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NEC LCD20WGX2 review *** UPDATED 25/02/06 ***

Discussion in 'Monitors' started by igors, Feb 10, 2006.

  1. igors

    Gangster

    Joined: Jul 16, 2004

    Posts: 470

    Location: London/UK

    NEC LCD20WGX2 review *** FINAL VERSION ***

    [​IMG]

    OK people, this it IT. Review is now fully completed. I have to give my credit to TFTcentral & Simon aka Baddass, for the very nice cooperation and help while compiling this review live:

    http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/reviews/nec_20wgx2.htm

    It's first, exclusive review of this monitor around.

    Review on TFTcentral is properly constructed, indexed and very easy to follow. Also, on TFTcentral you may find plenty of other information about the LCD monitors so I can warmly recommend this website to you.

    Here, in the forums, I'm replacing the previous version of the review with my fully-blown draft. When you have a time, patience and want to have fun reading it ... please do. It would be my pleasure as this is my gift to this great forum.

    Take care.



    ---
    INTRODUCTION

    You know that old one "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" ? It's the perfect description of my mental state before I decided to "let it go" and start adventure with the LCD monitors. My good 5 year old trusty "Nec-Mitsubishi DiamondPro 740SB CRT" was the most beautiful monitor on the world for me and even tiny consideration of changing it was interpreted in my mind as one big scandal. But ... tempted I was. Soon, beauty started to fade and there was a new girl in the town. I tried to resist, but force was so strong with this one. I decided to venture ahead, apart from the fact that my inner thought was whispering that this would be probably the biggest mistake in my life. How wrong I was !

    Now, you, my dear audience, may start to wonder what temptation is that and what temptation can fade 5 year old beauty with just one click of the "order now" mouse button. Well, here it is:

    NEC LCD20WGX2 20" widescreen LCD monitor

    Widescreen gaming is really expanding these day and we may expect more and more titles with the support for the native 16:10 aspect ratios. Also, many of you out there are planning the transition from CRT technology and some of you are probably still unsure what is the next logical step. This is the reason why I think that this review is important and what I'm trying to do here is the compile the review which is done by and for, you the user. I will not try to push you so that you immediately splash your money and buy this monitor NOW. It wouldn't be fair. This review is the guideline what you may expect from this monitor. For me, the monitor is vital part of the PC and I was always picky when choosing one. I knew people who are spending huge amount of money for the new & shiny graphics cards, just in order to gain few fps ... but still they are using the same old 17" CRT monitor and they are simply unaware that picture quality is just pure shock horror. They are simply unable to come to their senses and realise that no card is good for the bad monitor. At the end of the day, it's something you constantly look at and it has to be damn beautiful.

    I was bit skeptical about this monitor, as no single "confirmed" spec of this monitor was available ... but I've always been impulsive about the new technologies. If the spec are nearly as good in practice as on the paper, I would be more than happy. Personally, I think that look of the monitor is fantastic; precise, uncluttered and uncomplicated. Contrast ratios are very good along with the response times. It has specially coated, glossy screen (TFT film) which should provide the rich contrasts and particularly high quality colour presentation. With Advanced DVM you can choose between four display modes optimised for text, gaming, playing videos or photos, and at the same there is support for the whooping 1600:1 contrast ratio. At the end, there is also support for NaviSet (monitor configuration via software). As I'm currently using NaviSet with my CRT, must admit that it's handy tool - I'm not big fan of configuring monitor via OSD anyway.

    It would be rather pointless that I list the full spec here, as it's just copy & paste. So, don't be lazy my dear friends and download the full spec from the following page:

    http://www.nec-display-solutions.co.uk/coremedia/download/143668/20WGX2-Datasheet-english.pdf

    It seems that US version of this monitor is HDCP enabled. However, Europe/UK version is not HDCP enabled, according to the response from Melanie (NEC UK). It seems that HDCP is not supported on their desktop range. What seems to me is that they are trying to separate then men from the boys, in other words LCD TV from the LCD desktop monitor. Obviously, sales policy between US and Europe is different. Same old story. It's just discrepancy in the market targeting. In US, HDTV is real and running already, HDCP is probably just around the corner ... so in some sense they wanted to include such video features as immediately available "extras". UK model is exactly the same, just without video features and much better looking (in my book). Also, Europe is preparing the new tax for the 20" LCD monitors and above. Not sure if such model diversion is related with this one or not. We just have speculations floating around. One thing that is puzzling me, and which is quite strange, is why on the earth monitor has to support this. Monitor is displaying device and not cryptic device. If we can have one simple "in-line" device, connected between the monitor and GPU card who will take care of the decoding process, it would be much more convenient Anyhow, I will not go into HDCP now. At the end of the day, real question which you have to ask yourself is: "Is HDCP important to you ?".

