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 Post subject: T420 display very poor.
PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 8:58 am 
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Location: Lisburn, UK
The display on my new T420 compares very badly with my old Acer and HP laptops, let alone the NCR monitors on my desktop.
I notice in Control Panel there are NVIDIA Control Panel and Intel(R) Graphics & Media drivers(?). The NVIDIA brightness, contrast and gamma settings are ignored and the other settings in Control Panel don't improve things much. I would like to be able to assess my RAW photos in Breeze Browser preparatory to loading them into Photoshop CS5 in my desktop.
How do I activate the NVIDIA Control Panel to see if it helps?


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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 2:23 pm 
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Yeah, a T420 is probably the last machine I'd recommend for that purpose. Thinkpad display panels are notorious for being poor, unless you buy specific models. In the current range that would be a W520 with FHD (1920x1080) display and color calibration sensor or perhaps a T520 with the FHD display. An X220 with the premium IPS display would at least have good contrast and viewing angles, though I don't believe it's well rated for color accuracy, if memory serves.

I have a T410s and the panel is really poor. Less than 100:1 contrast, worse than any netbook or consumer laptop in that regard, which means washed out colors. It also has an alarming color shift depending on viewing angle. This isn't news, unfortunately. If you can exchange it, I'd probably recommend that. I see you're based in the UK. If you bought online then, as a consumer, you can return it for a full refund under the EU distance selling directive within 7 days. You need not give a reason, they have to accept the return and are not allowed to charge a restocking fee. If you bought from the Lenovo web-site, peruse the terms and conditions. You should notify a specific email address from the merchant, Digital River. I did this once and they even arranged for their courier service to pick it up.


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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 9:03 am 
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Try this to get the Nvidia control panel settings to be recognised:

1. right-click on the app (photoshop and/or breeze browser) and choose Run with Graphics Processor. This should force the Nvidia circuitry to kick in. If you dont see this option in the right-click context menu, you can turn it on in the Desktop menu of the Nvidia Control Panel.

2. Then play with the Nvidia Control Panel properties.

You can set Photoshop etc to always use the Nvidia coprocessor.

Good luck!


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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 11:48 am 
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Location: Lisburn, UK
Fragranthead.
Lenovo won't take my T420 back because it is more than 7 days old! I am arguing that it is not fit for purpose in UK speak. When the Lenovo rep (Danish possibly) told me to get it ready to be collected I started looking for a replacement. Lots of makers produce 14" screen laptops 1366x768; Intel Ultrabook standard, and all the reviews are cool about their displays.
zern.
I have my Nvidia running and upped the resulution to 32bit (24bit in PS Speak) and did notice a slight improvement. But even moving my eyes an inch up or down still causes an huge variation in the image; not fit for purpose! In other words the problem is the screen, not the drivers.
Presumably the reason why so many makers produce these 14" laptops is that they are good enough for children who want to play games and who would not know about the quality of laptop screens available years ago.
Lesson everybody: avoid anything with a 14" screen! In the meantime I will stick with my tiny HP NC2400 with its trackpoint and optical drive. Snag is its battery life of less than an hour!"


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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 12:04 pm 
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I'm sorry it didn't work out for you.
Better luck with the replacement!!!


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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 1:24 pm 
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T420 was never advertised to be a graphics machine.
If you wanted a good display you should have gotten a w520 with FHD wide gamut display.

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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 8:40 pm 
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While the display on the 1600x900 model offers good detail, the good things end there. contrast, colour and vibrance are not this display's strong suit. what it does have is good, uniform LED backlighting, and a matte screen, which is a god-send. I would never use the T420 as a photo-editing machine, unless connected to a 21 inch Dell Ultrasharp or NEC display.

there is a thread on here somewhere that I read a while back, regarding the T400's screen, and it recommended playing with the Gamma, Contrast and Hue sliders in the Intel display control applet. the result was a screen with more 'pop', but for someone doing photo work, it was far too inaccurate.

My brother works in the printing business. his MBP13 has a lowly 1280x800 screen, which while being very low-rez, has wonderful colours and contrast. He finds it too saturated and overblown, coming from his $10,000 EIZO screen. his opinion of my T420's screen is simply 'meh'.

moral of the story - buy a $10,000 EIZO screen. :lol:

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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 1:03 pm 
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pjbw wrote:
Lesson everybody: avoid anything with a 14" screen!
This is indeed true, but the people who hang out here mostly know this already, I suspect. Go down to 12" and you get some IPS displays, because there are tablets in that form factor which need it for the viewing angles. Someone else also figured out that the 12.5" X220 IPS screen appears to be cut from the same glass as iPad screens, so we have Steve Jobs to thank for that. There have of course always been IPS and PVA tablets, but the low price and availability of the X220 IPS panel probably really is directly due to Apple.

Go up to 15.6" and you get workstation machines that are actually designed for graphics work, so there are some good screens there as well.

The best source for laptop reviews by far, I find, is notebookcheck, because they measure screens for one thing. But while the 1600x900 15.6" screen measured well there, as far as I remember, I wouldn't count on there being no changes in production. I have the impression that, as that resolution is becoming more common and prices are going down for it, the quality of screens is going down as well. I have no first hand experience of this, but judging by some comments in this forum. At least with the 1920x1080 FHD screens Lenovo advertise they've got 95% color gamut, which presumbaly means they have to stick with quality screens.

Looking elsewhere, notebookcheck reviewed the Samsung 900X3B very highly, for example. What's interesting is that Samsung have apparently developed their own PLS technology as a competitor to IPS. I always thought PVA was a Samsung invention already. They are really emulating Apple with some of their designs, but at any rate, it's great to see some movement in screen technology after the indifference in so much of the mainstream laptop market these days.


