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NEC PA322UHD 32-Inch Ultra HD Monitor Review

We haven’t seen any new IGZO UHD panels for a while, but NEC surprised us with its PA322UHD. Priced at the level of a precision instrument, it promises accuracy with a factory calibration. Today we test it in our labs.

NEC PA322UHD, Ultra-Performance, Ultra HD

Obviously there aren’t legions of computer users willing to spend $3000 on a monitor, regardless of its quality or performance. But if you're familiar with the audiophile’s “one-percent rule”, then the PA322UHD makes perfect sense.

In a majority of electronics categories, it’s possible to purchase 99 percent of the best performance for a reasonable amount of money. You won’t get that 99 percent from the value-oriented products, but step up a bit and you'll find it. Our monitor reviews reflect this phenomenon pretty well. If you look at screens in the $500 to $1000 range, you’ll find great-performing monitors with excellent accuracy, contrast and features that come fairly close to the top professional models.

The big jump in price happens when you go after the final one percent. There are computer users (and audiophiles, myself included) who are willing to pay just about anything to achieve as much of that last percentage point as possible. It often comes at a premium of two or three times the median cost. In this review, for instance, comparisons between BenQ's BL3201PT and NEC's PA322UHD are inevitable. In terms of accuracy, contrast and build quality, they’re really close. The NEC has a slight edge, but for three times the money. What does that extra $2000 get you? Well, a wide gamut for starters, plus a precise calibration engine that is pretty much unrivaled. You also get a four-year warranty and a monitor that’s built like Fort Knox.

The closer comparison should be to Dell's UP3214Q. Until now it was the only wide-gamut option available in a 32-inch form factor. And though it’s a first-gen product, it still outperforms newer monitors (it even edges out this NEC in a few areas). Overall though, the PA322UHD delivers a tiny bit more contrast, better out-of-box grayscale accuracy and roughly the same level of color quality. It also provides greater flexibility, more precise calibration controls and build quality that’s second to none.

So if you’re after that last one percent and need the absolute best money can buy (at least for now), the NEC PA322UHD is the clear choice. We’ve been impressed with every NEC product we’ve reviewed so far, and this new jumbo Ultra HD screen is no exception. For its exceptional performance, solid engineering, physical quality and feature set, we’re giving it the Tom’s Hardware Recommended award.

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

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  • Nuckles_56
    I was wondering and couldn't see anywhere but what HDMI and display port versions is the panel using?
    Reply
  • MonsterCookie
    In this bad economy, where especially the "first wirld" countries are affected who kould pay for such toys, asking 3000$ (nowadays the same as 3000Euros) is almost ludacris. That is the price for a decent used car.

    Please just make first standard 30-inch 256x1600 screens available for an affordable price, and only after that is done, hope to sell these gems on the market.

    No offence, but here in Europe things are running so bad, that even design companies (where color accuracy is important are outsourcing), and they definitely cannot afford to splash 3000Euros of a darn computer screen.
    Not even talking about the private sector.
    Reply
  • MonsterCookie
    I know that that there will be hundreds of people commenting that for them this monitor is cheap.
    Well, lucky YOU!

    In socialist (nowadays becoming almost communist) countries like within the EU, where the state steals 48% of our salary as tax, we do *NOT* make six figures to pay for these things. Period.

    Btw, Tom's. Why on earth is there no Edit button?
    Just noticed that I made lots of typos in my first post because I was so angry at the price...
    Reply
  • beebbeeb
    The other top dog is Eizo, and the proper comparator is obviously Eizo ColourEdge series. Hope that Tom's Hardware will do a review of Eizo soon.
    Reply
  • Tanquen
    This is kind of out there. My 5 year old Dell U3011 (16:10, 2560x1600) was $950 when I got 2 of them, has 10-bit color and works fine. Going up to edge lit LED at 3840x2160 (16:9 Yuck!) , 5 years later for $3000 is too much. For $2000 it should be 4096x2160 or 5120x3200 (16:10) and have a better multi zone LED back light and have a better response time.

    TVs are bigger and do it for much less.

    Eizo and LG have 30"-ish 4096x2160 displays for less and what is with the bezels still being so huge. Look how deep this this is, why is the bezel so big. Again, bigger TVs have small bezels and people actually want to put two or three PC monitors next to each other.
    Reply
  • Tanquen
    Oops.
    Reply
  • Shankovich
    Some comments aren't realizing this is a professional oriented monitor. Targeted to artists, video editors, probably some types of engineers. Not for gaming guys (though it could game quite well it seems)
    Reply
  • mechanus
    If I had $3000 I'd start a business like selling stuff on amazon instead of spend it on a lot tiny light bulbs under a glass sheet.
    Reply
  • mechanus
    If I had $3000 I'd start a business like selling stuff on amazon instead of spend it on a lot tiny light bulbs under a glass sheet.
    Reply
  • Narcissistic_Martyr
    Looks like a good professional monitor. Not for gamers of course though.
    Reply