    LG.Philips have recently introduced a new electronic control on their panel technologies which is marketed as being able to improve the contrast ratio from a typical level of 700:1 to a massive 1600:1! It is supposed to help colours look more vivid and bright, text look sharper and enhance the extremes ends of the colour scale, making blacks deeper and whites brighter. This is a great benefit to gamers who have issues seeing enemies lurking in the shadows and for photo / cinema users who want to improve colour quality. This technology is called the Digital Fine Contrast engine (DFC) and consists of 3 elements:

    - Auto Contents Recognition (ACR) - detects the type of content being viewed and decides how to use the contrast adjustment engine to make the most of it. This is dependent on the mode selection in the monitor's OSD, choosing between settings like 'Movie', 'Text', 'Games' etc. For example, in 'Movie' mode, the DFC is enhanced for a maximum brightness and in 'Picture' mode colours are deepened.

    - Digital Contrast Enhancer (DCE) - which reduces black luminance.

    - Digital Contrast Mapper (DCM) - Displays the image while ensuring that the enhanced contrast is optimised.

    This monitor is also using the new AS-IPS panel from LG.Philips which should provide the excellent response times and at the same time bring us the "historic" values of the IPS technology: colour balance, colour reproduction and viewing angles. Is this the perfect technology marriage ? Well, let's find out right now.


    DAY 1 - INITIAL IMPRESSIONS


    *** Is this thing pretty or what ? ***

    Initial response, but so simple and effective question - addressed from my dear wife :) Let's see.

    As I already mentioned, visual appearance of the monitor is just stunning and build quality is really good (it's rather heavy). I personally liked the silver frame and black casing combination. Design is so simple and effective. I don't like the monitors which are "cluttered" with the things you would probably never use (like speakers). It's simple and effective design, just as I like:

    http://62.204.32.7:10973/IMG_0001.JPG

    It has more "depth" then other LCD monitors around, but it's not alarming:

    http://62.204.32.7:10973/IMG_0004.JPG

    It's even less pronounced live (than in the picture). Not sure why additional depth, but maybe it's because of the new AS-ISP panel or simply because of the panel improvements, done by NEC. Unfortunately, I don't have a hart to open it and investigate. You also have the monitor look "above":

    http://62.204.32.7:10973/IMG_0002.JPG

    Here you will see that actual depth increase is really not drastic. Also, in this picture you will notice slight reflection of the computer desk/keyboard on the screen (as ambient light was very intensive). This is because the TFT panel glossy coating (film). Screen has almost "monolithic" look, as it's so deep black.

    Of course, we all know that it's impossible that I comment the monitor look in such way that I judge or discard your visual perceptions. Pictures are here, so you will exactly now what to expect and some pictures will show you how monitor will look when it's actually placed on computer desk.

    Many people were concerned (and with every right) about the screen size, especially when they switch from the 17" or 19" CRT monitors versions. I think that 20" widescreen LCD will be roughly the same height as a 19" CRT vertically. Horizontally you will notice a big difference. I came from the 17" CRT ground and I'm very, very pleased with the screen size improvement. It's simply not comparable (in good sense). One user on the forums even measured the transition from 19" CRT to 20" LCD. Conclusion was that there is approx 16 % more viewing area, it's 18 % wider, and the only thing is that it's about 2 % shorter, which is nothing special. But maybe something which is more important to you is that "widescreen" appearance of the monitor is more appealing to the eye as the field of view is much more preferable with this monitor format. It's somehow more natural to the eye then 4:3 box. I was always fan of the widescreen format. It's more "movie like" and you are somewhat more involved in the scene and I don't mind the wide screen desktop also (it's should be cool hopefully).

