NEC PA322UHD 32-Inch Ultra HD Monitor Review

We haven’t seen any new IGZO UHD panels for a while, but NEC surprised us with its PA322UHD. Priced at the level of a precision instrument, it promises accuracy with a factory calibration. Today we test it in our labs.

We’ve been reviewing Ultra HD monitors from every major manufacturer for over a year. The first-gen models, all of which are still for sale, were based on IGZO technology (similar to IPS, but with a potentially more responsive pixel structure). Those screens from Dell, Sharp and Asus originally sold for $3000 and up. They've since dropped to saner prices, though. In fact, the Dell UP3214Q - still a great monitor by today’s standards - can be had for well under $2000.

Today we’re checking out the latest IGZO-based panel on the market, NEC’s PA322UHD. It gets us back up to that $3000 level. But compared to the others, the PA322UHD offers even better performance and build quality. It's a great addition to the pro-oriented PA line of precision monitors. With a self-adjusting mode that doesn’t require a computer and a wide-gamut option, professionals shopping for a jumbo Ultra HD screen may have a new top-end model to lust over.

Specifications

The PA322UHD is indeed based on a Sharp IGZO panel - in this case the newest wide-gamut version sporting a white LED backlight. Its main feature is a native 10-bit color depth, to which NEC adds a 14-bit 3D look-up table. This means you can use it with a native 10-bit signal and add even more color choices by means of your graphics software to create a larger palette. The gamut doesn’t go beyond Adobe RGB; you simply have more shades of each color available. And if sRGB is all you need, that gamut is included too.

NEC’s PA line is all about creating professional tools. Given the results from our benchmark suite, we’d take that a step further and call this screen a precision instrument. Calibration isn’t necessary thanks to a factory-certified process that renders all color and white point errors below one DeltaE. That’s well below the visible threshold of three DeltaE. And yes, our measurements confirm the factory’s to within a very tight tolerance.

For those who like to tweak, NEC still provides a huge array of options in the OSD. There is a full color management system capable of adjusting hue, saturation and luminance for each color. Or, you can use the x and y coordinates to dial in color points precisely. Coupled with dead-perfect gamma presets and a high-resolution white balance adjustment, you only need a meter and the appropriate software to achieve fantastic results.

If you don’t have the means, NEC offers SpectraView software, which works with a variety of instruments to set the PA322UHD to whatever standard you desire. And for those looking for a quick occasional touch-up, again, the monitor can calibrate itself without the use of a computer.

NEC's price is high, but so is the comprehensiveness of this screen's feature set. Is it a worthy addition to the Ultra HD monitor ranks? Let’s take a look.

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  • Nuckles_56
    I was wondering and couldn't see anywhere but what HDMI and display port versions is the panel using?
    0
  • MonsterCookie
    In this bad economy, where especially the "first wirld" countries are affected who kould pay for such toys, asking 3000$ (nowadays the same as 3000Euros) is almost ludacris. That is the price for a decent used car.

    Please just make first standard 30-inch 256x1600 screens available for an affordable price, and only after that is done, hope to sell these gems on the market.

    No offence, but here in Europe things are running so bad, that even design companies (where color accuracy is important are outsourcing), and they definitely cannot afford to splash 3000Euros of a darn computer screen.
    Not even talking about the private sector.
    -6
  • MonsterCookie
    I know that that there will be hundreds of people commenting that for them this monitor is cheap.
    Well, lucky YOU!

    In socialist (nowadays becoming almost communist) countries like within the EU, where the state steals 48% of our salary as tax, we do *NOT* make six figures to pay for these things. Period.

    Btw, Tom's. Why on earth is there no Edit button?
    Just noticed that I made lots of typos in my first post because I was so angry at the price...
    -7
  • beebbeeb
    The other top dog is Eizo, and the proper comparator is obviously Eizo ColourEdge series. Hope that Tom's Hardware will do a review of Eizo soon.
    0
  • Tanquen
    This is kind of out there. My 5 year old Dell U3011 (16:10, 2560x1600) was $950 when I got 2 of them, has 10-bit color and works fine. Going up to edge lit LED at 3840x2160 (16:9 Yuck!) , 5 years later for $3000 is too much. For $2000 it should be 4096x2160 or 5120x3200 (16:10) and have a better multi zone LED back light and have a better response time.

    TVs are bigger and do it for much less.

    Eizo and LG have 30"-ish 4096x2160 displays for less and what is with the bezels still being so huge. Look how deep this this is, why is the bezel so big. Again, bigger TVs have small bezels and people actually want to put two or three PC monitors next to each other.
    2
  • Tanquen
    Oops.
    0
  • Shankovich
    Some comments aren't realizing this is a professional oriented monitor. Targeted to artists, video editors, probably some types of engineers. Not for gaming guys (though it could game quite well it seems)
    1
  • mechanus
    If I had $3000 I'd start a business like selling stuff on amazon instead of spend it on a lot tiny light bulbs under a glass sheet.
    -4
  • mechanus
    If I had $3000 I'd start a business like selling stuff on amazon instead of spend it on a lot tiny light bulbs under a glass sheet.
    -2
  • Narcissistic_Martyr
    Looks like a good professional monitor. Not for gamers of course though.
    1
  • Antiphonal
    Some hilarious comments on this article. Clearly one of the very best monitors for high-precision color work, and people are comparing the cost to... starting a business selling things through the Amazon marketplace??? Discussing EU politics and taxation??? Televisions??? (LOL)

    That's called missing the point. Ugh.
    2
  • MonsterCookie
    Quote:
    Some hilarious comments on this article. Clearly one of the very best monitors for high-precision color work, and people are comparing the cost to... starting a business selling things through the Amazon marketplace??? Discussing EU politics and taxation??? Televisions??? (LOL)
    That's called missing the point. Ugh.

