NEC EA305WMi 30-inch 16:10 IPS Monitor Review

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Packaging, Physical Layout And Accessories

Like most NEC monitors, the EA305WMi ships fully assembled in a large heavy-duty carton. Once you remove the top foam blocks, simply lift the whole thing out of the box. The power supply is internal so an IEC power cord is provided. Connectivity is supported by USB 3.0, DVI and DisplayPort cables. You also get a ControlSync wire to connect multiple NEC monitors together. In this configuration they can share settings making enterprise installations a snap. A printed setup guide is included but if you want a full users’ manual, it must be downloaded from NEC’s website.

Product 360

The EA305WMi requires a bit more desktop space but it’s not because of the base which at first glance seems too small to support such a large panel. But in typical NEC fashion, the whole package seems as if it’s carved from billet. The workmanship and build quality is second-to-none and there is absolutely no play or imprecision in any of the upright’s movements.

The anti-glare layer is like that of most monitors we test; aggressive but free of artifacts or texture. Even with dark images on-screen, ambient light reflections are kept to an absolute minimum.

While we’ve become fans of OSD joystick controllers like those found on LG and some BenQ monitors, NEC touch-sensitive keys are our second favorite. Lots of companies do touch buttons but NEC has found the perfect level of responsiveness. You don’t quite need a firm press but the keys won’t react to a whim either. And you can tap them as fast as you want; they’ll fire every time. The screened-on labels are a bit small for middle-aged eyes like mine but icons pop up on the screen next to them that are much easier to see.

The rock-solid stand supports full tilt (25 degrees back, 5 forward), swivel (over 300 degrees), height (5.1 inches) and portrait adjustments. The physical feeling of quality and heft is something you won’t find in any other monitor. NEC displays may not be in everyone’s budget but in terms of build, they are priced properly.

If having a slim and sleek monitor on your desk is a goal, NEC may not be for you. The EA305WMi’s tank-like build quality means the panel and its internals are heavily shielded and thoroughly ventilated. This is a monitor that will likely last through many system upgrades. The styling is functional-industrial which means nothing is done without a purpose. The top grill also hides the two built-in speakers which are capable of decent volume though tinny in character. If you want to use your own bracket or mount, the stand comes off by removing four bolts. The lugs are 100mm VESA compatible.

NEC includes plenty of video interface choices on the down-facing jack panel. From the left we have a DVI-I (analog or digital) port, HDMI and two DisplayPorts, one in and one out for multi-stream configurations. The two small connectors are for ControlSync. That interface allows daisy-chaining of multiple NEC screens to make installation easier. Next is an analog audio input and on the right are the USB 3.0 upstream and downstream ports. A third USB connection is found on the left side along with a headphone output.

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.