NEC AccuSync LCD22WMGX (22-inch)
For a 22-inch display, the NEC AccuSync LCD22WMGX packs in a lot of features for its price (as low as $300 online) including built-in speakers, a headphone jack, HDMI and component connections, VGA and DVI ports, and many software-based enhancements for viewing photos. The sacrifice for these features? The monitor displays shallow blacks and colors, and its Dynamic Contrast Ratio option is more annoying than helpful. The NEC's closest competitor, the better-performing $319 Dell SP2208WFP, doesn't offer as many extras but displays superior color and comes with a Webcam. The NEC makes a better choice for photographers on a budget or anyone looking for a wide variety of features, but consider other choices if superior performance is your goal.
The most immediately striking aspect of the 22-inch NEC AccuSync LCD22WMGX is its minimalist design. The bezel on the left and right sides of the screen measures only 0.58 inch. Compared with typical 22-inch models such as the Samsung SyncMaster T220, whose left and right bezel measures 1.8 inches, and the Envision G2219w1, which has a bezel length of 1.9 inches, the difference is hard to miss. The bottom of the bezel is 1.75 inches long to accommodate the display's built-in stereo speakers.
The display's stand is more circular than on competing monitors--taking up less space than the typical oval shape measuring 8.5 inches in diameter and, although this length is relatively narrow, the display is only slightly wobbly when knocked from either the front or the side. Also, the screen is only 2.5 inches deep compared with the Samsung's, which is 2.9 inches deep, and the Envision's, which is 3.2 inches. The bezel has a glossy coat that livens up the otherwise plain-looking monitor. The screen is not as reflective as other glossy screens, but still collects fingerprints.
From the back, the VGA, DVI, audio port (required to use the speakers), and headphone jack are all easy to access, but the neck of the stand partially obstructs the HDMI port, making it difficult to access. The component and the S/PDIF inputs are on the back but accessed from the side, so they're easier to get to. Unfortunately, NEC does not provide a component cable with the monitor. While you can easily access the headphone jack from the back, we'd rather get to it from the front so we don't have to turn the monitor 90 degrees to listen through headphones.
The height of the NEC AccuSync LCD22WMGX's screen is not adjustable and it doesn't pivot or rotate, but the screen tilts back about 30 degrees. The display is light, weighing about 11.5 pounds. For comparison's sake, the Samsung SyncMaster T220 weighs 11.2 pounds and the Envision G2219w1 tops out at 12.8 pounds. We're also impressed that NEC included a 9-foot-long power cord with the display; typically, power cords are about 6 feet long.
The onscreen display buttons are located in the middle of the bezel and each button is clearly labeled in very light gray font. The power button is located at the far right and is accompanied by a cool blue LED just to the right of it. To the left are the Menu, right arrow, left arrow, Auto, and Source buttons. Pressing the Menu button takes you into the OSD, which includes a plethora of options and will take some getting used to before you can navigate through it quickly. You can choose from six preset options: Standard, Text, Internet, Game, Movie, and Sports. Switching from one to the other changes the contrast and brightness to the appropriate level for the task. The rest of the OSD is standard fare except for two sections: Color Boost and Picture Boost. These are two features used to enhance and manipulate color, saturation, and hue either on the entire screen or in the case of Picture boost, in just a specific portion of the screen. We go more in depth on these in our Features section.
Pixel-response rate: 5ms
Contrast ratio: 1,000:1
Connectivity: HDMI, DVI, VGA, Component
HDCP compliant? Yes
Included video cables? DVI, VGA
The NEC AccuSync LCD22WMGX has the most connection options we've seen for a 22-inch display, including VGA, DVI, and HDMI as well as component ports and an S/PDIF port for digital audio. The display features a 1,680x1,050-pixel native resolution, which means you won't be able to view 1080p (1,920x1,080) content without the video being scaled down to fit the lower resolution. The OSD's two interesting features include Picture Boost, which lets you brighten or darken a portion of the screen from just a small area of the screen to half the screen, or even the whole screen. You also have the option to adjust the hue and saturation of the selected portion. Unfortunately, you can't adjust hue and saturation outside the Picture Boost interface. This feature can be useful if you're working in two different applications at once, each of which requiring different brightness or color settings.
The second feature, Color Boost, lets you enhance certain colors in an image. If you have a photo of a blue sky that isn't looking very blue, for instance, you'd turn on the "Sky-Blue" option to display a bluer photo. However, this does not alter the actual photo file. This feature works well for the color being raised but will oversaturate other colors at the same time. Unfortunately, boosting the color with this feature compresses and expands the color to the point that the NEC cannot display as many variations of that color.
CNET Labs tested the NEC AccuSync LCD22WMGX via DVI connection with the Color Boost and Dynamic Contrast Ratio features disabled. NEC claims a brightness of 300 candelas per meter square, which was pretty close to the 281 cd/m2 number we got. This was the highest brightness of the last four 22-inch models we've tested, with the closest competitor being the Samsung 2232GW, which came in at 279 cd/m2. In our contrast ratio test, the NEC delivered a score of 928:1, which as far as 22-inch models go, is the best performance second only to the Dell Crystal's score of 1,061:1. In our overall DisplayMate-based tests, the NEC scored 78, the lowest of the five other 22-inch models we've recently reviewed. We saw compression in the color scales test, which indicates that the display could have trouble displaying different shades of the same color at the light end of the scale. The NEC also had trouble reproducing color near peak white where we saw the color wash out.
This color deficiency did not wholly translate to the real world, though, where both King Kong video playback and our World of Warcraft test looked good. The colors looked a bit washed out at our test settings, but we were able to adjust the user-defined color settings enough to improve, but not alleviate the problem. In addition, the black level was not as low as we prefer and even adjusting the brightness down significantly, we still saw shallow blacks. When we watched movies with the Dynamic Contrast Ratio feature on, we noticed that in dark scenes the display would turn off the backlight to make the scene even darker and more filmlike. Unfortunately, in most scenes, the backlight fluctuated from off to on depending on the scene's lighting--a distracting problem that made some movies, like War of the Worlds unwatchable at times. NEC claims a viewing angle up to 85 degrees for the AccuSync LCD22WMGX and this held true: the quality of the displayed image begins to dip when viewing just a few inches off center.
Lastly, the built-in speaker volume sounded disappointingly low. Even cranked to 100, the sound, whether from music or movies, was muffled.
Find out more about how we test LCD monitors.
Service and support
NEC covers the AccuSync LCD22WMGX with a three-year warranty that covers parts, labor, and the backlight. 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. The support Web site is simple to navigate making the drivers and manual easy to find.