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Setup meant for two
For a positive out-of-box experience with the $279 NEC AccuSync 95F, get someone to help you unpack it--this 19-inch behemoth weighs just less than 50 pounds. But once it's on your desk, you'll have no trouble setting up this display. NEC provides a slim pamphlet that includes basic specs, setup instructions, and a succinct summary of the onscreen display (OSD) controls, showing an icon and a description of each function. The guide also explains, for example, what an Invar shadow mask is and how a flat CRT (such as this one) eliminates distortion and reduces glare. In addition, the guide contains a troubleshooting section and a list of tech-support options and phone numbers.
The streamlined OSD controls make it easy to calibrate the display. Three buttons on the front panel let you bring up the simple OSD with 20 icons, scroll through the functions, enable a function, or reset the display to default settings. Unlike most monitors, there are no submenus to wade through. You'll find all the basics, such as tilt/geometry, rotation, color temperature, and degaussing. You can even change the color of the OSD menu, but there are no higher functions such as OSD lock, time-out adjustment, or convergence control.
The AccuSync 95F supports a maximum resolution of 1,600x1,200 at a 76Hz refresh rate, which is adequately flicker-free. At this resolution, however, you'll find desktop fonts and icons small, blurry, and generally hard to read. At the recommended 1,280x1,024 resolution at 85Hz, the monitor is far easier on the eyes but still suffers from focus problems.
In CNET Labs' DisplayMate tests, the NEC revealed a couple of good points but a number of flaws. After we fixed some slight inward bowing at the bottom of the display using the OSD, the AccuSync 95F's geometry looked very good. We also liked the display's color rendering. It had excellent color separation, especially in the reds and blues, and we saw many more gradations of colors on our test color triangle than with most CRTs. Web and Photoshop graphics reinforced this perception; the AccuSync rendered smooth, accurate skin tones and well-balanced colors. On the other hand, while we saw similarly good separation and shading on our grayscale tests, it was impossible to get pure whites and blacks without making the rest of the picture look awful. In text tests, small and large fonts and icons looked a bit blurry, faint, and not quite black. You wouldn't want to use the NEC to read pages and pages of text.
The monitor comes with better-than-average service and support. It's backed by a three-year warranty (standard for CRTs), and NEC-Mitsubishi provides toll-free phone support 24/7 for the length of the warranty.
The big decision
While $279 certainly seems a small enough price to pay for a monitor as big as the NEC AccuSync 95F, a low price and excellent color can't make up for its focus problems. Home and business users who need to view mostly text and simple graphics should check out the Cornerstone p1450 or the Samsung SyncMaster 900NF for a better viewing experience.
|19-inch CRT image-quality test|
Longer bars indicate better performance
|The NEC AccuSync 95F displayed strengths and weaknesses in CNET Labs' tests. The monitor had no problem displaying colors accurately; however, text looked fuzzy and washed out, and the AccuSync had difficulty depicting pure black and white.|