- Review Price: £1291.00
There’s definitely a bit of an identity crisis going on at the NEC/Mitsubishi offices. Although the company is definitely called NEC/Mitsubishi, the LCD based products seem to be branded NEC while the CRT displays are badged Mitsubishi. Of course since Mitsubishi has consistently produced high-quality CRT monitors and NEC has a strong reputation in the LCD market, there is some method behind this madness.
The MultiSync 2080UX+ is currently at the top of the NEC/Mitsubishi LCD range with a 20in diameter and a native resolution of 1,600 x 1,200. This is fantastic resolution to work with, especially if you constantly have multiple windows open like I do. It’s extremely useful if you find yourself cutting and pasting regularly from one window to another.
The LCD panel in the 2080UX+ is superb and the viewing angle is every bit as good as the ViewSonic VP211b I looked at a couple of months ago. The image produced is very bright and the colours are vivid and vibrant, just the way I like a TFT to be. There are no problems with uneven lighting, and if there were any dead pixels in the review sample I looked at, I couldn’t see them. Even using DisplayMate the 2080UX+ performed beautifully with very uniform colour gradations.
The design of the 2080UX+ isn’t what I’d call aesthetically pleasing, but then this is a pretty subjective issue. Personally I like black monitors, but unfortunately TCO has moved the goal posts again. Although a monitor manufacturer can produce a black monitor and still receive TCO’99 accreditation, in order to get TCO’03 accreditation the bezel surrounding the screen can not be black. So, although I don’t like the colour of this monitor very much, it’s not really NEC/Mitsubishi’s fault. However, looking closely at the 2080UX+ you’ll see that the bezel is in fact silver, but the rest of the monitor is beige. Since it’s only the bezel that can’t be black, the rest of the monitor could happily be black. But, as I said, colour is subjective.
Something that’s less subjective is the design of the stand, and here NEC/Mitsubishi has done a very good job, in some areas at least. Most welcome is the vertical movement of the screen. The stand column is telescopic and allows the screen to be moved up and down with only the slightest amount of pressure. This again is similar to the ViewSonic VP211b, but unfortunately the 2080UX+ doesn’t have handy cable clips running down the back of the telescopic column to keep the cables out of the way. The result is that the cables are visible at the bottom of the screen. That said, there is a panel that you can clip to the rear of the stand to route the cables through. Unfortunately it’s not a very elegant solution and makes the rear of the monitor look untidy. This is a shame because the cable router on the 17in NEC TFT screen is far better integrated.
You can also tilt the screen both forwards and backwards to achieve your perfect viewing angle. There’s a swivel plate in the bottom of the stand that allows you to turn the whole unit from side to side. I personally prefer having the mounting column rotating rather than the whole unit, but the up side of this design is that the screen can be twisted right through 360 degrees if necessary.
Also like the ViewSonic screen, the 2080UX+ will pivot into portrait mode. Unfortunately NEC/Mitsubishi doesn’t supply any software to switch your desktop around to portrait mode when you do this. That said, most of the latest video card drivers will include this option, so it’s not too much of an issue. In fact I used the pivot utility in the nVidia driver and it worked perfectly with the 2080UX+. NEC/Mitsubishi hasn’t made the OSD rotate when the screen pivots though.
Connection options are well taken care of with DVI-I, DVI-D and D-SUB ports. There’s also a front mounted input selection switch, making it easy to have multiple computers connected to the screen if necessary. The power supply is built into the screen, so there’s no need for an external power brick and the power connector is the standard kettle lead type.
At the front the bezel is pleasingly slim and the grey lettering for the manufacturer and model name keeps things very unobtrusive. There are eight control buttons on the fascia below the screen. The power button, a Reset button, a Select button which also switches between inputs, two pairs of adjuster buttons and an Exit button. Strangely, pressing the Exit button will actually take you into the OSD, but it will also take you back out of it again. The Reset button seems to restore the current OSD setting to the factory default. The OSD isn’t the simplest I’ve ever had to navigate, but if you’re connecting via DVI you shouldn’t need to spend much time there anyway.
In the box you’ll find that NEC/Mitsubishi hasn’t skimped anywhere. You get a paper user manual and a CD with the inf file, an electronic user manual and the NaviSet utility for controlling your monitor settings. There’s also a power cable, an analogue D-SUB cable and, most importantly, a DVI cable.
It has to be said that the NEC/Mitsubishi 2080UX+ is a fine monitor. The LCD panel is superb and provides a stunning image at a great resolution. Aesthetic preferences aside, the 2080UX+ produces an image every bit as good as the ViewSonic VP211b that I was raving about a couple of months ago. But, and this is a pretty big but, I haven’t talked about price yet.
The MultiSync 2080UX+ costs £1,291.32 which is almost £300 more expensive than the ViewSonic VP211b. Add to this the fact that the ViewSonic screen is just over an inch bigger, and it becomes very hard to justify NEC/Mitsubishi’s asking price. However, if you absolutely must have a TCO’03 compliant screen, then the 2080UX+ will seem a lot more attractive.
NEC/Mitsubishi has produced a very impressive screen in the shape of the MultiSync 2080UX+, but the price is way too high considering the strong competition. That said, it is TCO’03 compliant which will sway some potential buyers.
Score in detail
Image Quality 10