When purchasing a new or used gaming monitor, there are a lot of things to consider. Among these, detecting possible manufacturing defects is an important part.
Unfortunately, there is some level of variance in build quality even within the same brand and type of screen. Some of these issues are relatively common and knowing more about them can help you in avoiding faulty products within a few days of purchase.
In this guide, we will examine and demystify backlight bleeding, IPS glow, monitor clouding and dead or stuck pixels.
What Is Backlight Bleeding?
It is when light “bleeds” through the monitor’s edges or parts of the panel which causes those areas on the screen to be much lighter than the rest of the screen.
Backlight bleeding can affect LCD displays, regardless of their price and build quality.
This defect is especially noticeable with cheaper monitors because their build quality and the materials used in manufacturing them are of worse quality or are not opaque enough to completely block various light spectrums.
As a customer, there isn’t much you can do against this occurrence, apart from checking the monitor and returning it to the place of purchase if you find it to be faulty.
Most shops and online retailers provide money-back guarantees or warranties for purchases within a specified period. So, it’s a no-brainer that one of the first things you should do is a thorough check-up.
Backlight Bleed Test
You can do a BLB test by opening various colored images (red, green, blue, black and gray) in full-screen to check whether the colors are the same everywhere on the screen.
I find that using a full-screen black image or video works best.
Pay particular attention to the edges and corners of the screen, as that is where this mostly occurs. You can see some examples of backlight bleeding and even test your display with a full-screen black background.
If you can’t be bothered looking for images to use, check out lightbleedtest.com.
You can also view the following video in full-screen to test.
Many gamers find this issue annoying because it can make UI elements and subtitles near the edges of the screen barely legible.
Can you fix backlight bleed? If you are knowledgeable in fixing LCD monitors, then you might try dismantling the monitor, inserting additional light-blocking materials around the LCD panel’s edges, then reassembling the device.
However, this isn’t worth the hassle in most cases. It should only be attempted as a last-resort method with old, out-of-warranty monitors.
What Is IPS glow?
IPS glow is not the same as backlight bleed. This one leads to dimming and lighting in general and only affects IPS panels.
It is especially noticeable with darker content, such as shadows or dimly lit areas in movies and games or when you’re looking at the screen on an angle.
For gamers, it can make darker areas very difficult to see properly and can break immersion. Unlike backlight bleed, this can happen anywhere on the display and can even cover up large parts of it.
There is no way to avoid IPS glow as it stems from how the technology works. You should always read user reviews carefully before purchasing a monitor.
What Is Monitor Clouding?
Clouding happens when parts or the entirety of the screen have brighter cloud-like patches. This can affect both regular LCD and IPS screens regardless of their build quality and is more noticeable than the previous issues.
It usually happens because the liquid crystals received pressure during shipping, or because the backlight doesn’t work evenly across the entirety of the screen.
Just like IPS glow, this also happens because of minor differences between specific displays and cannot be easily remedied.
If the issue isn’t too severe and you are somewhat comfortable with it, you can try reducing brightness and backlighting to mitigate its effects.
Here are some tips for reducing its effect. While this is related to TV sets, I know that many gamers use TVs for gaming. I used a TV as a secondary display for many streams and even gameplay. 50″ of pure bliss!
Again, if you just bought the display, you should RMA it and ask for a replacement, hoping for the best.
Dead Pixel vs. Stuck Pixel
These are the main issues which happen the most often with LCDs. There is a fundamental distinction between dead and stuck pixels:
- Dead pixels are defective, and they don’t emit any light.
- Stuck pixels are usually fixated on a certain color.
However, if the pixel in question isn’t black, but it retains one of three colors (red, green or blue) then one or more of its sub-pixels are stuck in the “ON” state.
Dead pixels are completely black because none of their sub-pixels work. With some patience and a good eye, you can check for dead pixels at deadpixelbuddy.com.
Dead Pixel Problems:
- The transistor powering that pixel isn’t getting any power.
- All three sub-pixels (red, green and blue) are inoperable.
While dead pixels cannot be restored, there are several methods that you can try to revive stuck pixels. These may or may not be successful, and it really depends on luck.
Fixing Stuck Pixels
The most well-known fix is running a so-called screen flasher for a few hours. While it is unpleasant to look at, and shouldn’t be watched because it can cause epileptic caesars, it can potentially help in getting stuck pixels to work again.
The other and not recommended method is trying to gently push the affected part of the screen with a soft rubber or eraser.
If neither of these methods fixed the issue, there isn’t much you can do apart from exchanging the display for another.
If you are looking to purchase a new monitor, always look up the specific manufacturer’s and shop’s policy on returns related to dead pixels.
Unfortunately, there are usually a number of acceptable dead pixels per measured area before they are required to replace your display. I’ve seen that number be up to 30 per screen, and as a consumer, I find that totally unacceptable.
As you can see, most of these issues are quite difficult to fix. Because of that, it’s crucial that you make a careful decision before purchasing a new monitor.
Read user reviews about monitors and if possible, don’t go for the latest models that are only several weeks old.
Those haven’t been in the market long enough for manufacturing defects to become well-known among consumers.