next@acer 2020

Really bad contrast on Acer TravelMate P2 P2410-G2-M NX.VGTAA.006

ConsideringAc3rConsideringAc3r Member Posts: 23 Troubleshooter
Is there any other way to calibrate the contrast on the Acer TravelMate P2 P2410-G2-M NX.VGTAA.006?

When I type "gamma" in the Windows 10 search, I get an app for "Display Color Calibration".  Even though the process makes the contrast as good as can be, it still strains the eyes (at any brightness level).  I use a lot of laptops and display monitors at work and home, so I don't think I'm lacking in context in making this assessment.  Hoping that something can be done, as I hope to keep my new-ish laptop (about a month old) for many years.  As-is, however, the contrast is an albatross.

Thanks.
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FAQ & Answers

  • JackEJackE ACE Posts: 21,997 Trailblazer
    Have you tried to use ControlPanel's Ease of Access Center app to set up high contrast? Jack E/NJ 
    Jack E/NJ
  • ConsideringAc3rConsideringAc3r Member Posts: 23 Troubleshooter
    Yes, but that changes the color scheme used by all my apps.  I do coding, and that is not compatible.  It even prevents icons in Gmail's web interface from showing.  So wholesale revamping of colour scheme is not a solution (though it can mask the contrast problem if I merely read documents).  I really need to find a way to fix the bad contrast.
  • JackEJackE ACE Posts: 21,997 Trailblazer
    >>>about a month old>>>>>> I really need to find a way to fix the bad contrast.>>>

    How long is the vendor's RMA period for a refund or perhaps an exchange on another machine that'll do the job? I don't think ACER warranty service is gonna help much with this. Jack E/NJ
    Jack E/NJ
  • ConsideringAc3rConsideringAc3r Member Posts: 23 Troubleshooter
    When I spoke with PC-Canada about returns, they said they don't accept returns unless there is a defect. I consider this just to be poor quality (either design or manufacturing, but more likely design), so the prospects seemed dim. Furthermore, I spent a ton of time customizing it, and it has since become my "live" machine, i.e., containing my most recent everything (bills, tax forms, you name it). The older laptop is Windows 7, so is not safe to connect to the internet.  Even unwanted ads on some pages can be a hazard.  Going for a period without a workhorse laptop is very handicapping.

    Another reason why returning it is a very undesirable way to solve the problem is because it took months to search for a machine with decent power and old style touchpad buttons.  The 14" size also makes it relatively uncommon.  All the various factors together make it hard to find candidate machines, and the only real way to find qualifying candidates was to abandon brick & mortar stores and shop online . That's one of the reasons why I ended up with this laptop -- no chance to actually give it a spin before buying.  So even if I encountered no barriers to returning, finding an alternative would be like playing roulette again.

    If I can't solve it, I'll use it, and if I get too fed up with the poor contrast display, I'll just have to try my luck with the brick & mortar stores.  The requirement that was hardest to fulfill wasn't met by this laptop anyway (I found out after getting it), so forgoing that requirement might open up possibilities in brick & mortar stores.  But that's a really expensive and time consuming solution, and it's not even guaranteed to be a solution.

    So hoping to be able to solve this with the current laptop...
  • JackEJackE ACE Posts: 21,997 Trailblazer
    About all I can suggest is to make sure all the ACER video drivers are up to date at this link https://www.acer.com/ac/en/US/content/support-product/7554?b=1    Also check the latest ACER Quick Access App to see if it has any screen adjustments that might be more effective than the usual Win10 fare. If still no joy, download and try DriverBooster or similar freeware device driver tools to see if they'll pick up any alternate drivers that may help improve the contrast issues. Jack E/NJ

