NEC MultiSync PA271W review: NEC MultiSync PA271W

Text
In text, we saw no color problems with black text on a white background, and fonts were clearly visible down to a 6.8 point size.

Movies
We tested the NEC MultiSync PA271W using the Blu-ray version of "Avatar." The NEC's colors were as accurate as on the Dell U2711 were, with no sign of any tint problems. Also, its colors popped enough to look impressive and pleasing to the eye, but not enough to feel oversaturated and its blacks were deep without losing much dark detail in dark scenes.

Games
Because of our intimate familiarity with World of Warcraft, it remains the best tool for us to use when judging color quality and vibrancy in games. We tested games in the High Bright mode and found the NEC displayed accurate and vibrant colors. World of Warcraft looks as good on the NEC as it did on the Dell U2711, with full-looking color that doesn't oversaturate the image.

Photos
We looked at some photos in the Adobe RGB and sRGB presets and noticed that while photos in both presets had accurate color, Adobe RGB looked more natural and appropriate. We also looked at photos on the Dell U2711 in its Adobe RGB preset and saw slightly fuller color on the NEC compared with the Dell.

Viewing angle
The optimal viewing angle for a monitor is usually directly in front, about a quarter of the screen's distance down from the top. At this angle, you're viewing the colors as the manufacturer intended them. Most monitors are not made to be viewed at any other angle. Depending on its panel type, picture quality at nonoptimal angles varies. Most monitors use TN panels, which get overly bright or overly dark in parts of the screen when they are not viewed from optimal angles. On the other hand, IPS panels usually show only minimal color shifts with angle changes. The NEC MultiSync PA271W has an IPS panel, and when it's viewed from the sides, we perceived the screen to darken about 15 inches off from center; more than twice as wide of a viewing angle as a typical TN panel has.

Recommended settings and use
For general use and when playing games, we found the NEC's High Bright was the most appropriate preset to use. For movies, using its DCI preset was best and Adobe RGB was best for photo editing.

As with most IPS-based monitors, NEC gears its MultiSync PA271W mostly toward professional use, when accurate color reproduction is required; however, the monitor is also great for watching movies, playing games, and for general use.

Juice box
NEC MultiSync PA271W Average watts per hour
On (default luminance) 87.79
On (max luminance) 122.57
On (min luminance) 49.94
Sleep 1.17
Calibrated (200 cd/m2) 82.45
Annual power consumption cost $27.00
Score Poor

Power consumption
No surprisingly given its large screen and emphasis on professional performance, the NEC MultiSync PA271W uses a lot of power and has a very high Default/On power draw of 87.79 watts compared with the U2711's 93.72 watts in the same test. The monitor's power consumption delta was a lot closer in our Sleep/Standby test with the NEC drawing 1.17 watts and the Dell U2711 drawing 1.19 watts. Based on our formula, the NEC MultiSync PA271W would cost a low $27 per year to power, compared with the U2711's $28.78 cost per year.

Brightness (in cd/m2)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
NEC MultiSync PA271W
346 
HP LP3065
302 
Dell SP2309W
297 

Contrast ratio
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
NEC MultiSync PA271W
1,035:1 
HP LP3065
654:1 
Dell SP2309W
648:1 

DisplayMate performance
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Find out more about how we test LCD monitors.

Service and support
NEC backs the MultiSync PA271W with a solid four-year parts-and-labor warranty that also covers the backlight. Its toll-free technical support is available weekdays from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT. NEC also offers e-mail and live chat support. NEC's support Web site is simple to navigate, making the monitor's manual easy to find.

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Display Type LCD monitor / TFT active matrix
  • Interface DVI
  • Diagonal Size 27 in
  • Pixel Pitch 0.233 mm
  • Image Contrast Ratio 1000:1
  • Image Aspect Ratio 16:10
About The Author

Eric Franklin is a section editor covering how to and tablets. He's also co-host of CNET's do-it-yourself and how-to show, The Fix and is a 20-year tech industry veteran.