With the 19in 1980FXi, NEC Display Solutions has aimed it squarely at the corporate market by citing that an information edge of a few seconds for a sock exchange dealer can decide whether profits are made or losses suffered. True, but I’m not sure that a monitor is the decisive factor of how quickly information is fed to it. Still there are other qualities that make it very well-suited to the financial world. These include a very narrow bezel measuring an impressive 12mm in width down the sides, and about 13.5mm along the top and bottom.
What this leads to is a display with a native 1,280 x 1,024 pixel picture that looks larger than it really is, and one that can be used in multi-monitor configurations where only a 24mm - 27mm internally conjoined bezel framework divides up the active screen areas. In other words up to 25 of these monitors can be stacked in a five-by-five matrix where the active pictures aren’t too far apart. The clever technology behind all this is built into each and every 1980FXi and is known as TileMatrix. Basically this allows a user to designate the position of each monitor in the matrix thus allowing one (very large) image to be displayed across the screens – ideal for tradeshows or marketing. In addition, a feature called TileComp effectively compensates for the area taken up by all the bezel edges, ensuring that the full image remains in proportion.
These aspects of the 1980FXi along with its relatively low 48W power consumption and automatic power-off timer should make it appealing to buyers looking to reduce operating costs. Another power saving feature I really like is the AmbiBright mode, accessible within in the OSD under “Auto Brightness”. By selecting option 1, the 1980FXi will automatically adjust its backlight depending in the brightness level of your environment. How? Well there’s a little light sensor mounted at the bottom right hand corner that detects the ambient light level which is then used to dim or brighten the backlight appropriately. So for a dark room, the display will dim and vice-versa. As for option 2 the sensor is completely disabled and instead the brightness is automatically set based on the amount of white areas in the actual picture. Clever stuff!
With these specs, there’s no doubt that the 1980FXi is suited to financial environments. However, when a product is designed for a certain market in mind, you’ll often find that its key features will be appreciated by users in other fields. This was evident from the moment I turned it on and started to edit some images in Photoshop. Let’s just say that I was very impressed with the overall picture quality, especially in terms of colour balance and shadow and highlight detail.
It has to be said that NEC knows what it’s doing when it comes to manufacturing high-end monitors. It may sound biased but I’ve always liked the way they handle colours (particularly natural skin tones and highlights) with almost no or very little tweaking needed on my behalf.
For instance, my job regularly involves shooting white, grey and silver coloured products that always tend to reveal subtle colour shifts on their surfaces when I use my pro SLR and our powerful studio flash lights. With this monitor, these nuances are clearly visible and I can correct for them in Photoshop. On cheaper monitors with smaller colour gamuts, I end up losing this level of information. The same can be said for shadow areas, where information is basically lost on a low-end LCD due to the lack of contrast, and compressed greyscales.