    Monitor doesn't have the height adjustment. Is this really necessary, what do you think ? Hey, at the end of the day adjustable height chair will do :) Seriously, I can't comment on this one as it's the generally matter of personal taste. As soon as I placed the monitor on the desk, it was just in-line with my eyes and on the appropriate height. No complains. However, screen tilt & swivel is supported. The base may seems solid. but it's actually standing on the "swiveling" platform. And ... oh yes, control buttons on the bottom and blue illuminated "power on" light are so damn pretty. Very nice outfit :) Take a look:

    http://62.204.32.7:10973/IMG_0018.JPG


    Desktop Appearance & Clarity
    Black Levels
    Font Clarity & Sharpness
    Advanced DVM
    Panel Backlight & Uniformity
    NEC Expansion Modes


    *** First encounter with the third kind ***

    Monitor was connected to the my 7800GTX via DVI port. Powering on ... and tension is rising. WOW, have widescreen bios post screen. Amazing :) Hmmmm. Wonder what will happen next.

    When windows desktop appeared and I opened the web browser with the blank white page, shear brightness of this monitor literally hurt my CRT eyes (in positive way). Anyhow, I tuned down the brightness to 60% and start investigation.

    Stock monitor configuration settings are:

    - brightness 100%
    - contrast 50%
    - Advanced DVM: off
    - Profile: normal (others are: text,photo,video,gaming)

    I like the feature that I can switch quickly between the profiles by pushing the button "DV MODE" on the monitor (on the bottom).

    - Sharpness: 16.6%
    - Colour profile: native (sRGB/custom is supported also)
    - Expansion: not used

    What is Expansion ? Is this monitor alive and will it start to chase us in the house ? No, my dear friends.

    Expansion is the NEC term for the resolution scaling (or pan & scan or however you would like to call it) so that picture can cover the whole screen when you are working in lower resolutions. Excellent for the people who have to run the games in lower resolutions. It's working for all resolutions of "1280x1024" and under, automatically. Of course, you may disabled it if you like. It's controllable via OSD. There are 3 expansion selection modes available via OSD:

    - Full is stretching the image completely, so that whole screen is covered.

    - Aspect is trying to simulate the monitor wide-screen aspect rate 16:10 on the selected resolution. It's stretched little bit, but there are still black bars left/right but not at the top (as far as I can see).

    - Off is disabling any picture scaling processing. Resolution is natural as it should be. It's sharp and unaltered in any way. And, yes, there are tiny black bars on top/bottom and larger ones on left/right. Monitor is able to scale the picture for the resolutions of 1280x1024 and under.

    Have to say that navigation and OSD are excellent. That small rounded button is actually "little joystick", used as the navigation tool. Options are logical and not complex, so the complete set-up and configuration is a breeze. I also installed the monitor driver and "NaviSet" software from the supplied CD. NaviSet is the tool which is integrating in the display properties and allows you to modify the monitor settings from the desktop in same fashion like using OSD:

    http://62.204.32.7:10973/IMG_0015.JPG

    For the beginning absolutely no dead pixels, backlight or colour bleeding problems ... perfect panel appearance. Even and uniform:

    Lights on:

    http://62.204.32.7:10973/IMG_0011.JPG

    Lights off:

    http://62.204.32.7:10973/IMG_0056.JPG
    http://62.204.32.7:10973/IMG_0057.JPG
    http://62.204.32.7:10973/IMG_0058.JPG

    Firstly, have to stress that colours are so vivid and picture so properly contrasted and balanced. This was way above my expectations. Not sure if glossy TFT film, new AS-IPS panel or combination of both are responsible, but results are really surprising. Also, have to say that because of the glossy (mirror) finish of the panel you will see the ambient reflections on the screen, but honestly it's not so noticeable nor drastic or annoying. Anyhow, I really think that this type of TFT film is improving the colours and display contrast drastically and it's so damn good looking.

    I'm using the black background on my desktop (always like it that way). When comparing the black levels against the CRT one NEC is leading by huge margin. Even on my old CRT black was not so "black" and there was always slight brightness involved when black background was in place. Quite impressed. It looks so good that it's comparable and even better than what you can have with the best CRT screens around.

    Now ... Advanced DVM (1600:1) is intriguing. You can simply turn off/on this feature from the monitor options and combine it with any profile available (text/photo/video/gaming). When it's on you will immediately notice nice improvement in the contrast levels and colour fidelity. It looks almost 3D however brightness is slightly lost (but you can always increase it manually). After further testing it seems that Advanced DVM is mostly suitable (and noticeable) during the dark or very rich and colourful scenes. When I opened the F.E.A.R web site:

    http://62.204.32.7:10973/IMG_0017.JPG

    it really looked almost 3D-ish, because of the improved contrast level, black "darkness" and colour depth. Still have to test the Advanced DVM properly. Remember that "black" I described before. Well, it's even more "black" now ... unbelievable. Also, I noticed that in Advanced DVM mode monitor is somewhat automatically adjusting the contrast levels according to the screen content, especially when you have huge area on the screen in black<->white or other major colours intensive transitions. Sounds bit strange, but from my initial experience it's always there when it's needed and it's not distracting.

