NEC Multisync 2090UXi Review

NEC’s top-of-the-range Reference 2180 colour monitor weighs in at just under £4,000, so it’s interesting to see a model appear aimed at the lower end of the same market at just over a tenth of the price. To be clear, the 2090UXi isn’t designed to be a direct competitor. It doesn’t have the LED backlighting, the more advanced SFT panel, or even the professional panel hood. But it still offers unusually good colour linearity, and is a credible budget alternative for those who don’t need the very best performance and aren’t prepared to pay the highest possible price.

Visually the styling is generic – a dark grey plastic finish that does a good job of blending into the background without intruding on your viewing pleasure. The ergonomics are good, with a solid height adjust and easy tilting. There’s even a carrying handle. Around the back are three input sockets, including one D-SUB and two DVIs. There are no USB ports or other extras.

The on-screen display is more intuitive than most, with the bottom corner devoted to a selection of up/down, left/right, and in/out buttons which, cleverly, are tagged with virtual labels on the panel when the OSD is being used. Six axis colour control makes the set-up versatile, although in practice it’s best to use default settings and let an optional extra calibrator do the work for you.

Video performance is middle of the range. The panel’s nominal 16ms black to white switching is boosted to 8ms grey to grey. It’s better than a standard panel, but there are still hints of ghosting, especially on some games. You could certainly use this panel for video production, even if it’s not quite the best available. For more general use, colour performance is very impressive – our tests showed almost perfect linearity. As a relatively affordable panel the gamut was middle of the road, missing some of the green extremes, and brightness could also be higher, with a measured value of just 280cd/m2. But photos appeared accurate, and with such good colour linearity, only full-time colour professionals are likely to notice any shortcomings.

OUR VERDICT

1,600 x 1,200 at 20in is small by today’s standards, so you might not want to use the 2090UXi as your primary workspace. But the colour performance and the relatively affordable price makes it a good choice for entry-level colour proofing.

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