It is time for results of the interesting testing I’ve done on how the color reproduction of a 3D LCD monitor is affected in different refresh rates and modes – 2D and stereo 3D with the use of 3D Vision. I’ve used Acer GN245HQ 3D Vision ready 120Hz LCD monitor along with an X-rite colorimeter to measure the display characteristics, along with a lens from a pair of 3D Vision glasses to measure through. Notice how the color accuracy as well as the level of brightness changes with and without the 3D Vision lenses in different operational modes of the display, have in mind that the measurements were made directly through the lens with it being in inactive (open) state…
Starting with 60Hz refresh rate, measuring the default color reproduction of the monitor on top and through the 3D Vision glasses on the bottom. The situation isn’t very different, apart from the fact that the brightness gets reduced significantly and there is a bit more difference in the color temperature.
Moving to 120Hz refresh rate, a bit better results with color reproduction as compared to the 60Hz mode, obviously as the monitor is intended to be used with 120Hz refresh rate. Again higher color deviation through the lenses of the 3D Vision glasses, but the most important par here as well is the reduction of brightness with pretty much the same level as with the 60Hz refresh.
The results in 120Hz 3D mode are a bit different though. Even more reduction of the brightness and bigger color deviation, however there is one important thing here and that is the fact that in this mode each eye should be getting different image in 3D mode, so it is hard to exactly measure the results in such a mode, so it is possible that the color reproduction is better than what the calorimeter detects when using the full 120Hz refresh rate in 3D mode to display the same content.
Now, the next thing that immediately comes to my mind is what will happen if I do a color calibration of the display through the lenses of the 3D Vision glasses, how will this affect the monitor’s color reproduction visually and how the image will look without the glasses? Now, since color calibration does not affect the color reproduction in games when you play in full-screen stereo 3D mode you can only make the image look better when you are wearing the glasses and doing something on the desktop. Not that you would need a very accurate color reproduction in games as pretty much all of them were not designed with that in mind anyway. Surprisingly enough after calibrating the display through one of the lenses of the 3D Vision glasses visually the image on the display looked very nice visually when wearing the glasses, apart from the reduced brightness that is expected anyway. And when not wearing them the image on the screen also looks very nice visually, only the color temperature is more significantly off to the colder bluish levels.
Acer GN245HQ is the latest 24-inch 3D LCD monitor made to be used with Nvidia’s 3D Vision technology, but together with the new bigger 27-inch Acer HN274H display it also features HDMI 1.4 3D support. Both the monitors come with built-in 3D Vision infrared emitters and a pair of 3D Vision active shutter glasses bundled, and when you are using the 3D monitors with 3D-capable devices over the HDMI 1.4 interface you still use the 3D Vision glasses, no matter if you connect a PlayStation 3 console or even an ATI/AMD video card. So you can say that these monitors are the next generation of 3D capable LCDs that offer wider support, but still they are not as flexible in terms of stereo 3D options like a 3D HDTV for exmaple. The reason for that is that they only support frame packaged 3D input over the HDMI 1.4 interface, so you will not be able to use Xbox 360 console in 3D as it usually outputs in Side by Side or Over/Under formats which are not supported. Now let’s get a closer look at the Acer GN245HQ that I’ll be reviewing here…
The specifications for the Acer GN245HQ:
Display size: 23.6″ (60 cm), 16:9 Full HD, LED backlight
Panel Technology: TN (Twisted Nematic)
Resolution: 1920×1080 @ 120Hz
Pixel pitch: 0.2715 mm
Brightness: 300 cd/m2
Contrast ratio: Dynamic – 100,000,000:1, Native – 1,000:1
Response time: 2 ms
Internal speakers: 2x 2W
Viewing angle: 170° hor., 160° vert.
