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Results: Brightness And Contrast

NEC EA274WMi Monitor Review: Eco-Friendly At 2560x1440
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Uncalibrated

Before calibrating any panel, we measure zero and 100-percent signals at both ends of the brightness control range. This shows us how contrast is affected at the extremes of a monitor's luminance capability. We do not increase the contrast control past the clipping point. While that would increase a monitor’s light output, the brightest signal levels would not be visible, resulting in crushed highlight detail. Our numbers show the maximum light level possible with no clipping of the signal.

Our comparison group includes the last six monitors reviewed at Tom’s Hardware. The Asus PQ321Q, Dell UP3214Q, and UP2414Q are Ultra HD displays. The Samsung S27B971D is an sRGB panel with QHD resolution. And the ViewSonic VP2772 is a wide-gamut display, also QHD.

The max brightness result is measured in the EA274WMi’s Standard picture mode using the Native color temp preset. Contrast is set halfway through its range (50 out of 100). You can get a little more light by upping the slider, but clipping starts at 51. The result is a little higher than the panel’s rating of 350 cd/m2.

Our measured black level is pretty good, given the panel’s high brightness.

When the backlight is on full, most monitors won’t deliver a decent black level. NEC lands mid-pack; the EA274WMi is about average for our last 22 screens tested.

The resulting contrast ratio isn’t too bad thanks to a high white level.

The EA274WMi comes in second in this fairly expensive group. You could easily use it outdoors in bright sunlight and see a pretty decent image. Photographers on location might want to consider a display like this.

We believe 50 cd/m2 is a practical minimum standard for screen brightness. Any lower and you risk eyestrain and fatigue. Some monitors like the EA274WMi will measure under that level. We recorded a very low white level of 13.7128 cd/m2 with the backlight turned all the way down. This is a bit too dim for practical use. Raising the brightness to 12 gets you 50 cd/m2 with a black level of .0625 cd/m2 and a contrast ratio of 788.4 to 1.

Our measured minimum black level trounces the other monitors in the group, but that is mainly because of the extremely dim backlight. At 50 cd/m2 max, the black level would put NEC in fifth place, which is an otherwise typical performance for a 27-inch QHD screen based on an LED-lit IPS panel.

The contrast ratio is starting to look more like the rest.

The minimum contrast ratio drops around 22 percent from the max number, yielding a decent result (even if it's less consistent than the last few monitors we tested). The other five in this group all measured closely in their maximum and minimum contrast tests. Hopefully, the calibrated result will be somewhere in between.

After Calibration

Since we consider 200 cd/m2 to be an ideal point for peak output, we calibrate all of our test monitors to that value. In a room with some ambient light (like an office), this brightness level provides a sharp, punchy image with maximum detail and minimum eye fatigue. It's also the sweet spot for gamma and grayscale tracking on some monitors, which we'll consider on the next page. In a darkened room, many professionals prefer a 120 cd/m2 calibration. We find it makes little to no difference on the calibrated black level and contrast measurements.

To calibrate the EA274WMi, you have to use one of the four adjustable color temp presets. We went with number three and the result is an excellent black level.

Calibration often raises the black level from its out-of-box state. But the EA274WMi doesn’t suffer from that phenomenon.

As we hoped, contrast is a little better after calibration than before. We’re now at over 800 to 1.

We’ve seen several monitors achieve better than 1000 to 1 contrast after calibration. However, the only screen that did this recently was Dell's UP3214Q. The NEC comes closer to that elusive figure than the other four screens in our group.

ANSI Contrast Ratio

Another important measure of contrast is ANSI. To perform this test, a checkerboard pattern of sixteen zero and 100-percent squares is measured, giving us a somewhat more real-world than on/off measurements because it tests a display’s ability to simultaneously maintain both low black and full white levels, factoring in screen uniformity. The average of the eight full-white measurements is divided by the average of the eight full-black measurements to arrive at the ANSI result.

