NEC MultiSync E231W review
The business-friendly design may not turn any heads, but the E231W's adjustable stand may appeal; however image quality suffers from dull colours.
Review Date: 13 Dec 2010
Price when reviewed: £206
Reviewed By: Barry de la Rosa
With its square, plain design and adjustable stand, the Full HD NEC MultiSync E231W is a typical business monitor. It includes comprehensive Eco settings, including a screen that lets you see how much carbon and money you've saved. Whether the wind is behind or in front of you as you drive to work probably makes more difference to your carbon usage, and the E231W's LED backlight means it only draws 24W in any case.
As it ships, the picture is far too dark, so we turned it up to 100 per cent. We found that this produced an image with excellent contrast. Colours weren't as vivid as some other displays on test, but that's partly because of the matt screen finish. However, try as we might, we couldn't get the bright, vivid colours we found on other screens.
Contrast was exemplary, though: every thread in clothing and every wrinkle in a face was shown up, with deep blacks in shadows and detail still visible in sun-drenched scenes. If there's a chink in the E231W's armour, it's the matt screen finish. While it reduces reflections from overhead lights, it does add a noticeable grain to the image.
NEC's menu system is clear and easy to navigate using a small joystick control. Auto-brightness can monitor ambient light and/or white content in the image to adjust brightness, and there are comprehensive colour controls ranging from 5000K to 9300K, with fine control of each, plus sRGB and Native.
The E231W's stand can be raised and lowered, and you can also swivel it into portrait mode, which can be great if it's used as a second monitor to read web pages or documents, where vertical space is more valuable than horizontal space. It's also the only monitor here with a DisplayPort port.
It lacks some features, such as a USB hub or an HDMI input - although with DHCP support via DVI, the lack of an HDMI input is irrelevant, as there aren't any speakers through which to play audio. However for the price, we would have expected more than just an adjustable stand.
In terms of image quality, we were disappointed in the E231W's colour reproduction, which seemed to be a shade duller than other monitors here. Contrast was excellent, though, and the adjustable stand will appeal to those with unconventional desk arrangements. However, the Hannspree HF257H is larger, has a brighter and more vivid image and costs far less.
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