NEC EA274WMi Monitor Review: Eco-Friendly At 2560x1440

NEC EA274WMi: A High-Performance 27" Monitor

Over the past 14 months or so, we’ve reviewed 11 different QHD displays at 2560x1440. In that time, more consistent contrast performance, greater image accuracy, selectable color gamuts, and factory calibration have all become more prevalent. But one trend we haven't seen yet is lower price points. Unless you opt for a Korean gray-market screen, you’re still looking at an outlay of at least $600. And if you need capabilities like an Adobe RGB gamut or pinpoint accuracy, expect to write an even larger check.

Because of the standstill in LCD panel prices (across the board, really; cheaper displays aren't going down either), QHD remains more of a resolution for professionals and power users rather than mainstream gamers. Cost isn't the only obstacle, either. There still aren't any high-res monitors suitable for the latest fast-paced titles. Unless you mod the control board, you’re stuck with 60 Hz and enough input lag to make quick-reacting enthusiasts cringe as their TN-wielding opponents deliver the kill shot.

For business and graphics users, however, QHD is now a must-have. The 27-inch size is a price and performance sweet spot when you’re talking about high pixel density. The last few 2560x1440 screens I reviewed set new benchmarks for clarity; so much so, in fact, that DPI scaling is no longer necessary to see small text. And when we get an old-school FHD monitor in for review, Windows suddenly looks like a large-font children’s book. I find myself reaching for the scroll bars much more often as a result. Trust me, once you acclimate to QHD, it’s really hard to go back!

Our subject today is NEC’s EA274WMi. Looking at the company's description and specs, we can see this display isn’t aimed at graphics pros or photographers. Rather, NEC is catering to the “high-performance enterprise user.” There’s no factory calibration or wide-gamut option. Nor is there 12- or 14-bit color output. What you do get is a well-engineered monitor built to a high standard and packed with features that are appropriate to a productivity-oriented desktop.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Panel TypeAH-IPS
BacklightW-LED, edge array
Screen Size27-inch
Max Resolution2560x1440
Max Refresh Rate60 Hz
Aspect Ratio16:9
Native Color Depth8-bit
Native GamutsRGB
Response Time (GTG)6 ms
Brightness350 cd/m2
Speakers2 x 1 W
DisplayPort v1.21
HDMI 1.41
Audio In1
USBv3.0: 1 up, 2 downv2.0: 2 down
Media card reader-
Panel DimensionsW x H x D w/base25.2 x 16.5-21.6 x 9.1 in639 x 418-548 x 230 mm
Panel Thickness2.6 in / 67 mm
Weight19.2 lbs / 8.7 kg
WarrantyThree years

NEC differentiates the EA274WMi from its other QHD offerings in a few different ways. First is the price. At $800, this is the least-expensive high-res model in the line. Second, the next-up PA272W includes the wider Adobe RGB gamut, a 14-bit internal LUT, and software calibration options. Look for that screen in an upcoming review.

The EA274WMi is lit by a white LED edge array like the majority of IPS monitors on the market. NEC specs this panel as IPS versus AH-IPS for its higher-priced screens, but a check of the panel part database tells us the EA274WMi is AH-IPS as well. The core is made by LG, features a native sRGB gamut, and 8-bit color depth for both the input and output signals.

We talked about bit depth recently in ViewSonic VP2772 27-Inch QHD Professional Monitor Review. While a 10- or 12-bit panel is a normal complement for a pro photographer’s workstation, you also need a full 10-bit signal path to take advantage of it. NEC's monitor is spec’d just fine for any task you might need it for.

What you’re really paying for here is rugged build quality and energy-saving features. NEC takes those characteristics very seriously by including controls to automatically lower brightness and even shut down the screen when you leave your desk. Admittedly, there's a bit of fun in using the carbon footprint and energy cost indicators on the EA274WMi, sort of like watching the charging gauges on a Prius. Let’s take a closer look.

Christian Eberle
Contributing Editor

Christian Eberle is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He's a veteran reviewer of A/V equipment, specializing in monitors. Christian began his obsession with tech when he built his first PC in 1991, a 286 running DOS 3.0 at a blazing 12MHz. In 2006, he undertook training from the Imaging Science Foundation in video calibration and testing and thus started a passion for precise imaging that persists to this day. He is also a professional musician with a degree from the New England Conservatory as a classical bassoonist which he used to good effect as a performer with the West Point Army Band from 1987 to 2013. He enjoys watching movies and listening to high-end audio in his custom-built home theater and can be seen riding trails near his home on a race-ready ICE VTX recumbent trike. Christian enjoys the endless summer in Florida where he lives with his wife and Chihuahua and plays with orchestras around the state.

  • mikenygmail
    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. "
  • SessouXFX
    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.
  • airborne11b
    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?
  • Jess Castro
    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.
  • Bondfc11
    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.
  • Bondfc11
    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!
  • nebun
    everyone is talking about qhd this and qhd that....don't forget to upgrade your graphic'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 it rus room is wayyyy to hot when i start gaming.
  • Tanquen
    16:9 :(

    I got my 30" 16:10 2560x1600 LCDs like three years ago for $980-ish.
  • somebodyspecial
    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.
    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.
  • cangelini
    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 :)