Monitor with clearest text?

addictedto60fps

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Mar 31, 2010
Messages
1,329
Can anyone recommend a monitor that has razor sharp text? I do a lot of reading online and pretty much every single monitor I've used so far, I'm just not really impressed with the text clarity/sharpness.
 

PatK

Limp Gawd
Joined
Oct 4, 2009
Messages
174
Can anyone recommend a monitor that has razor sharp text? I do a lot of reading online and pretty much every single monitor I've used so far, I'm just not really impressed with the text clarity/sharpness.
You know that could be more related to the Cleartype font settings than the screen itself.. you HAVE tried tweaking those settings, or even turning it off, right?

For clarity a glossy screen is probably better because the grain of an anti-glare coating doesn't get in the way of the text. Otherwise you're pretty much talking about how many pixels per inch a screen has, although then you're trading a sharper image for much smaller text size, unless you adjust the DPI settings in software etc.

So I would say the new 27" Apple (glossy) too, or the 27" Dell if you're ok with the effects of its antiglare treatment on text.
 

addictedto60fps

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Mar 31, 2010
Messages
1,329
You know that could be more related to the Cleartype font settings than the screen itself.. you HAVE tried tweaking those settings, or even turning it off, right?

For clarity a glossy screen is probably better because the grain of an anti-glare coating doesn't get in the way of the text. Otherwise you're pretty much talking about how many pixels per inch a screen has, although then you're trading a sharper image for much smaller text size, unless you adjust the DPI settings in software etc.

So I would say the new 27" Apple (glossy) too, or the 27" Dell if you're ok with the effects of its antiglare treatment on text.
Yup, have tweaked around with Cleartype. I have that turned off, as leaving it on seems to make the text less clear. Yeah, am now considering either Apple or Dell. Do you know if the Apple 27" will have inputs other than their mini displayport, like dvi or hdmi?
 

kasakka

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Aug 25, 2008
Messages
1,461
ClearType makes text more similar to a book. IMO it is much easier to read than with it disabled.

For clarity, you want a display with a high resolution and small pixel size. There are very few of these around except in laptops and 27-30" displays. There's also the Lenovo L220X at 22" and 1920x1200 (102 pixels per inch).

Also if you are still on XP, get Windows 7. I was just editing a Word document at work in XP and the same document is much easier to read in Win7 on my home machine (roughly the same PPI on the displays). I guess this means that Vista/Win7 have better ClearType than XP.
 

addictedto60fps

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Mar 31, 2010
Messages
1,329
ClearType makes text more similar to a book. IMO it is much easier to read than with it disabled.

For clarity, you want a display with a high resolution and small pixel size. There are very few of these around except in laptops and 27-30" displays. There's also the Lenovo L220X at 22" and 1920x1200 (102 pixels per inch).

Also if you are still on XP, get Windows 7. I was just editing a Word document at work in XP and the same document is much easier to read in Win7 on my home machine (roughly the same PPI on the displays). I guess this means that Vista/Win7 have better ClearType than XP.
Ah, this explains why I have always thought text on a laptop is easier on my eyes. I've always liked the text clarity on a laptop. Yeah, I'm currently using Windows 7, but for me, ClearType just makes text less crisp and blurrier.
 

Snowdog

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Apr 22, 2006
Messages
10,237
I haven't seen an LCD without crisp text. You really need to better identify your issue.

Maybe you don't like AR coatings on some monitors and would be happier with a glossy panel.

Glossy panels have the clearest view of the pixels at the expense of reflections.
 

addictedto60fps

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Mar 31, 2010
Messages
1,329
I haven't seen an LCD without crisp text. You really need to better identify your issue.

Maybe you don't like AR coatings on some monitors and would be happier with a glossy panel.

Glossy panels have the clearest view of the pixels at the expense of reflections.
I guess the best explanation would be to compare the text on an lcd to text in print materials, like magazines, books, etc. For me, the text in a magazine is just crisper than what I see in any lcd monitor. I can't really pinpoint the problem for me. Maybe I need to view text on a 120 hz display, as it seems some people in this forum say text is easier on your eyes with a 120 hz display.
 

shurcooL

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Oct 12, 2007
Messages
1,125
Maybe I need to view text on a 120 hz display, as it seems some people in this forum say text is easier on your eyes with a 120 hz display.
That sounds like a bunch of bullshit.

What would refresh rate of an LCD monitor have to do with the displaying of text, i.e. a non-moving image. Jeez.
 

addictedto60fps

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Mar 31, 2010
Messages
1,329
That sounds like a bunch of bullshit.