    Jack E/NJ
  • ConsideringAc3rConsideringAc3r Member Posts: 23 Troubleshooter
    Thanks, Jack.  This will take some time, so I'll go silent for a while.  I appreciate the nuggets of ideas which may end up resolving this.  I'm somewhat delayed by all the surprises that invariably accompany the customization of a new system, e.g., update applications suites after many years, finding all that is broken, and seeking solutions.
  • billseybillsey ACE Posts: 11,131 Trailblazer
    I have noticed on a lot of laptops that the screen really wants you looking up at it. The only way to get what I consider normal contrast is to tilt the screen back enough that I'm looking at it with the top angled away from my eyes.
    Click on "Like" if you find my answer useful or click on "Yes" if it answers your question.
  • ConsideringAc3rConsideringAc3r Member Posts: 23 Troubleshooter
    edited February 16
    Thanks, billsey.  That's what I normally do, for the reasons that you say.  It also helps with the TravelMate, but relative to other laptops I've used over the decades, what I'm seeing is pretty unexplainable.  It's also weird because the contrast seems to depend on what else is showing.  Coders like text lit up (white or colour) on a dark-ish background, while most apps these days try to emulate a printed page by putting text on white background.  On most laptops, it's not a problem, but on the Travel Mate, if there is nothing but dark-background windows on-screen, it gets *very* dark, and low contrast (I have a very dark desktop as well).  If I pop up another window with white background, the lit-up parts of the dark-background windows slowly get brighter over about 10 seconds, and the contrast improves.  One could argue that this might be a subjective effect as one adapts to the white-background window, but I've never noticed it on other laptops.

    I also notice some distinct anti-aliasing occurring with black text on white background, meaning that some pixels are grey (or some mix between the dark background and the lit-up text).  This is a technique that is only good for photos and movies, not for line art of text.  I don't know whether Windows 10 or the TravelMate is responsible for this.

  • billseybillsey ACE Posts: 11,131 Trailblazer
    The anti-aliasing usually shows up when the display resolution is set to a value other than the native resolution of the screen, so setting a 1080P screen (1920x1080) to 1366x768. Everything will be a little fuzzy since there's no exact divisor that really fits. Windows does a pretty good job with their custom scaling, but even there they try to make you set things to nice even percentages.
    I wonder if there is any automatic adjustment happening in reference to ambient light? If that were maladjusted it could act a bit like that...
    Click on "Like" if you find my answer useful or click on "Yes" if it answers your question.
  • JackEJackE ACE Posts: 21,997 Trailblazer
    If you haven't updated the display drivers yet or played with DriverBooster, you might want to uninstall the display drivers in DeviceManager just in case they've been corrupted or changed. Then exit without re-installing anything and reboot. Jack E/NJ
    Jack E/NJ
  • ConsideringAc3rConsideringAc3r Member Posts: 23 Troubleshooter
    edited February 18
    @billsey: You're absolutely right.  I make it a general practice to use the native resolution of the physical display, and I've done so here.  It surprised the heck out of me to see the signs of antialiasing.  And it was not some random app, it was in a Windows 10 settings panel.

    @JackE: Thanks...I haven't had a chance to follow up on your previous post yet, but will do.  Being assailed by all sorts of surprises that come up in switching systems after almost a decade.  I use Cygwin's Unix OS layered on top of Windows, and it comes with many packages that I rely on.  Updating after half a decade brings many, many surprises.  I would normally be able to put them off and deal with this TravelMate problem, but as it turns out, I now have to fall back on the TravelMate for work stuff because they have yet to move to Windows 10, so their computers aren't safe to use online.  I can't put off the other stuff.

    All that to say that my lack of follow up isn't because I don't value the information that you so kindly offered.  Just unable to follow up at the moment.  But thanks!
  • JackEJackE ACE Posts: 21,997 Trailblazer
    >>>I use Cygwin's Unix OS layered on top of Windows,>>>

    You mean as a 32-bit virtual on a Win7 host? VMware? Jack E/NJ
    Jack E/NJ
  • ConsideringAc3rConsideringAc3r Member Posts: 23 Troubleshooter
    No, it's not a VM.  It implements the unix commands as windows *.exe files.  Behind the scenes, I think it converts them into the proper system calls for Windows.  I'm not too clear on how it gets done behind the curtain, but it isn't a VM.  It has 32 and 64 bit installations, both of which can co-exist on Windows 64-bit.  I'm just an analytical user, not a developer.
  • JackEJackE ACE Posts: 21,997 Trailblazer
    OK, sounds similar a WINE overlay that allows many windows EXEs to run on Linux instead of the other way around. A bit clunky but it gets the job done most of the time when you need to use it. Jack E/NJ
    Jack E/NJ
  • ConsideringAc3rConsideringAc3r Member Posts: 23 Troubleshooter
    @JackE: I think I like it better than a VM, because I can invoke invoke Windows-based *.exe files from the bash command prompt.  But I'll never know, as I haven't used a Unix VMm before.

