NEC MultiSync PA241W review
Expensive and impressively ﬂexible, but only the most demanding professionals need apply
Review Date: 10 Jan 2011
Reviewed By: Sasha Muller
Price when reviewed: £642 (£770 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
NEC’s MultiSync range starts in the realms of the affordable and quickly soars to prices that would make even the richest of enthusiasts wince. The MultiSync PA241W is no exception: at £642 it's one of the most expensive 24in monitors on the market.
Crane the 10.6kg PA241W out of its box, and it’s clear this isn’t your usual consumer-level monitor. The stout, thick-set build screams quality, while the chunky stand rises, twists, swivels and rotates into portrait mode.
Twin DVI sockets and a D-SUB socket are accompanied by a DisplayPort input, which is crucial for making the most of the high-end 10-bit P-IPS panel. There’s also a Picture-in-Picture mode for monitoring multiple video inputs, and a three-port USB hub.
The 1,920 x 1,200 resolution P-IPS panel is backed up by a wide-gamut CCFL backlight, which allows the PA241W to stretch beyond sRGB to cover 98% of the Adobe RGB colour space. This means it can display a wider range of colours in colour-managed applications such as Photoshop.
Delta E is a figure that represents the difference between the desired colour and the colour displayed onscreen. Below 1.0 is indistinguishable to the human eye; an experienced viewer may notice differences around 3-4. We measure Delta E with a colorimeter before and after calibration.
Technically, the NEC is pretty solid. Greyscale transitions are smooth and free from banding, viewing angles are wide, and brightness is even across the panel. We were a little disappointed to see mild backlight bleed in one corner and along the left-hand edge, though.
At its default settings, the PA241W measures up supremely well. Our X-Rite colorimeter showed the colour gamut spreading most of the way across the Adobe RGB colour space, while reporting an average Delta E of 1.3 and a maximum Delta E of 3.5. We were less impressed by the accuracy of the Adobe RGB and sRGB presets, however.
A good sRGB preset is crucial for avoiding oversaturated images in non-colour-managed apps, but the NEC reported an average Delta E of 5.2 and a maximum of 13.5.
Consumers will baulk at the price tag, but professionals for whom colour accuracy is critical will ﬁnd some appeal. Given the wealth of image-tweaking options in the on-screen menus and the fact that most users at this price will be using hardware calibration, the wayward presets don’t rule it completely out of contention.
Author: Sasha Muller
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