What would refresh rate of an LCD monitor have to do with the displaying of text, i.e. a non-moving image. Jeez.
I'm not saying that's the case. I'm only repeating what some posters have said in this forum - that text is easier on their eyes with a 120 hz display. I have no idea if that's true or not. In any case, the Dell U2711 meets the criteria that kasakka posted above - high resolution and very low pixel pitch, so I just may end up buying that model.
 

Snowdog

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Apr 22, 2006
Messages
10,237
I'm not saying that's the case. I'm only repeating what some posters have said in this forum - that text is easier on their eyes with a 120 hz display. I have no idea if that's true or not. In any case, the Dell U2711 meets the criteria that kasakka posted above - high resolution and very low pixel pitch, so I just may end up buying that model.
There is a lot of nonsense on these forums. That would be part of it. LCDs don't refresh. When displaying a static text, there would be no difference between 1Hz and 480Hz.

You really can't compare with printed text. Printed text is 300 DPI, monitors are ~100 DPI, if you get much smaller DPI and then you will dealing with tiny text. Even Windows 7 doesn't scale very well.

You said you liked your laptop text. Is you laptop glossy or matte?
 

addictedto60fps

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Mar 31, 2010
Messages
1,329
There is a lot of nonsense on these forums. That would be part of it. LCDs don't refresh. When displaying a static text, there would be no difference between 1Hz and 480Hz.

You really can't compare with printed text. Printed text is 300 DPI, monitors are ~100 DPI, if you get much smaller DPI and then you will dealing with tiny text. Even Windows 7 doesn't scale very well.

You said you liked your laptop text. Is you laptop glossy or matte?
I'm assuming it's glossy, as I can see myself and whatever is back of me reflected on this display.
 

Snowdog

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Apr 22, 2006
Messages
10,237
I'm assuming it's glossy, as I can see myself and whatever is back of me reflected on this display.
That is a known issue for some people. You should look for a glossy monitor if you want that same sharp clarity of text. Apple LCD 24"-27" versions are glossy for example.
 

tk-don

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jun 15, 2010
Messages
324
Interesting thread... I think this is why i don't really prefer reading large amounts of texts for long on my LCD2490WUXI (or any desktop monitor i've owned either for that matter). Some kind of screen door effect maybe. My suggestion to you would be what i ended up doing (my laptop is already 4:3 and 15.0") - the IAQX10N. It's an older, but quite decent laptop LCD, 4:3 ratio, 15.0" QXGA and IPS. Still possible to get as NOS installed in a monitor i think. The viewing angles are quite excellent, and text is very clear. It has a lot of screen real estate and screen area isn't physically too small, so that it won't disappear on a table - otherwise a cell phone would have been just as ideal. It does not feature the larger sRGB color gamut, but has a very decent out of the box image with very few faults.

It's matte, but less matte than the 2490. Even more ideal would have been the IBM T221 desktop LCD, but it's very expensive, heats up a lot and driving it is not an easy task.

I don't quite get it - it's possible to produce high ppi displays. The current 27" solutions are improvement in this regard. People who want high ppi numbers are forced to use laptop displays, but desktop monitors seem tied to a lowish ppi, even though scaling is possible and has been for quite a while. It's not that the lower ppi bugs me, it's just that everything looks so much more cool and "fluid" at high ppis.
 

vjcsmoke

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Dec 5, 2006
Messages
4,511
120hz has nothing to do with text clarity. It does affect fluidity of motion in games and video though.

I'd agree that glossy screens help text look more clear but the other factor to look for is DPI. The higher the pixel density per inch, the clearer the text will look. I owned a Dell SX2210 for a while and the text was razor sharp because it packed 1920x1080 pixels on a 21.5" panel and it had the glossy screen as well.

Apple 27" Cinedisplay is beautiful, has the glossy screen, and has that really high pixel density at 2560x1440 in only 27" space that will help make text razor sharp. Don't even sweat the minidisplayport thing. You can get a DVI to minidisplayport cable from monoprice for like $11.
 

Snowdog

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Apr 22, 2006
Messages
10,237
120hz has nothing to do with text clarity. It does affect fluidity of motion in games and video though.

I'd agree that glossy screens help text look more clear but the other factor to look for is DPI. The higher the pixel density per inch, the clearer the text will look. I owned a Dell SX2210 for a while and the text was razor sharp because it packed 1920x1080 pixels on a 21.5" panel and it had the glossy screen as well.
I think we need to define a common set of terms. IMO more pixels makes text smoother, not sharper. I saw 19" glossy monitor with giant pixels. The text was EXTREMELY sharp.

