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.

NEC PA271W - Design and Specifications NEC PA271W - Brightness and Contrast
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  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, May 01, 2012 - link

    Brian Klug is working on a review I believe. Stay tuned.... Reply
  • B3an - Wednesday, May 02, 2012 - link

    Next time can you or Brian in his future review mention the fact that these are 16:10 junk, instead of 16:9, and point out why this is so stupid for the area these monitors are aimed at (they should be 2560x1600 res!). Many of which will be people that work in some area of design and would benefit from extra pixels.

    These things are not for watching movies. For almost anything else including basic things like viewing this very web page, the extra vertical pixels are better.
    Reply
  • ectoplasmosis - Wednesday, May 02, 2012 - link

    If you're going to go on a bizarre rant, at least make sure you've got your aspect ratios the right way round. Reply
  • theoryzero - Tuesday, May 01, 2012 - link

    NEC's page mentions "Rapid Response" or "Response Improve" feature that can be enabled using the MultiProfiler software. Does that feature help with the processing lag? Reply
  • Senti - Tuesday, May 01, 2012 - link

    It doesn't. It enables panel overdrive. With it it becomes one of the fastest IPS panels I've seen, but you also get quite bad overdrive artifacts. Reply
  • weiln12 - Tuesday, May 01, 2012 - link

    You mention for gaming the HP is the best bet, yet it's worse in lag than the Apple 27". From my quick perusal of the charts appeared to be worse in most categories for color reproduction and everything else.

    The prices don't seem that far off either based on a cursory Google search of the HP ZR2740w and Apple's given prices.

    Could you mind clarifying why the HP is the best bet for gaming, is there something I'm missing?
    Reply
  • cheinonen - Tuesday, May 01, 2012 - link

    The Apple only works with Thunderbolt, so that's not going to be an option for most gamers, who still use a PC and not a Mac. The HP is incredibly close to the Apple in most numbers, and the lag measurement used for the HP is far more accurate than the one used for the Apple, so they could be closer than the charts indicate. Reply
  • ectoplasmosis - Wednesday, May 02, 2012 - link

    The Thunderbolt version isn't the only one available.

    I'm using a displayport 27" Cinema Display connected to both a PC (DVI) and Mac Pro (mDP) via an mDP KVM switch. By far the best screen I've ever laid eyes on, and crystal-clear with no horrible murky anti-glare coating like almost every other 2560x1440 27" screen.
    Reply
  • AeroWB - Wednesday, May 02, 2012 - link

    The high gloss display of Apple screen may look fancy and give more punch to the colors, but it can be extremely annoying depending on the room lighting and even in a medium lit room high gloss displays are extremely bad when displaying dark content, as you will see your own reflexion more clearly then the content being displayed.

    Glossy displays do work well in very dark rooms, but I doubt it is good to work in a dark room and stare into a big light. I do not think it is a coincidence that all professional displays and laptops are non-gloss and in general getting a non-gloss display is the safer option. If color is important glossy screens are a very bad option even if you're careful with the room lighting. it seems to me gloss is so prevalent in the consumer space as it is cheaper to built and looks fancier when displaying bright content. Though it must be said those non-glare coatings do have some influence on the brightness and sharpness of the display though after using my PA241W for about a year I am very happy I did not get the glossy Apple display (which a friend of mine has)
    Reply
  • ectoplasmosis - Wednesday, May 02, 2012 - link

    The room my ACD's in is far from dark, but is arranged so that screen reflections are a complete non-issue, even with darker content.

    If you've got control over your environment and lighting then a glossy screen, like you say, gives better contrast, saturation and colour accuracy than an equivalent panel with fuzzy anti-glare coating.

    I know which one I prefer, and it's not about looking "fancy" in the least.
    Reply

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