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NEC EA275WMi 27-inch QHD IPS Monitor Review

There are few monitors engineered or built better than those from NEC. Today we’re testing the EA275WMi, a 27" QHD-resolution IPS panel with features that will appeal to enterprise and business-class users.

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

There are many business-class 27" QHD monitors available to choose from in today’s market, but we haven’t reviewed one in quite a while. To have more recent subjects in the group, we included two Ultra HD models: NEC’s EA275UHD and ViewSonic’s VP2780-4K. Also present is the venerable Asus PB278Q. Although it’s two years old, you can still buy one. Completing the roundup is our review subject’s predecessor, the EA274WMi; and AOC’s C2783FQ, an FHD monitor with a VA panel.

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Light output from NEC displays is always prodigious and always exceeds the published rating. We measured nearly 400cd/m2 from our sample, which makes it bright enough for outdoor use without shade if necessary.

The black level is a little lower than average among the IPS panels here, but it can’t come close to the VA-based C2783FQ. If it’s contrast you crave, that screen has more than double the amount of even the best IPS and TN displays.

Resulting contrast at the backlight’s maximum level is a respectable 1127.7:1. It edges out the other IPS monitors in the group and most of the examples we’ve tested to date. The EA275WMi’s image is rich and detailed with plenty of depth, brightness, and reasonably vivid color.

Uncalibrated – Minimum Backlight Level

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NEC’s tradition is to offer extremely low backlight output when the brightness slider is bottomed out. We wouldn’t use the monitor this way even in the dark; the picture is just too dim. Another downside to this approach is every click of the slider represents nearly 4cd/m2. That’s a little coarse and hinders precise control of light output. The ideal range would be 50-350cd/m2 with at least 150 adjustment steps and 2cd/m2 resolution.

The minimum black level is quite low, which is no surprise but contrast remains near the 1100:1 mark. As expected, the EA275WMi has a consistent backlight control with the same contrast available throughout its range.

After Calibration to 200cd/m2

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The EA275WMi has a uniformity compensation feature that mainly works at the high end of the brightness scale. Black levels are barely affected but output is cut by around 33%. That means contrast is also reduced, 29% in the case of our sample. You’ll see in our tests on page six that the compensation has a positive impact, but the monitor has excellent uniformity already and doesn’t need further help.

ANSI Contrast Ratio

The EA275WMi’s ANSI contrast result is only a bit lower than the sequential one. That demonstrates the build quality we expect and always see from NEC products. The grid polarizer and other screen layers are fitted precisely and properly, which prevents any visible light bleed between dark and bright areas of the checkerboard pattern. High intra-image contrast like this further enhances the perception of resolution and detail. It doesn’t get much better than this, even when you up the pixel count to Ultra HD levels.

Christian Eberle
Christian Eberle is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He's a veteran reviewer of A/V equipment, specializing in monitors.