NEC PA271W - When Accuracy and Consistency Matterby Chris Heinonen on May 1, 2012 1:55 PM EST
NEC PA271W - MultiProfiler and SpectraView
Included in the box was NECs MultiProfiler software, and they also provided their SpectraView II calibration software for this review. With MultiProfiler you can set up five preset modes on the PA271W, allowing you to quickly switch between settings based on content, lighting conditions, or even computer. As an example, I could assign positions 1 and 2 to use the sRGB gamut, with brightness settings of 200 nits and 100 nits. Then for photo editing I could do the same with positions 3 and 4, only with the AdobeRGB gamut instead. Finally I can use position 5 for my profile that I calibrated with the SpectraView software and using the full native gamut of the display.
While for most users you might consider this level to be overkill, it isn’t for the professionals targeted by NEC. If you are a video editor, you can quickly switch between Rec 709 (HDTV), SMPTE-C, and DCI color gamuts to work on mastering in each of the different colorspaces. If you want to create a custom profile that mimics your print material more closely you can do that as well, allowing you to quickly change between editing for screen and print. I know this won’t matter to 95% of readers, but for those that need to quickly switch the feature proves very valuable.
As I mentioned before there are multiple USB upstream ports in the PA271W, and in MultiProfiler you can configure these to work as a KVM switch depending on input. I connected my keyboard and mouse to the USB ports on the NEC, then I connected one USB upstream port to my PC and one to my MacBook Air, and I connected each PC to a different video input. Using the software I could set the upstream USB ports to be tied to different display inputs, so as I changed the display between the two computers, the devices changed as well. This worked well during testing when I wanted to use different meters in both Windows and OSX for calibration, as they could be hooked up to the display and then automatically switch computers as I switched inputs.
MultiProfiler also includes support for things I hadn’t seen before, such as adjusting the color output to mimic different types of color-blindness, so designers can make sure their content will work for everyone. Finally, you can also configure a PIP setup as well.
SpectraView II is NECs updated calibration software designed for their displays. Available with or without a meter (they sell an OEM version of the i1Display Pro, which is a large improvement over the previous i1Display2), the monitor and software interface directly with your meter and then calibrate the 14-bit internal LUTs while also generating the ICC profile for your OS.
Within the software you can specify your targets and save them to come back and redo the calibration later. With this I was able to set up our targets: 100 nits, D65 for white, 2.2 for gamma, and then try it for sRGB, AdobeRGB, and Native colorspaces. The software uses DDC to communicate with the monitor and will even give you a warning if it’s been on for less than 30 minutes before calibration, as it is still warming up and colors could shift until it is fully warm.
Creating profiles was quick and easy, with support for both my i1Display Pro and i1Pro, which I wound up using for these. Once you perform a calibration you are given the results with contrast ratio, dE for the grayscale, how close you are to the RGB targets, and the gamma curve. Due to its ability to adjust the LUTs in the monitor directly, I’d imagine most people considering the NEC would also be buying a copy of SpectraView II to calibrate it, as I would.