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There are other clues of the level to which NEC has tweaked the 20WGX2 to bring out the best of the panel. First, as I mentioned earlier, this monitor uses an IPS (In Plane Switching) panel. IPS panels are known to have slower response times and are therefore not ideal for displaying moving images. Furthermore, the liquid crystal cells have smaller aperture ratios which mean less light is transmitted from the LCD’s backlight. To counteract these two factors, NEC uses its Overdrive (Rapid Response) technology to “rev up” the liquid crystals for faster response times, along with a bright and power hungry backlight – no wonder electrical consumption hits 71W. By design, IPS panels also have excellent viewing angles and this is certainly the case here – the picture can be viewed at very shallow angles from the side and the top or bottom with virtually no colour shift and just a slight drop in illumination.
While I can certainly say the 20WGX2 is a high contrast, bright and vibrant LCD, response time is more difficult to gauge from one monitor to the next. In the real world, gaming and movie sequences looked fab and motion smearing, after glow, or whatever you want to call it, was difficult to detect.
As for general image quality, the high-contrast and gloss-enhanced colours are all well and good for gamers and movie viewers but what’s it like for image editing? Well, rather good in my opinion. Although not as fine-tuned as monitors specifically designed for colour critical applications, the 20WGX2 performed admirably in its Standard mode. Colour performance was far better than what I saw in the Asus PW191 and skin tones looked realistic with little sign of pink and/or green blemishes. Oddly, I found image editing in the Photo DV mode a futile experience. For some reason this mode really compresses lowlights resulting in a heavy loss of shadow detail in my test images. When editing your pics, my advice is to leave the 20WGX2 in the standard or sRGB mode.
Testing with DisplayMate, primary colours were shown to be extremely vivid and colour scales were smoothly stepped in the mid-range. A degree of lowlight and highlight compression did exist and removing this from both ends simultaneously was nigh on impossible. Greyscale ramps were also smoothly stepped, but an ever so slight green tint did mar some greys. However, this can be muted with a tweak of the colour controls.
Overall, the 20WGX2 performed very well and gamers should generally be happy with the fast response time and lively picture. And despite its gaming target market, colour accuracy for image editing was adequate. But can you live with the glossy, reflective coating?