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A few weeks back I took a close look at the Asus PW191 – a widescreen LCD with a reflective glossy coating that you’ll either love or hate. The trend to use this type of coating to enhance colour contrast and saturation seems to be gaining popularity, and another unit to join this growing niche is the 20.1in MultiSync 20WGX2 from NEC Display Solutions.
Although we saw NEC use this glossy coating (termed Opticlear) over a year ago with the LCD1970GX, the 20WGX2 is (was) the first widescreen model from the company, and the specs look good. It’s a 20.1in AS-IPS widescreen panel (manufactured by LG-Philips I believe) with a 1,680 x 1,050 native resolution and a claimed 6ms (grey-to-grey) response time. If you’re looking to buy a widescreen desktop LCD, this sort of resolution and panel size is probably the best entry point.
The 20WGX2 joins NEC’s 70GX2 and 90GX2 monitors, described as multimedia displays with the “G” in the model number standing for “Gaming”, “Graphics”, and “Glossy”. Indeed the latter term is certainly correct. It is very reflective and as a result working in a well lit environment isn’t ideal. In fact, reflections and glare from my office lighting is very noticeable. However, in a gaming or movie watching environment where the lighting is typically lowered, the display’s picture quality is very punchy.
The OptiClear coating makes blacks look very black whereas colours appear richly saturated. The high 470 cd/m2 brightness and 700:1 contrast ratio help enhance the vibrancy too. The contrast can even reach levels of 1600:1 when NECs Advanced DVM (Dynamic Visual Mode) is utilised. This is a software-based feature and does not use an external light sensor as one might expect. Instead, the 20WGX2 continuously analyses the picture information and optimises the colour display accordingly without you having to select the modes manually. NEC states that the contrast can be improved in the dark areas only, the light areas only, or in both. Various DV modes (Standard, Text, Movie, Gaming, and Photo can also be manually selected by pressing the Reset/DV mode button.
In practice, it seems to work quite well. I’ve seen other monitors that apply this sort of content dependant brightness/contrast tailoring, but in far too many cases the effect just seems to be too exaggerated and can ultimately influence the detail and colour performance of the picture. With the 20WGX2, the changes are more subtle – unless you manually select the Photo DV mode (see later) - but remain effective without turning whites into pinks or blacks into greys.