    @billsey: I did think that the slow brightness adjustment (depending on how much white is shown) resembled my iPhone adapting to ambient light.  But the only light detector I see is the camera lens, and that is covered up.
  • ConsideringAc3rConsideringAc3r Member Posts: 23 Troubleshooter
    JackE said:
    If you haven't updated the display drivers yet or played with DriverBooster, you might want to uninstall the display drivers in DeviceManager just in case they've been corrupted or changed. Then exit without re-installing anything and reboot. Jack E/NJ

    Hi, JackE,
     
    I finally am able to return to this (and was just tolerating the contrast all the while).  Does the picture below represent what you suggest?


  • JackEJackE ACE Posts: 21,997 Trailblazer
    Yes. Uninstall it. Then don't try to re-install anything. Exit DeviceManager. Shutdown. Then turn it back on again and keep your fingers crossed. Jack E/NJ
    Jack E/NJ
  • ConsideringAc3rConsideringAc3r Member Posts: 23 Troubleshooter
    edited March 15
    I may have done something irrevocable.  I not only uninstalled the display driver, but I deleted it, with the expectation that I could always find it at the Acer support site.  I then got the following notice pertaining a changed display hardwdare.



    At first, I banished it, but there was a display entry in the device manager anyway.  Despite that, I still got the above notice later, and I confirmed it.  The display shown in the device manager is now:


    Both before and after clicking Confirm, I found the screen to be very bright, and the brightness did not respond to hot keys for controlling brightness.  The places where the GUI brightness slider used to be no longer have such a slider.

    I visited https://www.acer.com/ac/en/CA/content/support-product/7554?b=1&pn=NX.VGTAA.006, but the only display-ish drivers there are for VGA.

    That site also advises doing a Windows update for missing drivers, meant for those who just upgraded to Windows 10.  I did a Windows update anyway, and am told that I'm up to date.

    The option to put the computer to sleep is now also gone from all the GUI places where they used to be.  Apparently, after changing the display driver, this is to be expected.

    Is there any way to get back the driver that came with this laptop?
  • ConsideringAc3rConsideringAc3r Member Posts: 23 Troubleshooter
    Acer support said that the VGA drivers *were* the display drivers (even though VGA refers to an old low resolution analog video scheme).  There are 3 VGA drivers, and she said to download them all.  The first was NVIDIA, and running it produces the message that it couldn't find appropriate devices.  The next was Intel, and it got back the old display behaviour.  The Sleep option was also restored to the Start->Power menu.  Here is a picture of how the driver looks in the device manager:



    I will now give the 3rd driver a try.  Its name is suffixed with "Kabylake", so I think it is a MIcrosoft Windows 10 driver....
  • ConsideringAc3rConsideringAc3r Member Posts: 23 Troubleshooter
    Here is the final outcome.  The 3 VGA drivers are bundled into the following files.
    1. VGA_nVidia_384.94_W10x64_A.zip
    2. VGA_Intel_23.20.16.5038_W10x64_A.zip
    3. VGA_Intel_23.20.16.4877_W10x64_A.zip
    The first complained about not finding a qualifying device, or something to that effect.

    The second restored the brightness control that was lost from deleting the display driver that came with the laptop, and restored the Sleep option in the Start->Power menu.

    The third installed, but the functionality of the laptop was no different from I deleted the driver.

    In summary, #2 is the only one that works.  The contrast looks about the same as before deleting the display driver.  The Acer chat agent said that nothing would change, as that is the driver that comes with the laptop.  I wasn't sure which one she meant at the time, but now it seems obvious that it can only be #2.

    Thanks for the suggestion...it was an interesting thing to try.

    I think the problem is simply a poor display design.



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