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NEC MultiSync E231W review

NEC MultiSync E231W


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

Review Date: 8 Nov 2010

Reviewed By: Sasha Muller

Price when reviewed: £187 (£220 inc VAT)

Buy it now for: £138
(see more store prices)

Overall Rating
4 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
4 stars out of 6

Image Quality
3 stars out of 6

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.

Author: Sasha Muller

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