NEC MultiSync E231W review

8 Nov 2010

Power-efficient and adjustable, but image quality leaves a little to be desired

NEC MultiSync E231W
Price when reviewed: 
220(£220 inc VAT)
Buy it now for 
4

NEC has made no attempt to mask the MultisSync E231W’s business heritage with glossy good looks or exotic designs: instead, it concentrates on adjustability and a range of features designed to cut down its carbon footprint.

Its green credentials are certainly impressive. NEC has built the 23in E231W from recycled plastics, and claims its construction is entirely free from mercury, halogen and arsenic. An ambient light sensor on the bezel automatically adjusts screen brightness to keep power consumption to a minimum, while an onscreen Carbon Savings Meter gives a rough indication of the carbon offset achieved by using the E231W’s energy-saving features.

In our testing, the light sensor did a great job. Placed directly under bright office lighting, its default power-saving mode drew 20W while giving a screen brightness of 200cd/m2, while the most aggressive Eco mode dropped power consumption to 16W and brightness to 150cd/m2. Putting our finger over the sensor saw the brightness levels slowly and steadily drop all the way down to 6cd/m2, and power consumption slump to just 8W. In use, the brightness shifts won’t be noticeable unless you deliberately flick the lights on and off.

Unlike some of its rivals, NEC’s onscreen display is straightforward to use. A little joystick skips through the simple menus, while a dedicated Eco mode button flicks between the two power-saving modes or turns the feature off completely.

NEC MultiSync E231W

The E231W’s image quality is merely average. The edge-lit LED backlighting gives a noticeable glow around the perimeter of the panel, and it bears all the hallmarks of TN panel technology. Viewing angles are wide enough for office use, but you don’t have to move far off the axis before colours begin to shift noticeably away from their intended tone.

Colour accuracy is not particularly impressive to begin with. Our X-Rite colorimeter reported a poor average Delta E – the difference from the intended colour – of 6.2. Considering you have to go below three before the colour difference becomes indistinguishable to the untrained eye, that’s not a great result. None of the preset modes helped matters, and only manually tweaking the RGB levels got rid of the cold, bluish tone.

In its favour, the E231W certainly fulfils its remit when it comes to business practicality. The stand keeps the monitor stable and has an impressive range of adjustments, with the E231W tilting, swivelling and pivoting into a portrait orientation. Height adjustment, meanwhile, raises the monitor up and down by a generous 110mm. There are no luxuries such as built-in speakers or USB hubs, just D-SUB, DVI and DisplayPort connections.

Given the reasonable asking price and business focus, the E231W gets its priorities right with a three-year warranty, modest power consumption and a solid, adjustable stand. With comparable models such as Eizo’s FlexScan EV2313W costing more, NEC’s E231W will save money both up front and in the long run.

Details

Price ex VAT £187
Price inc VAT £220
Overall rating 4
Image quality 3
Features & Design 5
Value for Money 4

Main specifications

Screen size 23.0in
Aspect ratio 16:9
Resolution 1920 x 1080
Screen brightness 250cd/m2
Pixel response time 5ms
Contrast ratio 1,000:1
Dynamic contrast ratio 25,000:1
Pixel pitch 0.265mm
Horizontal viewing angle 85 degrees
Vertical viewing angle 80 degrees
Speaker type none
Speaker power ouput N/A
TV tuner no
TV tuner type N/A

Connections

DVI inputs 1
VGA inputs 1
HDMI inputs 0
DisplayPort inputs 1
Scart inputs 0
HDCP support yes
Upstream USB ports 0
USB ports (downstream) 0
3.5mm audio input jacks 0
Headphone output no
Other audio connectors none

Accessories supplied

Other cables supplied VGA
Internal power supply yes

Power consumption

Peak power consumption 20W
Idle power consumption 1W

Image adjustments

Brightness control? yes
Contrast control? yes

Ergonomics

Forward tilt angle -5 degrees
Backward tilt angle 35 degrees
Swivel angle 90 degrees
Height adjustment 110mm
Pivot (portrait) mode? yes

Dimensions

Dimensions 550 x 214 x 381mm (WDH)
Weight 6.200kg

Price comparison powered by Reevoo

£182
£185
£185
£185