NEC have been a popular manufacturer of LCD screens, strengthening their
presence in the mainstream
with the release of their
20WGX2 screen a couple of years back. That screen saw arguably the re-birth, of IPS matrices in the market, finally offering some
excellent response times for the technology which had always been a drawback in
the past. This impressive panel was packaged within a premium grade monitor,
with several extra features which were rare at the time. NEC followed this up
with several other popular screens including the LCD2490WUXi (not available in
the UK, but a very popular H-IPS based screen in the US), and the LCD2690WUXi (a
very impressive colour enthusiast screen).
This time, NEC have launched a new screen aimed
primarily at multimedia use. You only have to take a look at the screen's listed
features and extras to realise they have pulled out all the stops to try and
create the ultimate screen in this regard. NEC's website blurb states:
"The third generation
in entertainment - the 24" NEC MultiSync LCD24WMGX3, a Full HD 1920x1200 flat
screen display designed to take your images and video to the ultimate plateau of
amazement. A high end designer desktop monitor with full entertainment features
for the prestigous office executive and lifestyle consumer. This widescreen
model is ideal for techno-savvy users looking for an enhanced visual experience
with video games, streaming video, photo viewing and other applications that
require jaw dropping colour and contrast or wide connectivity."
Front and back view of the screen, click for full size images
The 24WMGX3 comes in an attractive piano black
(glossy) finish, with a sleek design and pleasant curves. The bezel is
reasonably thin, and the lower part includes integrated stereo speakers which
are reasonably well hidden. The glossy black finish looks nice, but is a bit of a
magnet to dust and finger prints sadly. The base is a nice curved shape and is
nice and sturdy. The back of the screen is a matt black finish as shown above.
The panel itself features an almost half-glossy
coating. It wasn't a full glossy OptiClear coating like the NEC 20WGX2 had, but
it wasn't the usual 'dull' matt finish that many other monitors have. It was
almost half way, picking up a few more reflections from windows and light
sources, but also offering a nice sharp image. The coating is listed as
antiglare by NEC, but it did feel a bit different from other monitors I thought.
Probably just a different type of AR coating than is used by other
The build quality was good, and materials were of
a high standard. There was no noticeable noise or buzzing from the unit. Energy
wise, the screen uses approximately 110W of power in normal use, and 2W or less
in energy saving mode / standby. When the unit is off, it uses 1W or less. The
casing gives off minimal heat during continued operation, and the panel itself
doesn't omit much heat either.
operational buttons along the lower bezel
The OSD operational buttons are situated on the
lower part of the bezel, and are a silver colour. They stand out a little, but
nothing too obvious. The power button glows a subtle blue colour when power is
on, and blinks blue when in standby. The OSD is navigated by the slightly larger
button shown in the above next to the power button. This is actually a 4-axis
button, used to scroll through the various menus. Navigation is reasonably easy,
but you somtimes find yourself having pressed the wrong direction on the
controller if you are not very careful.
menu options summarised
The OSD menu itself is massive! There seems to be
options for everything really. There are a series of preset modes ('Dynamic
Visial Mode' - DV Mode) including options such as 'text', 'game' and 'movie'. There
are hardware level aspect ratio controls, full options for audio, PiP modes and
a few other advanced features such as Motion Picture mode (MP mode). I'd
recommend reading through the manual (available online) if you want a full
overview of the options.
There is also an integrated brightness sensor
situated beneath the input/select OSD button. When this feature is enabled, the
sensor detects the ambient lighting conditions of your room, and adjusts the
brightness of the screen accordingly. This should offer you more comfortable
settings for prolonged use, and will dynamically control the brightness as your
room lighting varies. You can set the sensitivity of the sensor at three levels.
The range of OSD options was very impressive, and pretty much had everything you
could possibly want! The operational buttons also provided quick access to MP
mode / PiP, DV Mode and Input selection.
view showing VGA and DVI interfaces (left), and multimedia interfaces on the
side of the screen (right)
Click for larger versions
The underside of the screen houses the connections
for DVI (HDCP supported), VGA and power, along with a couple of audio
connectors. The back of the stand houses a handy cable tie to keep those tucked
out of the way.
