NEC PA271W Professional LCD Monitor Review

Article Index

Calibration & Controls

Whereas the aforementioned HP ZR30w omits any OSD (On Screen Display) controls, NEC takes a completely different approach. Not only are there OSD controls to play with, there's more than you can shake a fist full of sticks at. We've never played with a monitor that gave us more fine grain control over the various features and overall calibration than the PA271W.

We're not a fan of touch sensitive buttons that seem to be en vogue lately, and apparently neither is NEC, at least not on its professional panels. The PA271W sports a clump of physical buttons around the bottom right corner, and we found navigating the OSD fairly intuitive, if not a bit daunting. But while there's a lot to play with, NEC did a good job making sure the end-user doesn't feel overwhelmed or lost. We also appreciate that the OSD intelligently adjusts its orientation based on whether we have the monitor in landscape or portrait mode.

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.

Calibration (DisplayMate)
Menus and Options

DisplayMate Test Screens

We're now using DisplayMate for Windows ( 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.

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.

Cycling through an assortment of DisplayMate's test photos (as shown above) and a collection of our own, colors popped and were vibrant, and never washed out. This is not something we can show you with a screenshot, as what you see will obviously depend on what panel you're using at home, but compared to your average TN panel, the PA271W is clearly better equipped for accurate color reproduction.

Tags:  LCD, display, NEC, monitor, P271W

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