The ANSI value is a little lower than the on/off one, just like every other display that’s been in our lab. Obviously this is an extreme test. As mentioned, though, it's also more real-world. Intra-image contrast is what we see in a typical image. In the case of the EA274WMi, the drop is less than nine percent. I consider that to be excellent.

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  • 4 Hide
    mikenygmail , May 14, 2014 4:24 AM
    My 27" Monoprice IPS monitor was $300 total, with $10 in Rakuten credit to boot. So, it could be considered to be $290.

    I'm sure this monitor is slight better, but come on NEC, $800 is ridiculous.
    Even more ridiculous is this quote from the review:
    "At $800, this is the least-expensive high-res model in the line. "
    haha!
  • 1 Hide
    SessouXFX , May 14, 2014 4:29 AM
    I'll be glad when the QHD's get down to a more affordable price. They've been out for quite some time now. There's no reason to keep building these monitors for such a high premium, when 4K is on the horizion. Also, they should build these QHD's with better refresh rates already, and bigger screens too. We should be able to go to the store and buy quality 30 in.+ QHD's at around $300-600.
  • 4 Hide
    airborne11b , May 14, 2014 8:51 AM
    FFS! The ROG Swift is going to be coming out soon and it's sporting 144hz, 1ms response, 2560x1440 and G-sync... for like $799.

    The Korean 2560x1440's are in the $300 - $400 price range.

    Who the hell is pricing these things?
  • 0 Hide
    Jess Castro , May 14, 2014 9:26 AM
    When you can buy a 4k monitor for about the same price wtf are they thinking? I would not pay over 300 dollars for a 1440p monitor, espeically one without g-sync. Give me a 4k 27in 120hz+ ips with gysnc for around a grand and Im all in. Tired of being asked to pay a stupid premium for 15 year old tech that is on its deathbed.
  • 0 Hide
    Bondfc11 , May 14, 2014 11:55 AM
    Overlord Computer has been selling their Tempest OC monitor for 2 years now and it is at $450 shipping and warrantied out of California. The Tempest is the only IPS that can be overclocked up to 120Hz that I know of. If you want an IPS at 1440 they should be on your list to check out - I have 3!! They also will have a Gsync IPS panel that will run native around 96Hz - the only one on the planet - those are the rumors at least.
  • 1 Hide
    Bondfc11 , May 14, 2014 11:58 AM
    As for this quote in the article: "There is still no factory support for refresh rates greater than 60 Hz. "

    Untrue Overlord warranties their OC model and is the only OEM making IPS panels specifically for gamers. Why Tom's doesn't have one of the Tempests to review I still don't understand. Oh wait - that's right - it's pay to review on this site! DOH!
  • 0 Hide
    nebun , May 14, 2014 11:59 AM
    everyone is talking about qhd this and qhd that....don't forget to upgrade your graphic cards...today's cards can't keep up...they are power hungry POS...AMD and eNvidia really need to work on power usage....i love my HD 7970 CF set up....man it rus hot...my room is wayyyy to hot when i start gaming.
  • 0 Hide
    Tanquen , May 14, 2014 2:51 PM
    16:9 :( 

    I got my 30" 16:10 2560x1600 LCDs like three years ago for $980-ish.
  • -3 Hide
    somebodyspecial , May 14, 2014 4:06 PM
    1440p is not the standard nor is it fast becoming one. 1080p is the standard. 1440p is less than 1% of the user base and has been for 2yrs+. I remember Anandtech claiming this crap in the 660ti review which I bashed ~2yrs ago :)  It was a dumb comment then (stupid way for Ryan to claim AMD the victor when most games were under 30fps AVG at that res...ROFL, most under 20fps min!...LOL) , and still is one now. That is about when AMD's portal showed up on anandtech (no bias there...LOL). Not only are these expensive as 1080p 24in can be had for far less, but you require tons of gpu power to run them without turning all kinds of stuff off for a LOT of games. Heck a 780ti can be brought to it's knees by 1080p maxed in some games. This will only get worse as engines up the gpu requirements. I'm not even sure 1440p will be doable (maxed in EVERYTHING) with maxwell 20nm.

