- Review Price: £574.00
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.
As mentioned before, the OSD and its controls have seen a complete redesign. Instead of the usual eight buttons, the 2070NX now carries just four along with a little four-way directional stick that really speeds up menu navigation. Using this in the first instance gives you direct access to the brightness and contrast controls, but its real benefit comes in to play when scrolling across and dropping down through the various menus and settings. It makes picking your way around the options more intuitive than previous NEC OSDs, and the improved menu graphics are a neat touch. The only thing that did puzzle me was the stick’s press-in action that seemed to have no affect at all on any of the settings.
Speaking of settings, the usual comprehensive array of analogue-only options exists for picture position, size, pixel phase and tracking, together with an auto contrast control and the ubiquitous auto-adjust. As for the colour control system, this features six colour presets in total consisting of a non-adjustable native one, an sRGB mode, plus four that by default are set to the following colour temperatures; 5000k, 7000K, 8200K and 9300K. For each of these you can fine tune the RGB levels independently. A sharpness setting, plus an Expansion Mode are also present with the latter offering a couple of picture zoom methods. “Full” expansion, fills the whole screen regardless of the original resolution, whereas “Aspect” expands the image without changing the aspect ratio. Expanision Mode can be completely turned off too. Lastly, a Dynamic Visual or DV mode also exists which boosts the picture’s vibrancy for working with pictures or viewing movies.
While I am happy with the 2070NX’s new looks and slicker OSD controls, the ultimate goal for any LCD is to produce a quality picture. In this case, I had little to moan about – and believe me I can moan. DisplayMate’s colour ramps and greyscales when using a digital connection were all smoothly graduated – in fact some of the best I’ve seen. There were no signs of banding and the colours were not compressed at either the highlight and lowlight ends of the scales. Those small nuances between closely matched grey levels were just discernable too, which makes all the difference when I’m removing the shadows around some of the product shots I produce for TrustedReviews. As for our test DVD movie this looked clean and sharp and I couldn’t really notice any motion smearing when watching this or while gaming.
When the 2070NX is fed with an analogue signal, the overall image quality was very close to that produced by the digital one. It wasn’t quite as crisp, and over time some interference began to creep in as this monitor weakened its hold over pixel tracking and timing lock. However, this is successfully corrected by selecting the auto-adjust function manually or you can rely on the built-in Non-Touch-Auto-Adjustment function which addresses this at regular intervals during operation.
All in all, the 2070NX’s picture quality is splendid. The viewing angles are wide in both planes and it’s a capable image-editing display that can pretty much match its fellow 19in SpectraView model which has been designed with colour-critical applications in mind. It’s not so solid on an analogue signal, but then with so many graphics cards now DVI-enabled this shouldn’t really become an issue.
It wasn’t that long ago that a display with a resolution of 1,600 x 1,200 was retailing for around the £800 mark. However, I’ve found this monitor currently for sale at £574.01, which just goes to show how rapidly the prices for IT hardware can drop. For this kind of money, I’m seriously thinking about getting one myself and because I’m very impressed with the 2070NX’s overall performance, I have no problem with bestowing it with one of our Recommended awards.
If you’re looking for a TFT monitor with a 1,600 x 1,200 screen resolution, an excellent picture and a price that won’t break the bank, then NEC’s 20in MultiSync LCD2070NX has to be on your shopping list. While it may not have a pivoting function, it does have dual connectivity, an integrated USB2.0 hub, and fresh new looks and controls that should appeal to consumer and business users alike.
Score in detail
Image Quality 9