The screen looks nice and tidy from
the side as well, and on the left hand edge there are a whole range of extra
interface options. These include 2x HDMI, component, composite and an
optical audio output. It was handy that these were on the edge as they are
easier to access for connecting external devices, and they are inset enough that
cables and connectors would be hidden behind the screen still. I suppose the
only missing interface here was DisplayPort, which some modern screens are
views of the screen including several interface connections shown (left). Click
for larger version
views showing range of tilt and slant. Click for larger version
The 24WMGX3 offers a range of
ergonomic adjustments as well, including tilt (Front 10°
/ Back 25°), swivel (Right-Left 45°) and height (60mm) adjustments. The
whole tilt and height adjustment was on a hinge fitting as shown above, and so
it was a little tricky sometimes to get the desired levels of both I thought.
The movement was quite stiff to adjust the height using this hinge, and you had
to be quite forceful, and have a good grip of the stand, if you wanted to vary
the tilt. The swivel function was nice and smooth, as the base was built on a
packaged remote control
The screen comes packaged with:
D-sub > D-sub analogue cable
DVI-D > DVI-D cable
Power cord, no need for external power pack as
it is built into the screen
HDMI > HDMI cable
Setup manual and CD-Rom
Rear plastic casing cover for the screen (see pictures)
The screen comes packaged with a nice remote
control. The buttons are a decent size, and there's plenty of access to
interfaces, aspect ratio modes, DV modes etc. It's a good controller, and should
be handy. It requires 2x AAA batteries.
Overall there was no denying the fact that NEC
have pulled out all the stops to include every possible option, feature,
accessory and connection they could think of. The range of these was very
impressive, and if they are as useful in practice as the information suggests
they should be, this could be an excellent all round multimedia screen. Let's
get on with the tests.
Accuracy, Black Depth and Contrast
The NEC MultiSync 24WMGX3 utilises an 8-bit AMVA panel,
capable of producing a true 16.77 million colours. The screen uses standard CCFL backlighting and so it's colour gamut covers
72% of the NTSC colour space, a moderate figure compared with many modern W-CCFL
and LED backlit screens with extended gamuts.
important thing to consider for most users is how a screen will perform out of
the box and with some basic manual adjustments. Since most users won't have
access to hardware colorimeter tools, it is important to understand how the
screen is going to perform in terms of colour accuracy for the average user. I
restored my graphics card to default settings and set it to its standard
profile. The 24WMGX3 was tested at default factory
settings out of the box using the
LaCie Blue Eye Pro and their accompanying software suite.
Default settings of the screen were as follows:
Monitor OSD Option
NEC 24WMGX3 - Default Factory Settings
Black Point (cd/m2)
The default settings of the screen were not unlike
many other modern screens in the market, and the brightness of the screen was
eye-watering! I don't know why manufacturers feel the need to ship a screen with
brightness turned up to 100%, or why they think anyone would want to use it at
such a high luminance?! The manufacturers quoted spec lists the maximum
brightness of the screen at 500 cd/m2, and the 24WMGX3 doesn't
disappoint in this regard! The brightness setting in the OSD was set at 100%,
and this yeilded a luminance at 503 cd/m2, being 319% of the
desired 120 cd/m2 for LCD screens in normal lighting conditions. This
is going to need to be one of the first things you change when you plug in the
screen, and I would recommend a setting of around 10 - 20% as a start. This
excessive brightness resulted in a black depth of 0.64 cd/m2, and
therefore a static contrast ratio of 786:1. This was some way off the
manufacturers specification of 1000:1.
