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OSD Setup And Calibrating NEC's EA294WMi

NEC EA294WMi 29" Monitor Review: 21:9 At Twice The Price
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This monitor has one of the most extensive menu systems we’ve ever seen. There are many unique and interesting options. In addition to the usual suspects, there are quite a few ways to manage energy usage. And there’s even a meter to tell you how you’re doing. So, let’s start at the top.

Touching the menu control brings up the first screen. Brightness and Contrast work as expected, but you need to pay attention to the Eco Mode control. Setting one of its two options means limiting the monitor’s light output. The first dials brightness back to 60 percent, and the second to 30 percent. The energy savings is displayed under the brightness slider. Auto Brightness uses the front-mounted sensors to adjust light output based on measured ambient room lighting, and it’s fairly aggressive. In our testing, this option dropped the brightness from 200 to 51 cd/m2 when we turned off an overhead 65 W light. Make sure you disable Auto Brightness and Eco Mode before calibrating.

Black Level does exactly what it says: changes the black level. The Brightness control actually modulates the backlight. The default setting is 50 and we recommend leaving it alone. Moving it more than two clicks lower crushes detail, while raising it turns black into grays. The Off Mode and Human Sensing options are unique, from what I've seen. Using those settings, you can tell the EA294WMi to dim itself when you are no longer sitting in front of it, or when you turn off the room lights. There are options for timing and sensitivity, so you can tailor this function to your preferences.

DV (Dynamic Visual) Mode refers to the six picture modes.

Standard is the default; it unlocks all of the other menu controls, and it's what we used for our testing. If you don’t plan to calibrate, this is the most accurate mode in the monitor’s stock configuration.

This is the Screen menu.

There are several scaling and positioning options. In most situations, you don't need to adjust anything. The Video Level control sets the level range at either Normal or Expand for video. Since a computer outputs the full signal range, you should leave this Normal. If you hook up a Blu-ray player, you might want to set it to Expand. Or, it might be easier to set your player to output PC levels. The important thing is to set this option to match your source device.

Overscan increases image size proportionally by removing either 5 or 25 percent of the picture’s edge. Expansion is an aspect control. By default, the monitor stretches a 1920-pixel image to fit its 2560-pixel native resolution. Changing the option to Aspect or Off eliminates that stretch. You’ll want to use this when you hook up a Blu-ray player or other video source. If you want to tweak the image size, use the H and V Resolution sliders. These also come into play when you use the picture-by-picture mode. Then you can size each portion of the screen independently.

There’s a lot more to the NEC’s color temp menu than we’ve seen on most screens.

The EA294WMi provides eight memories, four of which can be adjusted with the front-panel controls, one that requires the NaviSet desktop software, and three preset modes. Slots 1, 2, 3, and 5 are adjustable and start at different color temp points. Number two is the closest to D65. sRGB is fixed and measures a little warm in our testing. N (Native) is too green for us to recommend. P (Programmable) is the one to choose for use with NaviSet, and D stands for DICOM Simulation, which is used in medical applications.

Next up are some of the EA294WMi's ergonomic features.

Volume controls both the speakers and the headphone output. Touching the PBP/Reset key on the front panel mutes the audio. Sound Input can split the signals from two sources so the left speaker plays the audio from the left screen image and the right speaker plays the right screen image. This would definitely benefit gamers using a split-screen function to play head-to-head.

Speaking of PBP Mode, there are some cool options available. Once you enable it, you can adjust each side of the screen independently. This way, if your two sources output different resolutions, you can size the two images to fill their halves of the screen. Response Improve reduces motion blur and should always be turned on. Off Timer powers down the monitor after a preset interval. LED Brightness controls the front panel power indicator. DDC/CI should be left on to allow your computer to control the EA294WMi, and USB Power lets you leave the ports active, even when the monitor is in power saver mode. Factory Preset returns all settings to their defaults.

This is the Menu Tools screen. Besides the nine available languages, you can lock out the OSD to prevent adjustment. To re-enable it, press Select and Left simultaneously. Hot Key turns on PBP, Brightness, and Volume hot keys on the front panel, saving you a trip into the OSD. Signal Information, Sensor Information, and Key Guide toggle various info pop-ups. Data Copy copies settings to other monitors connected via the ControlSync feature. And Customize Settings stores your user-configured settings so you can restore them after an accidental reset.

The penultimate menu is something we’ve never seen before: an energy cost calculator.

After entering in your cost per kilowatt-hour and the corresponding carbon usage, the EA294WMi will calculate your savings in real time. What truly green computer user could do without this?

And finally, we have a signal info window.

The only item missing is a firmware version.

To calibrate the EA294WMi, we recommend the Standard mode and color temp memory position two as the best starting point. If you don’t calibrate, this is the most accurate configuration. Turn off Eco mode if you want to use the Brightness control's full range. Also, make sure to turn off the ambient light sensor with the Auto Brightness option. Considering the vast size of the OSD, we are surprised that there's no gamma control. Fortunately, this isn’t a problem. You'll see what I mean on page six.

