NEC MultiSync PA301W review

25 Jul 2011

It’s a huge – and hugely expensive – professional TFT, but the image quality and colour accuracy when calibrated are stunning

Price when reviewed: 
1,652(£1,653 inc VAT)
Buy it now for 
5

NEC’s MultiSync PA301W is a giant of a monitor. With a huge 2,560 x 1,600 resolution, the 30in screen provides an immense canvas for professional applications, and it has the measurements to match. The 10-bit P-IPS panel is lit by a wide-gamut CCFL backlight that allows it to effortlessly cover the sRGB and Adobe RGB colour spaces, and our testing bore out NEC’s claims that it covers more than 107% of the Adobe RGB gamut.

It weighs a mammoth 18.8kg and you’ll need two hands to smoothly position the NEC’s adjustable stand, which rises up and down by 150mm, tilts back and forth, swivels and rotates into portrait mode. Just doing that rotating requires care: unless it’s extended to full height and carefully tilted, you risk grazing the desk with the monitor’s corners.

NEC MultiSync PA301W

With pairs of both dual-link DVI and DisplayPort inputs, it’s easy to connect multiple machines, and the Picture-in-Picture and Picture-by-Picture features make it easy to monitor the incoming signals. There’s also a three-port USB hub, with one port on the right flank and another two at the rear, as well as an automatic brightness sensor.

Straight out of the box, the NEC impresses. Brightness is consistent across the panel, and blocks of colour and greyscale gradients were deftly handled. Our X-Rite colorimeter revealed some issues, however. The NEC’s white point measured 5,903k, some way off the 6,500k target, and colour accuracy was a little wayward, too. We recorded average Delta E measurements of 4.2 in Adobe RGB mode and 1.9 in sRGB mode, but the maximum Delta E deviations of 11 and 8.2 were a little high for our liking. This is a TFT that clearly requires calibration to perform at its best.

You won’t be able to calibrate the NEC’s internal 14-bit LUT (lookup table) – you’ll have to shell out for the £2,228 SpectraView 301 if hardware calibration is on your shopping list. Neatly, though, it’s possible to connect an X-Rite i1Display 2 colorimeter to the side-facing USB port and directly tweak the monitor’s white point and tristimulus values.

NEC MultiSync PA301W

That done, we found the white point measurements to be much closer to the ideal, and our original reading improved to a result of 6,392k, even if colour accuracy didn’t improve. It took a full software calibration to reveal the pedigree of the panel within: with a calibrated average Delta E of 0.4 and a maximum of 1.1, it’s clearly capable of great things.

Given the appropriate calibration tools, NEC’s MultiSync PA301W will deliver a truly stunning picture. But as good as it is, it has competition at this price: while the self-calibrating Eizo ColorEdge CG275W has a smaller 27in screen, its ability to maintain consistent colour accuracy with minimal hassle may prove a bigger draw to many than the NEC’s monstrous size.

Details

Price ex VAT £1,377
Price inc VAT £1,652
Overall rating 5
Image quality 5
Features & Design 5
Value for Money 4

Main specifications

Screen size 30.0in
Aspect ratio 16:10
Resolution 2560 x 1600
Screen brightness 350cd/m2
Pixel response time 12ms
Contrast ratio 1,000:1
Pixel pitch 0.251mm
Horizontal viewing angle 178 degrees
Vertical viewing angle 178 degrees
TV tuner no
TV tuner type N/A

Connections

DVI inputs 2
VGA inputs 0
HDMI inputs 0
DisplayPort inputs 2
Scart inputs 0
HDCP support yes
Upstream USB ports 1
USB ports (downstream) 3

Accessories supplied

Internal power supply yes

Ergonomics

Forward tilt angle 5 degrees
Backward tilt angle 30 degrees
Swivel angle 90 degrees
Height adjustment 150mm
Pivot (portrait) mode? yes
Bezel width 22mm

Dimensions

Dimensions 688 x 302 x 465mm (WDH)
Weight 18.800kg

Price comparison powered by Reevoo

£1571