Tilt / Swivel / Pivot: Tilt. -5°/15°
VESA Wall-mount: 100×100 mm
Connections: Analog DSUB-15, Dual-Link DVI-D (3D-capable), HDMI 1.4 (3D-capable)
Power consumption: 38.2W typical
Dimensions: 574.8×417.8×194.4 mm
Weight: 5.8 Kg
I’m starting with a check of the service menu (below you can see a guide how to access it), as I wanted to see what type of panel the new Acer GN245HQ monitor uses and the interesting thing here is that the panel is an updated version of the 23.6-inch one used in the previous GD245HQ/GD235HZ models from last year. The panel used in the Acer GD245HQ/GD235HZ was CMO M236-L02, made by Chi Mei Optoelectronics (CMO) and in the new Acer GN245HQ the panel is CMI M236H5-L02 made by the same company that is now called Chimei Innolux Corporation (CMI). The new panel uses LED backlight which helps in getting rid of issues with backlight bleeding (only very slightly visible brighter light at the bottom end of the screen of the test unit) and has improved handling with the issues found in the older panel resolved so no more oversharpening issues in the new model. Of course the level of crosstalk/ghosting is also reduced, but more about these in a bit. The bigger 27-inch Acer HN274H display uses an LCD panel from LG which is quite different in specifications and characteristics from this one from CMI, but it is performing quite well too.
How to enter the Service Menu on the Acer GN245HQ:
– Turn off the monitor
– Press and hold the first menu key (the leftmost one)
– Press the power button while still holding the 1st menu key
– When you see the image on the screen you can release the menu key
– Press the third menu key (the middle one) to call up the Service Menu
– Navigate in the service menu just like in the normal one, but now all options are changeable
– To return back to the normal mode just turn off the monitor and turn it back on the normal way
I’ve mentioned that the monitor has a 3D Vision IR emitter integrated and after taking an infrared photo of the monitor I’ve found it at the bottom left part of the monitor, it has four IR LEDs. Top positioning of the emitter might’ve been a better solution however, as getting very close to the monitor might lead to breaking visual line of sight and the glasses loosing the sync signal, however this is not something that will hardly lead to problems in a normal use scenario anyway. The interesting thing about the monitors with integrated IR emitters is that they do not need an extra USB cable to be plugged in the PC, all the synchronization goes through the DVI cable which makes things easier for setting up. The drawback of not having an external IR emitter for the 3D Vision is that you don’t have the handy button for turning on/off the 3D effect as well as the useful wheel for 3D depth adjustment, so you need to stick to the keyboard shortcuts for these actions. Of course there is no problem if you plug in an external IR emitter in the computer, the only thing is that you will not have both emitters running at the same time, so only the external one should be active. Another thing that you should consider with the Acer GN245HQ as well as the bigger Acer HN274H is that they only come in versions with built-in IR emitter and bundled active shutter glasses from Nvidia which makes their price higher than for only a monitor. This of course is useful if this is your first 3D-capable monitor as you get the whole bundle at once and with a more affordable price, but the total price won’t be as attractive if you already have 3D Vision glasses and IR emitter like if you are upgrading from an older 3D monitor.
The standard factory settings for the Acer GN245HQ monitor do not provide great color accuracy, there is quite high color deviation from the reference colors. But here more interesting is the result for the maximum brightness and contrast levels, according to the specifications the monitor should provide up to 300 cd/m2 and the measurement has showed 291 candelas per square meter which is pretty close, considering the fact that the monitor is not maxed out. The measured black level was about 0.267 cd/m2 and as a result the contrast level was about 1089:1 which is a bit over the specs of 1000:1, so a great performance here. Higher brightness levels and good contrast is a must for 3D-capable monitors in order for them to provide good experience when in darker environments in games or when watching dark scenes in 3D movies etc.
And how things change after going through a color calibration. Now the monitor has 247 cd/m2 maximum brightness as the calibration is done is a way to preserve the maximum possible brightness level, and still an average Delta E of less than 1 is achieved which means really good color accuracy can be achieved with even though this is a TN panel. After the calibration the black level is 0.264 cd/m2 and the contrast is reduced to about 926:1, but the image on the screen is also visually more pleasing as compared to the default settings, so it is not only something that can be measured with special hardware.
Still if you need a display in order to work with colors this might still not be the best choice, you better go for something more professional that is designed with color accuracy and for people working with colors. This is after all a gaming monitor, but it is up to you, with color calibration you can get really good results even from it, partly thanks to the LED backlight as well. On the other hand, if you are not into stereoscopic 3D multimedia or gaming and just need a good 120Hz LCD monitor, this one might be a good option to consider. Unfortunately the Acer GN245HQ is not without input lag, but the input lag measured was at maximum about 15 milliseconds with an average of about 8 which is pretty good and hardly noticeable even by users more sensitive to lag. Still it would’ve been nicer if there was no input lag at all, but there still seem to be very few 120Hz LCD monitors that don’t have input lag and the same goes for normal 60Hz non-3D displays as well.
