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NEC MultiSync EX231W - Testing and Verdict

By Benny Har-Even



Our Score:


In terms of raw specs the 250cd/m2 luminance and a claimed 1000,1 contrast ratio means there’s little to get excited about, but at least this is an 8-bit panel.

To test we spent some time working in portrait mode, as it really is beneficial for working on a document such as say, this review. It’s also ideal for viewing web sites – not least TrustedReviews.com.

It’s not ideal for photo work however, as it shows up the limitations of the TN panel quite clearly, with colour shift affecting images when you view them straight on. In regular landscape mode this would be vertical colour shift, but in portrait mode it's horizontal and you have to move to the side to see the images as they should be.

In landscape mode, we’d characterise the image quality as good. The steps in the Lagom contrast test were all visible, but only when we turned down the contrast settings a few notches from the default. The tricky black level test was negotiated successfully, with all levels visible, while greyscale transitions were smooth. The response time is listed as 5ms, and in the Lagom test it was noticeably better than other displays we have seen – not that this screen is aimed at gamers. That said we did, naturally, give TrackMania nations a run and found no appreciable issue in terms of smoothness. However, when it comes to colour this isn’t the punchiest or boldest monitor around.

Overall, colours are fairly realistic on the NEC, though the issues with viewing angles meant that the on reds the tone seemed to alter depending on the height of the screen. The ease with which you can change the angle of the display mitigates this to some degree, but we could not recommend this screen for colour-critical work.

That’s not to say the EX231W isn’t a high-quality monitor, only that it cannot escape the fact that it’s TN based. Text was never less than sharp and clear – this is a display that will be easy on the eyes for long periods. Feed it a diet of office documents and general web browsing and it’s in its comfort zone, while the company CFO will certainly appreciate the heavy focus on energy saving.

Unfortunately, its initial purchase price is rather high. For £60 less you can get the BenQ V2410T, which might not be as slim, stylish or well-connected, but does offer the same basic features (full adjustability and an LED-backlit, Full HD screen). Meanwhile, Samsung's SyncMaster F2380 throws a superior cPVA panel into the mix, and if you don't require adjustability, the MVA-based VW2420H offers better image quality again. Most importantly, both these latter alternatives are around £200 or less, making the premium NEC charges difficult to justify unless you prefer form over substance.


Despite being based on a TN panel, NEC’s MultiSync EX231W continues the company’s reputation for high quality monitors. It doesn’t sport a wealth of connectivity options and it’s not the most vivid image around, but for everyday use, this is a well-designed and slender display with solid image quality. If only it were priced lower it would enjoy broader appeal.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Value 7
  • Image Quality 7
  • Features 8
  • Design 9


January 4, 2011, 3:51 pm

That thing looks really svelte, especially with the thin bezel. It's a shame it's just another 1920x1080 monitor though, I could really do with a 24" version to justify the jump from my 16:10 22".


January 4, 2011, 10:04 pm

Quote first page title: "NEC MultiSync EX231W - 23in monitor review Review"

Hmmm new venture for TR then? - Reviewing reviews :P


January 6, 2011, 12:42 am

"- however, we still hanker over that missing 120 pixels"

That statement sums up the thing thats wrong with monitors these days. Full HD is no use for real computer work, those extra 120 pixels make a huge difference. In fact for 23/24" monitors the resolution should be 1920 * 1440 the good old 4 * 3 resolution. Almost all computer type work needs the vertical resolution (but not a portrait monitor). I am using a 24" 1920 * 1200 and 21" 1600 * 1200 which works fine but sometimes I really wish the 24" was a 4x3.

Trusted Reviews and the computer press need to campaign to stop Full HD being used for serious computers.


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