So you bought a new gaming monitor and you’re wondering what are the best monitor brightness and contrast settings for gaming. Should you use the monitor’s default picture settings?
What about the monitor’s built-in picture modes? Can a monitor’s brightness and contrast settings give you an advantage in competitive games?
Continue reading to learn more.
Best Monitor Brightness and Contrast Settings for Gaming:
The recommended monitor brightness and contrast settings for gaming is 100% brightness and 50% contrast. A lower contrast setting combined with a high brightness will make it easier to see dark characters in games. When in doubt, enable sRGB mode.
Bear in mind, the best monitor picture settings are very subjective, and not everyone has the same ability to see accurate colours.
Not to mention every monitor is unique with a wide range of brightness levels, colour gamuts, and display panels. Other factors such as ambient light are important to consider too. In some cases, even two identical monitors can have different brightness and contrast levels.
Before you start pressing buttons on your monitor, you should know that it’s better to change the colours at a software level instead of hardware. I only recommend manually changing the brightness level on your monitor, the other settings can be adjusted with software.
In other words, what one person might consider the best monitor brightness and contrast settings, you might consider too washed out or over-saturated. You’ll need to find the best settings that work for you.
How to Calibrate Monitor Brightness and Contrast Settings:
The good news is it’s very easy to calibrate a monitor’s picture settings. Calibrating a monitor’s brightness and contrast settings is very important but most people will overlook it or choose one of the monitor’s colour presets.
Most gaming monitors have decent out-of-the-box picture settings. Nevertheless, a few simple changes can dramatically improve the colour in games.
Consider Calibration Hardware:
Professionals might need a hand-held colour calibration tool, such as the Datacolor SpyderX Pro. If your work involves extremely colour accurate projects, such as photo-editing and whatnot, investing in the above tool is a good idea. The downside to these tools is the colours will be very accurate but that doesn’t they’ll be best for games.
The average gamer won’t need such tools. In most cases, you can simply eye-ball the calibration to suit your tastes. Here are some ways to calibrate monitor brightness and contrast settings without fancy tools:
Windows Colour Management Tool
Windows even has a built-in colour management tool that provides you with images and examples to configure the brightness and contrast settings. To access the tool, open the start menu, and type “Colour Management” and open the program.
In the Advanced tab, click on Calibrate Display, and the wizard will launch. Follow the instructions and use the buttons on your monitor to adjust the brightness and contrast settings until they match the recommendations.
Geforce Game Filter
You don’t need to change your monitor’s colour settings to improve the colour in games at all.
If you have an NVIDIA graphics card, hit CTRL + Z to open the Geforce Experience overlay. From there, click on Game Filter and choose Brightness/Contrast, and adjust the sliders until you find the settings that work for you.
One example where boosting the brightness using a game filter can help is in games like Warzone. In Warzone, some character skins are far too dark, making them difficult to see at standard colour settings. Boosting the brightness while lowering the contrast makes dark objects more visible.
In order for the overlay to work. a game needs to be open. You can also change the colour settings for videos with the Geforce Control Panel.
Right-click on a blank space on your desktop and select NVIDIA Control Panel. Under the Video menu, click on Adjust Video Colour Settings, and change the sliders. It’s best to have a video open while you adjust the sliders.
Naturally, this option won’t be available for consoles or non-NVIDIA graphics cards.
Online Browser Tools
There are many online browser tools and tutorials that can walk you through display calibration. The website I recommend is Lagon.nl and it has tutorials on almost every aspect of a monitor’s image settings.
It also has plenty of tests, such as this contrast test, that can help you choose the right contrast settings.
How Important are Monitor Brightness and Contrast Settings for Games?
Monitor brightness and contrast settings are only important for games if you’re struggling with enemy visibility. In some games, a slight adjustment to contrast and brightness can make it easier for you to spot enemies and objects. It can also make the details and colours in single-player games more vivid and realistic.
I would use software filters, such as NVIDIA Game Filters, before adjusting the monitor’s hardware calibration.
To summarize, if you’re frustrated with dark colours in games, boosting the brightness and contrast levels can help a bit. There’s no global recommendation because there are too many factors to consider. Choose a monitor brightness level that is comfortable for your eyes, and then adjust the other settings from there.
What brightness and contrast settings do you use? Leave a comment below.