NEC MultiSync EA273WM-BK 27-inch LED Monitor Review

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Calibration & Controls

NEC tells us its engineers redesigned the On Screen Display (OSD) controls with a user-friendly menu that's easier to navigate, and for the most part, it really is. Separate and dedicated up/down and left/right controls makes it a breeze to get where you want to go without fumbling through button combinations, and the controls that do pull double duty with alternative functions are clearly labeled within the OSD.



Touch-sensitive buttons run along the lower right corner on the bottom and side bezel. We continue to be unimpressed with touch-sensitive controls and prefer physical buttons, which do a superior job at registering input commands, especially if you're trying to rapidly scroll through your available options. NEC's implementation is on par with the better touch-sensitive controls we've played with, which means you'll only occasionally curse their janky behavior, and usually only when you're in a hurry.

NEC provides a fair amount of fine grain control within the OSD, along with half a dozen preset "DV (Dynamic Value) Mode" options. These are described by NEC as follows:
  • Standard: Appropriately enough, this is the standard setting
  • Text: Setting that makes letters and lines crisp; best suited for basic word processing and spreadsheets
  • Movie: Setting that boosts dark tones; best suited for movies
  • Gaming: Setting that boosts whole tones; best suited for games that use vivid, colorful images
  • Photo: Setting that optimizes contrast; best suited for still images
  • Dynamic: Setting that adjusts the brightness by detecting the screen's black areas and optimizes it
In addition to the usual assortment of color and brightness dials, NEC includes a robust selection of eco-friendly options, from auto-brightness controls to sensor settings. You can turn the Human Sensor off, set it to 1 (Light) to have the brightness automatically reduced when the monitor detects you've stepped away, or 2 (Deep) so that if flips over into power saving mode.

If you're really into leveling up your eco-friendly skill-set, you'll love the Carbon Savings menu. This displays the estimated carbon savings in kg and displays how much money you've saved on a cost per kWh basis.



One feature that's noticeably absent on the EA273WM-BK is Picture-in-Picture (PiP). This is something that's found on NEC's higher end professional PA Series, but not the EA models. Understandable, though it would have added value to a $499 TN panel trying to justify its somewhat lofty price tag.

Calibration (DisplayMate)
Menus and Options
 
DisplayMate Test Screens

We're now using DisplayMate for Windows (www.displaymate.com) as part of our monitor evaluation process. DisplayMate's smorgasbord of tests allow us to root out potential problems areas, such as geometry distortion and color inaccuracies, to name just two.

Twisted Nematic panels tend to vary wildly by model, unlike IPS displays, in which even the worst performing monitors are usually still pretty good. The EA273WM-BK proved above average in our DisplayMate tests, though it wasn't without flaws. It displayed excellent black levels without any evidence of backlight bleeding, but white level performance wasn't quite as good with noticeable degradation at the 250 mark in DisplayMate. Ideally blocks 240 through 255 would all be visible. Performance picked back up in the grayscale portion of DisplayMate. The display also did well with color intensity, but we were most impressed with the out-of-box experience. Just as we saw with NEC's PA271W, the EA273WM-BK appears to be well calibrated from the factory.



The EA273WM-BK is a good all around performer, though photo editing professionals will still want to save a little extra coin and invest in a large size IPS monitor. NEC's LED backlight burns bright and may be the reason why photos appear a bit oversaturated.

Viewing angles are also prohibitive for professional graphics applications, limitations of which are especially noticeable in portrait mode. If you're primarily interested in filling out spreadsheets and editing vacation photos for posting on Facebook/Google+, the EA273WM-BK is certainly serviceable.
 

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