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NEC PA241W review - FlatpanelsHD

NEC PA241W
NEC PA241W review


By Rasmus Larsen (@flatpanels)
19 Apr 2010




NEC PA241W review

NEC PA241W is a new 24-inch monitor from NEC with IPS panel aimed for graphics applications. It has a 10-bit panel and an internal 3D LUT (look-up table) to ensure very accurate colors. PA241W also has a resolution of 1920x1200, 99,3 % AdobeRGB gamut and very attractive ergonomic adjustments.

PA241W comes at a premium price but how does it compare to other graphics monitors like the Eizo and Dell professional series that we have reviewed lately? We find out in the review of NEC's brand new PA241W.

The NEC PA series will be available in 23, 24, 27 and 30 inches called PA231W, PA241W, PA271W and PA301W.

Panel size: 24"
Resolution: 1920x1200
Response time: 8 ms (g2g)
Overdrive:
Contrast ratio: 1000:1
Brightness: 360 cd/m²
Colour support: 16,7 million colors
Colour gamut: 107 % og NTSC
Signal processing: 10 bit for each color
Viewing angles (H/V): 178°/178° (contrast 10:1)
Dot pitch: 0.270 mm
Panel type: IPS
Wall mounting:
Dimensions (HxWxD): 55.7cm x 37.8cm x 22.7cm (with stand)
Weight: 10,6 kg
Ergonomics

Tilt
Swivel
Højde
Pivot
Built-in speakers:
Inputs
VGA
DVI
DisplayPort
Audio (type)
SCART
S-video
Composite
Component
HDMI
Other: 4-port USB hub

Price and retailer:

USUK


Our first impressions

NEC PA241W has a matte plastic finish in black. The cabinet is quite large like most other monitors aimed for graphics.

NEC PA241W


The stand on PA241W is great. It offers height adjustment, a rotating base and tilt. It's also very solid and the build quality is good.

NEC PA241W


NEC PA241W also has a pivot feature that automatically detects a pivot change so that you don't need to manually flip the image in Windows.

NEC PA241W


All inputs are connected at the back of the frame. Here you’ll find DVI, DisplayPort and D-SUB (VGA) as well as a s-video input. On the left side of the monitor there is a USB output and on the back there is 2 additional USB outputs.

NEC PA241W


The screen menu offers very extensive picture control options. Of course you find regular parametres such as Brightness, Contrast, and Eco Mode, but you can also choose from these profiles AdobeRGB, sRGB, High Bright, Full and DCI. PA241W also features different color temperature modes from 3000 K to 15000 K with 100 K steps.

NEC PA241W


PA241W also has some very advanced setting option. See below

NEC PA241W


And some more advanced options.

NEC PA241W


Energy Consumption

Measurements on NEC PA241W below:

Out-of-Box After calibration
Stand-by 0,0 W 0,0 W
PC64,1 W43,2 W



NEC PA241W has a power consumption of 43,2 W after calibration. This is pretty high compared to consumer monitors but not unusual for graphics monitors. On the other hand, stand-by consumption was 0,0 W (or very close to that value, our measuring equipment has only one decimal).

Also, please note that the flat panel TV uses less power after calibration. This is common on flat panel displays because many picture parameters are reduced during calibration.

Test tools

We use the DVI input for testing. The graphic card is Geforce 7900GTO.

The monitor has been measured and calibrated with a LaCie Blue Eye Pro. We also examine the monitor with the help of our monitorTest. And finally we test the monitor in games, movies etc.

Picture quality on NEC PA241W

Out-of-box picture quality on PA241Wi is measured below:

NEC PA241W


The graph says this:

The number on the left is the delta value. Delta is a difference between two factors; here it’s the difference between the measured color on the panel and the actual color that is our target.

  • A delta value lower that 2 results in a visible deviation from the actual color.
  • A delta value over 4 or 5 results in wrong colors.
  • A delta value between 1 and 2 results in precise but not perfect colors.
  • A delta value lower than one results in almost perfect colors. The target is 0.
  • Everything between 0 and 1 is barely visible to the human eye.

    The out-of-box measurement is fair. I used the High Bright mode that is intended for bright environments. Gamma is not perfect and the color temperature is a bit too low.

    I went on to the sRGB mode on PA241W and took a new measurement.

    NEC PA241W


    The sRGB mode on NEC PA241W impresses me. It's not 100 % perfect and if you work with very heavy graphic you should definitely use a calibrator. However, the sRGB has almost spot on gamma with only 0,02 variations. The color temperature is a bit too high but it's not critical and unnoticeable to most eyes. Our reference is 6500 Kelvin.

    Brightness is 72 cd/m2 and was set to 75 cd/m2 in the options menu. Instead of percentage values in the settings menu PA241W has cd/m2 values so if you choose 75 cd/m2 PA241W will give you that (or 72 cd/m2 like we measured, but close enough). This is a nice touch by NEC and much better than the incremental percentage values that we see on most monitors.

    So, a nice sRGB profile suited for most graphical work.

    I went on the AdobeRGB mode in PA241W and you can see my results below.

    NEC PA241W


    The AdobeRGB mode is accurate as well. In the left side of the graph above you see the wider color gamut used for AdobeRGB environments. PA241W covers 99.3 % of the AdobeRGB gamut says NEC and this is true according to my analysis.