On a more positive note, the default gamma was
pretty decent, being recorded here at 2.1, and only marginly out (3%) from the
desired level of 2.2; this being the default for computer monitors and for the
Windows operating system and sRGB colour space. Colour temperature was also
pretty good with a reading of 6384k being very close to the 6500k target (the
temperature of daylight). These results at factory settings were pleasing at
least, and so if you at least lower the brightness control, you should have a
reasonably starting point for some
The CIE diagram on the left hand side confirms
that the screen uses standard CCFL backlighting, and so it's
gamut covers about 72% of the NTSC colour space, and is very close to the
reference sRGB colour space shown by the black triangle. The gamut offered here
is low by todays standards really, where W-CCFL and LED backlighting commonly
offer anywhere from 92 to 125% of the NTSC colour space commonly. However, I
will not penalise the 24WMGX3 for offering a more 'traditional' gamut, since it
is not all about numbers and specs here! There are pros and cons to a wide gamut
display, and it is largely dependent on what type of content you are using and
what type of colour result you are looking for. There are a mixture of opinions
on the wide gamut debate, but all you need to know about with this display is
that it is a standard gamut screen. I would thoroughly recommend a read of
this article over at X-bit Labs, which covers the pros and cons well.
Testing with the colorimeter revealed the graph on the right hand side above,
showing DeltaE (dE 94) values across 16 shades.
As a reminder, the lower these bars down the Y-axis, the better, in terms of
colour accuracy. For reference, LaCie describe the DeltaE readings as:
If DeltaE >3, the color displayed is significantly different from the
theoretical one, meaning that the difference will be perceptible to the
If DeltaE <2, LaCie considers the calibration a success; there remains a
slight difference, but it is barely undetectable.
If DeltaE < 1, the color fidelity is excellent.
At default settings, the NEC 24WMGX3 left
something to be desired really. Results were adequate overall, with a dE average
of 3.5. This did however reach up to a maximum of 11.2 in blue tones. A degree
of calibration is needed here to get the most from the screens AMVA panel. The
screen did at least feel even and colours were rich. The factory settings did
mean brightness was very high as we have already mentioned, which resulted in
overly bright and penetrating colours. Because the screen was using standard
gamut backlighting, there were no oversaturated 'neon' greens or reds which can
be a problem on wide gamut displays.
NEC 24WMGX3 - Default Settings (sRGB DV Mode)
Black Point (cd/m2)
The screen does offer a wide range of presets and
settings, and so I wanted to see if results were improved by simply switching
between some of these. I left everything as it was at factory settings, but
swapped the DV Mode from "STD-1" to "sRGB". I was hoping this preset profile for
the sRGB colour space offered better colour accuracy, and hoped it would be an
improvement over the average dE of 3.6 we measured above. Thankfully, results
did improve somewhat, with blue tones being much better now, and bringing the
max dE down to 6.4 (grey shades) and average dE down to a respectable 2.6. LaCie
would classify this as having some difference, but also some degree of accuracy.
Not perfect, but getting better.
Gamma remained pretty good at 2.1, but colour
temperature was negatively impacted, now at 6044k (7% deviation). Luminance
remained far too high, but was dropped down a little bit to 469 cd/m2.
If you lowered the brightness manually some more, this preset might offer you a
better starting point if hardware calibration tools are not available to you. I
don't have time to check every single one of these preset modes, but you may
find some offer more comfortable settings than the factory options if nothing
NEC 24WMGX3 - Calibrated Settings
Monitor OSD Option
96, 94, 93.3
Colour Mode '2' (6500k)
Allows RGB access
Black Point (cd/m2)
I calibrated the screen using
the LaCie Blue Eye Pro software package and hardware colorimeter. During the
process, the OSD settings were adjusted, forming a small part of the overall
calibration proceedings. Brightness was adjusted down to a value of 20,
contrast was left at 50, and RGB values were changed to 96, 94 and 93.3
respectively. I had to first switch to the Colour mode of '2', which allowed
me access to the individual RGB controls. Once altered, these formed a 'User'
RGB mode in the OSD. The calibration process then automatically makes adjustments at
a graphics card Look Up Table (LUT) level, before creating and activating an
ICC profile. There is no hardware level LUT correction with the
some premium colour critical screens in this sector do offer. Immediately to the naked eye you could feel the difference, with
the main obvious adjustment being the far more comfortable and sensible
luminance setting. Colours also looked more even to the naked eye.
