NEC MultiSync LCD2690WUXiSV monitor

The NEC MultiSync LCD2690WUXiSV is a 26-inch wide-screen LCD monitor, the largest in NEC’s 90 series of professional displays. A similar version of this monitor (without software and colorimeter) earned a Best of Show award at the Macworld 2007 Expo, due largely to its high-end features. The SV model includes a bundled colorimeter, a programmable 12-bit color lookup table for smooth color transitions and gradients, the ability to display up to 94 percent of the Adobe RGB color space, and X-light Pro technology to keep brightness and color consistent over the life of the display (it measures performance and automatically compensates for changes over time). And though it also carries a high-end price tag, this feature-packed display should appeal to color-savvy professionals.

Design and usability

The display sports a simple but elegant design with a thin black bezel—helpful if you need to position two or more displays together in a relatively seamless array. The display’s menu system is easy to follow, and the on-screen descriptions that appear just above the navigation buttons whenever you touch them make things even easier.

Seeing eye to eye with this display should be no problem; you can adjust its height, tilt it forward and back, and even rotate it into a portrait orientation.

You can connect it to your Mac digitally via two DVI ports, or run it in analog mode via a VGA cable connected to the monitor’s VGA port. (The Macworld Lab tests all displays using DVI.)

Using the both the bundled colorimeter and the SpectraView II software, you can calibrate the monitor to a large number of presets or countless custom options. The software is not as elegant or slick as GretagMacbeth’s Eye-One Pro (   ), but color pros should appreciate the myriad available settings. The bundled colorimeter and software calibrate the display itself, not the signal coming out of the graphics card. A version without the SpectraView software and the colorimeter is available for about $300 less if you already have a colorimeter or don’t want to spend the extra cash for this feature.

Performance

Out of the box, the display was bright but a little washed out. Once calibrated, though, the monitor looked great. Its side-angle viewing wasn’t quite as good as that of other NEC 90 series displays I’ve tested, such as the NEC MultiSync 2190UXi (   ), but it was still very good, losing just a little bit of contrast as I moved away from the center of the screen. Text was clear, crisp, and legible at small point sizes. The colors on our test photo really popped, with saturated but accurate representations of the food, skin tones, and textures. The photo had depth, thanks to the image’s shadow details. I found no stuck or dead pixels, and brightness appeared consistent across the screen when I viewed a variety of solid white and color full-screen test images.

jury tests

Viewing angle Very Good
Color fidelity Very Good
Text legibility Very Good

Scale: Superior, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor

How we tested: We connected the display to a 2.66GHz Mac Pro with 1GB of RAM and an Nvidia 7300GT graphics card, running Mac OS X 10.4.8. We noted the performance of the display at its default, out-of-the-box settings and then calibrated it to 6500K and a gamma of 2.2 using the bundled colorimeter. A panel of Macworld editors viewed a number of on-screen test images and rated each display as Superior, Very Good, Good, Fair or Poor on its color, text, and viewing angle performance compared to a sampling of similar displays.

specifications

Size 26 inches
Native resolution 1,920 x 1,200
Connections 2 DVI, 1 VGA
Viewing angle 178 degrees
Brightness 400 CD/m2
Contrast ratio 800:1
Dimensions (height x depth x width, in inches) 16.4 x 10.0 x 23.2
Special features height adjustment, 4-port USB hub, colorimeter, calibration software
Warranty 4 years

Macworld’s buying advice

For professional photographers and designers, accurate color is a necessity. Though this big, bright 26-inch display costs a pretty penny, its color calibration features—as well as for managing backlight and color consistency over time—make the MultiSync LCD2690WUXiSV a tool all serious color geeks should consider.

[ James Galbraith is Macworld ’s lab director. ]

NEC MultiSync LCD2690WUXiSV

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