Moving to the extreme crosstalk tests with the specially made 3D test photos that I’ve made available here should you wish to compare. The result here is quite good and very close to the one provided by the 27-inch Acer HN274H. If you take a closer look at the white result you will notice that the Acer GN245HQ also suffers from the same white banding issue that I’ve first noticed on the Planar SA2311W. This of course is a result of pushing the overdrive function in order to further reduce ghosting in stereo 3D mode and what you are seeing in the extreme test photos I’m using is not something that you will notice in normal use, so this is something that I’ve actually expected to see (the 27-inch Acer also had it, although less apparent).
Next is the sailboats stereoscopic 3D test video, a real world crosstalk test to show you that the specific issue described above does not usually create any problems with normal use for stereo 3D content. Here there is no crosstalk/ghosting visible with the named eye in normal use, although there is some slightly visible if you take a very closer look. Anyway, great result in this test, but not as good as the Planar SA2311W that is still probably the 3D LCD monitor with least crosstalk that I’ve tested so far.
Switching to a real game, namely Tomb Raider: Underworld as one of my favorite games to play in stereo 3D and to test for crosstalk/ghosting with. First looking at the top of the screen, very faint traces of ghosting that are hardly visible in normal use, very similar to what the Planar SA2311W 3D monitor provides and better than the 27-inch Ace HN274H.
The situation with the bottom part of the screen and the crosstalk there is a bit worse however, the color ghosting due to the overdrive here is slightly more apparent, although still in tolerable levels. Still the overall crosstalk/ghosting level is not that high, although the situation could’ve been better, tweaking a bit the Overdrive function might’ve provided a more balanced overall results and making the Acer GN245HQ perform even better in terms of crosstalk/ghosting or actually the lack of such.
Acer GN245HQ comes as a worthy successor of the previous Acer GD245HQ/GD235HZ, performing better and with some nice extra features, but it was a bit short on becoming the best overall 3D gaming LCD monitor currently available. It did not manage to overthrow Planar SA2311W by providing less crosstalk, although the Acer comes pretty close to the results show by the Planar in most tests. There is some input lag present, roughly the same amount as the old GD245HQ/GN235HQ had, which can be a bit of a setback for some more demanding gamers willing to get a 120Hz LCD monitor for gaming with 120Hz refresh rate and not in stereo 3D mode. The presence of HDMI 1.4 3D support is a nice extra, allowing you to use the monitor with more 3D-capable devices other than your PC, however you are still limited as there is no support for Side by Side, Over/Under and some other 3D input formats that are usually supported by 3D HDTVs. And the overall conclusion is that the Acer GN245HQ is actually a great choice if you are just going to be getting into stereo 3D support on the PC and not only. As there is still no perfect 3D monitor that excels in just about everything, the Acer GN245HQ does provide very good results in overall, and thanks to the built-in IR emitter and bundled 3D Vision glasses it is a good starter choice if you want a 24-inch 3D capable solution. If you are thinking about upgrading to the Acer GN245HQ, then it depends on what is your old stereo 3D monitor at the moment, if it is a first generation one from Samsung or Viewsonic, then you should upgrade… if not, then it depends on what your specific requirements are.
I’ve finally got my hands on a sample of the new 24-inch Acer GN245HQ 120Hz 3D Vision-ready LCD monitor, so I’ll be testing it and you can expect a detailed review of the monitor to be published here in the blog in the next few days. I’m quite interested to see how the smaller 24-inch model compares to the bigger 27-inch Acer HN274H display that I’ve tested a while ago, as they are both new and feature HDMI 1.4 3D support. Some reviews are claiming that the Acer GN245HQ is far superior to the Acer HN274H monitor, so I have high expectations and since I’ve liked quite a lot the performance of the 27-inch version, I’m expecting to see really good results from the smaller 24-inch model as well. So stay tuned and meanwhile you can ask for things that you want to be covered in the review or just to try with the monitor while testing it…