In terms of available settings, the 72VM benefits from three colour temperature presets (9,300K, 7,500K and 6,500K) and a user-definable option where the individual RGB levels can be adjusted independently. An auto contrast mode ensures the highlights and shadows are controlled within set parameters and if ever the 72VM loses its grip on the analogue signal, the pixel tracking and phase can be brought back into line automatically with a quick press of the Auto/Reset button. As a backup, NEC has also incorporated a “no touch” auto adjust function that automatically adjusts the screen to optimal settings upon initial start-up.
Of course, no monitor review is worth a read without an assessment on image quality. After switching it on for the first time and at its default settings, the 72VM did not fill me with a great deal of excitement. In my opinion, the picture was simply too cold and harsh and suffered from a blue/green cast. That drove me straight to the colour settings where I tried a lower colour temperature preset. However this was to no avail as I found these to be too warm. The only way I could hit the most natural looking colours and neutral greys was to enter the “user” mode and reduce the blue and green levels by about 10% each.
Now that I was reasonably happy with the overall picture tone, I fired up DisplayMate for some fine tuning and a more sensitive appraisal of performance. First up were the colour scales which despite appearing punchy and vibrant, were noticeably compressed as they dropped to full black. The colour scales also didn’t fade uniformly to black together, with the warmer colours such as red, orange and yellow dropping off earlier than the cooler ones. This reinforces my initial impression that this 72VM was an inherently cool monitor in terms of colour temperature.
The grey scales also echoed the compression that was noticeable in the colour scales, although this time the compression was visible at both the low and high intensity ends of the scales. Taking the 256 greyscale for example, I’d expect to see very smooth gradations from white to black, but the scale was clumped at both extremities with only the mid-range greys showing a smooth progression. In practice, this usually leads to a picture that looks harsh and that’s true of the 72VM. I found it particularly difficult to determine whether any detail was actually depicted in the shadow areas of the various images I was editing when using this LCD. What’s more I also found that skin tones were rendered with an obvious pinkish hue.
On a more positive note, the 72VM proved to be commendably sharp and with a 16ms response time I found that motion smearing was not a problem. The 72VM is quite capable of displaying a DVD or a fast action game, although the unrealistic skin tones and questionable colours may put some users off.
For the £221.05 asking price, there are other similarly priced entry-level 17in LCD monitors that can do a better job with colour critical applications, and in my opinion this monitor is more suited to the business environment where less demanding office applications are the order of the day.