Gamma was corrected
perfectly to 2.2 now, and colour temperature was <1% out at 6479k. Luminance was
now recorded at 122 cd/m2, very close
to the desired value and certainly far more comfortable in practice. This
resulted in a black depth of 0.19 cd/m2, a very respectable figure
and only just behind some of the most popular 24" models in the market. The
static contrast ratio was 642:1, still a long way off the specified 1000:1.
The main improvement here was that colour accuracy
was much better. Average dE was now only 0.6, again a respectable result and
comparable to some of its peers. We will compare colour accuracy between models
in the next section, but the calibration gave us some pleasing results in this
regard. Maximum dE was only 1.4 now as well, so if you can use a hardware
colorimeter, it is well worth it to get the most out of this screen. If you
don't have access to one, you can at least use our settings as listed above, and
our ICC profile (created using the LaCie Blue Eye Pro in this process), you
can hopefully get some improved results on your set up as well.
Testing the screen with colour gradients showed
smooth transitions across the range, including in dark tones. There was some
slight gradation in the darker areas, but certainly no obvious banding or
anything. Subjectively, it was impossible
to detect only the first 4 shades of grey on the scale from 0 - 255 (255 being
pure white). I followed the useful tests
the first square I could distinguish was number 5. There was also no noticeable
dithering mechanisms from the screen.
If I plot a comparison of the NEC's default and
calibrated dE average against some of the leading competitors, I get the above
graph. As you can see, default dE was actually quite good compared with some of
the other models, offering better default accuracy overall than models like the
Dell 2408WFP, Hazro HZ24W and HP LP2475W. The best 24" model here at default
settings was the Samsung SM245B, an excellent result considering that model is
TN Film based! Calibrated dE average was pretty standard really, being a little
behind models like the HP LP2475W and Dell 2408WFP, but a bit better than the
Hazro HZ24W (an IPS based screen) and the Samsung SM245B.
Calibrated black depth was pretty good as well,
being better than the IPS based Hazro models, better than the S-PVA Samsung
SM245T, but a little worse than the Samsung SM245B (again, amazing for a TN Film
panel) and the HP LP245W (very impressive for IPS).
I wanted to see how much variance there was in the screens contrast as we
adjusted the monitor setting for brightness.
In theory, brightness and contrast are two independent parameters, and good
contrast is a requirement regardless of the brightness adjustment.
Unfortunately, such is not the case in practice. We recorded the screens
luminance and black depth at various OSD brightness settings, and calculated
the contrast ratio from there. All other monitor and graphics card settings
were left at default. It should be noted that we used the BasICColor
calibration software here to record these, and so luminance at default
settings varies a little from the LaCie Blue
Eye Pro report.
Black Point (cd/m2)
Contrast Ratio ( x:1)
As you can see from the above results, the control of the screens luminance
via the OSD menu was very good. The default 100% OSD setting gave a luminance
value of around 497 cd/m2 as we have
discussed already which was pretty much spot on to the maximum specified value
by the manufacturer of 500. As you lower the brightness control in the menu, the voltage
sent to the CCFL backlighting is reduced, and therefore the backlight intensity
is reduced as well. The luminance ranges down to 94 cd/m2 when
brightness is set to 0%. Even if proper calibration is not possible, you can get
a comfortable luminance of the screen at around 10% brightness setting, which is
While brightness is reduced, the black depth
improves quite considerably as well, reaching a very impressive 0.12 cd/m2
at 0% brightness. This is very respectable, and could probably be expected given
the AMVA panel technology being used. During these
brightness changes, the contrast remains pretty static and within the range of
759:1 to 787:1. Very good performance in this regard, showing that with proper
backlight adjustments you can achieve not only comfortable settings for every
day use, but retain a decent contrast and black point throughout the range. The
contrast ratio was a little disappointing given the specified value is 1000:1,
and it seems in practice you can only get around 790:1 at best.
The results were plotted on the above graph,
showing the contrast stability of the screen. You can adjust the brightness
setting to anywhere within the 0 - 100% range without really impacting contrast
ratio. As you reduce the brightness setting, luminance is adjusted nicely, and
black depth improves as one would hope.
I wanted to briefly mention the built in 'CR
Optimizer' (Contrast Ratio Optimizer) function which is supposed to operate the dynamic contrast control.
