Eizo CG246 Review
We reported on the CG245W in a previous Eizo review. The CG246 builds on the excellent quality of the 245, but introduces a brand new backlighting system. The 246 is the first Eizo that has LED backlighting. So you're getting the best of everything with this display: Self-calibration, wide gamut with saturated colors, LED backlighting, excellent uniformity across the entire screen, and a five year warrantee ensuring that all this quality will last for many years.
Besides all this, this display looks great right out of the box. It seemed to match my second display already, without me having to calibrate anything! Although we certainly don't recommend this, I begin to understand why a few of our Eizo customers admitted they don't calibrate their displays, or 'don't get around to calibrating' for a year or more. They look that good right from the start.
Eizo is not the first to come out with LED backlighting, but as an Eizo representative told me "we want to make sure we get it right." As with all color-critical Eizo displays, this is warranted for five years. Since LED's are known to put out more heat than other light sources, it takes some special engineering to make sure that issue is solved and you can stand behind what you sell for a long time. So it looks like Eizo took the time to make sure they got it right. Besides being longer-lasting and using less power than cold cathode fluorescent tubes, LED's are capable of a purer representation of white, without the "spikes" in the green spectrum that fluorescents are known for.
Self-calibration with Swing Sensor
What really sets the CG24X series of displays apart from any other display on the market is the ability to calibrate itself using its built in colorimeter. If you think about it, this is going to mean more to the industry than merely saving the step of hanging a puck on the monitor every month. It can be set up once and then it will automatically recalibrate your monitor from then on - even when you're not around, when you're going home for the day, or in the middle of the night. This also opens up the possibility that displays can be maintained remotely. Large companies can ensure that every monitor on every work station is calibrated.
Built into the bottom bezel of the display is a sensor that swings up when it's time to calibrate. This swing sensor can be programmed with the buttons on the front of the display, but it is better used with the Eizo ColorNavigator software. It's not clear what kind of sensor this is, but it has been used for some time on Eizo's line of displays for the medical market. In the high end graphics market, this first-of-its-kind sensor now makes it possible to ensure that a display is automatically calibrated with or without any user intervention. The ColorNavigator settings allow you to use the internal swing sensor or any of the regular external sensors that ColorNavigator supports.
We have compared the measurement device with our DISCUS colorimeter and find that it is extremely accurate, making it one of the best instruments for calibrating a display.
ColorNavigator is Eizo's software for calibrating the display, creating a profile while interfacing with the built-in graphics processor in the display. We have talked about ColorNavigator in other reviews. It is excellent software that gives you all the options needed to calibrate and profile the display for a variety of purposes. ColorNavigator is available from the Eizo website and is free to download and use.
I had one hiccup while using the latest version of ColorNavigator with this display. While the display should attain good color within 7 minutes of turning on, for the sake of precision, the self calibration routine will not allow a calibration to take place until it has reached a warm-up period of about 30 minutes. While attempting to calibrate, the screen will go blank and wait there until the warm-up period is reached. But no notice is given explaining what's happening - so it can be a bit puzzling as to why the screen goes black.
Eizo recognizes that there might be some variation between this sensor and the instrument you use to profile your other displays, so they provide a "Correlation Utility" program which measures a series of patches using the swing sensor and your regular colorimeter or spectrophotometer at the same time. This way any difference in the measurement in the other instrument can be compensated for. Eizo also recognizes that measuring so close to the bottom edge of the screen is less ideal than measuring the center of the screen. So they have compensation for that as well, which includes their very good uniformity equalizing processes. One of the purposes of the Correlation Utility is to be able to have this display match other displays that don't have the swing sensor (in other words, to be able to calibrate using the same sensor as on other displays.)
It has become standard that new Eizo's have a very wide color gamut. The CG246 encompasses just about all of AdobeRGB. The Eizo specifications claim 97% of the AdobeRGB gamut - but in my testing it's basically all there and then some.
Gamut volumes are calculated using ColorThink Pro. These volumes vary slightly depending on the instrument used, but these are all very close.
