Obviously the HDMI ports can carry digital audio as well as digital video, but you also get a 3.5mm input for analogue audio to go with the D-SUB and DVI inputs, while two sets of left and right phono inputs marry up to the component video and S/Composite inputs. You also get a 3.5mm audio output to pump the signal to external speakers, as well as an optical digital audio out, which will let you send the digital bitstream from your HDMI connections out to an external amp or receiver. Finally, there’s a headphone socket on the front of the monitor, which saves you the trouble of having to plug headphones into your PC, which could be under your desk.
There’s also an impressive amount of options to play with in the OSD, but unfortunately the LCD24WMGX3 doesn’t sport the same corner based button layout at the 30in LCD3090WQXi. This isn’t the end of the world, but it does mean that adjustments aren’t quite as easy and intuitive as on NEC’s flagship monitor, and considering how extensive the list of adjustments is, that’s something of a shame.
You’re going to need to get familiar with the extensive array of controls though, if you want to get the best out of this monitor, since it needs some quite delicate calibration. NEC warned me that this sample had come straight from a gaming event, where it was configured to be as bright, vivid and punchy as possible. Firing up Display Mate showed that the LCDWMGX3 has a tendency towards compression at the high or low intensity ends of the spectrum, and it took a good deal of tweaking to overcome this problem. The good news is that once this screen is configured properly, it’s pretty damn good.
It’s always worth remembering that Display Mate is designed to highlight weaknesses in a monitor when it comes to pure image quality, and that doesn’t necessarily mean that those weaknesses will show themselves in everyday use. This is even more true when a monitor is designed for gaming and entertainment use, as this one is. If you’re spending most of your time playing games or watching movies, you probably want your screen a bit more punchy and vivid, and the LCDWMGX3 definitely delivers in this respect.