Sharpness is all about the Black to white transitions and how strong they are:
So glossy will be sharper.
Cleartype OFF will be sharper.
More pixels doesn't really play into sharpness.

Smoothness comes from less blocky fonts.
Cleartype ON will be smoother.
More pixel (higher dpi) will be smoother.

Clear text. I am not sure what that means. Likely different things to different people. A combination of sharpness and smoothness.

Here is a recent compare I did for a clear-type discussion. Cleartype is OFF on the left and the text is sharper. Cleartype is ON on the left, though less sharp it is smoother and bolder and easier to read for me.
 

Quake

Limp Gawd
Joined
Nov 13, 2004
Messages
204
Each OS has a different cleartype setting. For exemple, I find Linux' cleartype better than Windows.

Here's a screenshot so that you can see if the text is clear enough.

 

jvsfms

n00b
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
52
Sharpness is all about the Black to white transitions and how strong they are:
So glossy will be sharper.
Cleartype OFF will be sharper.
More pixels doesn't really play into sharpness.
Wouldn't sharpness also refer to the strength and uniformity of the white space separating two characters ? I would argue that the lack of sufficient pixels to accurately render the white space between the characters would lead to a "blurring" of the separation between them and thereby negatively impact "sharpness".
 

Snowdog

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Apr 22, 2006
Messages
10,237
Each OS has a different cleartype setting. For exemple, I find Linux' cleartype better than Windows.

Here's a screenshot so that you can see if the text is clear enough.
Looks very close to my windows CT compare to me.


Wouldn't sharpness also refer to the strength and uniformity of the white space separating two characters ? I would argue that the lack of sufficient pixels to accurately render the white space between the characters would lead to a "blurring" of the separation between them and thereby negatively impact "sharpness".
What difference does it make if white-space is rendered by one big white pixels or 4 little ones.

My point sharpness isn't a funciton of pixel count. Remember 7 segment characters on a calculator. Very sharp. Sharper than calculators with bitmap displays.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...Seven_segment_display_2_digit_(black).svg.png

Smooth rendering is a function of pixel count, not sharpness.
 

Cliff Couser

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Dec 22, 2003
Messages
1,827
I was looking for a glossy 24" IPS solution as well, as I go through a mountain of Word and PPTs.

Have not found anything that met many of the "text clarity" needs being mentioned in this thread....and I finally gave in have started using my wife's 24" iMac instead.
 

addictedto60fps

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Mar 31, 2010
Messages
1,329
After messing around with the different fonts in Windows 7, what I've come to realize is that the default text in Windows 7 just isn't very sharp/easy on the eyes (at least on my ZR24w, anyway). I'd be curious to see how default text for Windows 7 looks on a monitor with a very low pixel pitch, specifically the U2711. I've found that changing the font to Tahoma, Times New Roman, or Verdana makes the text easier on the eyes. It looks much sharper, too.
 

shurcooL

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Oct 12, 2007
Messages
1,125
DanaG, there are 13" laptops (Sony Vaio Z) with 1080p screens. That makes for pretty high DPI (170~). However, the software isn't really adequate enough to work flawlessly with non-100% DPI scaling, because such hardware configurations are not common.

I agree though; I hate being limited to 1920x1080 screens in the sub-27" size.
 

Peat Moss

Limp Gawd
Joined
Oct 6, 2009
Messages
311
So if you have a huge 27" or 30" screen with a high resolution, and the text becomes tiny at default setting, what happens when you increase the OS font size? Does it maintain crispness, or doesn't it scale well.

I'm just curious as to how people work on their large monitors. Surely the point isn't to have a large monitor with a correspondingly higher resolution, but to have a higher resolution in a smaller monitor. Take the resolution of a 30" monitor and put it on a 21" monitor. Then the text would be clearer. Of course OS and software companies would need to start creating better scaling algorithms.
 
Last edited:

addictedto60fps

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Mar 31, 2010
Messages
1,329
Peat Moss - yeah, I'm curious, too. If you increase the font size, does it then become blurrier? Also, does pixel pitch = ppi, or are they two entirely different things?

DanaG - woah, I just tried setting my desktop to 200% instead, and yes, the fonts definitely do look smoother.
 
Last edited:

Snowdog

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Apr 22, 2006
Messages
10,237
So if you have a huge 27" or 30" screen with a high resolution, and the text becomes tiny at default setting, what happens when you increase the OS font size? Does it maintain crispness, or doesn't it scale well.
IMO changing your font scaling, even in Windows 7 doesn't work very well at all. You will get all kinds of uneven results.