This option is only available in certain DV modes, but didn't actually seem to
do anything. I tried it with several different conditions, and followed the
manual, but it didn't seem to do anything. Odd...
angles shown from front and side, and from above and below. Click for
Viewing angles of the 24WMGX3 were very good,
offering wide field of view in all directions. As you would probably expect from
VA panel technology, there was none of the obvious colour or contrast shift that
you see from TN Film displays, and thankfully nothing which was distracting in
normal use. There was some sign of the off-centre contrast shift you see from VA
matrices, but being a new generation of AMVA panel, it was better than I had
seen it on some older PVA based screens for example. There was a slight pink
tint if you looked from an extreme angle above, and some contrast shift if you
looked from the far sides. Nothing which is going to be a problem in
normal use, and viewing angles were wide enough to allow you to position the
screen at various angles for various uses.
Measurements of the screens luminance were taken
at 35 points across the panel on a pure white background. The measurements were
taken using BasICColor's calibration software package, combined with the LaCie
Blue Eye Pro colorimeter. The above uniformity diagram shows the difference, as
a percentage, between the luminance recorded at each point on the screen, as
compared with the reference point of a calibrated 120 cd/m2. This is
the desired level of luminance for an LCD screen in normal lighting conditions,
and the below shows the variance in the luminance across the screen
compared with this point. It is worth noting that panel uniformity can vary from
one screen to another, and can depend on manufacturing lines, screen transport
and other local factors. This is only a guide of the uniformity of the sample
screen we have for review.
The uniformity of the screen was pretty standard
really, not excellent, but nothing drastically bad. The top half of the screen
was within 5% either way of the reference 120
cd/m2 point, but luminance did dip to
around 104 - 108 cd/m2 along the bottom section of the screen. The
lowest luminance recorded was in the lower left hand corner, where it reached as
low as 96 cd/m2.
All black screen in darkened room. Click for larger version
As usual, I tested the screen in a darkened room, showing an all black
background. The above image was captured by my camera. There was no noticeable
light leakage from any of the edges or corners, and black uniformity was very
Office and Windows Use
The 24WMGX3 might be aimed at multimedia use, but
I'm sure most people would also want to use it for normal office / Windows use, and
all kinds of other use for day to day desktop monitors. Starting with the
obvious things, the 24" screen size gives you plenty of screen to work with. The
1920 x 1200 resolution gives you a large resolution for applications, and is
suitable for some nice side by side split screen office work. You can
comfortably have two Word documents side by side on a resolution this size.
The 0.270mm pixel pitch is a nice intermediate
level I find (personally), between the slightly small 0.258mm of 20"WS and the
slightly too big 0.282mm of 22"WS models. I tested the screen in clone mode
which showed that the DVI interface was a little sharper and clearer than the
D-sub VGA connection. It should also be noted that OSD settings need adjusting
for each interface, which at least allows you to set the screen up differently
for each connected device.
You will definitely need to calibrate the screen
to get it at a comfortable level for office use, since the default luminance of
the screen is massively high at around 500 cd/m2. You will at least
want to adjust the brightness setting down to around 10%, to get a decent
luminance for a screen like this in normal lighting conditions. The screen does
feature a DV Mode for 'Text' which doesn't really lower the luminance any more
than our calibrated settings, but is supposed to change the colour temperature
to 5000k. This has the effect basically of making the screen go quite yellowy,
so not sure if this is worthwhile in practice as a DV mode. For those doing
photo work there is a preset DV mode for 'photo' which is supposed to
give sharpness to black and white colours, best suited for natural images and
still images (according to the manual). In practice it didn't really look any
different to our calibrated profile. These settings may be handy to some users,
perhaps more so when calibration options are limited, but to me, they didn't
really offer much.
The 24WMGX3 features
an Intelligent Visual Mode (IV Mode) accessible through the OSD menu. This
feature allows you to select the brightness of the screen in accordance with how
the monitor is used, in order to reduce eye fatigue. Junior mode is recommended
for when you are using the screen for long periods of time, or where there are
large changes in the brightness, such as with animations. Middle mode suppresses
glare and makes the screen sharp, and Senior mode suppresses glare when the
overall screen is bright. It's only available in certain DV modes, and didn't
seem to change much from what I could tell. It's an option there I suppose, but
you might not see much difference from using it.
