This is definitely something to keep in mind. For flat colors, I tend to look at black paint chips, which are never just black either, and definitely look better.
This is actually one of the only design practices I actually know and use. For instance the text color on Talentopoly is #0E2334.
There's an art history anecdote about John Singer Sargent painting plein air with Claude Monet: Sargent was perturbed that Monet had no black paint to lend.
I think accessibility concerns can require #000; some of the grays won't offer enough contrast.
According to that website, it looks like there is a happy medium, which is probably preferred in many cases. Some people have problems with too high a contrast, others with lower contrast, and everyone has a problem with too low a contrast.
I think off-white and off-black can still be high contrast. For instance, #0E2334 isn't too far off from #000.
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