    Working in desktop was real pleasure. I really liked the widescreen desktop "expansion" from the old 4:3 format. Text was clear and crisp (even without the cleartype) and colour reproduction was really fantastic. Also, when you place bright white objects against the black background no visible shadowing or colour bleeding are visible and contrast was just great:

    http://62.204.32.7:10973/IMG_0012.JPG

    Colour intensive screens, with loads of details, are rendered perfectly:

    http://62.204.32.7:10973/IMG_0049.JPG

    I really wanted to visit all my favourite web sites again and enjoy them in full glory on this monitor, as colours are so vivid and real that it's simply amazing.Screen is really pleasant to the eye when working in desktop. Colours are vibrant and deep, contrast is exceptional, brightness is just crazy (but controllable) and glossy screen is giving additional "smoothness" to the eye. Don't know if I mentioned, but my office LCD screen 17" BenQ is very harsh to the eye, comparing to this one.

    I have only one picture to show for the desktop font clarity:

    http://62.204.32.7:10973/NEWPIC_02/IMG_XT01.JPG

    You will notice the blue luminance around the fonts. It's just the camera glow, nothing to worry about. But notice the contrast, black levels and fonts "smoothness". It's almost CRT-ish like. Interestingly enough, when I decrease the monitor sharpness to 6.2% or 8.3% ... I'm telling you (and this is no joke) it looks just like CRT This may work in a way to reduce the "texture sharpness" especially in the games, so it may be useful for the people who are not the fans of the "LCD" army knife sharpness (especially in games).


    DAY 2 - GAMING


    *** Let the games begin ***

    Do you like to play games ? Can this monitor improve the gaming immersion ? What you, my dear gamers, can expect from this monitor ? Loads of questions, indeed. As I'm also the gamer in the heart, maybe I could help you here. Let's see.

    Now, you may probably heard the terms "ghosting", "blurring", "tearing" and who-knows-what when owners of the LCD monitors describes the gaming performance. That sounds just ugly and scary isn't it ? I was very nervous that such terms will spoil my previous CRT-ish gaming immersion with the old monitor, that I even hesitated to start the gaming review at all. Nuts. However, my dear audience, I never looked back after my decision to try. This panel is so damn fast people, and I'm serious.

    Tonight I played the games with the Advanced DVM + GAME/VIDEO profile settings. One thing is for sure my friends. Advanced DVM is doing wonders for the games and movies. Yes, you will loose the slight level of brightness, but as for the compensation monitor will smash you with excellent contrast levels during the "dark" scenes. Some users may prefer to disable it when playing "bright" games or movies in order to increase the brightness, but from my point of view it's not essential as it's looking good anyway.

    I decided to take different approach tonight for capturing screen pictures with my digital camera. We all know that ambient light is "noisy" and it can easily distort the native screen output especially when using cameras. Also, it can easily add it's own "special effects". So ... I decided that ambient "darkness" or "lights off" is maybe preferable solution.

    I used improvised tripod (pile of books and chair) in order to stabilise the camera as much as possible while obtaining the good camera distance and angle. Think it was worth the effort. All the pictures are in 1600x1200. Also, I may suggest that you also (after the inspection) "zoom out" them so that they can fit your screens and that you have full picture aspect. Not sure what average resolutions you are using out there, but if pictures are to big, please complain and I will rescale them.

    Time is passing so quickly with the games. Let's see what I found out after 2 hours of gaming sessions:

    We all know that F.E.A.R and QUAKE4 are very "dark" games and environment is focused mostly on dark and creepy tunnels, buildings and who knows what. This is the perfect candidate for the Advanced DVM + GAMES profile. Take a look:

    F.E.A.R

    http://62.204.32.7:10973/NEWPIC_01/IMG_FE01.JPG
    http://62.204.32.7:10973/NEWPIC_01/IMG_FE02.JPG

    QUAKE4

    http://62.204.32.7:10973/NEWPIC_01/IMG_Q401.JPG
    http://62.204.32.7:10973/NEWPIC_01/IMG_Q402.JPG

    Now, let's focus on the "bright" side of life

    AOE3

    http://62.204.32.7:10973/NEWPIC_01/IMG_AE01.JPG
    http://62.204.32.7:10973/NEWPIC_01/IMG_AE02.JPG

    ... and some tropical hedonism:

    FAR CRY

    http://62.204.32.7:10973/NEWPIC_01/IMG_HL01.JPG
    http://62.204.32.7:10973/NEWPIC_01/IMG_HL02.JPG
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2006
  2. Raikiri

    Capodecina

    Joined: Jul 5, 2005

    Posts: 17,264

    Location: Brighton

    Looks pretty good, do you have to pay the VAT on it or was it sent as a "gift" ?
     
