It is unfortunate that LCD panel prices aren't dropping as quickly as they have in the past. Not only are QHD (2560x1440) screens still positioned at premium levels, but the newest and most capable Ultra HD monitors are even more expensive. Without question, for the foreseeable future, expect to pay extra for high pixel density.
Panel speed also seems to be evolving slowly. Gamers are pining for more responsive displays able to keep up with their sizable investments in high-end graphics. All of our tolerances are different. But it's common wisdom that IPS is not the technology you want to complement a competitive gaming box. These days, it's fairly easy to exceed 60 FPS with v-sync off in a first-person shooter. Unfortunately, the only IPS monitors able to exceed that figure are modified ones.
There is still no factory support for refresh rates greater than 60 Hz. A few high-refresh rate TN-based screens are popular in the gaming community though, and we have some of those heading our way too. And of course, the next big thing for gamers is likely to be G-Sync, which matches framerates between source and display on-the-fly creating a blur-free experience with no pesky artifacts like frame tears. Look for hands-on reviews of these new monitors very soon as well.
Getting back to NEC's EA274WMi; this is a monitor that is good for everything else. Someone who sits in front of their screen eight or more hours a day at work is going to appreciate the color accuracy, clarity, and high pixel density. IT managers will enjoy the rugged build quality and management features NEC includes. As you can see from our tests and hands-on impressions, this display does what it sets out to do really well.
Pre-calibration performance lags behind competing products. But choosing the right color temp preset (number three) means you’ll be close enough to avoid complaints about accuracy. If you have the instruments, you can calibrate the EA274WMi to a pretty high standard, which matches a few of the more expensive monitors we've tested. Brightness and contrast are right up there with other displays in this price category too. Light output is more than sufficient. You could conceivably use this monitor outdoors, on location at a photo shoot, for example. Contrast, while not record-breaking, is about average for the IPS monitors I've seen.
And when you do calibrate, ControlSync and NEC’s NaViSet Administrator software make it easy to replicate those settings across the other units deployed in your office. We’re not aware of anyone else offering that functionality. And managing energy usage is equally simple thanks to some neat features built in to the OSD.
I'm not calling the EA274WMi a revolutionary product by any stretch. But we're still impressed with its design, build quality, enterprise-class features, and performance. The NEC display also isn't cheap. Then again, though, cheap isn't a word you can use to describe any QHD screen. Perhaps when everyone has recouped their R&D costs from Ultra HD and prices on 4K hardware start dropping, they'll put some pressure on displays with 2560x1440 resolution. Until then, this monitor at least deserves consideration for what it does well.
- NEC EA274WMi: A High-Performance 27" Monitor
- Packaging, Physical Layout, And Accessories
- OSD Setup And Calibration Of The NEC EA274WMi
- Measurement And Calibration Methodology: How We Test
- Results: Brightness And Contrast
- Results: Grayscale Tracking And Gamma Response
- Results: Color Gamut And Performance
- Results: Viewing Angles And Uniformity
- Results: Pixel Response And Input Lag
- NEC EA274WMi: Some Unique Features