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Updated on June 17, 2017
 

Nec MultiSync P242W monitor review

NEC MultiSync P242W monitorTwo questions seem legitimate when reviewing this type of screen: given that it shares the same panel as the upper model (Reference) how is it positioned compared to its big brother and what is it worth compared with its direct competitor, the Eizo CS240, my current reference? Here are my answers...

To introduce this high-range Nec monitor quickly, just below the Spectraview Reference range but with which it shares the panel, one might say it is a 24" screen addressed to photographers and other graphic designers (1,920 x 1,200 - pitch 0.27 - 94 ppi) with a new generation glossy panel, with IPS technology (GBr-LED) with color display on 10 bits, LUT table on 16 bits and wide gamut hence covering a gamut very close to Adobe RGB 98. It can thus be classified in the category of so-called "Graphic Arts" screens. It is sold just under €900 (at the beginning of 2016).

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Introduction to the screen Nec MultiSync P242W

To start with, here are a few illustrations of this screen with perfect ergonomics...

 

Pictures of Nec P242W

 



Main technical characteristics of the Nec P242W...

Size : 24 inches 16:10 - 1,920 x 1,200 - 94 ppi
Plate: 
AH-PS GBr-Led on 10 bits - Glossy panel,
Calibration program:
Spectraview II (hardware calibration)
Color space: Adobe RGB 98,
Brightness/contrast: 340 Cd/m2 / 300:1 (Measured)
Inputs: DVI + Display Port + HDMI. (HUB 2 x USB 2.0)
LUT table: 16 bits - hardware calibration (SV II).
Edges: thick (18 mm).
Delay: 12 ms.
VESA compatibility: Yes (100mm).
Cap: no.

Warranty: 3 years.


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Bulkiness and perceived quality

This screen features a 24" panel and is 55.6 cm wide. It's in the low-average of high-range 24" screens. This monitor enables multi-screens configurations more easily than its direct competitor, the Eizo CS240. As for perceived quality, it is excellent, really. Nothing more to add except that we're close to perfection.

The screen and its panel

Nec P242W monitor1 - Definition/resolution - It is thus a high-range glossy IPS panel (AH-IPS technology), normal for this so-called "Graphic Arts" screens range, of 1,920 x 1,200 pixels. Its resolution is thus 93.8 ppi. Classic and not "Retina" but guess what, thanks to the amazing anti-reflections treatment I'm mentioning again below, the pixels seem almost invisible from a "normal" viewing distance on a desk (60 cm); very beautiful. The backlighting is a GBr-LED type. As for the BenQ PG2401PT, the texts are sharp. Even a bit more than on the Eizo CS240.

2 - The panel and its anti-reflections treatment - I've been noticing for a little while and clearly on this screen that a "glossy" anti-reflections treatment doesn't show on the pixels anymore, which gives this panel a superb rendering on images and gradients. Very beautiful. Anti-reflections treatment that gave the pixels a grainy touch are finally over. Phew!

3 - Hardware calibration program - This screen is sold with its calibration program: the famous Spectraview II – It is supposed to guarantee you an ideal calibration, hardware and above all easy, for those who don't get the meaning of all target values. All good. Indeed, but screens have made such progresses that even with a "simple" calibration using the i1Display Pro + iProfiler, you get a result that will seem perfect to your eyes nowadays. Only the figures can be improved with this type of hardware calibration but below our perception threshold.

Note! I understand the brands for communicating about their hardware calibration programs though because you'll be really "sure" to optimize all the parameters of your calibration, especially the display of grey gradients, but I also see that these programs that really brought an added value a few years ago are less determining (not to use another term) now, on high-range screens like we have here. You're targeting the absolute, use them. If your eyes are not sure to see a difference, your conscience will be at peace!

Thickness of the edges of the screen

They're 18 mm thick so we're dealing with a screen with rather thin edges in the category of high-range screens, favoring multi-screens configurations more than the Eizo CS240. (Read: my recommendations to choose your screen for photography )

Ergonomics (see photos above)

Ergonomics are perfect, with a wire grommet in the foot (very steady)! The range of motion of the screen in height (on 150 mm), in tilting and in rotation will enable all users to find their ideal setting. Really perfect! Please note that the navigation through the menus of the OSD are intuitive and the menus are over-exhaustive. I seldom if ever saw such a level of personalization in the OSD of a screen!

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What's the result after calibration?

Of course, I calibrated this screen with my reference sensor - all the screens have to pass this test! - the best current sensor (except the superlative and very expensive Basic) of excellent value for money: the i1Display Pro + program iProfiler (version 1.6.3). You'll see that the figures are already barely believable so it should/could only be better with Spectraview II but I'm afraid you won't see a difference anymore even if the numbers are even better... If we don't reach the measurement limits of the sensor. We're talking about an average delta e of 0.35 (norm 2000) where it's admitted that even a trained eye can't see a difference anymore under 1, and we're way under here! So for an "average" eye, this screen can be considered perfect colorimetrically speaking. (With that said Spectraview offers several other advantages for advanced users). That's right, high-range screens especially wash whiter than white nowadays - the Coluche of color management would probably make fun of it!

I chose the following screen settings:

  • Color space: Adobe RGB 98
  • Gamma: Adobe RGB 98 (2.2)
  • Default contrast,
  • White point color temperature: 6500K.

And as target values in the program iProfiler...

  • Screen technology: Choose GBr-LED,
  • D65 or possibly a bit less if you want a slightly warmer screen. (Note that at D65, the screen is really already a bit warmer than an Eizo of equivalent illuminant),
  • Brightness: from 80/90 Cd/m2 if you're printing in a poorly lit environment but it can be more depending on your main use and the brightness of your room,
  • Contrast: Native or 287:1 (for those who print a lot),
  • Gamma at 2.2, of course – standard curve,
  • ICC norm: V2 (to avoid compatibility issues with certain image viewing programs (images too dark) and of course V4 if you know what you're doing
  • ADC functionality disabled
  • Manual brightness settings only selected.

