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HomeUncategorizedA fair warning: avoid most so-called HDR monitors

A fair warning: avoid most so-called HDR monitors

Why it matters: One of the most annoying aspects of the HDR ecosystem, especially for computer monitors, is the claim to be “HDR capable” that is actually not There are no number of products that do not have hardware that properly supports HDR. We think it’s important for everyone to know how to spot counterfeit HDR products and why they are bad and not worth the money to buy.

This column is taken from our recent Best HDR Gaming Monitors – Mid 2022 Buying Guide.

For HDR to offer a real picture quality improvement over SDR, the hardware needs to be able to display the vast range of most HDR signals – it’s a high dynamic range image after all. This means that it needs to support high brightness: HDR images are brighter than SDR, often reaching over 1000 nits. It needs to support very high contrast ratios in order to display both high-brightness elements and deep, rich shadow detail on the screen. This is crucial as it provides most of the richness and pop to HDR images. It needs to support a wide color gamut, allowing a wider range of colors to be displayed. And it needs to follow an HDR encoding system, such as using a PQ gamma curve and minimum 10-bit processing.

real HDR monitors will target all four areas and offer significant improvements over SDR monitors.

But we often see fake HDR monitors that try to trick buyers into thinking they are getting an HDR experience when only a few (or sometimes none) ) critical area. Display manufacturers are so lazy and deceitful that sometimes HDR support is only extended to support HDR10 signal input and adjustments to gamma, without any extended brightness, contrast, or color gamut to display that signal correctly.

This is exacerbated by the standards body’s poor job of emphasizing to consumers which monitors actually support high-quality HDR. One of these standards is DisplayHDR, which is so poorly designed that a display we would classify as “fake HDR” would easily be certified in the lowest DisplayHDR 400 tier. This only benefits display makers, who can market their products as “HDR certified” with the support of third parties, rather than consumers looking to find the best HDR product.

How to tell if the monitor is fake HDR?

Our advice is simple: based on what is currently available, you should assume that HDR displays are fake unless proven otherwise , junk HDR. Today, the vast majority of monitors that advertise HDR support (we’d say over 90%) are terrible HDR products, and you should definitely not buy them just because of their HDR capabilities.

The DisplayHDR certification system isn’t trustworthy enough to give you a real sense of HDR performance, as we’ve seen products rated up to DisplayHDR 1000, which we wouldn’t classify as true HDR.

You should especially ignore DisplayHDR 400 products. We don’t think we’ve ever seen a good consumption of HDR content, but it’s also a good idea to ignore DisplayHDR entirely.

You should specifically ignore DisplayHDR 400 products

Other than that, we highly recommend reading the reviews to find out Whether the product is a true HDR display. But without comments, there are a few things to note.

Most OLED displays are capable of true HDR performance, so OLED is generally a good sign. Also note full-array local dimming LCDs, often using mini-LEDs Backlit for advertising – but make sure to check the zone count. If no zone counts are published, you should doubt the performance of this monitor. A count of over 500 zones is usually pretty good if there are ads, with a minimum of 100 zones. Also, pay attention to the brightness specs, you’ll want to see peak brightness in the 600+ nit range.

It’s not enough to just advertise “dimming” or “local dimming”. You’ll want to see terms like “full array” or high area count in the spec sheet in particular. This is because some display makers like to include edge-lighting dimming, which provides “local dimming,” but usually only in a few large areas.

Edge lighting dimming is not sufficient to provide a good or true HDR experience as it does not allow for acceptable local contrast levels which, quite frankly, are comparable to true HDR Worse than it looks. We don’t want you to be disappointed by buying an edge-lit dimming HDR panel, so here’s our caveat.

Fortunately, we believe there are some genuine HDR products worth buying. See our full guide to the best HDR gaming monitors.



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