New NEC monitors sense humans, possibly other things

NEC's new business focused monitor senses human flesh. Well, not flesh. We hope.

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Eric Franklin led the CNET Tech team as Editorial Director. A 20-plus-year industry veteran, Eric began his tech journey testing computers in the CNET Labs. When not at work he can usually be found at the gym, chauffeuring his kids around town, or absorbing every motivational book he can get his hands on.
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Eric Franklin
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Clean energy is the new black. NEC

Monitors with LED backlights are currently a pretty hot commodity and I've found that while most manufacturers hock their LED wares to the consumer market, some, like Samsung and with its BX2350, are beginning to see that people spend a lot of time staring at monitor screens while at work.

On Monday, NEC stepped on the business monitor bandwagon to introduce a new line of LED-based monitors that, according to the company, are "ideal for corporate users looking for increased productivity and sleek aesthetics."

The new series begins with the 23-inch MultiSync EX231W, an LED-backlit LCD monitor with both DisplayPort and DVI connections. The monitor also offers a 14.6mm-wide bezel, a 9.3-pound weight and a USB port. It also includes a fully adjustable stand with 110mm height adjust, pivot, swivel and tilt, as well as a built-in carrying handle and quick release stand.

The monitor also includes a "human sensor," which detects user activity in front of the monitor and goes into sleep mode when it notices no one is there. No word yet if this works on cats or vampires.

Check out the full list of features (or at least, ones worth mentioning) here (my comments in parenthesis):

  • 1920x1080-pixel resolution (expected)
  • 250 candelas per square meter brightness (disappointingly low)
  • 25,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio (how disturbing is it that I nearly commended NEC for having such a "conservative" number for its DCR compared with other vendor claims that tend to start in the multimillions? Quite disturbing.)
  • DisplayPort and DVI connectivity (HDMI would have been nice for those late night Halo: Reach office tournaments)
  • 4-way ergonomic stand with 110mm height adjust, pivot, swivel and tilt (
  • Quick-release stand (sounds slightly dirty, but potentially useful)
  • Touch-sensitive On Screen Display (OSD) controls (alert the media!)
  • Human sensor (weird name, but an interesting extra--I guess NEC want you to be able to watch movies at work without your monitor falling to sleep)
  • Ambient light sensor (I've always liked the idea of these, but they'd annoy me in practical use)

The MultiSync EX231W will be available in November of 2010 at an estimated street price of $339 and ships with a three-year parts-and-labor limited warranty.