NEC SpecraView PA271 review

Review: NEC SpectraView PA271

07 Oct 2010 | Rasmus Larsen

NEC SpectraView PA271 review

NEC has released their new PA models and we looked at the 24-inch PA241W earlier. In this test we will take look at the professional SpectraView model in 27-inches called SpectraView PA271 targeted at graphic, editing and post production. It uses a quality IPS panel and also comes in a non-Spectraview edition called PA271W. The difference is that the Spectraview edition has a handpicked panel, more picture settings options and has been thoroughly calibrated from factory.

So, can NEC Spectraview PA271 compare to our reference Eizo CG243W model? And how accurate is the picture quality? Read on to find out in this FlatpanelsHD review. Most findings in this review also apply to the non-SpectraView variant called NEC PA271W.

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Panel size: 27"
Resolution: 2560x1440
Response time: 6 ms (g2g)
Overdrive:
Contrast ratio: 1000:1 (dynamic)
Brightness: 300 cd/m≤
Color Support: 16.7 million colors
Color gamut support: 98 % of NTSC
Signal processing: 8 bit for each color
Viewing angles (H/V): 178į/178į (10:1)
Dot pitch: 0.233 mm
Panel type: P-IPS
Wall mounting:
Dimensions (HxWxD): 39.7cm x 64.4cm x 25.0cm (with stand)
Weight: - kg
Adjustments

Tilt
Swivel
Height
Pivot
Built-in speakers:
Inputs
VGA
DVI
DisplayPort
Audio (type)
SCART
S-video
Composite
Component
HDMI
Other

Price and retailer


Our first impressions

NEC PA271 looks like most professional monitors. It has a black, plastic finish and the design is bulky. Itís bundled with a monitor hood that you can attach.

NEC Spectraview PA271 review


The stand has very attractive ergonomic functions such as tilt, swivel, and height adjustment. The monitor feels solid and the stand is heavy.

NEC Spectraview PA271 review


NEC PA271 also has a 90 degree pivot function.

NEC Spectraview PA271 review


Inputs are connected on the back and here youíll find 2xDVI, HDMI, s-video and 2xUSB Hubs. The two USB hubs are controlled separately which means that you can connect two different PCs/Macs and the monitor handles the different keyboard and mouse controllers accordingly.

NEC Spectraview PA271 review


In the menus NEC Spectraview PA271W has the following picture setting options: Brightness (in cd/m2), eco mode, black, sharpness, color temperature (with 100K increments), 6-color control, and PIP (picture in picture).

In the advanced menu I found some the above mentioned setting but also gamma, RGB xy coordinates, uniformity setting, response improve (overdrive), auto brightness, ambient light comp, and hue/saturation settings.

NEC Spectraview PA271 review


You can select from these picture presets: Adobe RGB, sRGB, high bright, full, and DCI.
However, no REC709 (for HDTV color gamut editing) or SMPTE-C (NTSC) modes like on the Eizo CG243W.

Below you see an example of the Picture in Picture mode. You can also use other PIP sizes and combinations.

NEC Spectraview PA271 review


Energy Consumption

You can see our energy measurements on NEC Spectraview PA271W below.

Out-of-Box After calibration
Standby 0.1 W 0.1 W
PC88.6 W57 W



After calibration I measured energy consumption of 57 W on NEC Spectraview PA271. This is typical for a large size graphic monitor.

Also, please note that LCD monitors 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 GTX260.

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 Spectraview PA271

Out-of-box picture quality on NEC Spectraview PA271 is measured below in the sRGB picture mode.

NEC Spectraview PA271 review


The graph says this:

The number on the left is the delta value. Delta is a difference between two factors; here itís 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 good. The color deviations are low but gamma is not 100 % perfect. I measured deviations of 0.1 from our 2.2 target. The color temperature is also a bit too low at 5748 Kelvin meaning that we get a slightly warmer/reddish picture compared to our 6500 Kelvin reference.

    NEC Spectraview has a wide gamut panel but as you can see in the graph above it emulates the smaller sRGB gamut perfectly. This is done the same way as the Eizo CG243W and not like the cheaper, I also advise you to install the bundled software for further setting options.

    I went on to take a measurement in the AdobeRGB gamut.

    NEC Spectraview PA271 review


    The adobeRGB setting is nice and the gamma is much closer to our 2.2 target than it was in the sRGB mode. With the adobeRGB mode I measured only 0.01 deviations. The color deviations are also low but the color temperature is not spot-on, and still slightly too low.

    The AdobeRGB setting has a predefined 160 cd/m2 value for brightness (the menu defines brightness as cd/m2 values) but the monitor didnít reach that value and gave me a 142 cd/m2 brightness value instead - so, slightly too low.

    See the gamut in the graph, too. The monitor has now extended the gamut to that of the AdobeRGB standard.

    I also checked the predefined color temperatures and gamma values to see how close NEC SpectraView was to our target values.


    As you can see not all color temperatures are accurate and some Ė for example the 6500 Kelvin sRGB Ė deviates. PA271 has a general tendency to give a too low temperature, andEizo CG243W performed better in this regard.
    Please notice that PA271 can go all the way down to 3000 Kelvin and up to 15000 Kelvin but I didnít measure the outer points in order to make it comparable with the Eizo CG243W measurements.