    As you see, I am not they only one who is not buying into the new realm of monitor-manufacturer nonsense.
    I was actually waiting since YEARS ago for an affordable 2560x1600 monitor, and finally I got a Dell second had.
    You can downvote my post as much as you want, it is still a FACT that monitor technology have not improved/gotten cheaper in the last 5 years.

    Regarding EU, if you would have a Masters degree in applied science, working in your fied 11 years ago, and the price of this monitor would be more than 10% of your yearly salary, trust me, you would be also moaning about your taxes...
    Don't worry, sadly these times will soon come to the USA as well.
    -2
  • mapesdhs
    MonsterCookie, I guess you don't understand basic economics. If a monitor for a particular target market can easily sell at a particular price, no way is the maker going to offer it cheaper just because some people would like that to be the case. Many companies can easily afford products such as this, and many of those are in Europe (govt., oil/gas, auto, medical, pharma, movie companies, etc.) Costly monitors are by definition not aimed at those who can't afford them, so your moaning is kinda pointless. If you can't afford it, then buy something cheaper, or look for used bargains, as I did recently when buying a refurb monitor for a friend.

    Ian.
    1
  • MonsterCookie
    Quote:
    Costly monitors are by definition not aimed at those who can't afford them, so your moaning is kinda pointless. If you can't afford it, then buy something cheaper, or look for used bargains, as I did recently when buying a refurb monitor for a friend.

    Ian.

    -1
  • soldier44
    A lot of haters here. This isn't geared towards the sub $1000 gaming monitor crowd. Some of you sub $500 crowd. Get what you pay for. Want the best have to pay up. Get educated get a good job make a good living you can have one of these too. Stop whining about the price.
    0
  • MonsterCookie
    I do not know what is going on with the comments on Tom's hardware, but most probably they have outsourced it to the cheapest third world country bidder as well, this is why there is no Edit button, and if you press Quote and try to edit your comment, it just submits it.

    Anyway, long story short:
    why is there until this day no decent 2560x1600 monitor on the market, or if they wanted 4K, than make it at least 40inch with thin bezel and 16:10?

    Instead, the manufacturers pursue completely WRONG directions, go to small screen (32inch is NOT a large screen), trashy 16:9 ratios with HUGE plastic frames so I could not have 3 screens on my desk even if I could afford it.

    What particularly annoys me, is that they try to sell it as a "revolutionary new technology" for 3000Euros for artists and engineers.
    Honestly, most artists are even more broke than I am broke, and most young engineers make less cash than I do.
    0
  • MonsterCookie
    Quote:
    Get educated get a good job make a good living you can have one of these too. Stop whining about the price.

    As I understand, a Masters degree in IT-related field, a Linux LPIC and Cisco CCNA certification does not count as education for you...
    Be happy that in the US you can still negotiate your salary. Here in the EU you got the same option like for the airplane food: you eat it our you get nothing else.

    My colleague in Spain working for a gov. insitution the same job, and often does not receive his salary for 2-3 months... You probably do not even want to know how things are going in Greece.
    0
  • photonboy
    MonsterCookie,
    Strange comment about size/ratio. The companies aren't going in the "wrong direction" rather what people BUY dictates that. Since 16x9 is standard now that's the direction it's going.

    As for "32 is not enough" I think that's a ridiculous statement. If a screen is too large you have to swivel your head all over the place or else put the monitor really far from you which is silly.

    You also strangely say 32" isn't large enough yet also complain the "large" bezel size means you can't fit THREE of them? So the monitor's too small yet you don't have enough desk space for larger?
    0
  • Arabian Knight
    16:9 is no good for a $3000 Monitor .. sorry NEC at Least 16:10 is acceptable for that price .
    -1
  • mapesdhs
    Anonymous said:
    Instead, the manufacturers pursue completely WRONG directions ...


    There were good 1600-height monitors way back, but market demand shifted the focus to 1440 models. Today, 1600 models are consequently more expensive, but they do exist, just as 1200 height units are also available, many at decent prices. As for bezels, there are plenty of models with thin bezels, just check reviews, etc. trustedreviews.com is a good site, but there are many others.

    Post editing is supported on the toms uk site. Navigate to the start of the comments section at the end of the article, observe where it says, "Display all X comments" (where X is some number). Just to the right of that is a double-quote icon (if you let your mouse hover, it will pop-up with, 'View thread in forum'); click on this icon and it will switch to the UK site where you can edit your comments with either a quick edit or full edit function.

    I believe the toms staff are working on unifying the sites, but the process is not yet complete.

    Ian.
    -1