  3. igors

    Gangster

    Joined: Jul 16, 2004

    Posts: 470

    Location: London/UK

    NEC LCD20WGX2 review extension *** FINAL VERSION ***

    I have relatively fast computer. I'm getting 9260 3DMARK05 / 5250 3DMARK06 with heavily overclocked 7800GTX & Athlon X2 3800 & 2GB OZC 4000EB Platinum RAM. In Far Cry & HL2 I have (constant) high number of FPS even @ 1680 x 1050/4X AA/Max Quality ... so game play was generally very smooth. Just in case, I decreased the quality levels, AA, AF, as the maximum possible FPS is preferable, so that I can push the monitor to the limits. I played with couple of games in full wide screen 1680x1050 glory. Don't know the FPS, but is was smooth as a silk. It was ridiculously good ! I can't get enough of this monitor.

    No tearing, ghosting, latency or blurring whatsoever. It's probably directly influenced by panel fast response times. I tried FEAR, HL2, Far Cry ... everything was smooth and pleasure to play. Have to admit that widescreen field of view is amazing. Again, colour reproduction was perfect. When I opened the AOE3 menu screen (as illustrated in the pictures) level of details, contrast and colour richness were simply astonishing. Half Life 2 in 1680x1050 with HDR and 16:10 aspect ratio was real joy to play. Also, Call Of Duty 2 experience was superb.
    (as illustrated in the pictures IMG_0033/35). It's almost impossible to give you the real "look" of those games with all brightness and contrast goodness, thanks to this monitor. I was so impressed, that I tried several times to record the screen pictures via my digital camera by using different ambient light, different technique and angles ... but no luck. Camera simply can't record such experience. Seeing is believing ...

    You are probably already asking yourself now why I'm still not mentioning those scary terms (if I can say LCD gaming effects) and how they are affecting me during the game play. Well ... problem was that I had to find them at the first place :) With the grate help from the users on the forums, I tried to simulate something. Such effects are mostly visible when you strafe left and right or simply moving very fast around the objects in the games. For example, I have to keep my eye fixed on the certain part of the scenery (objects preferably), strafe left and right or simply moving fast around them and I should notice the loss of texture definition. Is that so ?

    What I did for you is tried to spin/jump/move/strafe around like a mad man (until my head hurts). In HL2 my victim for testing was one big stone and in Far Cry one really nice tree. After I started to feel dizzy :) I decided it's time to stop the testing and give you the opinion:

    While focusing on those single objects and strafing there was noticeable loss of texture sharpness. It's not drastic at all and without the forum users hint,I doubt that I will notice this normally (while focusing on global scenery). Also, this is more visible when you are REALLY close to the object. When you are looking from the moderate distance, it's definitely almost unnoticeable. Somehow, it may sound strange, I liked this effect ?! It's like slight motion blur (if I can phrase it like that). Didn't notice any geometry loss, tearing or trailing of the textures. Also, such motion blur is happening (and it's noticeable) only during strafe. On the global (gaming) picture, I have to say that this is not something which is irritating, distracting or making discomfort. Also, I tried again the same ritual in DOOM 3. This time, strafe "motion blur" was even less noticeable. When I say "motion blur" it's not something like framing the fast movement with low speed camera shutter (and leaving the motion trail). It's just like that texture is little bit out of the focus (is this maybe the perfect term ? ). It's much less here maybe because the DOOM3 is dark game and textures are less pronounced, not sure. Oh yes, here are some screen shoots from the DOOM3 session. Gaming experience in DOOM3 was really superb. Monitor is rendering the dark scenes with great effect:

    http://62.204.32.7:10973/NEWPIC_02/IMG_DM01.JPG
    http://62.204.32.7:10973/NEWPIC_02/IMG_DM02.JPG

