is where it starts to get confusing, because all top-shelf LCDs use LED backlights of one form or another, so seeing the term “LED” doesn’t mean you’re dealing with an OLED screen. LED, mini-LED, and QLED are all technologies used with LCD monitors—they use a backlight—while OLED, AMOLED, and microLED are all emissive displays that do not need a backlight. Finally, TN (twisted nematic), VA (vertical alignment), and IPS (in-plane switching) are all LCD technologies, so when you see that your monitor has an IPS panel, even if there’s “LED” somewhere in the name, know that you’re dealing with an LCD. To review: OLED display = Organic LED, no backlight AMOLED display = A special kind of organic LED, no backlight microLED display = the future of OLED, no backlight LED display = an LCD with a backlight made up of multiple LEDs mini-LED display = an LCD with a backlight made of more, smaller LEDs QLED display = a type of LCD display with a special “quantum dot” layer between the LED backlight and the liquid crystal layer TN, VA, and IPS = the three main types of LCD panel I won’t dive any deeper, but you can learn more about the pros and cons of each technology here, here, and here. What we’re dealing with in this review is a 4K IPS LCD display with a backlight made up of 2,000 individually controlled mini-LEDs that are referred to as “local dimming zones.” When they’re not used each mini-LED can be turned off individually, allowing for better contrast because you’re literally turning off that part of the screen when it’s supposed to be black. Key Features and Competition There are three LED-backlit IPS monitors that the Dell UltraSharp UP3221Q is mainly competing against in its price bracket and size category: Apple’s $5,000 Pro Display XDR ($6,000 with the stand), ASUS’ $4,500 ProArt PA32UCX, and EIZO’s $5,700 ColorEdge CG319X. All of these use an LED backlight (the ASUS is mini-LED), offer 32-inch screens with at least 4K resolution (Apple is 6K), boast true 10-bit color, cover almost 100% of the DCI-P3 color space, and get bright enough to actually support HDR. In the case of the Apple, ASUS, and Dell displays, they’ve all earned the VESA DisplayHDR 1000 certification by offering peak brightness of at least 1000 nits, seriously impressive static contrast ratios, and top-shelf color accuracy. In other words: these are true HDR monitors, which can and should be used to edit HDR content if you want to get your money’s worth. Where the Dell stands head and shoulders above both the Apple and ASUS display is that they managed to pack 2,000 mini-LEDs into the backlight—more than anyone else on the market as of this writing. This outperforms both the Pro Display XDR (which uses 576 regular LEDs) and the ProArt monitor (which uses 1,152 mini-LEDs), and should translate into better dynamic contrast with noticeably less “blooming” when you have a well-defined bright object against a dark background. Additionally, the Dell—unlike either the Apple or ASUS displays—features a built-in Calman-powered colorimeter. This allows you to calibrate the display on a schedule, using a vast array of calibration targets, whether or not you actually have a computer connected. You can even connect your own colorimeter to a dedicated USB port on the bottom of the display, although I should note that my DataColor SpyderX Elite was not supported, so I still had to use a computer to validate Dell’s claims about color accuracy. At least on paper, the Dell stacks up very well against its main competition. Assuming it performs as advertised (spoiler: it does), it looks like a steal compared to both the Apple and EIZO displays, and offers plenty of additional features to justify the extra $500 on top of the ASUS. Real World Review Design and Usability The Dell UltraSharp UP3221Q is beautiful but… big. Any 10-bit IPS LCD with this kind of backlight is going to be thick and heavy, and the Dell is no exception—the laws of physics and heat dissipation will not be ignored. The monitor measures about 1.5-inches thick at the edges, with exhaust vents all along the sides and a somewhat chunky bottom bezel where the built-in colorimeter folds away. The remaining bezels are satisfyingly thin, making for a minimalist “all screen” look, and the back of the display is covered in a thick plastic with a platinum silver finish. The plastic casing saves some weight, but it’s not going to be as solid (or impressive looking) as the aluminum that Apple uses in the Pro Display XDR. Whether or not that really matters is for you to decide. In terms of ports, you’ve got a full-fledged Thunderbolt 3 connection with 90W power delivery, two HDMI 2.0 ports, a Display Port 1.4, two USB Type-A 3.1 ports, an audio out that does not support headphones, and an additional Thunderbolt 3 port that is limited to 15W of power delivery. Conspicuously missing from a “creator” monitor of this caliber are a true audio pass-through and an SD card slot. That’s pretty disappointing when you consider that my $600 BenQ monitor has both. Finally, the only input mechanisms built