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What does display measurement data tell us and how is it collected?

    If you are looking for a new notebook, you probably read the manufacturer's specifications as well as the opinions about the product on blogs and test websites.

    Among other things, the manufacturers advertise with data and measurements of the installed display. Bloggers commonly adopt these data, while larger test websites have the infrastructure for their own measurements. The most significant measurements are display brightness, color space coverage and contrast.

    What do these measurements mean and how are they collected?

     

    Display brightness

    First, let's look at the technical terms you might encounter in this context.

    The display brightness is given in candela. Since the term candela is Latin for candle, its luminous intensity is 1 cd/m2. In English-speaking countries, especially in the USA, the term Nit is also used for this. Both are units for luminance. One Nit is equivalent to one candela per square meter.

    In Germany, you'll often find a specification like "display brightness of around 300 cd/m2", i.e. 300 candela per square meter. This is a good value for a laptop display, which is completely sufficient for indoors and also allows outdoor use in the shade.

    If outdoor use is important to you even in higher ambient brightness, values of 400 cd/m2 and higher should be targeted; you shouldn't go lower than 250 cd/m2 in any case.

     

    Color space

    Another term that comes up in this context is color space and its coverage. So how is a color space defined? Depending on the scope of the color spectrum, there are different color space definitions. 

    Here, sRGB is one of the standard color spaces, along with AdobeRGB and NTSC. However, the term does not only apply to the LCD monitors discussed here, but also to scanners and printers in addition to televisions and digital cameras, all of which have their own color space definitions.

    About 90 to 95 percent sRGB coverage has established itself as a good, upscale display standard. This color representation is not only more than enough for all everyday tasks as well as multimedia use, games and movies; even semi-professional image editing is absolutely possible here.

    For higher demands on the most accurate color representation, however, we recommend a display that ideally covers the larger AdobeRGB color space completely, such as the optional 4K AMOLED display in our TUXEDO Book XP15.

     

    Contrast

    The third term that comes into play is contrast, also known as color depth. This defines the difference between the brightest and darkest point of an image on a monitor. The contrast ratio is specified as 1000:1, for example. In this case, it means that the display can show a white pixel 1000 times brighter than a black one. When it comes to contrast, the higher the better. Good contrast values start at 700:1.

     

    How do the measured values come about at TUXEDO?

    It's not uncommon for us to receive inquiries as to why device A has a slightly higher color space coverage than device B. Or why an editorial test report even measured a higher display brightness than stated on our product page.

    At TUXEDO Computers we always measure the displays of our notebook models in the following 5 disciplines:

    • sRGB Coverage after calibration
    • AdobeRGB Coverage after calibration
    • DCI-P3 Coverage after calibration
    • Brightness (cd/m²)
    • Contrast (1:x)

    Nevertheless, these measurements are carried out exemplarily for each display model used. Due to production and measurement (depending on the measuring device), these values are subject to certain fluctuations and vary from panel to panel. If you measure 10 display panels, you will most likely get 10 (slightly) different values for brightness, contrast and color space coverage.

    From a technical point of view, it is therefore not possible to give absolutely precise measured values. However, this also means that there is not only no visible difference between 92% and 100% sRGB, but even metrologically this is within the range of the production and measurement tolerance.

     

    Conclusion

    A look at the technical specifications is worthwhile, but only represents a broad approximation of the expected display quality:

    A brightness of around 300 cd/m2 is recommended for (bright) indoor use; screens with less than 250 cd/m2 are therefore not offered in our notebooks as a matter of principle.

    If you only use your notebook for e-mail, Internet and office tasks, a color space coverage of around 65% sRGB is already sufficient, although not particularly colorful. If, on the other hand, the notebook screen is to be used for movies, games and photo/video editing, at least 90% sRGB coverage is mandatory! A high contrast of at least 800:1 is also recommended here, so that black screen contents are displayed sufficiently strong and dark.

    Only in case of very high demands on color fidelity, screen models with 100% AdobeRGB color representation are recommended, but they are rarer and considerably more expensive.