    All in all ... amazing gaming experience. So relieved now ;) thatnNo tearing, ghosting, latency or blurring is present. It's probably directly influenced by panel fast response times. I tried FEAR, HL2, Far Cry ... everything was smooth and pleasure to play. Have to admit that widescreen field of view is amazing. Again, colour reproduction was perfect. When I opened the AOE3 menu screen, level of details, contrast and colour richness were simply astonishing. Half Life 2 in 1680x1050 with HDR and 16:10 aspect ratio was real joy to play. Also, Call Of Duty 2 experience was superb. It's almost impossible to give you the real "look" of those games with all brightness and contrast goodness, thanks to this monitor. I was so impressed, that I tried several times to record the screen pictures via my digital camera by using different ambient light, different technique and angles ... but no luck. Camera simply can't record such experience. Seeing is believing ...


    *** Can I watch the movies on this thing ? ****


    Video playback observations


    I somehow felt that it wouldn't be fair that I exclude the movie playback from this review. Generally, I don't use the LCD monitor for watching the the movies so much, as my other home cinema 32" LCD TV is dedicated for that purpose. Here is the movies playback "bonus pack":

    Kung Fu Hustle

    This movie is excellent test for the monitor response times, as it's packed with the fast action sequences. NEC digested everything without a single hitch. Didn't notice any blurring or tearing. Of course, I can't show the action sequences but here are some scenes as guideline about the contrast and colour richness of this monitor:

    http://62.204.32.7:10973/NEWPIC_01/IMG_ST01.JPG
    http://62.204.32.7:10973/NEWPIC_01/IMG_ST02.JPG

    Secretary

    Again, this one is excellent candidate for colour richness and semi-dark scenes.

    http://62.204.32.7:10973/NEWPIC_01/IMG_SE01.JPG
    http://62.204.32.7:10973/NEWPIC_01/IMG_SE02.JPG

    Have to warn you that pixel pitch is visible when watching the movies. So my advice to you is that you watch your movies from the distance.


    DAY 3 - FURTHER OBSERVATIONS


    Colour Balance
    Contrast
    Photo Profile
    Viewing Angles


    *** After the storm is gone ***

    Most of you out there probably know this feeling. When all excitement about the new gadget you have is gone and next day you feel somehow "more attached to the reality of the things around you". But no my friends, with this monitor it's still going on. Seriously.

    One forum user asked me how is the balance between blacks/whites and colors? Are the blacks and whites dominating, or is the picture balance kept? IPS panel screens are famous for picture balance, and this is very important to people who work with graphics. I always appreciated the good colour reproduction on the monitor and it was very important factor to me. Excellent thing about this monitor is "tweak ability". It really can adapt to any demand. As mentioned in the review, first thing that shocked my old CRT eyes, as soon as I opened the desktop, is the the pure colour and contrast bliss. It's such a breath of fresh air. For the people who work with graphics, Advanced DVM + Photo profile is the solution. It's perfect, neutral, colour balance and colour depth is still there. Nothing is standing out of the crowd. Photo profile is tweaking the contrast in such way, that I never ever witnessed such dramatic colour depth. Some people may try just Photo profile (without Advanced DVM) but with reduced brightness. Of course. black levels were simply astonishing in this mode. I'm tempted to try this mode in other applications (gaming/video) with tweaked contrast & brightness levels. Who knows, maybe the results will be surprising.

    When I say "tweak ability", you really can experiment with these monitor a lot. For example, you can combine the "Advanced DVM" + all monitor profiles (standard/gaming/video/photo) + contrast/brightness + sharpness.

    What about the viewing angles ? We all know that this is important aspect of the LCD monitors. As soon as you slightly change the viewing angle from the monitor, picture is loosing the details, colours and it may look just ugly. Here, picture is probably worth more than thousand of words:

    medium angle:

    http://62.204.32.7:10973/NEWPIC_02/IMG_XA01.JPG

    extreme angle:

    http://62.204.32.7:10973/NEWPIC_02/IMG_XA02.JPG

    ** EDIT
    I managed to capture some top/bottom viewing angles of the monitor, as maybe this is important for some of you out there. Personally, I didn't take the camera shots of those viewing angles at first place, as I thought who the heck is locking at the monitor from those angles anyway :lol:

    Here they are:

    Top medium:

    http://62.204.32.7:10973/NEWPIC_02/IMG_XU01.jpg

    Top extreme:

    http://62.204.32.7:10973/NEWPIC_02/IMG_XU02.jpg

    Bottom medium:

    http://62.204.32.7:10973/NEWPIC_02/IMG_XD01.jpg

    Bottom extreme:

    http://62.204.32.7:10973/NEWPIC_02/IMG_XD02.jpg

    Viewing angles are just great. Actually, they exceed my initial expectations and worries by huge margin.