into the display is a recessed power button and a single joystick. Nothing to say here except that a joystick like this is my favorite way to navigate display menus—it’s better than multiple dedicated buttons, and much better than the touch-based “buttons” you’ll find on some displays. I wish everybody would move to this kind of system, even if it’s a bit more fragile than the alternatives. Color Accuracy and Brightness From a technical standpoint, the UP3221Q actually outperformed its spec sheet, showing full 100% coverage of the DCI-P3 color space and 94% coverage of AdobeRGB in our measurements—Dell only claims 99.8% DCI-P3 and 93% AdobeRGB. We weren’t able to test brightness claims, but trust me when I say that max brightness (with HDR turned on) is sufficiently retina-burning to keep you from questioning it. Needless to say, switching from my BenQ SW2700PT—which, admittedly, is showing its age at this point—was like a revelation. In terms of design, resolution, brightness, color reproduction, and color accuracy (DCI-P3), this $5,000 monitor made my old $600 panel look like trash. I know… you’re rolling your eyes, but if I don’t say this explicitly someone will claim that you can get a monitor with “better” AdobeRGB color accuracy, a “10-bit” panel, and “HDR support” for $600. What you’re actually getting is a much dimmer LCD with no local dimming, incomplete DCI-P3 coverage, “10-bit processing” (this is 8-bit plus FRC, not true 10-bit color), and a marketing department that decided they could get away with printing HDR on the box even if the display can’t even approximate true HDR performance. In real-world use, there is absolutely no comparison between a true HDR monitor with a 10-bit panel and a cheaper “HDR” monitor with a regular LED backlight, no DisplayHDR certification, and an 8-bit panel emulating 10-bit color. It makes a real difference that you can immediately see, which is why all true 10-bit displays cost several thousand dollars more. HDR Experience The real revelation when using this monitor, though, came when I turned on HDR on both the monitor and my computer—the Dell supports both HDR10 (ST 2084) and Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG). The problem is that there is no way for me to show you this performance. Screen recordings, external videos, screenshots… none of them will properly communicate the difference unless you’re actually viewing it on an HDR monitor. Suffice it to say that I spent 45 minutes just switching back and forth, blown away by the color and dynamic range that the display could produce when showing HDR content. This is nothing like the ugly “HDR Look” that most photographers are familiar with; that’s the result of crushing a wide dynamic range into a limited set of values that a regular display or printer can produce. In this case, the monitor can actually display the full range without compressing anything, revealing more detail on both ends of the histogram, more gradation in the colors from brightest to darkest, and producing an experience that makes it hard to go back. So, what’s the downside? Well, you need to be producing or consuming content for HDR. SDR content—which includes most of what you’ll be using or looking at on your display day-to-day—looked washed out when viewing it in HDR mode, like a RAW file that hasn’t been processed yet. I was also disappointed to find that, despite the impressive mini-LED backlight, blooming (also known as the halo effect) is still noticeable in some circumstances. 2,000 individually controlled local dimming zones is a lot—more than any other LCD you’ll find on the market—but a 4K monitor like this has a total of almost 8.3 million pixels, which translates into ~64×64 pixels per mini-LED. If you have a very bright hard-edged object against a black background, it’s simply not enough to create perfectly crisp edges when the edge has to go from a maximum of 1000 nits down to 0.1 The good news is that this only showed up when I used special HDR local dimming test videos that are designed to maximize the issue—it’s not remotely noticeable when watching real-world HDR content since you’re rarely looking at a small white square moving slowly across a perfectly black background. The bad news is that it exists, and you can’t escape it… at least not yet. It’s a limitation of LCD technology that nobody, not even Dell with its record-breaking 2K mini-LED backlight, has managed to overcome completely. Only OLED can turn off pixel-by-pixel, and it suffers from other issues. Built-In Calibration The last of the big features included in the Dell UP3221Q is the Calman-powered calibration—a first for a monitor of this size. It’s not Calman validated, it’s Calman powered, promising professional-grade calibration and validation without needing to plug in an external computer or colorimeter. Normally, I’d criticize a built-in colorimeter as a gimmick for one simple reason: depending on the backlight, many LCDs have issues with brightness uniformity that make built-in colorimeters suspect. Since all built-in