The screen also features Brightness sensor which
is built in just below the 'Input/Select' OSD button. There are 4 options within
the OSD for this sensor, with 'off', 'weak', 'standard' and 'strong' available.
This sensor detects your ambient lighting conditions and adjusts the backlight
control accordingly. I tried it for a bit and it seemed to do a good job. Might
well be handy for prolonged office use or where lighting conditions vary. I
liked this as an extra feature, and it's not something you see commonly to be
Responsiveness and Gaming
The NEC 24WMGX3 was tested using the chase
test in PixPerAn, a good bit of software for trying to quantify differences in
real terms responsiveness between monitors. As a reminder, a series of pictures
are taken on the highest shutter speed and compared. The images below show the
best case example on the left hand side, and the worst case example on the right
hand side. This should only be used as a rough guide to comparative
responsiveness but is handy as a way of keeping a constant test of each screen.
6ms G2G AU Optronics AMVA
6ms G2G Samsung S-PVA
6ms G2G LG.Display H-IPS
6ms G2G Samsung S-PVA
5ms Samsung TN Film
The 24WMGX3 uses an AMVA panel from AU Optronics. The panel is rated with a 16ms response
time at the ISO black > white > black transition, but also offers a 6ms response
time across grey to grey transitions. This is an indication that the panel is
using response time compensation (RTC) technology to boost the pixel response
times. While the figure is competitive with the majority of the leading 24"
models on paper, you cannot always rely on the quoted response times to give a
true reflection of the screens actual performance.
As you can see from the above images, the 24WMGX3
was actually a little slower in practice than some of the other models we have
tested. I would liken it to the Dell 2408WFP and Samsung SM245B in its 'feel',
and you could notice an obvious blur of the moving car even with the naked eye.
The more I watched, the more I could tell the movement was not as smooth and
sharp as some of the other 24" models we have tested, and you could also detect
a noticeable (but faint) ghost image behind the car. The screen didn't feel as
fast as models such as the HP LP2475W or Samsung SM245T. It was however free
from any obvious RTC artefacts which can sometimes result in light, or
occasionally dark, haloes and trails behind moving objects. You can see these in
the left hand images of the LP2475W for instance above, but the NEC at least
didn't suffer from anything obvious.
6ms G2G LG.Display AS-IPS
6ms G2G AU Optronics AMVA
For reference I have also provided the results
here of the NEC 20WGX2 which still remains one of the fastest panels in the
market today, and still regularly used in our reviews as a reference point for
response time. Unfortunately NEC have not quite managed to recreate the magic they did
when they released the 20WGX2, perhaps the swap to an AMVA panel from IPS is an
issue in this regard.
The screen offers
hardware aspect ratio control, with options for 'full' (this stretches the image
to fill the screen completely if necessary), 'aspect', 'real' (1:1 pixel
mapping) and '2x zoom'. These will be useful for anyone connecting external
devices (PS3, X-box etc), and of course for any games you might want to play on
your PC at non-native resolutions.
Motion Picture Mode
Similar to some other models in the market, the
NEC 24WMGX3 offers a technology designed to help reduce percieved motion blur
and improve images in fast moving scenes like movies and games. We have tested
something similar already in the
Samsung SM245T, where their
Motion Picture Acceleration technoplogy worked in a very similar way. NEC
have called theirs 'Motion Picture Mode' and this feature is accessibly via the
OSD, or directly through the 'MP Mode' button on the front of the screen. There
are four settings for this feature, with off, and then levels 1 to 3.
The technology operates by using a scanning
backlight, which sweeps down the screen from top to bottom, turning off each
CCFL backlight tube in order. As you increase the mode from 1 to 3, the
intensity of the backlight scanning increases, and the manual recommends you
increase this level for faster moving content. The technology is designed to
reduce motion blur of moving images by cleaning the human eye of retained
images. This technology was designed to help overcome some of the ongoing
problems with LCD hold-type displays where perceived motion blur and retention
of images by the retina will always be a problem.
