The bezel is actually quite large, and tapers inwards toward the panel. The OSD buttons sit beneath the bezel in the centre and uses NEC joystick, which has an expensive feel to it. It work well: press menu and then navigate via the joystick. You can manually adjust brightness and contrast and move between five image presets – Standard, Text, Movie, Gaming and Photo. You can quickly switch between them by pressing one of the buttons on the front. By default it switches to Standard, which I found to be way too bright for use in the office, unless you happen to work wearing sun glasses. This more that justifies the claimed 500cd/m2 figure and would explain the size of the screen – the lamps inside must be larger than average. So if your work requires a very bright screen, this NEC delivers. I however, found the more mutes text mode far more comfortable to work with.
The panel is an S-PVA, so is a true 8-bit panel, and NEC quotes a decent 1000:1 contrast ratio. Viewing angles are a strong point and the figure quotes is 176 degree in both the horizontal and vertical plane. What more this figure is pretty much spot on. Even right from the sides the image barely changes in brightness and intensity, from the sides or above. If you’re in an office environment and need to show your latest designs to a group, you don’t have to worry about the people at the sides not being able to see it. You also won’t have to bend down to get the best eye line either. The response time is clearly stated at 6ms for grey-to-grey and 16ms for full Off-on-Off. Hats off for being clear and precise about this, unlike the vagueness that many manufacturers offer in their manuals.
The other main option in the OSD is the ability to choose between several colour temperatures, – 9,300k, 8,200k, 7,500k, 6,500 (sRBG) and 5,000k. There an option for adjusting Sharpness and Off timer, and even an option for adjusting the brightness of the small LED at the front. A key option is labelled Expansion Mode, which if you turn it off, essentially gives you 1:1 pixel mapping. The Aspect option will zoom up but keep the ratio, while Full does as it suggests.
The NEC is equipped with two connectors, DVI and VGA, the former of which is HDCP enabled. There are four USB ports – two at the sides and two at the rear with one upstream port for connecting it to your PC. There’s also an input for connecting up the optional sound dock. As ever, testing began by standard Windows use, and the NEC drew admiring glances from around the office for its pure white, sharp text and high brightness. The solidity of the image indicates that there are high quality lamps and circuitry containing behind the panel.
DisplayMate was rolled out to test and the NEC put in an exemplary performance. Grey scales were very good with each stage able to be picked out even in difficult office lighting conditions. The colour ramp was as good as it gets, as was colour accuracy, intensity and purity. This helped it to achieve a convincing black level when watching video content, with the darker scenes always solid and full of detail. Motion was smooth, and colours, blues, greens, yellows, all vibrant without being oversaturated.