NEC MultiSync 20WGX2
Gaming is becoming a huge market and everyone is staking out a pitch for themselves, so it’s no surprise that NEC’s marketing is aimed at evening and weekend wielders of rocket-propelled grenades and other tools of monster destruction. But the monitors are surprisingly versatile, and are worth considering even if you have no interest at all in making aliens explode.
The most obvious feature is the shiny OptiClear display coating. This creates a dark mirror-shade finish when it’s turned off, which can take a little getting used to. It’s not shiny enough to be distracting unless you have the sun or some other powerful lighting source shining over your shoulder. The rationale for the coating is to improve colour punch and saturation, and it certainly seems to work. Within minutes of turning it on, the monitor revealed low-level noise in a Photoshop project that hadn’t been visible on other monitors – even high-end ones. However, the colour balance wasn’t completely convincing, with a blue sky taking on a purple tinge – although working through the colour options produced a better result very quickly.
There are proofing modes at various colour temperatures, and a standard sRGB mode for maximum accuracy without profiling, which seems to be the best option for design and photography. Operation can be switched between different presets for use with text, photography, gaming and so on. Video response is very crisp, as you’d expect with a 6ms response time. A Dynamic Visual mode changes brightness and contrast according to content. This is designed for gamers so they can see enemies hiding in shadows, and is less useful for photography and design where absolute accuracy is more important.
The other features include some clever touches. The OSD is controlled by a micro-joystick, which is a huge improvement over the confusion of button pushing required on most monitors. There are connectors for DVI and VGA, a four-way USB hub, and even a setting that controls the brightness of the blue power-on light.
This is an impressive monitor, considering the price. Only a slight hint of compression at dark and light extremes stops it being perfect for video and photography. Otherwise the glossy display looks good and the extra twist on the standard old monitor features makes it easy to use and productive.