Brightness & Contrast
To read about our monitor tests in-depth, please check out Display Testing Explained: How We Test Monitors and TVs. Brightness and Contrast testing is covered on page two.
Uncalibrated – Maximum Backlight Level
Today’s group is all premium IPS panels with clear business intent. We have the EA245WMi’s stablemate, the EA275WMi, along with the 27" BenQ PD2700Q, Acer BE270U, and Nixeus PRO Vue 27P. Representing the 16:10 category is Dell’s UP3017, which also features a wide gamut option and factory calibration.
NEC rates the EA245WMi at 300cd/m2 but our sample handily exceeded that, topping out at 353.2300cd/m2. That’s sufficient output to offset any loss in brightness caused by the uniformity compensation. We’ll show you its effects below.
The black level is unimpressive at .4195cd/m2. That results in a contrast ratio of 842:1 which is a bit lower than we’d like to see. You can see that IPS panels generally fall into a narrow window of contrast and black level quality, but 1000:1 is still our benchmark for any computer monitor.
Uncalibrated – Minimum Backlight Level
We’ve reviewed a lot of NEC monitors, and until now they’ve all bottomed out at extremely dim backlight levels. Our problem with this approach is two-fold. First, there’s not much you can do with a monitor that peaks at less than 10cd/m2. The image is barely visible. Second, a wide backlight range means less precision with a 100-step control. We like to see increments of 2-3cd/m2 at most to make it easy for users to find their preference. NEC has changed course with the EA245WMi by raising the minimum to an ideal 55.4443cd/m2. This is a great level for working in a completely dark space. Contrast remains consistent at 837:1.
After Calibration to 200cd/m2
The effects of the EA245WMi’s uniformity compensation are clearly focused on the higher end of the brightness scale. There is no appreciable change in black level. Peak output is reduced by 35% though. And that means contrast is lower by the same amount. You can compensate for the output drop by raising the brightness slider. That won’t help contrast, however. And it seems calibration has reduced dynamic range slightly as well.
ANSI Contrast Ratio
Happily, the ANSI value is slightly higher than the calibrated sequential result. That means intra-image contrast is reasonably good, though the EA245WMi’s picture won’t have quite as much pop as the best screens in today’s group. While this is undoubtedly a quality panel, its contrast is a tad lower than average.