Note that these gamut volumes are about 3% higher that those of the CG245 we tested. This confirms that you're getting even a little more color with this display!
|Gamut volume with monitor profiling instruments
|Eizo built-in swing sensor>
|X-Rite i1Display Pro colorimeter>
All of Eizo's recent CG models feature a Digital Uniformity Equalizer. Eizo's advertising claims their Digital Uniformity Equalizer, "ensures a Delta-E difference of 3 or less across the screen when the monitor leaves the factory."1 While the previous model (the CG245W) showed it was having difficulty measuring up to that claim, this new CG246 easily surpases Eizo's uniformity standards. The average dE between various locations on the panel is about .60. The worst uniformity issue I found on my demo unit was between the middle of the screen and the lower left corner. There, the very worst single color difference was 2.57 dE. That's about the best uniformity I have ever seen. With this display, the average color differences are far less than the human eye can detect and the worst is barely seen by the human eye.
Every display manufacturer will warn you to let your monitor fully warm up before you start using it in color-critical situations. This warm-up time is usually advertised as between 30 to 45 minutes. Eizo now proclaims for the CG246 a warm-up time of only 7 minutes. I've had customers tell me that they did not care so much about the other features of this display, but that short warm up time was what really sold them. You can get to working right away.
The display is designed to run between 60 and 120 cd/m2. At 60, there are no problems with shadow detail, banding etc. In order to run the display at brightness levels outside of this range, you need to click a warning checkbox to extend the range - and then the range can go from 30 to 200 or more. You can even set it to minimum and maximum - and I was able to get it to bottom out at 28.9 cd/m2 and it will top out at 251.8 if you want to run it that high (and Eizo does not recommend it.)
Angle of view
The specs report an viewing angle of 178ø which seems to be about right. There is no problem viewing image uniformly from one side of the display to the other. If viewing extremely off-axis, we will see changes in color and brightness as is expected. Up-and-down variation is a bit more pronounced than the side-by-side variation.
16-bit Internal processing.
Rotation and monitor stand
Rotates between vertical and horizontal. There is no "automatic" image rotation though. This display has a newly designed stand which enables the display to be lowered right onto the tabletop or as high as 8 inches off the table. It can swivel left and right 360 degrees on a platform that moves with the display and at the same time contains a stationary base under the stand which remains in constant contact with the table top. It can be positioned from a bit more than fully upright, to laid back about 33 degrees.
Highlights / Shadows
I am able to distinguish highlights and shadows of 1 L value difference in Photoshop.
Much importance is place on an LCD monitor's ability to reproduce blacks and near-blacks well. This is one of the main complaints about LCD displays from those who are used to a CRT. Blocking a backlight with liquid crystals is quite effective, but it's not as good as not having that light blasting away to begin with. When looking at black measurement numbers, the lower the number, the darker and therefore the better.
Using an i1Display Pro on the calibrated CG246:
- to 60 cd/m2 luminance, the black luminance was .08 cd/m2
- At 120 cd/m2, the black point was .16 cd/m2
This is a good, dark black and just what you want to see in a monitor in this class. For perspective, a typical LCD display off the shelf will have a black point around .30 cd/m2.
Banding / grayscale
Even at low luminance levels, (60 cd/m2) I could not detect any colored banding on a gray scale gradient. The gray looks very neutral.
- A very cool new feature in this model is the on-screen button guide. When fiddling with any of the buttons on the front, you no longer have to guess or turn on the overhead light to see which button is which. The labels show up on the screen directly above each button so you can see what you are doing.
- New to these 24X models is an internal temperature sensor. Since changes in temperature and high brightness of a display can cause color changes in the display, this built-in temperature sensor detects and automatically suppresses changes in color and brightness caused by fluctuations in the surrounding temperature.
- The 246 also has the ability to do HD video (1080p) with an HDMI to DVI adapter.
- 1920 × 1200 native resolution
- 1000:1 contrast ratio
- 300 cd/m2 brightness (typical)
- DVI-I, DisplayPort and HDMI inputs
- Monitor hood included
1 See the glossary for a definition of deltaE.
August 13, 2013