    In the AdobeRGB mode the color temperature is very accurate at 6506 K and gamma is almost spot-on with values from 2.21 to 2.25.

    NEC has increased the brightness level a bit in the AdobeRGB mode to approximately 150 cd/m2 but you can just change this in the OSD (on screen display) menu.

    Finally I did a full calibration with a calibrator and an ICC profile to see what PA241W is capable of.

    NEC PA241W



    Here are my settings after calibration:



    After calibration
    Picture mode: sRGB (2)
    Brightness: 80 cd/m2
    White: 6500K
    Gamma: sRGB
    Sharpness: 0
    Response improve: On
    Eco mode: Off
    Auto Brightness: Off



    I chose not to suggest a RGB calibration because the result on PA241W is very good. If you want a real improvement past this point you need a calibrator.

    I also examined PA241W in practical use. First off I examined colors. One thing is color accuracy, color gradation is another. Colours might appear to be very accurate but you also have to ensure that all colors are reproduced so you don't lose some of the shading in for example red.
    Imagine, for example, a smooth color transition from dark red to bright red. Ideally this would be perfectly smooth displaying all the small steps in red.

    PA241W has an internal 3D LUT (look-up table) to ensure that this is done right. Basically the LUT analyzes colors before you see the pictures on the panel.

    PA241W does a very good job. Colours are very accurate and nuanced. I experienced no problems with gradients and that is a proof of very good color management from NEC. I have no complains whatsoever.

    The resolution of 1920x1200 is higher than on most of the 1920x1080 24-inch monitors today. The 16:10 format and the extra pixel count is a significant difference compared to 1920x1080. You have more space on the desktop and I'm sure people working with CAD will appreciate this.

    The IPS panels have a different anti-reflective coating than TN and VA panels. PA241W has the same coating as most other IPS panels and this also means that the panel has a white crystallized glow to it. An A-TW polarizer on PA241W would have been a nice addition. On the other hand, if you've never experienced any problems with other IPS monitors you should have no problem with PA241W either.

    I went on to measure black levels and contras ratio.

    Out-of-Box After calibration
    Black level 0,25 cd/m2 0,13 cd/m2
    Brightness 230 cd/m2 84 cd/m2
    Contrast ratio920:1646:1
    Contrast ratio +/- 50



    The black level on PA241W after calibration is 0.13 cd/m2. This is a bit brighter than on Dell U2711 but not much. The Dell U2711 did achieve 0.12 cd/m2 black with brightness of 106 cd/m2 on white, though.

    The black levels on the IPS panels are still one of the main disadvantages of the IPS panel technology and the VA panels have a lot deeper black level. The Eizo EV2333WH was measured to 0,04 cd/m2 for example.

    Equally important as the black level is the reproduction of dark shades (shadow detail). NEC PA241W is able to distinguish most dark shades and shadow detail is quite good after calibration. This is good but one step grey from black was still black. It’s not critical and a typical sight on IPS panels.

    Finally I examined PA241W for clouding issues:

    NEC PA241W


    NEC PA241W has no clouding / backlight bleeding. PA241W also has a Uniformity setting option in the advanced menu that is able to compensate for potential issues. Very good.

    Response time and games

    NEC PA241W is not a monitor aimed for gaming but response time is not bad, though.

    Sure, PA241W has some trailing in fast paced motion just like other IPS panels but PA241W is not slow. I saw no Overdrive trailing and traditional trailing is about the same as or a bit worse than on Dell U2410.

    I won't recommend PA241W for fast games but it's well suited for movies and video editing.

    Viewing angles

    Viewing angles are good but not perfect. The IPS technology has the widest viewing angles of all LCD technologies but colors on PA241W still change a bit from large angles. Contrast is also reduced.

    Viewing angles below:

    NEC PA241W


    NEC PA241W


    Black is reduced from angles:

    NEC PA241W



    Conclusion

    No doubt that NEC PA241W is a full-blown graphic monitor. It has very accurate picture quality and very comprehensive picture settings options and presets. The sRGB and AdobeRGB presets are well suited for most critical work.

    NEC PA241W also has excellent ergonomic options so you can adjust it to most working positions. One thing I especially like was that the brightness setting had cd/m2 increments values instead of percentage indicators. So if you want 100 cd/m2 you just enter this value.

    Picture quality is very good and accurate but the IPS panels have a few limitations. Black level on PA241W is not as deep as with VA panels and then I had hoped for an A-TW polarizer in PA241W in order to ensure a nicer outer surface of the panel.

    NEC PA241W will be missed on my desk. It comes with a premium price but most real graphic monitors do. It’s definitely a real alternative to the Eizo monitors that we have reviewed in the past and very recommendable, although a bit expensive.

    The NEC PA series will be available in 23, 24, 27 and 30 inches called PA231W, PA241W, PA271W and PA301W.

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    Pros Cons Target group
    Picture quality and IPS panel Eco Mode can alter gamma Graphics designers
    Ergonomics Black levels Photographers
    Shadow detail Response time Office/All-round
    High resolution No A-TW polarizer Discerning users
    Viewing angles
    Auto pivot


    Price and retailer:

    USUK


    NEC PA241W discussion

    For questions and comments please visits this thread in our forums: http://www.flatpanelshd.com/flatforums/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=2588



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