In practice, as you enable this feature the
brightness of the screen dips slightly, and a noticeable flicker is introduced
to the image. The flicker becomes less obvious if you move up to level 3, since
the intensity of the MP mode is at its highest there. You can still detect it
though. You would obviously never want to use this for static images, but
when viewing moving content, the flicker becomes less apparent. While you can't
spot this with the naked eye, if you view the
screen through a digital camera, you can spot the backlight scanning from top to
bottom, and a series of 6 CCFL tubes behind the panel being turned off and on
again in sequence. The video captured above should hopefully show this, where I
filmed a plain grey background with MP mode on level 3. It was actually very
hard to spot any real difference between levels 1 - 3 in practice, or using this
method to be honest, other than the flicker being slightly less noticeable on
static images when you went up to level 3. There is probably more to this
technology than this, but these were my observations while using the screen and
running some tests. If I manage to get hold of any whitepapers or further
information, I'll be sure to write something up!
I wanted to see if enabling this function had any
real affect on the motion blur in our control PixPerAn tests. Enabling MP mode
gave mixed results really. On the one hand, the moving car did become more
defined, and the picture was a little sharper. Some of the blur had gone.
However, on the other hand, the trailing ghost image behind the car became more
obvious to the naked eye. I have captured the best case image of both above,
which gives you an idea of the difference between MP mode off, and on at level
3. I didn't really feel that in these tests the MP mode offered much, other than
a flicker to the screen, a more obvious ghost trail, and slightly sharper moving
Whether you want to use this feature or not, I
don't know. It's going to depend on your personal use and preference for the
technology. On the one hand, it can help sharpen up moving images, but it does
have an odd negative affect on the trailing ghost images which is detectable,
even to the naked eye. It's there as an option, but I feel like the technology
is perhaps a little too young to be very valuable.
As usual I tested the
screen in clone mode with a CRT to determine the level of
input lag. This is
something which can put off some gamers and is a delay between graphics card and
monitor output. By hooking up a CRT you can show that the LCD lags behind
somewhat, which can affect users in some situations where they rely on the
screen image being as fast as their inputs (e.g. fast FPS shooting games).
Often, input lag is very low and probably wouldn't represent too much of a
problem in real terms.
As you can see from the above results, the
average input lag of the 24WMGX3 was a pretty respectible number compared with
the lot of the competition. It had far less input lag than some other VA based
screens including the Dell 2408WFP A00 (64.1ms), Samsung SM245T (52.5ms) and
Viewsonic VX2435WM (36.3ms). It was also faster than the IPS based HP LP2475W
(25ms) and Hazro HZ24W (32.7ms). Overall, a good result here. The input lag
ranged between 0 and 30ms in our tests, but was commonly nearer the 20ms mark.
On average overall, it was 15.6ms.
NEC have introduced
something we haven't seen from a monitor before, and something which is sure to
please those concerned with input lag when playing games. The 24WMGX3 offers a
'Through Mode' option which is available in the OSD menu. The official manual
states that "this mode shortens the delay time of the picture signals within the
monitor", and that you should "use this mode when you are concerned about the
synchronization between he picture and audio". This option limits the picture
processing function of the monitor, which should in theory reduce the input lag. In enabling this function, you do lose some options such as
colour control and PiP, and it may sometimes affect smoothness and colour tones
according to the manual.
Testing the screen again in our input lag tests
showed an improvement from an average of 15.6ms to 8.8ms. The input lag was much
more commonly around 10ms with Through Mode enabled, whereas without it was more
commonly 20ms behind the CRT. The maximum input lag figure measured was also
improved from 30ms to 20ms. This is a welcomed feature I think, especially when
you're looking for a good gaming screen.
