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Quite simply, I love using a 20in LCD with a native resolution of 1,600 x 1,200. It just makes the whole process of editing my images easier. I have a bigger desktop area in which to work, the pixel pitch is actually smaller than with typical 17in and 19in LCDs, and the sheer size of the panel makes it an excellent device for blocking out the noisy employee opposite you.
So as you might expect, I was quite happy to find such a monitor arrive on my desk in the shape of NEC-Mitsubishi’s MultiSync LCD2070NX. It was timely too, as although I still believe there’s life left in the ol’ CRT beast, my desk and my eyes were in need of something respectively trimmer and kinder.
Now if you remember, NEC-Mistubishi announced this model at the end of September last year. It currently resides at the top of the new 70-Series range and with its revamped chassis and OSD controls it certainly looks promising.
I should also add that since then, NEC-Mitsubishi - the joint venture company of NEC Corporation and Mitsubishi Electric Corporation - will be dissolving on March 31 2005, after which it will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of the NEC Corporation. On this date the monitor manufacturer will be renamed NEC Display Solutions, which means I’ll have to correct our past NEC reviews to reflect that. Feel free to remind me when that day arrives...
Right, so what’s the LCD2070NX like? Well, in terms of looks I think the company has got it right. The older design was a very angular affair with a square base and a rectangular neck that I know some people didn’t really like. Personally, I liked the industrial, straight-edged chassis of the older models, but I think the designer, Naoto Fukasawa, has certainly hit the right balance between form and function.
Some of the straight edges have been retained, but this time around they’ve been off-set by subtle curves that flow through the tilting hinge mechanism and the cover that hides away the unsightly cables. The base is now a circular one, and like the past models, comes complete with an integrated turntable that can be swivelled through almost 360 degrees. The neck of the stand is also height-adjustable and can be raised through 110mm, so finding that all important ergonomic sweet spot shouldn’t be a problem. There is one omission however, and that’s a pivot function for turning the whole panel around though 90 degrees for a portrait view. It’s a real shame that this is not included in the new range, but historically, it’s been an option reserved for the company’s 80 series range of monitors.
That said, I was happy to see the inclusion of a four-port USB hub moulded into the left-hand side of the casing – ideal for hooking up card readers, scanners or other USB peripherals that might be kicking about your desk. The necessary upstream cable has been provided too, but more importantly the hub conforms to the USB2.0 standard thereby offering a peak data transfer rate that’s some 40 times faster than USB1.1, but only if you’re using a USB2.0 compliant system in the first place.
Like the MultiSync 2060NX, the 2070NX features two signal inputs – a D-SUB port and a DVI-D one. This allows you to hook up a couple of PCs or, like I’m currently doing, to connect each interface simultaneously to a graphics card with both port types. That way I can use the signal select button to quickly switch between the digital and analogue signal in order assess the difference in picture quality between the two. NEC also includes both cable types, so there's no need to fork out extra cash to get connected.
As for the rest of the design the extra narrow bezel makes for a tidy and unobtrusive picture frame, and because the OSD controls have been repositioned into a new “floating” arrangement, the lower part of the bezel matches the 17mm width of the upper edge. Furthermore the sides are even narrower at a shade over 15mm. If you’re not fond of the off-white finish and silver-coloured bezel, a black version is also available.