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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 1:19 pm 
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FWIW I find the T420s 14" screen more than good enough for professional design/graphics work. Noticeably better than the (non-IPS) T60p screen.

Then again my work does not demand frequently colour-calibrated or high-gamut displays.

IMHO The 14" form factor is a nice balance of power, resolution and size/weight. The 12" IPS would be better screen-wise of course but hobbled by the 1366x768 resolution. The 15" form factor is too big and heavy. Either of these options (again from my perspective) would mean more desk-bound working, in which case an external higher res monitor would be used.

Would I have paid extra for an IPS display in the T420s? Probably. Am I satisfied with the existing screen? Yep.


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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 3:08 pm 
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I wouldn't suggest the 12" IPS display for anyone doing graphics work.
I have X220T 12" IPS, its the worst display that I've ever seen for color accuracy.
I'm sure its not from the same Apple Batch.
The 12" IPS are the warmest displays that I've ever seen in my life on any laptop. The colors look like someone spilled curry over the screen parmenantly.
The only way to fix the poor color accuracy is to run a hardware Color Calibration like a Spyder or a Patone, for anyone who doesn't own a hardware calibrator you're pretty much screwed, cause the native Windows Color Calibrator causes a bug that loads images super slow, and the Intel Color Correction loads only when the system is fully booted.

Just a warning do not go for the 12" IPS displays if you care about color accuracy, these displays are NOT accurate by a long shot.

The most color accurate display in the Thinkpad line is the W520 FHD Wide Gamut.

There is a difference between a color accurate display on and one that has a wide viewing angle, the IPS displays are good for viewing angles, but horrible beyond belief for color accuracy.

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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 3:41 pm 
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Kaze22 wrote:
. The colors look like someone spilled curry over the screen parmenantly.


you just made my day :lol:

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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 2:02 am 
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Have you tried disabling or changing the color profile associated with the screen? In the last update cycle my T420s downloaded an update for one of the external monitors which cause white to display as a shade of diluted curry (mmmmm). Deleting the profile in Windows fixed it.


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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 8:17 am 
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I am glad my thread has received so much attention. Maybe some of the Lenovo designers will get the message.
I am just back from a photographic weekend in Holland; Floriade, Keukenhof. I took my elderly HP nc2400. Very viewable 12" 1200x800 screen, wide viewing angles (vertical and horizontal), very adequate colour for assessing photos but painfully slow for uploading RAW files from memory cards and limited battery life.
I went for the T420 partly because it has a pointstick (as has the HP) and I naively assumed that things would have moved on screenwise or at least stayed still since the HP. From reading this thread it seems that screens in Windows laptops have everywhere got worse.


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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 12:17 pm 
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pjbw wrote:
I am glad my thread has received so much attention. Maybe some of the Lenovo designers will get the message.
I am just back from a photographic weekend in Holland; Floriade, Keukenhof. I took my elderly HP nc2400. .......worse.


I wouldnt hold my breath ! ; you can Google the Global Thinkpad Prod Manager and see this name ,,, Last time I checked was Peter something (they keep changing to new person every 5-7 mths) MAKES YOU WONDER WHY !!! email them > their names and email address are on public records ..................
we/our company used to buy 1200+ TP's (all fullt decked out highes specs) and after lots of frustrations over past years - they finally decided ENOUGH IS ENOUGH ! So past my personal bias(es) , I for one am sad but hey there are lot more NICER/MORE CLOSELY SUITED machines out there now ! great choices
Only downside is/was - Lenovo/IBm still only company that do world wide warranty ( which is what we need most - every try to get warranty repair on business trips major grips!!!)

Sorry for your frustrations - I would write to lenovo direct !
Cheers

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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 12:29 pm 
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pjbw wrote:
The display on my new T420 compares very badly with my old Acer and HP laptops


I didn't read this thread closely until just now, and realized that you had been comparing the T420 with the HP Compaq nc2400. I had the nc2400 for just over a year (uncharacteristically long for me!) and liked everything about it except the screen quality. I haven't seen the T420 in person but if its screen "compares very badly with" the nc2400, then it has got to be abysmal. It is shocking and indeed unforgivable that Lenovo uses such a lousy screen on its flagship business laptop.

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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 2:05 pm 
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@pian*; .... I have that 'same screen' built into my T420s ( s models is being touted by lenovo as best business machine) ..... so when I physically placed the two laptops side by side ( full brightness both with win7x64ENT) HPpro AND t420s .............both near as possible same same hardware config's....[/i]

The rep couldnt beleive the shocking differance(s) either !
So obvious question(s) . WHY ? HOW COME?
Hp= approx 500$ vs T420s = $1000 US
>> we got [i]'offical email'
back from lenovo =
quoted in part states > [i]"the screen .......to comply with MIL SPEC.... "[/i] :? go figure ! .......
I beleive that comparision was the 'final straw' for our company to 'stop getting all EGGS from ONE BASKET'

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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 6:24 am 
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Not just comparing the T420 with the HP nc2400. My first laptop was an Acer Travelmate 2350 with XP Home. Everything right with it (including the screen) but it was too big and heavy for the amount of traveling I had to do, hence the nc2400.
Of course the nc2400 screen does not compare with the two NEC MultiSync LCD2090UXi's with the ATI 1675 PCX card on my desktop. (After 20 years of programming I can't do serious work on just one screen). The nc2400 is very portable (make sure that the power supply is earthed/grounded!) and using BreezeBrowzer I can compare similar photos and delete the rubbish. Not just photos: I live in CalendarScope networked through my laptops but its colour coding suffers badly in the T420.
Usual digital development: three steps forward, two steps backward; just follow mobile phone 'development' ("That seems like a good idea and might sell a few more phones even though we haven't debugged it fully yet" Sony Ericsson for one!).


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