On the far left is NEC's AmbiBright ambient light sensor. If enabled, this will automagically adjust the display's brightness based on your lighting conditions. That's all well and fine, but we're much more intrigued by the PA271W's "Backlight Ageing Correction" function.
"The Backlight Ageing Correction function is an additional feature to assure stable color reproduction and luminance during the warm-up phase, as well as over the lifetime of the product," NEC explains. "An internal electronic backlight compensation system assess the luminance of the backlight, corrects and stabilizes it during its warm-up phase. Additional as the backlight ages the white point temperature shifts to yellow, which can be periodically compensated through an ageing estimate to appropriately modify the RGB filter gains."
Serious content creationists will appreciate the built-in PIP functionality, and for more than one reason. With the press of a button, you can quickly view a side-by-side comparison of a photo using different color profiles. Flip the monitor to portrait mode, hook up a second computer, and it's like using two display panels in one. Even when you're not working on a project, simple things like surfing the Web take on a whole other dimension when you view a Website in portrait mode.
In this case, DisplayMate worked in NEC's favor. Rather than root out problem areas, the test screens showcased the benefits of a calibrated 10-bit P-IPS panel. Colors were accurate, the black level was as good as we've ever seen, and we didn't notice any backlight bleeding. What's most impressive about all this is we left the default settings alone. We wanted to see if NEC's claim that the PA271W comes calibrated to near perfection straight from the factory would hold water, and it did.