As a frequent collaborator, I often face direct competition with a work in progress. Earlier this week, for example, I filed my original review of MSI’s new MENTO 144Hz 144Hz IPS Monitors. While the description may seem like an exaggeration, comparing such a monitor to the Editors’ Choice top-of-the-line, Sharp UPM-K830LE91T:
Sharp UPM-K830LE91T The reviewer who reviewed MSI’s MENTO-TW530MG internaently claims to have watched 120+ hours of video using a 480 Hz monitor, which I haven’t done so far. But to be more exact, I’ve been running video continuously at 60 Hz in my new Geforce RTX 2080 Ti graphics card in the old Dell Studio 15 laptop. I’ve been using a Samsung QLED monitor with a 420 Hz refresh rate. A truly realistic comparison, then, would be to use a 60 Hz monitor and have 120 Hz video. That’s where the main difference lies between these two monitors. The Geforce RTX 2080 Ti with 60 Hz is actually a reasonably fast card compared to most professional models — four times faster in gaming terms than a comparable (or even comparable-ish) 27″ UHD monitor. An equally good comparison would be to pair a Geforce RTX 2080 Ti with a 120 Hz monitor (or, for that matter, with a 144 Hz monitor) and compare several hours of video at frame rates closer to what really constitutes “real” quality video.
The 480 Hz monitor was out of my price range when I began using it, but $100 or so later, the 120 Hz monitor is not. MSI’s 128GB MENTO-TW530MG 4K UHD 180Hz 120Hz HDR 400Hz 24-inch display comes with a $750 MSRP, while the MENTO-TW530MG with 30 Hz is $500 — and it doesn’t produce video that’s noticeably better than anything I’ve seen running at 180 Hz in theaters or games. But, on balance, 180 Hz is better. If you don’t need a 4K display that plays at that resolution, you can probably live with 60 Hz for video — and you may get better visual quality for 30 Hz. That’s not a particularly gigantic deal, but it’s a bit of a hackneyed comparison. Over time, you’ll expect slightly faster refresh rates on 120 Hz monitors, but in general, it’s hard to see much of a difference between them and 60 Hz.
I don’t use my laptop for video, but I do use it to view photos and to consume internet content. Compared to the 340 Hz Sharp UPM-K830LE91T, it doesn’t matter much. But anything over 240 Hz is a big deal for me — that’s what my top of the line MacBook Pro has, and that’s what would make me choose a monitor for my laptop that costs hundreds of dollars more. Even with the use of a Mac, the contrast ratios (you can check for yourself using MSI’s spec sheet) are great for text and photos — but this is mostly over display frequencies, which is relatively less important for web browsing. The difference is not huge — a difference of, say, half a color saturation point. But that’s a difference between laptop colors coming out way too bright and way too dark, which is not necessarily a good thing.
The makers of the MSI’s new MENTO-TW530MG monitor do not claim that it’s suitable for video. But a computer user should look for the fastest possible contrast ratio for any reader of textual content — not because video only serves to reduce that value, but because it can do that faster than standard 2.5:1 displays.