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NEC does provide its own Naviset software, which provides fine control over the monitor from within the Windows advanced display options, but the up-to-date Nvidia drivers we had installed on our test system proved not to be DDI compatible, which meant that the monitor was not recognised.
Connectivity-wise, things are straightforward – there’s a DisplayPort and DVI-I connection on the rear. You can connect up an analogue VGA source though via the supplied VGA to DVI-I cable.
You’ll also find an upstream USB port at the rear, but the only downstream port is located right at the top of the bezel. It’s clearly designed with webcam connectivity in mind. It’s a shame that there’s no extra port at the rear though, as that could have been useful for adding peripherals. Finally, there’s a Kensington lock slot for securing the display to the desk, should you be worried about light fingered visitors, especially as this isn’t the heaviest monitor in the world.
Accessing the menu button brings up a basic OSD that just lets you adjust the brightness. However, you can switch to the full menu, which brings up all the options available. Its look is quite basic, and it could definitely do with a makeover.
Navigation for this is controlled via touch arrows located on the bezel at the bottom right. Buttons for making selections are mapped to specific areas of the bezel and on-screen info informs you where to press for which function. It sounds clever and intuitive but in fact we found the scrolling buttons hard to control, making it awkward to make the selections we wanted, and we soon wished for a more conventional system.
As befits a high-end make, the MultiSync EX231W is loaded with a few extras, most of which are centred on power efficiency. There are two Eco settings, which essentially reduce the brightness, and you can choose between standard Energy Star and an exact 30 per cent reduction. What’s more, when you select these, the message, “thank you for helping to save the environment’ appears - so you can feel good about yourself for a few minutes. Also, when either of these are selected, elsewhere in the menu another screen will actually display estimated Carbon savings and cost, in a selection of currencies, per KWh. Nobody can accuse NEC of not taking energy efficiency seriously.
Other toys include an Auto Brightness setting that will adjust luminance based on room lighting conditions and a ‘Human Sensor’ that will automatically dim the monitor when it detects that someone has moved away from the screen. We found this overly sensitive so we had to turn it right down to ensure it didn’t activate when we were still sitting in front of the monitor. Once adjusted, this feature worked as advertised.