In the land of cubicles, 24" monitors are probably among the most common panels gracing the average desktop. They have enough pixel density, even at FHD resolution, to provide a sharp image capable of resolving fine detail and small fonts. And IPS panels in this form factor don’t cost an arm and a leg. At the premium level, we have screens like today’s review subject, the NEC EA245WMi. In addition to unmatched build quality and precise engineering, you get a comprehensive set of enterprise features like ControlSync, SpectraView II calibration software, and solid, reliable video performance.
To gamers and enthusiasts, NEC monitors may not inspire excitement, but to IT managers responsible for supporting thousands of workstations, there are few better displays. EA-series screens combine rugged build quality with features that make them super easy to install, configure, and manage.
In our recent review of the EA275WMi, we took an in-depth look at ControlSync and SpectraView II. The former is a simple cable that connects up to five NEC displays and allows them to share menu settings in real time. You can literally adjust brightness on the primary panel and watch the changes happen on the subordinate monitors.
SpectraView II is NEC’s proprietary calibration software that ships with either a Spyder or X-rite-sourced color meter. It’s an extra-cost option but we still like it better than any other manufacturer’s solution. Outside a universal package like CalMAN, SpectraView is easily the best way to ensure color accuracy for most models in NEC’s line.
The EA245WMi also has something few other displays can boast – a 16:10 aspect ratio. That extra height makes this 24" monitor a lot more useful, especially in the portrait mode. 1200 pixels is a little greater than the sizing of typical websites. And document editing is a task this format was born for. These days, it’s harder to find this ratio in rank-and-file products, but NEC has kept the flame burning with this and the jumbo EA305WMi and PA302W monitors. Is the EA245WMi a worthy stablemate to these two titans? Let’s take a look.
Packaging, Physical Layout & Accessories
The carton is as solid and secure as its contents. Thick double-corrugate cardboard protects a panel that already has the upright installed. All you need to do is attach the base with a captive bolt. The cable bundle includes DisplayPort, USB 3.0, and ControlSync. An IEC cord supplies current to the internal power supply. If you purchase the SV version of the monitor, you get a copy of SpectraView II on a neat USB drive shaped like a credit card with the license number printed on it. The software is available with either an i1 Display Pro or a Spyder5 colorimeter. Our review package included two monitors along with the i1/SpectraView II bundle.
NEC is known for its chunky, industrial styling, but the EA245WMi is a departure from that. The chassis is sleek and thin with a miniscule 6mm flush-mounted bezel. The frame disappears when the power’s off but it’s visible during use. Across the bottom, the trim is wider at 16mm and on the right are the expected touch-sensitive controls. We prefer the joystick method of OSD navigation, but NEC has the best touch keys in the business. They respond to moderate pressure and never miss or repeat commands unintentionally. Small icons appear on the screen to let you know their functions. Also on the bottom trim strip are room-light and user-presence sensors. They work with auto-brightness and auto-off features. The anti-glare layer is aggressive in use but it doesn’t compromise image clarity.
The stand is a heavily-built upright with a round base. Its movements are firm and completely free of play. You won’t find a mount like this on most other 24" screens. It feels as though it could support a much larger panel. The height adjustment is 100mm or just under 4”. Swivel is 45° in either direction and you get 30° backward and 5° forward tilt. Topping it off is a portrait mode which we suspect many users will take advantage of.
The side profile could be called NEC-light. The shape is unmistakable, but instead of the usual heavy and thick panel, everything is scaled down to a trim 48mm (less than 2”). On the left side is a USB 3.0 hub with one upstream port and three downstream ones. We’d prefer to see the upstream port on the bottom since you need it to run SpectraView II. Having a cable run out the side and under your desk is a bit awkward. Also, there's a headphone jack, which we appreciate.
Around back is a 100mm VESA mount and generous ventilation for the internal components. Everything is heavily shielded so there should be no EM interference with any nearby electronics. Speakers are small and relatively weak, but they are adequate for business use.
The input panel includes DisplayPort in and out connectors plus HDMI 2.0, DVI, and VGA. Analog audio is supported with a single 3.5mm jack. The small black and white plugs are for ControlSync. One monitor is designated as the primary. The cable runs from its output to the next panel’s input, and so on, up to five screens total.
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