REVIEW: NEC PA241W
++ very good, + good, +/- satisfactory, - bad, -- very bad
With the new PA series, NEC is bringing some movement to its product selection in the "Professional Display" series. Screens in sizes of 23 to 30 inches are planned. We had the opportunity to test the first representative in this new generation of products thoroughly.
The NEC PA241W conta8ins a 24-inch P-IPS panel. Since IPS variants to date have always had outstanding viewing angle stability, we are hoping for an accordingly good result from LG’s latest development. Unlike the NEC 2490WUXi2, this model has an extended colour space because of the WCG-CCFL backlight. NEC promises almost complete coverage of AdobeRGB.
NEC PA241W-BK (Photo: NEC)
At the latest, when one looks at the performance data of the electronics, it becomes clear that the tried and tested "90" series is to be replaced by the models in the PA series. In the course of this change, NEC has cranked up the electronics once more. The core takes the form of a programmable 14bit 3D LUT, which, together with a computational precision of 16bit per channel, offers an extremely powerful basis for hardware calibration. Provided that there are sufficient on-board means and neutrality or linearity, however, outstanding results with only low losses of hues should already be achieved during software calibration. Since NEC still does not market the "SpectraView II" software necessary for the hardware calibration directly in Europe, this is an important factor for many users. This is joined by a problem that is not to be underestimated with regard to the use of a colorimeter, which we will examine in more detail in the review.
The colour space emulation is a very interesting, new feature. Although usable implementations with fixed transformation targets have been in existence for some time, flexible colour space has only been seen in the absolute high-end sector until now. We are excited about how the NEC PA241W will perform as compared with the CG series from Eizo, which implement a very good solution here in the form of Color Navigator.
The PA241W can be run on 10 bits per channel via DisplayPort. According to NEC, the panel itself also functions at a maximum of 10bits per channel. Currently, this is relatively rare (the only H-IPS version in 24 inches was the LM240WU5, used in the HP LP2480zx and LG W2420R). With regard to the workflow in 8bit, no significant difference arises from this for the user. An FRC solution also "saves" the range of hues, which is hardly reduced through the powerful electronics, up until the actual display.
All results published in the review were obtained via the digital output of an nVidia Geforce GTX 280 from Gainward. A Lumagen RadianceXD and an iScan VP50 were used to test the video functions. In addition, an OPPO DV-980H was used to play back DVDs and a Sony S350E was used for Blu-rays. The colorimetric measurements were carried out with a spectral photometer (EyeOne Pro). A colorimeter (X-Rite DTP94) was used to measure the minimum black value.
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