NEC PA271W - Brightness and Contrast

The NEC is rated fairly conservatively at only 300 nits of light output at maximum, though for a professional work environment that is likely more than anyone would need. The OSD for the NEC lets you know the light output in cd/m^2 (which is equivalent to nits) as you raise and lower the value, and once you move past 250, the color changes to let you know you’re going beyond where the screen uniformity measurements can help you. Driven to the maximum output, the screen might read 400 cd/m^2 but the actual value was far less than that.

White Level -  XR Pro, Xrite i1D2 and XR i1DPro

As we can see, we managed right around the maximum value of 300 nits, so that conservative estimate is right on in this case. The OSD might not indicate the correct value once you move past the recommended 250 cd/m^2 level, but below that it seemed to be within 3-4% of the listed value which was pretty good. You can see the lowest light output level was down to 57 nits, which means you can adjust the display to be dim enough for any work environment you might have.

Of course, with our accurate white levels we have to hope that we get good black levels as well, which has not been the high point for IPS screens with CCFL backlights, as opposed to LED dimming setups, in the past.

Black Level - XR Pro, Xrite i1D2 and XR i1DPro

Unfortunately our black levels do leave a bit to be desired. The level at the minimum is 0.119, and I’d hope for something closer to 0.050 or less, and the maximum level was 0.429, which looks closer to a dark gray than black at that level. These indicate that our contrast ratio probably is going to leave a bit to be desired with the NEC.

Contrast Ratio -  XR Pro, Xrite i1D2 and XR i1DPro

As we could guess, the contrast ratio with the minimum backlight is only 480:1, and it rises up to 762:1 with the monitor at maximum output. With the wide swing between these two values I went ahead and measured the contrast ratio at our calibrated 200 nits setting and found it was 561:1, so the ratio improves as the light output level increases. It seems there is a minimum amount of light that the IPS panel is going to let through, which could be related to the screen uniformity technology used by NEC on the display, but you should be aware that if you want deep, dark blacks you’ll need to look for a different display using either a different panel technology, a different backlighting technology, or both.

NEC PA271W - MultiProfiler and SpectraView NEC PA271W - Color Quality and Color Gamut


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  • SlyNine - Tuesday, May 01, 2012 - link

    CRTs had their own problems. Geometry not lining up, convergence. CRTs were far from perfect.

    Whats sad is manufactures completely abandoned the market. I would probably have been using CRTs up until this 120hz LCD if I actually had an option.
  • Dantte - Tuesday, May 01, 2012 - link

    funny you say this. I'm still using a NEC FP2141 CRT as my main gaming monitor, but this is changing as of this week. I just ordered an Asus 27" 120Hz VG278H, I hope it doesnt disappoint. Reply
  • Sabresiberian - Wednesday, May 02, 2012 - link

    Ugh I couldn't stand that monitor. 1920x1080 on a 27" screen? No way, those pixels are the size of a truck.

    That, of course, would probably be a different story at television viewing distance. At monitor distance? Not for me.

    It's hard though; 2560x1440 and 60 Hz, or 1920x1080 at 120Hz? Frankly, I don't like either option very much. I'm used to 60Hz though, so I decided on 2560x1440 and bought a Dell U2711 (a few months before the HP was available). Let me tell you, as someone whose other monitor is a Sony GDM FW900 CRT, I'm very pleased with the U2711.

    In my mind, the picture quality of the best CRTs still is overall better than the best LCDs, and I, like you, can only wonder at where they would be if development had continued. Still, I think the LCD has a better future, so I'm not complaining too much. I just wish they'd get on with building better quality ones (especially better refresh rates).

    The main advantages, of course, are price and size. The Sony FW900 was $2500 back in the early 2000's, and 21-22" was about the limit, and it's hard for me to imagine we could have a high quality 27" or 30" CRT at a price I could afford (not to mention the weight of such a beast!). In a way, it was fortuitous that the CRT industry pretty much died, because I probably would never have been able to buy an FW900 otherwise. (I was able to get mine for about $700, refurbished and with a one year warranty, about 3 years ago.)

    Size is a big factor, for me, and the reason I won't buy another CRT, even the fabulous FW900. There are of course other factors. I'm leaning towards a 30" for my next purchase - but frankly, again, I'm not happy with my options. Current 30" monitors have an acceptable pixel pitch, for me, but just barely, and it's really going to stand out since I have the better one in the 27" 2560x1440 format.

  • Dracusis - Wednesday, May 02, 2012 - link

    I have a Dell WFP2707 which is 27" 1920x1200, the pixel pitch is perfect for me, any smaller and I'd be leaning in too far to read things and wouldn't be able to "see" everything at once. IMO it's a better match than 2560x1440 and it's a lot easier to drive at native res for games - and with all the cheap shader based AA options now you really don't notice the pixels at all. Dot pitch is no bigger than the old 19" 1280x1024 displays. Generally IO'm about 2.5 ft away form my display when using it..

    Also, as a designer, pixels are my stock in trade so I kinda like being able to see them If I lean in close.
  • dragonsqrrl - Friday, September 27, 2013 - link Reply
  • IllegalTacos - Monday, May 14, 2012 - link

    I have that monitor and I really like it. The pixels are large, as Sabresiberian said, but personally I am not bothered by it. I went from 60hz to 120hz so I was grinning at the fluid motion of dragging windows around. Since you're probably going to be playing 3D games, I'll just mention it's awesome. If you aren't on the Nvidia 3D forum, here's the link <
    I'd suggest Crysis 2, Battlefield 3, and Trine 2 for great 3D. The 3D vision forum does have plenty of suggestions though. I hope you enjoy it!

    Also, I didn't get that weird oval effect a lot of people reported. Apparently ASUS fixed that with the new batches, but it's still best to keep an eye out for it.
    <> Link to the relevant thread.
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, May 01, 2012 - link

    Once mass market consumers and professionals abandoned CRTs there weren't enough users left to maintain production lines. Reply
  • Sabresiberian - Wednesday, May 02, 2012 - link

    I think it was the other way around; the industry jumped on the LCD bandwagon and didn't even try to compete with the CRT. The general public was largely lead by the nose to make the change.

  • cacca - Wednesday, May 02, 2012 - link

    LCD are the biggest Con/Swindle of the latest 15 years.

    So far we are not yet at the same level of the past CRT, you can imagine how crappy were LCDs at that time.

    Basically they blackmailed reviews and created the myth of coolness for the LCD.

    They were indeed thinner and lighter, really god send in this area, but utterly crap and pricey.

    If they had put the same effort for the crt and short neck technologies... well we would had better crt, heavier but with no doubt superior to the LCD we have now.
  • JonScaife - Wednesday, May 02, 2012 - link

    I had some nice CRTs considering my budget (Samsung 700IFT and Iiyama VM Pro 454 spring to mind) but I prefer my HP ZR24w now to any CRT I had then - for 1 simple reason - eye strain. I put it down to the flickering on CRTs, even at 100Hz on a 17" screen it would get me after a few hours. For the vast vast majority a "consumer" (i.e. cheap) 17 or 19" flat panel now is a huge leap from the 14 and 15" "consumer" CRTs they've replaced. Geometry was always an issue with CRTs too - and only gets tougher to do the bigger the screen gets. Just try looking at a PC display on a CRT TV, even an HD CRT TV (yes, they made them, I have one!) - the geometry is awful. Good geometry large size CRTs have always been like rocking-horse dung - and were priced accordingly. Reply

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