One note on the Contrast control: we usually set this as high as we can without clipping detail. On this NEC monitor, that means a maximum of 52. However, this negatively impacts grayscale performance by making 100-percent white too blue, while the 0-90 percent levels are correct. The fix is to lower the setting to 45, which reduces the error substantially. To compensate for the light loss, turn Brightness up to 77.

NEC EA294WMi Calibration Settings
DV Mode
Standard
Contrast
45
Brightness
77
Color Temp
2
RGB
Red 88 / Green 86.5 / Blue 97.4
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  • 8 Hide
    runswindows95 , October 29, 2013 10:45 PM
    Considering this screen is $805 for this monitor on Newegg, I rather get a nice 2560X1440, like the Dell U2713, for the money, or dual 1920X1200 screens. 2560X1080 really isn't an ideal resolution for any practical application.
  • 3 Hide
    TBC1 , October 29, 2013 10:49 PM
    $750 for this! bahh!
  • 2 Hide
    patrick47018 , October 29, 2013 11:09 PM
    Triple Post! Triple Post! Triple Post! But yeah too much money
  • 1 Hide
    TBC1 , October 29, 2013 11:20 PM
    Quote:
    Triple Post! Triple Post! Triple Post! But yeah too much money


    Darn thing lagged on me!

  • 0 Hide
    Vorador2 , October 30, 2013 1:42 AM
    Well this is a professional monitor so the high price is not that surprising. Still if i were on the hunt for a monitor this wouldn't be my choice.
  • 2 Hide
    wikiwikiwhat , October 30, 2013 1:51 AM
    No and screw LG and others that model them.
  • 2 Hide
    burkhartmj , October 30, 2013 6:11 AM
    You could get 2 Dell Ultrasharp U2412M's plus a dual monitor mount for the price of this, it just doesn't make sense at this price point.

    There's also the issue of ultra wide screen. This seems to have a niche market that doesn't exist, a professional grade monitor that's only particularly good at watching movies. People who just watch TV and movies all day aren't going to be willing to spend more than 250 on a monitor [and even this is probably outside what most people would spend], and those who want/need professional features will want as much screen real estate as possible, opting for large 16:9 or 16:10 monitors.

    This is exacerbated by the fact that this aspect ratio is literally ONLY helpful for movies, not even TV. having big black bars on each side during a TV show or older movie that doesn't have the cinematic aspect ratio is way more distracting than the thin bars at the top and bottom created by cinematic movies on normal 16:9/10 monitors.
  • 5 Hide
    jasonpwns , October 30, 2013 6:19 AM
    I dislike this new trend. I'd rather have a 27 inch with 2560x1440. Why are we constantly trying to lower our screen resolutions. This 1080p trend needs to stop.
  • 0 Hide
    InvalidError , October 30, 2013 8:04 AM
    Quote:
    This 1080p trend needs to stop.

    I would prefer 2560x1600 on a 24" screen myself.

    The problem is the bulk of offer and demand gravitates around 1920x1080 since that is what most common forms of entertainment are optimized for. With 1080p screens starting as low as $90, anything higher than that for 3-5X the price becomes a tough sale so these higher-resolution monitors get pitched and priced as "professional" displays instead of trying to compete for people's desktops.

    I paid $270 for my 24" 1200p display four years ago. Equivalent models today are usually listed around $400. To me, this seems to indicate that mainstream interest in higher resolution desktop displays has regressed, hence the switch to pitching those nearly exclusively at professionals and enthusiasts.
  • 0 Hide
    mortsmi7 , October 30, 2013 10:13 AM
    Seems to me that if your a fan of the 4:3 ratio, and want a seamless dual monitor experience, this might be the way to go. For once, a person might have reasonable room to put two windows side by side. And it sure as hell takes up less desk space than two separate monitors.
  • 0 Hide
    Nintendo Maniac 64 , October 30, 2013 12:17 PM
    Other than possibly using this with an emulator as a DS XXXL, I'm not sure what advantage this has over a 2560x1440 panel and just setting a 2560x1080 custom resolution...

    The only issue I can see would be black bars, but in my experience with a Trinitron CRT if the black bars are actually black and not grey then their presence isn't a problem at all. So being annoyed with "black" (grey) bars usually means you're actually annoyed with your display's poor black level.
  • 0 Hide
    bochica , October 30, 2013 12:46 PM
    Like a few others, I'd rather have a 27" with the same resolution (already have an ASUS IPS). Now that G-sync is starting to come out, I'd like to see IPS (or other panels better than TN) come out with G-sync.
  • 3 Hide
    lancero , October 30, 2013 12:48 PM
    Some say ultra-wide...I say ultra-SHORT.
  • 2 Hide
    blueangel , October 30, 2013 2:09 PM
    Why are we calling this 21:9 monitor... I thought the idea was to use the more reduced fraction... Can't we say 7:3 and not insult everyone's intelligence.
  • 0 Hide
    hucklongfin , October 30, 2013 3:03 PM
    I have twin 19" 1280x1024 monitors here on my desk and would much prefer one 27" 2560x1440 over my current setup or a 2560x1080. I like more vertical screen real estate.
  • 0 Hide
    burkhartmj , October 30, 2013 3:26 PM
    Oh the days when 16:10 was the high end standard. Does no one here remember the glorious days of 2560x1600?