For example. Win7, choose 144dpi. Half my applications don't switch to bigger fonts, the just do a zoom on the low res fonts. It looks horrid. Opera Browser does this. Firefox doesn't, Firefox increases some fonts, but others stay small, so it is a mess.

So high DPI monitors don't lead to clearer text, they can lead to smaller harder to read text, resized low res text etc... AKA just a mess.

Visual example. Win7 144 dpi. Firefox and Opera Browsers open. Firefox: re-sizes some fonts, not others. Opera (and many other apps) just re-size the whole app. Instead of bigger hi-res fonts, you get low res fonts scaled up. It is AWFUL.
 
Last edited:

stamford

n00b
Joined
Oct 9, 2009
Messages
8
The text question is being talked about more now and it is important. I posted something the other day about an Eizo monitor I now have that's pretty good, as it as a 1920 x 1200 22 inch unit, so a bit unusual. It's also PVA and has a less aggressive AG coating, to my eyes anyway. I'm on Macs, and I'd say the font smoothing is less good than Windows. I also run Windows on one Mac and the text is better. The Eizo also has a text mode that dims the screen.

Is the text sharp? I don't find any text very sharp as such on any LCD, so it's a question of getting something where the pixelation, smoothing and coating are a bit more than tolerable. The other choice as others say are the very good Apple monitors or an iMac.
 

DanaG

n00b
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
28
IMO changing your font scaling, even in Windows 7 doesn't work very well at all. You will get all kinds of uneven results.

For example. Win7, choose 144dpi. Half my applications don't switch to bigger fonts, the just do a zoom on the low res fonts. It looks horrid. Opera Browser does this. Firefox doesn't, Firefox increases some fonts, but others stay small, so it is a mess.

So high DPI monitors don't lead to clearer text, they can lead to smaller harder to read text, resized low res text etc... AKA just a mess.

Visual example. Win7 144 dpi. Firefox and Opera Browsers open. Firefox: re-sizes some fonts, not others. Opera (and many other apps) just re-size the whole app. Instead of bigger hi-res fonts, you get low res fonts scaled up. It is AWFUL.
<yanked image.>
Yeah, Firefox 3.x does fail at DPI scaling -- but it's not Firefox's fault.
With CSS, the unit of 'em' is relative to the default font size of the parent, whereas pixels (px) are an absolute measurement that most people assume is 1/96 inch. If you design a site with em in some places and px in other places, your sizing will be all screwed up when that assumption is false.

Supposedly the CSS standards now specify that everything should assume 96 DPI, and then apply fullscreen zoom to everything. IE8 does this, and I use NoSquint to make Firefox do the same. With full zoom applied, browsers see a 1280x800 (or so) screen at 96 DPI. This also has the downside of making images blurry.

Also, any app that gets software-scaled is one that doesn't declare itself dpi-aware -- the system tells the app it's 96 dpi, and then scales it up on the video card. The alternative ("Use XP-Style DPI Scaling") can cause cut-off text. Thankfully, it's less severe at 150% than it would be at 200%.
http://blogs.msdn.com/b/e7/archive/2008/09/13/follow-up-on-high-dpi-resolution.aspx

Some apps, such as Steam, fail to declare themselves DPI-aware, even when they ARE DPI-aware! Unfortunately, it's only possible to say "use DWM scaling" then add exceptions for apps to use XP-Style -- the inverse, using XP-style except for certain apps, is not possible.

What's more annoying is that when you get 64-bit apps that fail to claim themselves DPI-aware, you have to go to regedit, since the "compatibility options" GUI is disabled for 64-bit apps.

Microsoft apps seem to be the ones most consistently "on the ball" with high-DPI support. This high-dpi support is also something that comes in handy for people with low vision -- it makes things bigger.

In fact, even now Linux has regressed -- the X server now reports a hardcoded 96 DPI. It's a feature -- it makes your screen bigger! (It claims my laptop is now 23.5 inches.)
 

Snowdog

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Apr 22, 2006
Messages
10,237
Also, any app that gets software-scaled is one that doesn't declare itself dpi-aware -- the system tells the app it's 96 dpi, and then scales it up on the video card.
Ahhh, that is what is going on.

Regardless. It is a hopeless mess. Scaling whole apps (like Opera in my example) is not an acceptable option IMO. I use tons of third party apps and they seem to be mostly non DPI aware so if you scale, you get mush.

