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Buying Guide to NEC Monitors
Article Details

Last Updated
17th of August, 2011

Summary: This article helps you choose which is the right NEC colour critical monitor for you.  You might also want to read the general guide on How To Buy A Monitor For High Quality Imaging Work


NEC manufacture some of the best monitors for imaging work available today, and these monitors offer quality and features that other brands simply can't compare with despite their similar pricing.  A more detailed article follows but to summarise:

  • The NEC PA Series of monitors, combined with NEC SpectraView 2 Calibration software, offer an amazing combination of sheer quality (through tremendous panels and excellent quality control) and flexibility and ease of use (through direct hardware calibration). 
  • (If you're a bit confused about the SpectraView label and what it means, read Clearing up the NEC Spectraview confusion as there's been a bit of confusion with this over the years!).

NEC PA Series Monitors

If you want the best of the best from NEC and indeed quite possibly the best colour accurate monitors available at time of writing (May 2010), the NEC PA Series line of monitors is what you're after.

Four critical features competing monitors (other than perhaps Eizo!) simply don't have (or pretend to have, or have only in low quality!):

High Bit Depth Colour LUTs (14 Bit '3D' LUTs - these are best in class LUTs at time of writing) - this means there is a high quality video engine built into the back of the monitor.  When you make any adjustment on this monitor, such as to whitepoint or gamma, these adjustments are done with high bit depth mathematics.  Just like in Photoshop, more bits = more quality - and specifically smoothness.  In practice what this means is you gain flexibility without compromising quality.  You can calibrate to appropriate settings for paper simulation without inducing the artifacts that typical LCDs get when you calibrate them - such as banding in your gradients.  These LUTs are critical for excellent performance with colour on LCD monitors.

10 Bit Input - these monitors can accept the new 10 bit outputs of high end graphics cards, meaning the signal transmission into these monitors is fundamentally higher quality (each channel having 1024 instead of 256 discrete signals).  This means better, smoother colour and a signal more robust under extensive manipulation - such as he manipulation involved in doing gamut emulation in the monitor itself.

Multi Axis Colour Correction
- very fine adjustments to R, G, B, C, M & Y are available.

Uniformity Compensation - Before leaving the factory, each screen is individually measured and then tuned across the entire display, resulting in a remarkably uniform display of colour and brightness across the entire screen (a traditional weakness of LCD screens).

Other Great Features Include:

3 Year Warranty
- Parts & Labour.  15 Day Zero Dead Pixel and DOA cover included.

Wide Gamut
- around 98% of the AdobeRGB colour space! Compare that to standard gamut displays (approximately sRGB gamut, just 76% AdobeRGB).

Wide Viewing Angles - minimal off angle colour shift means no matter where you (and your clients/friends) sit, you're looking at accurate colour!

Overdrive Circuit For Video - Excellent video performance without ghosting on all models thanks to an integrated overdrive circuit.

All The Inputs You Need - Modern digital inputs including 10 bit Display Port, DVI-D (2) and VGA 15-pin D-sub

And More! - Great design, both of the monitor itself AND the monitor controls and on screen display, make for easy adjustments.  Integrated features for screen saver, zoom mode, self diagnosis of issues, automatic wake and sleep timing etc - these monitors have it all!
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