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NEC MultiSync LCD205WXM monitor

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The NEC MultiSync LCD205WXM is a 20-inch wide-screen LCD with both digital DVI and analog inputs. Though it’s competitively priced, the NEC costs a little more than some bargain-priced monitors of the same size, but the extra money buys such niceties as height adjustment and decent-sounding speakers, along with very good color fidelity and text legibility.

The all-black LCD205WXM sports a thin bezel, and its swiveling, height-adjustable base design offers more flexibility than other displays of the same size we’ve reviewed recently. The design doesn’t allow it to pivot into a portrait mode, however. The monitor features two one-watt speakers built into the case, and they sound pretty good. They are definitely better than the speakers in the Mac Pros we use to test our displays, though that isn’t saying a lot.

When I attached the monitor to our 2.66GHz Mac Pro test system, the display started right up into its native 1,680-by-1,050-pixel resolution. Like most LCDs, the LCD205WXM was a little too bright and a little too blue at its default settings. After using a Gretag Macbeth Eye-One Display 2 to calibrate the monitor to 6,500 Kelvin and 2.2 gamma, the display looked much better. If you don’t have a calibrator, don’t worry: I was able to get the LCD205WXM to look just about as good using its on-screen color controls.

After we calibrated the display, a jury of Macworld editors compared it to several other similarly sized monitors using a variety of different test documents and found its color fidelity to be Very Good. The NEC also received high marks for text legibility, being rated as Very Good even at small point sizes. The viewing angle was not as good as what we’ve seen from other NEC monitors, but it was better than many of the 20-inch LCDs we’ve looked at recently, and it received a rating of Good from our jury for this test.

jury tests

Viewing angle 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 10.4.10. We noted the performance of the display with its default, out-of-the-box settings and then calibrated it to 6,500 Kelvin with a gamma of 2.2, using a Gretag Macbeth Eye-One Display 2 colorimeter. The Macworld Lab 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 compared with a sampling of similar displays.—Macworld Lab testing by James Galbraith


Size 20 inches
Native resolution (in pixels) 1,680 x 1,050
Connections 1 DVI, 1 VGA
Viewing angle 170 degrees
Brightness 300 cd/m2
Response time 5ms
Contrast ratio 1,000:1
Dimensions (height x depth x width, in inches) 14.2.x 10.2 x 18.6
Special features Built-in speakers
Warranty 3 years

Macworld’s buying advice

If you’re looking for a wide-screen LCD display, but don’t want to spend an arm and a leg, the NEC MultiSync LCD205WXM should be at the top of your list. It does a really good job of displaying both accurate color and legible text while providing some nice features like built-in speakers, a swiveling base, and height adjustment capabilities.

[ James Galbraith is Macworld ’s lab director. ]

NEC MultiSync LCD205WXM
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