If you are going to do that, you may as well just run you desktop in a lower resolution, you get the same useless effect.

Previous claims that Win7 fixed dpi scaling were complete nonsense.
 

DanaG

n00b
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
28
Ahhh, that is what is going on.

Regardless. It is a hopeless mess. Scaling whole apps (like Opera in my example) is not an acceptable option IMO. I use tons of third party apps and they seem to be mostly non DPI aware so if you scale, you get mush.

If you are going to do that, you may as well just run you desktop in a lower resolution, you get the same useless effect.

Previous claims that Win7 fixed dpi scaling were complete nonsense.
Umm, try blaming Opera when Opera doesn't scale properly. Microsoft aren't the ones who coded it! Anyway, if you want to see what Opera does when the OS doesn't virtualize it, enable "XP-Style DPI Scaling".
 

Snowdog

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Apr 22, 2006
Messages
10,237
Umm, try blaming Opera when Opera doesn't scale properly. Microsoft aren't the ones who coded it! Anyway, if you want to see what Opera does when the OS doesn't virtualize it, enable "XP-Style DPI Scaling".
I don't care who is to blame. I care about usability. Most 3rd party apps are not dpi aware, so DPI scaling remains very problematic.

Switching back to XP scaling is not going solve much as it had just as many problems.
 

shurcooL

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Oct 12, 2007
Messages
1,125
Solution: start from scratch. Solution unfeasible. Alternative: use iPhone 4.
 

DanaG

n00b
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
28
Actually, if our displays were 200DPI (or rather, 192DPI), we wouldn't get blurry scaling -- each 1 pixel in the app would be 2 pixels on screen, instead of 1.5.
 

Peat Moss

Limp Gawd
Joined
Oct 6, 2009
Messages
311
So high DPI monitors don't lead to clearer text, they can lead to smaller harder to read text, resized low res text etc... AKA just a mess.
I guess it depends on what is meant by 'clearer', which can be somewhat subjective. If more pixels are packed into a smaller area, it should look better. Just like the way print media appears to the eye. Text on paper at 300 dpi looks better than at 100 dpi. The same principle applies to monitors. More ppi, the better it looks.

The problem is LCD manufacturers have not been that interested in engineering panels with more pixels partly due to the multimedia HDTV craze, as well as complacency over what constitutes "good enough" to the average consumer. On top of all this, operating systems and software developers have been lazy in creating support for higher resolutions. Most OSs begin to have difficulty with anything over 100 ppi.
 

Peat Moss

Limp Gawd
Joined
Oct 6, 2009
Messages
311
The text question is being talked about more now and it is important. I posted something the other day about an Eizo monitor I now have that's pretty good, as it as a 1920 x 1200 22 inch unit, so a bit unusual. It's also PVA and has a less aggressive AG coating, to my eyes anyway. I'm on Macs, and I'd say the font smoothing is less good than Windows. I also run Windows on one Mac and the text is better. The Eizo also has a text mode that dims the screen.

Is the text sharp? I don't find any text very sharp as such on any LCD, so it's a question of getting something where the pixelation, smoothing and coating are a bit more than tolerable. The other choice as others say are the very good Apple monitors or an iMac.
Stamford, I'd be interested in reading more about your experience with the Eizo. What model do you have? How do you find the 'less aggressive' Eizo matte coating compared to the glossy Apple screens? Close ? Does your Eizo have "paper mode" or just "text mode". Is text mode simply dimmer?... Is that all? Does your Eizo produce a pure white background on web pages and word processing documents?

Thanks.
 

Snowdog

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Apr 22, 2006
Messages
10,237
I guess it depends on what is meant by 'clearer', which can be somewhat subjective. If more pixels are packed into a smaller area, it should look better. Just like the way print media appears to the eye. Text on paper at 300 dpi looks better than at 100 dpi. The same principle applies to monitors. More ppi, the better it looks.
.
Text on paper doesn't get 3 times smaller when you get 3 times the DPI. If all you are getting is smaller text from higher DPI then it will get less readable, not more readable.

If you look at the Microsoft blog link above, you find this graphic.



The highest DPI monitor here is ~100 DPI 1600x1200 screens and even at 100 DPI already more than half the people are not running at native resolution. Likely because at native it is getting kind of small. It is only going to get worse with higher DPI screens.
 

isp

2[H]4U
Joined
Mar 15, 2002
Messages
3,059
Go look at the iMacs/cinemadisplay in person. It's probably the best thing Apple has going.
 
Top