NEC EA305WMi 30-inch 16:10 IPS Monitor Review

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Despite its near-disappearance in the marketplace, we’re still fans of the 16:10 aspect ratio. The bonus vertical space is a benefit for both general computing and entertainment. Even if one watches a lot of movies on their computer monitor, the black bars are only a small distraction. And since games typically scale themselves to any resolution or format, it doesn’t really matter what shape the screen is.

Unfortunately we’re only left with a couple of size options, 24 (1920x1200) and 30 inches (2560x1600). And very few of those offer advanced features like factory calibration, wide gamut or high refresh rates. The panel manufacturing industry has moved overwhelmingly to the 16:9 format.

NEC has listened to user feedback and not only kept 16:10 alive, it has updated the industry’s slim choices with modern technology, precise function and the same attention to detail found in other flagship products. The EA305WMi represents NEC well.

We always comment on NEC’s fantastic build quality in every review we write. Regardless of model line or price point, you can bank on the fact that a monitor from this company will be a seriously solid piece of kit. And that quality extends to the internal components too.

Panel parts for this particular monitor size and resolution have been in existence for a while but NEC was not going to simply resurrect old tech to increase its display offerings. The LG piece used in the EA305WMi sports a bright and accurate GB-r-LED backlight and an IPS pixel structure for image quality that matches the best products in its own lines and those of its competitors.

Our tests showed reasonable, if not stellar out-of-box accuracy, which was easily corrected by calibration. Gamma proved to be as close to perfection as any professional display we’re aware of. The only omission here is an sRGB gamut option. That is a function of this display’s inclusion in the EA line. Aimed more at the enterprise, and therefore more general use, it’s designed to deliver vibrant color and a clear image at the expense of conformation to multiple color standards. We will however be revisiting this particular issue when we review the PA302W professional display which is due to arrive in the lab any day.

The decision to purchase an NEC monitor is not one solely based on price. Many users shop that way and the pursuit of value is certainly important. But this company has never sought to compete on that front. It is more concerned with delivering the best possible quality, flexibility and a comprehensive feature list that makes its displays tools of the trade rather than a component destined for replacement at the earliest signs of upgrade-itis.

Despite a few minor flaws which do not affect its ability to perform to its design goal, we like the EA305WMi and would gladly use it for day-to-day tasks. It has tremendously usable screen real estate, ideal pixel density and the durability to remain reliable through years of use. For its solid performance and build quality we’re giving it our Tom’s Editor Approved Award.

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Christian Eberle is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware, covering Monitors.

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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.