NEC 3090WXi review
NEC has been lagging behind the competition for a while when it comes to resolution. The high end of the design and colour control markets may be willing to pay 2-3k for 22in or 24in panels, but the appeal of a 30in model is practical and obvious. Buyers have often been seduced by panels of huge size which don’t necessarily promise the earth in either colour accuracy or colour gamut.
The 3090 is an attempt to change that. It offers a no-compromise 30in 2,560 x 1,600 workspace with high-end colour performance. Physically, this is one of the biggest monitors we’ve seen. It’s marginally wider and deeper than other 30in panels, and the attached foot is huge. Visually it has the familiar neutral charcoal finish – it doesn’t look stylish, but it doesn’t look cheap either. The ergonomics are also familiar from previous NEC designs, with a corner-based OSD that’s fairly easy to use. Around the back are two DVI inputs, and a USB connector for the Spectraview software.
Incredibly, the stand not only includes a generous range of height adjustment and tilt, but it can also rotate the panel through 90°, allowing you to work in portrait mode – if you’re tall enough. The LED backlighting from previous NEC professional panels has been replaced by a more usual solid-state backlight, but a certain amount of monitoring and automation of brightness and evenness are still included. In colour tests, panel performance was close to perfect, with very good linearity and a very wide gamut.
NEC claims that not only is sRGB handled with ease, but the full Adobe 1998 colour space is displayed accurately too. The horizontal viewing angle is more than wide enough, but vertically there was some noticeable darkening when viewed relatively close up – you’ll get the best results from this panel viewing it from 2-3ft away.
Our one caveat is that when tested with an early Intel MacBook Pros the panel wasn’t fully plug-and-play – the output looked like it had been rescaled. Performance on other hardware was fine, so this was probably a graphics card problem. Even so, a test drive on older hardware might be wise, just in case.
The 3090 is more or less state of the art in monitor technology. Athough the cost isn’t low in absolute terms, in this part of the monitor market it’s actually reasonable value. It’s not stylish, but if you want a 30in panel for serious colour critical work, this model is hard to beat.