Movies and Video
The following summarises the NEC 24WMGX3's performance
in video applications:
24" screen size suitable for multimedia use, even
from fair distances. Almost the same size as smaller end LCD TV's
Widescreen format good for modern widescreen
1920 x 1200 resolution is enough to properly show
1080p (1920 x 1080 resolution) content without scaling
AMVA panel technology offers nice wide viewing
angles, allowing use from varying positions and without the restrictions of TN
Black depth once calibrated is very good, and will
ensure detail in darker scenes is not lost
Good panel uniformity and no backlight leakage
which can be distracting when watching video, especially where borders are
Decent panel responsiveness ensures no ghosting
and minimal blurring in fast moving scenes. Added MP mode might also help reduce
perceived blur in some very fast paced content, but is really down to personal
HDCP supported for latest protected content
including Blu-Ray movies
Noise is fairly noticeable due to the screen size
and resolution, and particularly apparent with low definition content. Sitting a
sensible distance away alleviates the issue
Wide range of interface options for connecting
external devices. These include 2x HDMI, S-video and Component. Easily
accessible ports located on the side of the screen
I also want to talk about a few additional points
for video playback, which are not general points that we normally discuss. Since
this screen is very much aimed at the multimedia market, I wanted to try and
cover this section in more detail:
Each interface can have its own settings in terms
of the OSD menu, and so you can easily set different options for different
external devices. This includes altering DV mode presets
Good range of DV mode presets including 'Movie'
mode for boosting tone production of dark scenes. The dynamic contrast control
(CR Optimizer) didn't seem to do anything though for some reason!
The screen features built in speakers which are of
fairly decent quality, and there are even a fair few options within the OSD to
control treble, bass, and enable/disable the surround sound function. If you
turn the volume up too high though, it leads to some resonation of the monitor
casing and parts
There is also a headphone jack at the front if you
There are PiP modes which allow you to display
multiple inputs on the screen at once. Might be handy to some users. You can
change the size and position of the PiP windowss as well
The screen features overscan settings which can
help ensure images from some external devices are displayed properly on the
screen. This is done by cutting off the edges of the screen to hide noise.
There are a series of options for AV aspect ratio
which can help ensure differing sources and resolutions are displayed properly.
These include 4:3 and 16:9 formats.
There is a 'noise reduction' feature which reduces
the noise in the picture when using the Video 1 and Video 2 inputs.
There is a 'Film mode' option which plays back
pictures with original signals of 24 fps, in interlaced formats (480i, 1080i),
in high image quality
The screen comes packaged with a nice remote
control. The buttons are a decent size, and there's plenty of access to
interface, aspect ratio modes, DV modes etc. It's a good controller, and should
I didn't have chance to test all of these options
thoroughly I'm afraid, but they are there to hopefully make things easier if you
are using the screen a lot for external devices. There's certainly a massive
range of options and features which highlight the importance NEC have placed on
using this screen genuinely as a combined desktop display and multimedia screen.
NEC have pulled out all the stops here to make the
ultimate multimedia screen, and they have come pretty close compared with the
competition. There's certainly a massive range of options, features, extra
modes, ergonomic adjustments and interfaces. There's about everything you could
need, and I was particularly impressed by a few nice extra things like the
remote control, ambient light sensor and through mode. These were all very
welcome additions to the 24" market, and not something you see commonly at all.
Here's hoping more manufacturers follow suit! There were a range of other
features with more 'questionable' use, but at least they have included them for
those who might find them of benefit.
Performance wise, ignoring the massively overly
bright default settings, the screen performed pretty well in terms of colour
accuracy, black depth and contrast. Calibration produces some very pleasing
results as one would hope, and this is probably expected from an AMVA panel.
Combine this with the wide viewing angles, decent input lag and respectable
responsiveness, and you have a very good all round screen here! I'm sure some
people will gripe that it's not IPS, or that they wanted a wide gamut screen,
but if that's the case, maybe the HP LP2475W would be a better choice for you.
If you want a multimedia screen, with a very impressive range of options and
features, this would make an excellent choice.
Massive range of features, options and extras
Stiff and tricky ergonomic adjustments
Excellent colour accuracy and black depth
once calibrated, and pretty decent even at default settings
A few features such as DCR seemingly do very
Low input lag and decent responsiveness.
Added MP Mode might improve gaming for some users as well
Not quite as fast as some other competing
models in pixel responsiveness