    Let me know when 1440p hits 25% share of the market. At that point MAYBE you can claim it's the standard. I expect an email in 3-4yrs...ROFL.
    http://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey/
    scroll down to primary monitor resolution. .93%...
    Note 1080p=32.91%
    Ideally for it to be standard it has to be the highest percent right? 1080p. GET IT?

    Yes I want us to get to higher res monitors being standard ASAP (with GPU's that can actually push this res without the need for 2+ cards), but reality is that day hasn't arrived so quit saying this BS.

    Also understand that .93% is the penetration of gamers. I'm guessing it is far less if you include the non-gamers who mostly have no need to splurge on an $400-800 monitor to view the web or email and anything under $490 or so I wouldn't touch at 27in/1440p, and not at all without Gsync. I wouldn't buy a monitor without that (put the purchase off) unless mine DIED today forcing me to upgrade. The cheapest NAME you'd recognize on newegg is asus at $490.
  • 0 Hide
    cangelini , May 14, 2014 9:12 PM
    Quote:
    As for this quote in the article: "There is still no factory support for refresh rates greater than 60 Hz. "

    Untrue Overlord warranties their OC model and is the only OEM making IPS panels specifically for gamers. Why Tom's doesn't have one of the Tempests to review I still don't understand. Oh wait - that's right - it's pay to review on this site! DOH!


    This is absolutely not true. Our editorial and advertising departments are purposely kept very separate. In fact, I couldn't even tell you if there are display vendors advertising on the site. We review monitors because they're an important part of the computing experience.

    If you or another representative of Tempest would like to submit a display for review, please contact us! Alternatively, we can reach out to you, also :) 
  • 0 Hide
    soldier44 , May 16, 2014 5:56 PM
    Quote:
    One reason companies attempt to get reviews is to sell more units. Considering Overlord is sold out of all but one of their monitors, I don't know how much help they need.

    That said, I am considering sticking with 60HZ and moving to a Korean 30" 2560x1600 panel. I've gamed at 60HZ for a long time and am used to it, but I'd really like to have more screen real estate. If someone comes out with a 30" panel that supports 120HZ for something REASONABLE then I'd be interested, but I'm not dropping as much as an entire computer on a display.


    Get what you pay for, all these noobs with their 1080p displays are so limiting themselves.Ive been gaming on 30 inches for over 3 years now that I paid $1200 for. Been worth every cent to have much more real estate over the 120hz option. 4K is my next purchase when they come down to $1500 or less.
  • 0 Hide
    Bondfc11 , May 15, 2014 4:00 PM
    I did not know that - thanks for clarifying! Very good to know since there are so many ads on this site I always assumed (incorrectly) that companies paid for the ability to have reviews put up.

    I will email Overlord to tell them so since I have been supporting them since they started! Fan boy? You betcha!
  • 0 Hide
    Mathew Reuther , May 15, 2014 8:25 PM
    One reason companies attempt to get reviews is to sell more units. Considering Overlord is sold out of all but one of their monitors, I don't know how much help they need.

    That said, I am considering sticking with 60HZ and moving to a Korean 30" 2560x1600 panel. I've gamed at 60HZ for a long time and am used to it, but I'd really like to have more screen real estate. If someone comes out with a 30" panel that supports 120HZ for something REASONABLE then I'd be interested, but I'm not dropping as much as an entire computer on a display.
  • 0 Hide
    somebodyspecial , May 19, 2014 2:47 PM
    Quote:
    I did not know that - thanks for clarifying! Very good to know since there are so many ads on this site I always assumed (incorrectly) that companies paid for the ability to have reviews put up.

    I will email Overlord to tell them so since I have been supporting them since they started! Fan boy? You betcha!