    And BlueAngel, 21:9 is to signify a relationship with 16:9 since everyone knows that. Kind of how 16:10 should be 8:5 but no one says that because 16:10 can be more easily related to 16:9.
  • 0 Hide
    Tanquen , October 30, 2013 7:25 PM
    The Dell 3014 with 2560x1600 LED back light was on sale for like $900 just the other day.
  • 0 Hide
    ubercake , October 31, 2013 6:10 AM
    If they made a TN version panel with little input lag at this resolution and higher than 60Hz refresh with good contrast, it would be cheaper and sell like hotcakes to gamers. It would also sell to non-gamers because the price would be lower for twice the screen real estate. Most people have little need for precise color accuracy since most aren't photographers or videographers. Most people don't need extreme viewing angles on a computer monitor since they sit right in front of the thing (actually need only around 90 degrees of viewing angle or less if your head is only 12" away from a 29" screen and even less further away). Why haven't they manufactured TN panels in a greater variation of higher resolutions since 1080p and 1920x1200 hit the market, I do not know?

    We've been through days of 640x480, 800x600, 1024x768, 1280x1080, 1366x768, 1600x1900, 1650x1080, 1920x1080, 1920x1200 - I'm sure I probably left a few out - and then it stops and you have to get an IPS if you want more pixels. Does anyone know the business and why they won't give us more pixels on a TN monitor?

    I keep hoping the next review will show us an IPS monitor that will be the one that convinces me to get a higher res screen, but even the OC'd IPS monitors still have the inherent input lag.
  • 0 Hide
    burkhartmj , October 31, 2013 6:47 AM
    Quote:
    If they made a TN version panel with little input lag at this resolution and higher than 60Hz refresh with good contrast, it would be cheaper and sell like hotcakes to gamers. It would also sell to non-gamers because the price would be lower for twice the screen real estate. Most people have little need for precise color accuracy since most aren't photographers or videographers. Most people don't need extreme viewing angles on a computer monitor since they sit right in front of the thing (actually need only around 90 degrees of viewing angle or less if your head is only 12" away from a 29" screen and even less further away). Why haven't they manufactured TN panels in a greater variation of higher resolutions since 1080p and 1920x1200 hit the market, I do not know?

    We've been through days of 640x480, 800x600, 1024x768, 1280x1080, 1366x768, 1600x1900, 1650x1080, 1920x1080, 1920x1200 - I'm sure I probably left a few out - and then it stops and you have to get an IPS if you want more pixels. Does anyone know the business and why they won't give us more pixels on a TN monitor?

    I keep hoping the next review will show us an IPS monitor that will be the one that convinces me to get a higher res screen, but even the OC'd IPS monitors still have the inherent input lag.


    I have only limited knowledge of this, but firstly, TN is a known 'bad' technology. Even if people don't know how or why it's bad, a lot still have heard it is. Not that I necessarily agree, but I also own 2 Dell Ultrasharp monitors because I care for myself. Secondly, I would imagine with most smartphones using IPS that there is an economies of scale in manufacturing that makes TN less cost effective. Don't that for certain, but it wouldn't surprise me.

    I'd say another major reason that pixel increase only goes past 1200p in IPS forms is because people who wouldn't notice the difference between TN and IPS would GENERALLY not notice the difference between a 24-27 inch monitor being 1080p or 1440p, because they mostly watch content that maxes at 1080p and aren't as concerned with insane detail in games. There are always exceptions to this [as you very well might be], but it wouldn't be a large market.
  • 0 Hide
    ubercake , October 31, 2013 9:13 AM
    Quote:


    ...

    I have only limited knowledge of this, but firstly, TN is a known 'bad' technology. Even if people don't know how or why it's bad, a lot still have heard it is. Not that I necessarily agree, but I also own 2 Dell Ultrasharp monitors because I care for myself. Secondly, I would imagine with most smartphones using IPS that there is an economies of scale in manufacturing that makes TN less cost effective. Don't that for certain, but it wouldn't surprise me.

    I'd say another major reason that pixel increase only goes past 1200p in IPS forms is because people who wouldn't notice the difference between TN and IPS would GENERALLY not notice the difference between a 24-27 inch monitor being 1080p or 1440p, because they mostly watch content that maxes at 1080p and aren't as concerned with insane detail in games. There are always exceptions to this [as you very well might be], but it wouldn't be a large market.


    I think most people can tell the difference between an IPS and TN monitor, but since responsiveness (through reduced input lag and reduced response times and increased refresh rates) hasn't historically been an aim of IPS monitor manufacturers, to me, TN monitors and IPS monitors are clearly built for different purposes.

    Also, for me, it's not about insane detail but rather the ability to see more of what's going on on a single panel when it comes to gaming. As a matter of fact, I'd like the same level of detail, but the ability to see more on a single panel.

    Another question I've often pondered is I know most people's HDTVs (whether LCD, LED, or LCD/LED) don't use IPS technology, so why can I view them from just about any angle without much color or image distortion at all, but go at a PC from an angle and the TN monitor lets you know?
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