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NEC MultiSync FE2111SB-BK review: NEC MultiSync FE2111SB-BK

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MSRP: $599.99
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The Good Good image quality; moderately priced; onscreen menu is easy to navigate; optional NaViSet adjustment software available.

The Bad Lacks DVI input; tilt and swivel functions are stiff; front-panel buttons and onscreen menu could use an aesthetic makeover.

The Bottom Line This reasonably priced jumbo CRT performs well, but it's hard to adjust and lacking in pizzazz.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

7.4 Overall
  • Design 6
  • Features 8
  • Performance 8
  • Support 7

Review Sections

NEC-Mitsubishi MultiSync FE2111SB CRT

In many ways, CRT monitors tend to be very similar, so the differences between them are brought to the forefront. Image quality is important, but so are details such as how smoothly the monitor swivels and how the front-panel buttons look. The 21-inch flat-screen NEC-Mitsubishi MultiSync FE2111SB offers good image quality at a moderate price, but the little details don't quite measure up to those on a monitor such as the IBM C220p.

Given that the MultiSync FE2111SB weighs a hefty 65 pounds, it's almost a wonder you can move it at all. Yet this hulking CRT tilts a few degrees up and down and swivels about 90 degrees to the left and right. This level of adjustability is standard in CRTs, but the FE2111SB is stiff, so you have to use both hands and a little elbow grease to tilt or swivel it. Those with less upper-body strength than Atlas may even have to stand up to adjust it. There's also no marker on the round pedestal to indicate which way is front, making it tricky to center the CRT and get equal swivel to both sides. For a jumbo CRT that's friendlier to the spindly limbed among us, try the IBM C220p. The FE2111SB has only one D-Sub input on the back panel; the C220p includes a DVI-A input.

We hate it when monitors have too few adjustment buttons (that is, fewer than four), because doubling up on functions means more navigating to access settings and exit the onscreen menu (OSM). NEC-Mitsubishi preempts such fumbling by packing seven little round buttons onto the FE2111SB's bottom bezel. This doesn't do much for the monitor aesthetically, but as the buttons include a dedicated exit key and separate keys for left and right arrow and plus and minus, it does make navigating the OSM very easy. The OSM offers a wealth of adjustment options as well, including regulars such as brightness, color temperature, and geometry and extras such as convergence, linearity, and GlobalSync, which cancels out interference from the earth's magnetic field. Also, a hot key for preset Super Bright modes adjusts brightness and contrast for viewing pictures and movies. Like the front-panel buttons, the OSM could stand a makeover. We appreciate the completely graphical interface (the included user guide translates the symbols into several languages), but compared to some of the slick-looking, multicolored OSMs we've seen lately, this OSM's boring black-and-white color scheme and crude graphics look like a throwback to the Atari days (and not in a hip, ironic way). Fortunately, NEC-Mitsubishi offers free, downloadable NaViSet software that lets you adjust and calibrate your display with a mouse and a keyboard via a much friendlier interface than the display's OSM.

The FE2111SB's image quality is good. It maintains better focus from the center of the screen to the corners than do many CRTs, and text looks sharp for a CRT. Our DisplayMate-based Labs tests show that the FE2111SB's geometry is excellent, and we saw very little color misregistration, which is when the phosphors of a pixel are misaligned (for example, instead of seeing a solid purple square, you would see a purple square with red and blue edges). The display does a great job reproducing grayscale: its progression from low to high intensity is smooth and linear with no unwanted color tints. Color reproduction on the FE2111SB is also quite good. DisplayMate's color-triangle screen showed an excellent range of shades with good separation between them, and in real-world situations such as color Web graphics, colors look warm and vibrant. This display would be a good choice for someone who works with color graphics but can't afford a high-end CRT such as the $1,800 Sony GDM-C520K.

The NEC-Mitsubishi FE2111SB comes with a three-year warranty that can be extended for up to five years. Toll-free tech support is available 24/7. NEC's Web site offers driver downloads, FAQs, a troubleshooting guide, manuals, a technical library, and live tech-support chat.

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