    I was still bit skeptical how come that this monitor is so fast in games, especially because it's 20" WS panel and they are not known to be on the "speedy side". Well ... until now. You may or not know about the famous "I NEED MORE Socks" cartoon from the PixPerAn LCD testing application. Generally, PixPerAn is excellent LCD afterglow and ghosting effects testing and identification tool. With my camera tuned at fastest shutter speed, I tried to identify the ghosting effect on this monitor. Take a look:

    http://62.204.32.7:10973/NEWPIC_03/IMG_SOCT3.jpg

    and more importantly:

    http://62.204.32.7:10973/NEWPIC_03/IMG_SOCT4.jpg

    Impressive. In fact, it's in-line with the fastest TN 2 ms panels around (like 2ms ViewSonic VX922). This is definitely confirming my theory from the review and from the gaming sessions that this is one exceptionally fast panel. Unfortunately, I couldn't take afterglow pictures with the camera as it was almost impossible to properly capture the fast moving text on the black/white background. Hopefully, afterglow is on the acceptable (or surprising) level too.


    DAY 4 - FORUM QUESTIONS


    Panel Uniformity
    Colour Banding
    Advanced DVM (Extended)
    Gaming & Ghosting


    *** It's questions time! ***

    On this day, I have already received plenty of responses from the users on the forums who either owns this monitor or they simply just need the clarifications on some things. I selected few of them, and I think that they are important for you:

    Question:

    "
    Can someone please explain more to me about advanced DMV. I do not understand how a button can change the contrast ration from 700:1 to 1600:1. Is this some sort of software trick built into the monitor? Does the actual contrast ratio change, or is your eye tricked into thinking it is better somehow? I just do not get it.
    "

    My Answer:

    "
    I was puzzled also.

    Yesterday, I discovered that "Advanced DVM technology" is also capable of automatic brightness adaptation of the content in real time (according to Nec). This is definitely confirming my theory from the review that "in Advanced DVM mode monitor is somewhat automatically adjusting the contrast levels according to the screen content". Didn't know that I have this feature until now. I agree, it's definitely confusing without the proper specification of this technology.

    In practice, results are really good ... as already advised in the review. For example, when there is explicitly dark scene in the game, Advanced DVM will automatically slightly adjust the screen brightness so that you don't loose those "fine" details in the dark, which is essentially important for gaming. At the same time, contrast is improved and brightness is
    still on the excellent level.

    Yes, 1600:1 it's just flick on the switch and there you have it Now, I personally think that this is the maximum "obtainable" rate and it's closely related to the way how monitor is dynamically adapting to the screen content.

    As it seems, many people are confused about the Advanced DVM. Now, it's really almost impossible to explain this, until you see it live. However, as I'm utterly stubborn I decided to arm with the camera again and try to illustrate what I'm saying. Take a look (upper pictures are with Advanced DVM off):

    FEAR:

    http://62.204.32.7:10973/NEWPIC_03/IMG_ADMF.JPG

    DOOM3:

    http://62.204.32.7:10973/NEWPIC_03/IMG_ADMD.jpg

    As you may notice, with Advanced DVM scene is even more dramatic, colours are more real & balanced, black is even more black and contrast is improved. Also, brightness is neutral and it's somehow more pleasant to the eye. What is maybe most important is that you are not loosing those fine details from the dark scene. Everything is there as it should be, but picture is much more improved.

    Question:

    "
    Ok, so I finally got mine home last night and all hooked up. Brightness on this thing is ridiculous, but easy to turn down. Very pretty pictures here, except...This is my first LCD, coming from a 21" Viewsonic Professional CRT. All of the daytime/bright games look great. Then I fired up FEAR and BF2:SF. Not so good. In FEAR I see a ton of banding when I transition from light to dark, or vice versa.
    .
    etc
    .
    To be honest, I have to go back and hook up the CRT again to compare. Anyone else seeing this? Is it just LCDs in general, or maybe the games?
    "

    My answer:

    "
    Hi,

    I think that I have found solution for your banding problem !!!

    Just flick the standard monitor profile + Advanced DVM and all banding is magically gone, like it never existed before It would be exactly the same as on your old CRT and, of course, much much better. You will be happy camper again

    So ... you, my dear audience, you may ask now what's going on and what your crazy reviewer is talking about ???

