NEC MultiSync EA231WMi review
A quality IPS panel, a flexible stand and good image quality aren`t quite enough to topple the opposition
Review Date: 5 Jan 2011
Reviewed By: Sasha Muller
Price when reviewed: £266 (£312 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
The MultiSync EA231WMi cuts a dash with its combination of off-white and silvery grey. It's practical too, thanks to a sturdy, adjustable stand.
That stand rises, swivels and rotates, and its light action allows it to be adjusted with one hand. A cable tidy in the centre keeps cables hidden, too, which is just as well considering the range of ports on offer.
The EA231WMi has D-SUB, DVI, DisplayPort and 3.5mm audio inputs, plus a four-port USB hub, with two ports tucked away at the back and two on the left next to a headphone output. NEC also throws in a pair of internal speakers, but given the distorted quality, they're best kept for emergencies.
In addition to all those features, NEC has found room for a high-quality 23in, 1,920 x 1,080 IPS panel. Out of the box it makes a striking impression, with deep blacks, wide viewing angles and vibrant colours. Apart from a slight glow along the panel's left-hand edge, the backlighting is as even and leak-free as you could hope for.
Where the NEC falls behind some of its rivals is in colour accuracy. In its default setting the EA231WMi achieved an average Delta E of 3.5, peaking at a maximum of 6.5. This was noticeable in our test images and Blu-ray movies, with a very slight yellow cast leaving skintones looking less lifelike and realistic than we'd have liked.
Switching to the 6,500k/sRGB preset didn't help, with the EA231WMi returning almost identical figures to the default settings. Gamma remained well over the ideal of 2.2, measuring 2.6 in both modes, although a colour temperature reading of 6,446k was nigh-on perfect.
The slightly wayward colour accuracy combined with a high price puts the NEC at a distinct disadvantage. And when its main rival, the ViewSonic VP2365wb, undercuts it on price, it's hard to recommend.
Author: Sasha Muller
I notice PCPro have started properly measuring and calibrating screens for reviews now, which is good to see... but does the text of this review indicate you didn't actually calibrate this particular screen?
FWIW My choice would probably be different now, but when I brought this about a year ago, I don't recall much competition for budget IPS with >1680x1050 resolution... it seems to me that the opposition has toppled this, rather than it needing to topple the opposition...
Admittedly I've still not got 'round to calibrating mine, and I don't have hard data of my own to go on, but I'd expect it to respond pretty well to calibration (see for example http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/reviews/nec_ea231wmi.h
tm - not a totally glowing review, but good colour after calibration). Also, the price you quote seems rather high (I paid about £290 a year ago). Still, nothing much to recommend it over others at this point.
By ptodd1 on 5 Jan 2011
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