colorimeters are embedded into the edge of the display, this means that they calibrate the monitor at the edge, not the center, of the screen. For an edge-lit or un-evenly backlit LCD monitor, this is the kiss of death because it’s really hard to produce uniform brightness, which could throw off your calibration on the part of the screen you actually use. Of course, the Dell doesn’t have this problem. Since it uses the latest and greatest backlight with more mini-LEDs than anyone else, every 64×64 pixel chunk of screen is individually lit and controlled to an exacting level of precision. I’m comfortable recommending that you leave your personal colorimeter in its box and rely on the built-in option. However, if you do want to use your own, Dell includes a separate USB port that is used for this exact purpose. If you own a Calman-powered colorimeter, you don’t need an external PC. Just connect the calibration sensor to the dedicated USB port on the bottom of the monitor and use the monitor’s built-in menus to validate or calibrate. Easy peasy. Miscellaneous Features Finally, the UP3221Q comes with a few other features that I have to admit I mostly didn’t use. A monitor hood is included, but I chose to leave it in the box because I don’t get much light in my apartment anyway. The included stand is solid and very flexible, but I chose to attach the monitor to a floating arm instead. Finally, there’s also a feature called Dell Display Manager that lets you “tile” multiple applications onto parts of the screen, but it feels redundant to me. Windows 10 has built-in tiling functionality, and I use an app called Magnet on the Mac to achieve the same thing. The Dell’s only miscellaneous feature that I actually used is called Picture by Picture: a side-by-side view that allows you to compare two different color spaces while you work. This is useful if you want to see how your image will look in sRGB while editing in a wider gamut color space like DCI-P3 or AdobeRGB. Unfortunately, this feature cannot be used in HDR mode, or to compare HDR against non-HDR, but it’s a handy option since most other “creator” displays only allow you to switch color spaces by changing the output of the entire screen. Conclusion: Setting the Bar at $5,000 I started this review by asking a question: is there a combination of features that can justify spending $5,000 on a photo editing display? This seems like a good time to review the pros and cons: Pros 4K resolution True 10-bit color 2,000 individually controlled local dimming zones DisplayHDR 1000 certification for true HDR Max brightness of 1000 nits Built-in color calibration that actually works Thunderbolt 3 connection with 90W power delivery Minimal design with thin bezels (except the bottom) Cons Thick and heavy compared to lower-end options and OLED displays Plastic casing, not aluminum Limited support for external colorimeters (no DataColor support) No headphone jack No SD card slot Blooming/halo effect still noticeable in extreme circumstances Draw your own conclusions, but in my mind, it’s absolutely worth it. The price is certainly going to limit the audience here—enthusiasts don’t need true 10-bit color or DisplayHDR 1000 support. But for professionals who do need these things, Dell packed more features into a monitor than anybody else at this price, making it a very tempting option if you’re looking at this level of display for studio use. At least on paper, it keeps up with or out-performs its main competitors from Apple, ASUS, and EIZO for the same or less money, and the 2,000 mini-LED backlight means that its local dimming performance is the best you’ll find among LCDs as of this writing. Think of it this way: most professional photographers won’t hesitate to spend 5 grand on a high-end lens that, minute-for-minute, will probably see less use than your primarily editing display. We can’t speak to long-term reliability, and there are a few nice-to-have features missing, but if you’re in the market for an elite color-critical editing display and you want the best value for your top dollar, you’ll have a hard time finding a good reason to ignore the excellent Dell UP3221Q. About the author: DL Cade is an art, science and technology writer, and the former Editor in Chief of PetaPixel. When he’s not writing op-eds or reviewing the latest tech for creatives, you’ll find him working in Vision Sciences at the University of Washington, publishing the weekly Triple Point newsletter, or sharing personal essays on Medium. Footnotes 1 This is where I really wish I’d had a Pro Display XDR to compare against. In its white paper about the display, Apple explains how they use several specially designed layers of material and microlenses between the backlight and the liquid crystal layer, producing results that should, in theory, far exceed what its 576 individual LEDs would otherwise produce. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you which is better—2,000 mini-LEDs or 576 regular LEDs with Apple’s proprietary technology—because I don’t have a Pro Display XDR to test.↩