Packaging, Physical Layout, And Accessories
NEC packages the EA274WMi in a very sturdy double-corrugated carton. There is plenty of rigid and semi-rigid foam to keep the contents from shifting during transport. If you're getting this thing shipped, there should be no reason for it to arrive damaged.
Bundled with the monitor is a standard IEC power cord for the internal power supply. You also get DVI and VGA cables, but not DisplayPort. Ancillary pieces include a USB 3.0 A to B connector, as well as a 3.5 mm audio cable and NEC’s proprietary ControlSync cable. This is used to daisy-chain multiple NEC monitors so they can share setup parameters. Rounding out the box is a Quick Start Guide. There is no printed manual, nor is there a CD enclosed. But you can download all of the relevant documentation from NEC’s website.
NEC’s styling is firmly industrial, and function is clearly the top priority. The bezel is squared off and looks a bit wide, but is in fact only 20 millimeters across on all sides. That actually makes it smaller than most of the other monitors we've reviewed. Putting multiple EA274WMis on a desk becomes an attractive proposition since you only end up with 40 mm between screens.
Speaking of the screen, it is covered with an effective anti-glare layer, though it’s not the most aggressive implementation we’ve seen. Image clarity is preserved well and all, but the harshest reflections are rendered invisible. The high-impact black plastic of the panel and chassis also serve to absorb light. All in all, it’s a design that gets the job done without calling attention to itself.
There is a complete set of positioning adjustments available thanks to a sturdy base and upright.
Not only can you rotate the EA274WMi to portrait mode, you have almost 360 degrees of swivel and around 40 degrees of tilt, which is a good deal more than we're accustomed to. All of the movements are smooth and sure, with no slop and little effort required. Build quality falls firmly in the high-end category. This is something we saw in NEC EA294WMi 29" Monitor Review: 21:9 At Twice The Price as well.
Side-mounted USB ports are not unusual, but a headphone jack sure is. Most monitors relegate audio connections to the input panel where you have to plug in your cans by feel. Who wants to do that? Other vendors should be taking note right about now. The only flaw is that the USB ports are 2.0-capable. The USB 3.0 connectors are on the rear input panel.
Here’s a close-up of the control panel.
The buttons are touch-sensitive, obviously. And the labels are almost unnecessary because when you touch Menu, icons appear on the screen telling you each function. See the next section for more detail on that. We like this feature because it’s easier to read labels on the screen than on a black bezel, especially in the dark.
Around back there is cable management built in to the upright and two 100 mm VESA mounts for use with aftermarket brackets and monitor arms. You can see the large bulge that contains most of the EA274WMi’s innards along with a pair of 1 W speakers. You're able to feed digital audio via HDMI or DisplayPort, or use a 3.5 mm stereo cable. Sound quality is centered in the upper mid-range only for a somewhat tinny presentation. It’s fine for basic Windows sounds, though you'll want something better for movies. Ventilation and shielding are substantial, and the panel is fairly thick as a result at 2.6 inches (67 mm).
The input panel has a couple of features that are becoming increasingly rare on newer displays, namely VGA and DVI inputs. While we don’t expect many users to connect a QHD monitor to an analog source, it’s nice to have the option. To send a full-resolution signal, you’ll need to use DVI or DisplayPort. The USB ports down there are 3.0-compatible, both upstream and down. The round blue jack is a 3.5 mm audio input and the black and white ones represent NEC’s ControlSync feature.