    You voted my post down for stating the obvious truth and proving it? What for? I'm already above 1080p, but as stated it's the most common used res NOT 1440p. So what is your problem with the post? Same question for the other two that voted down the truth. Some people. I even stated I want us to move on...LOL. You don't like steam surveys or something? Hate for me?...Whatever...
  • 0 Hide
    Bondfc11 , May 20, 2014 11:25 AM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    I did not know that - thanks for clarifying! Very good to know since there are so many ads on this site I always assumed (incorrectly) that companies paid for the ability to have reviews put up.

    I will email Overlord to tell them so since I have been supporting them since they started! Fan boy? You betcha!


    You voted my post down for stating the obvious truth and proving it? What for? I'm already above 1080p, but as stated it's the most common used res NOT 1440p. So what is your problem with the post? Same question for the other two that voted down the truth. Some people. I even stated I want us to move on...LOL. You don't like steam surveys or something? Hate for me?...Whatever...


    I'll answer your question with a question - why in the hell do you care that your post got voted down by me and 2 others? Do you need confirmation on all your posts of your ability to pull some stats and say something on a forum?

    Ok then - great job! Atta Boy!

    I didn't like the tone of your post it came off arrogant and at the same time needy to show how "in the know" you think you are.

    Funny, I didn't know I was supposed to provide a justification for not liking someone's post, but there you go.
  • 0 Hide
    vajoiner , May 22, 2014 12:55 AM
    :\ "impressed with their build quality" thats always funny to me... im using a hannspree 1920x1200 monitor going on 8 years now. its been ON for 8 years as in i never turn my computer off. it cost me 300 on sale at officemax. and so far it hasnt disintegrated traveling trice up and down the east coast. its like the 8210 of monitors
  • 0 Hide
    somebodyspecial , May 23, 2014 5:52 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Quote:
    I did not know that - thanks for clarifying! Very good to know since there are so many ads on this site I always assumed (incorrectly) that companies paid for the ability to have reviews put up.

    I will email Overlord to tell them so since I have been supporting them since they started! Fan boy? You betcha!


    You voted my post down for stating the obvious truth and proving it? What for? I'm already above 1080p, but as stated it's the most common used res NOT 1440p. So what is your problem with the post? Same question for the other two that voted down the truth. Some people. I even stated I want us to move on...LOL. You don't like steam surveys or something? Hate for me?...Whatever...


    I'll answer your question with a question - why in the hell do you care that your post got voted down by me and 2 others? Do you need confirmation on all your posts of your ability to pull some stats and say something on a forum?

    Ok then - great job! Atta Boy!

    I didn't like the tone of your post it came off arrogant and at the same time needy to show how "in the know" you think you are.

    Funny, I didn't know I was supposed to provide a justification for not liking someone's post, but there you go.


    OH, you're the PC police. We have enough of that junk already. Judge the data, not the person. So the priorities for you when judging a post isn't about the post at all...ROFL. I'm arrogant, needy and my TONE sucks...As long as the data is good who cares...

    https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Graham%27s_Hierarchy_of_Disagreement.svg
    Congratulations. You made it to the 3rd level. Responding to the tone of my post...LOL. But that is still completely failing with your "vote". That's OK...I only care about the data anyway, which isn't changing. Come back when you've got something to say about the data instead of me ;)  You spend too much time worrying about the tone of a post instead of the content.
    "criticizes the tone of the writing without addressing the substance of the argument." ....Yep. Actually I think you may have done the bottom 3.

    Why do you care how I sound? Ah...Not here for the data? Just here to judge people's tone, attack their character etc.

    The answer to your ?: I comment to find out if someone can argue with the data (for stock purposes mostly, I want MORE data if I can get it, no matter how their TONE is - they might save me money etc). If nobody can tear it down or show better data points, I'm probably on the right track :)  I THOUGHT that was what this was, so I wanted to know what part of that you thought was wrong or if you had other info that would prove that. I couldn't care less about your opinion of me or mine of you. It doesn't enter into my comments about your data/points (which there was none.). You're worried about if it's offensive, etc while I'm worried about "is the data in his post right?". My response previously tells you that. I thought this was a DATA discussion forum, not a PC police hangout. Much like grammar/spelling nazis we have no use for those.