    Accurate color reproduction is one thing but just as important is color graduation. I therefore ran some color tests with smooth gradients. NEC SectraView PA271 has very impressive color reproduction on all of my different color gradients. It has no problems in either the darker or brighter parts of the color scale and it exhibits as good a result as our reference model, Eizo CG243W here.

    The internal color circuits such as the LUT are definitely contributing here but the quality IPS panel also has a role.

    The resolution on SpectraView PA271 is 2560x1440 pixels in the 16:9 aspect ratio. I personally prefer the 16:10 solution for work monitors but the high resolution is very well suited for CAD/CAM and it places the PA271 in a natural step between a 24-inch monitor and a 30-inch monitor.

    I had hoped that the SpectraView PA271 had a better coating than most IPS panels but unfortunately we very rarely see A-TW polarizers in even expensive models. The Eizo CG243W didnít use it either. This means that NEC SpectraView had a slightly dirty looking / crystalized coating and this is primarily visible on white or very bright shades.

    It is distracting to some usersí eyes and some are not bothered. However, if you have been working in front of an IPS based monitor before youíll have no problems with the NEC SpectraView PA271 because the coating has the same characteristics as most IPS monitors today.

    I went on to examine black reproduction and contrast. See below.

    Out-of-Box After calibration
    Black level 0.26 cd/m2 0.13 cd/m2
    Brightness 142 cd/m2 74 cd/m2
    Contrast ratio546:1569:1
    Contrast ratio +/- 50



    After calibration I measured a black depth of 0.13 cd/m2 with peak brightness (white) of 74 cd/m2. This is fair but not close to the VA panel technology that we recently saw improved to 0.03-0.04 cd/m2 on Eizo EV2333V. Our reference monitor CG243W that also has an IPS panel has a 0.19 cd/m2 black level at 111 cd/m2 brightness (contrast ratio of 584:1, so about same for PA271 and CG245W).

    Shadow detailing is very good and I was able to distinguish every shade of dark grey in our monitorTest software. This is very positive but and one of the reasons that I was also able to distinguish all the darker colors in our gradient tests.

    I went on to check the light homogeneity on the SpectraView monitor.

    NEC Spectraview PA271 review


    NEC SpectraView PA271 has absolutely no clouding or backlight bleeding which is very positive. This also means perfect color homogeneity across the panel.

    Response time and games

    NEC SpectraView PA271 has obviously not been designed for fast paced gaming but the response time is nevertheless important if youíre planning on using it for video editing or video playback.

    And response time is decent on the SpectraView model. It has an Overdrive circuit and this contributes to more homogenous response time on different color shifts and acceptable blurring on fast motion.

    I did some stress testing and experienced no Overdrive halos on motion in dark or bright color shifts. NEC SpectraView is not as fast as actual gaming monitors but compared to other IPS monitors Ė such as the Dell IPS monitors - itís definitely performing very well.

    Viewing angles

    The viewing angles are wide and colors are still fairly accurate from angles. This is a characteristic of the IPS panel technology so it was expected.

    NEC Spectraview PA271 review


    NEC Spectraview PA271 review


    Another characteristic of the IPS technology is that contrast is often reduced from angles and this is also true for NEC SpectraView PA271 where the black levels are getting grayer from angles.

    NEC Spectraview PA271 review


    Conclusion

    NEC SpectraView PA271 is a more expensive variant of the PA271W targeted at graphic, editing and post production. It has very extensive picture calibration options and features such as PIP (picture in picture), 2xUSB hub with a USB switch, and a stand with very good ergonomic adjustability.

    Our test results prove that PA271 is indeed doing very well and that picture quality is very accurate, although the color temperature presets were a bit too low when measured, and not 100 % on par with Eizo CG243W. In practice PA271 has extremely nice color graduation and detailing. It has no backlight bleeding at all and the viewing angles are wide, meaning no color shifting when you move your head from side to side. Response time is also fast and I experienced no overdrive trailing.

    The black reproduction is not very deep but this is true for all IPS based monitors today and we measured similar results on the Eizo CG243W model. Also, I had hoped for a panel with an A-TW polarizer to get rid of the crystalized coating from the IPS panel but NEC has chosen not to use that.

    But all in all NEC SpectraView PA271 is a very good monitor for graphic work. It has accurate picture characteristics and very extensive picture setting options for calibration. The price is higher than both the non-SpectraView variant PA271 and Eizoís CG243W. Compared to the latter, SpectraView PA271 has some pros and cons but the overall performance is pretty similar. For most of you users out there the non-SpectraView PA271W will probably also get the job done.

    Price and retailer


    Pros ConsTarget group
    Picture quality and color accuracy Price Graphic work
    Very extensive picture setting options Black level CAD
    Fantastic color gradation Minor deviations in the color temperature presets Post production
    No backlight bleeding at all No A-TW polarizer
    Stand and range of adjustments
    Response time


    NEC Spectraview PA271 debate

    For questions and comments please visits this thread in our forums: NEC Spectraview PA271W debate




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