Free alcohol and journalists go together like… well, free alcohol and journalists. So it was a brave move on the part of NEC to take a group of hacks (including yours “Stein Slayer” truly) to the Oktoberfest towards the end of last week and then expect them to remember a single product detail. Good thing I took a pen…
On touching down in Munich (beautiful, stunning, just go!) it became clear that (profit margins and b2b third world country potential aside) the consumer focus was going to be on displays, from the first slide who’da thunk it?. My (now bleary) memory recalls six noticeable highlights.
At the top of the tree we have the image connoisseurs’ weapon of choice: the new SpectraView Reference 21 (codenamed 2180). This hardcore 21.3in, 1600 x 1200 fella is the world’s first entirely LED backlit monitor and NEC claims this will produce far great colour uniformity across the full area of the screen. Furthermore, because LEDs are involved it has the positive effect of eliminating the cumbersome warm-up time associated with such highly precise displays.
All far as future-proofing goes, how does a 10bit graphics port sound to you? Yup, there aren’t even 10bit graphics cards on the market yet but when there are, you’re covered. Naturally DVI-D/DVI-I input is there until such a time. The Reference 21 hits the market any minute and will be priced around the £3,500 mark. It has been hotly anticipated since way back in December last year, when Jalal earmarked it during his review of the SpectraView 1980.
Looking to titillate gamers is the company’s second generation of GX LCDs. Showing admirable linguistic logic, the sequentially named GX2 series will initially be made up of 17 and 19in models, with a 20.1in widescreener coming in Q1. Typifying the line will be their silver narrow bezels, blue LEDs and an integrated USB hub. Both the 17 and 19in editions have 1280 x 1024 native resolutions and 4ms grey-to-grey response times.
Contrast ratios will be 700:1, with wide 170 degree viewing angles making them equally useful for viewing multimedia content. Analogue and digital outputs (mini D-sub and DVI-D) are provided and we’ll see them sliding onto shop shelves in November.
Though the 20.1in GX2 won’t be here until next year, NEC does have an alternative 21.3in model out soon. The LCD2170NX (above, right) doesn’t have the flashy finish of the GX2s, but it more than holds its own on specs wise with a 1600 x 1200 native resolution, 900:1 contrast ratio and 176 degree viewing angle. Grey-to-grey response time is a reasonable 8ms, but at 16ms for colour transitions it hasn’t specifically got gamers in its sights.
Tackling budget buyers is the LCD92XM (above, left). With a brief to bring in mid-range features at low-end prices, this 19in display supports DVI-D video input, has a 1280 x 1024 auto-adjustable native resolution, 8ms response time, easy touch screen integration and is bundled with all cables. I’d love to say the LCD92XM fulfils its brief entirely, but since I don’t yet know the critical factor: price, I can’t say by how much.
Rounding us off, we jump to the opposite end of the scale for the company’s 40in headlining public display. This is the world’s largest touch screen in its category and has a slightly unusual 1366 x 768 widescreen native resolution. RS-232 output means it can be daisy chained to other monitors in a tiled arrangement and “CableComp” technology boasts that cables can be run up to 100m from source without any picture quality loss.
Those keen to save energy can manually adjust colour temperature from 3200K all the way to 9300K, and naturally it is mountable both horizontally and vertically. There’s no pricing or availability on this industry first yet, but I would imagine it would help NEC’s commercial clientele no end if it debuted this side of Chrimbo.
With that I packed up, ate a hearty meal and braced myself for Oompah bands, pretzels, lederhosen and seven per cent beers (thanks for the prepping Comrade Leyden). What followed would require 18+ site verification for me to disclose…!