And the result is?

Objective data: what does the final report say after calibration?

LThe delta e figures (norm 2000) speak for themselves. They can be considered perfect for even an experienced eye, even if some of you might note they're a bit under its competitor's, the Eizo CS240 (0.25 / 0.59). Since they're sensibly below 1 for the worse displayed colors (0.89!!!), where a sharp can't see a difference anymore: and an average of 0.35!!! It is simply perfect for a "normal" eye! And still without using Spectraview II, moreover (if it can still bring something more which anyway won't be visible!). We're close to perfection in numbers and I know we're millions of pairs of eyes that can consider this screen perfect colorimetrically speaking! Perfection addicts can thus try to improve these figures with a hardware calibration and Spectraview II but I'm not sure their eyes will see the difference... and not even that the figures will necessarily be better because we're reaching the sensitivity limits of the sensor, with small uncertainties.

My opinion! I just wanted to show you here that in the presence of an excellent screen, even a calibration performed with an excellent sensor but not necessarily the "best" program and hardware calibration you could get "perfect" results for very - very - good eyes, even sharp! Nothing keeps you from pushing perfection even further, of course... if you're able to see the difference or if it just makes you happy!

 

Rapport final Delta-E du Nec PA242W

 


What about hardware calibration?

I can recommend you to calibrate your screen in hardware mode using Spectraview II, meaning:

1 - Reset the colors of your screen and choose Mode > Calibration 1 or 2,
2 - Follow the usual calibration process in Spectraview II: D65 or D55, 80 or 100 Cd/m2, Native contrast, gamma 2,2.

At the end of the calibration process, the profile is directly sent into the LUT (16 bits) of the screen for better color gradients.

Dégradés de gris plus beau avec un calibrage hardware... en théorie

Introduced like that, any photographer would want hardware calibration! On new generations of screens, it's just "a bit less" spectacular... or even trivial sometimes. But commercials are good. I even wonder what low-range screen they pick for the first example. Even with my HP 23Cw at $180 I get way better results. Well, well...

Now let's see the brightness and color temperature homogeneity tests:

 

Mesure harmonisation de la luminance de l'écran Nec PA242W

 

Again, the results are superlative!

Color temperature follows the same path: a 50 K max gap! This is unbelievable... Yes indeed, Nec, just like Eizo, is ahead of its competitors in terms of screen homogeneity.

 

Mesure harmonisation de la température de couleur de l'écran Nec PA242W


Comparison of Nec P242W's gamut vs Eizo CS240:

 

 

Especially in very saturated blues, the 3D rendering of compared gamuts shows that the Eizo goes way further than its competitor, reviewed here. In my test photo below, this difference isn't visible though... But here are the facts.

What about subjective data: what does my eye see?

Vitrail du bon Samaritain - Cathédrale de BourgesA reference in terms of quality of color and grey display, of subtlety in saturated colors, in the display of shadows, in everything you want, like the Eizo CS240. I just note that, side by side, with identical target values, the Eizo appears very slightly warmer/redder and the Nec warmer/yellow-greener. Impossible to detect if you don't have both screens side by side. On my test picture of the stained-glass windows of the Bourges cathedral, the image is identical. It is all very beautiful and I can only see happy future owners!

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Conclusion and rating!

Ecran NEC MultiSync PA242WNec, like Eizo, can manufacture perfect screens (or almost). The color palette is rich (wide gamut Adobe RGB 98) even if a bit less in the very saturated blues area but especially, delta e are so good that only a sensor can tell who's who between this screen and its competitor; the eye is absolutely unable of it. Screen homogeneity follows this path even if in the dark, my copy was less "perfect" than the Eizo.

What is left for the Reference, the range above? Additional guarantees for those who need to offer them to their clients (professional editors and printers). For the others, you can probably guess what I think about it now...

 

Ratings

  Nec PA242W      
Manufacturing quality
4 étoiles
   
 
Resolution
3,5 étoiles
94 ppi  
 
Ergonomics
5 étoile
   
 
Connectivity
5 étoiles
   
  Color rendering 4 étoiles Average delta e: 0.35!  
  Homogeneity 4 étoiles    
 
Value for money
4 étoiles
   
 
I LOVE...
  • Perfect figures after calibration: average delta e of 0.35 and max gap of 0.89 (norm 2000) when the eye has great trouble seeing differences below 1!
  • Perfect colors!
  • Neutral greys that are really neutral (but warmer than the Eizo's for identical target values)!
  • "Glossy" matte AH-IPS panel with a perfect rendering, smooth without the grainy effect of former generations,
  • wide gamut (Adobe RGB 98),
  • Rather thin edges (for multi-screen configurations),
  • Very exhaustive OSD menus,
  • Wide range of gamma curves including L star,
 
 
I REGRET...
  • Everything is close to perfection so I can only see its value for money as a weakness compared to the Eizo CS240 which is perfect and sensibly cheaper.
  • Those of you who like absolute comparisons will also note a gamut a bit tighter than its competitor's in saturated blues. If you shoot saturated blues, of course...
 
 
OVERALL RATING
9.0 / 10
 

 

My opinion: Nec reacts to Eizo (CS240) with a screen also close to perfection. Only its price could damage its mass diffusion because it is sensibly more expensive than the Eizo CS240. Another master purchase in absolute terms because its less attractive price doesn't make it any worse!


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Ecran Eizo CX241

   
Nec P242W
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Summary > Nec P242W review
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