    As I described in my previous review update, monitor is capable of "Digital Fine Contrast engine (DFC)" and what I think that is causing this slight colour banding is: "Auto Contents Recognition (ACR)" (I would not go now in details what is ACR as you have the spec of this in the latest review update). Such slight colour banding is generally visible when there is intensive transition from light to dark, or vice versa and some people may find it annoying. As I described above, solution is simply that you switch to standard monitor profile + Advanced DVM ... everything looks equally good and no more colour banding. It just came to my mind today, after I read more about the monitor DFC spec.

    As I said before, you can play (tweak) with this monitor a lot and I personally think that this is a great advantage.
    "

    Question:

    "
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v212/jodiuh/p180 vs lian li/p180side.jpg

    The image posted was the reason I did not purchase the Gateway (I have been wanting and waiting to get a new LCD for awhile). As far as I know, there are 2 important problems with the image that reveal issues with the Gateway monitor.

    1) Look at the gradient in the upper left. Notice how the transitions are not smooth, instead you can see a stair-stepping like effect as the image transitions from black to gray.

    2) This next problem is even worse, and I noticed this effect in person at best-buy. The image of the innards of a computer is replicated in the bottom-left corner and the top-right corner. In the bottom-left corner, you can clearly make out the CPU heatsink fan and other components. In the top-right field, you completely lose the detail in the CPU heatsink fan and other components. The image in the top-right corner should be identical in brightness and contrast to the image in the bottom-left. Less noticble in this photo (but I have seen this in person), is that color hues will actually change as well. The Gateway is an extremely inconsistent monitor. Colors and black levels change as you move your head around and depending on where they are on the monitor.

    So basically, we want to know if the NEC has these same problems.
    "

    My answer:

    "
    I did exactly what you asked me to do and captured the results with my camera. I used Adobe Photoshop in order to produce the proper black->white gradient and arranged the pictures as you recommended. You will be surprised. Take a look:

    Lights off picture:

    http://62.204.32.7:10973/NEWPIC_04/IMG_0060.JPG

    Camera night light on picture:

    http://62.204.32.7:10973/NEWPIC_04/IMG_0077.JPG

    Fully exposed & zoomed gradient:

    http://62.204.32.7:10973/NEWPIC_04/IMG_0071.JPG

    You may notice the noise in the pictures and maybe some yellowish colours around. It's just my camera in combination with the glossy screen. Nothing to worry about. In reality, colours are uniformed, bright and everything is smooth as baby bum (especially colour gradients).

    Panel uniformity is simply fantastic.
    "

    I received the responses from the people who are worried about the glossy screen and light reflections. Something like this:

    "My room is dark most of the time, so I wont get light reflections because of the glossy screen"

    My answer:

    "
    Well ... UK is dark country ... isn't it (at least weather wise) :)

    Seriously now, people should not get impression that they can use this monitor only if they have dark rooms Moderate ambient light or just desk lamp (behind the monitor) is doing the job just fine. After 4 days of looking at the monitor, can't complain really.

    Generally, I like my games (and movies) in dark or semi dark environment as the immersion level is much higher.
    "

    SUMMARY

    Some of you out there my ask me if I can put the strengths of this monitor in one easy to read spec ? Sure, I can:

    - Rich, natural, vibrant colours representation and deep blacks
    - Crazy brightness (by luminosity spec), but controllable
    - Excellent contrast (also thankfully to the TFT film)
    - Exceptional gaming performance (for 20" WS panel)
    - Excellent viewing angles
    - Advanced DVM is doing the job
    - Great design & appearance
    - Tweak ability and monitor can adapt to any demand
    - Happy marriage between the the IPS panel "historic" advantages (picture balance/colours/viewing angles especially)
    and incredibly fast response times.
    - 0 backlight & colour bleed
    - Honestly priced

    What about the possible downsides ?

    - Video

    Some people may be disappointed with the video playback, as pixel pitch is present and glossy screen is problematic when there is intensive ambient light. I tried several titles and it was great (colour reproduction especially). Of course, such "effects" are noticeable mostly when you are very close to the screen. I prefer my movies in the dark or semi dark room and from the moderate distance. Maybe this is the reason why my video experience was OK. Actually, picture quality was overall better than on my home cinema 32" LCD TV. At the end, have you ever tried to watch your large screen LCD TV from the close proximity ? It's quite bad, honestly.

    - Glossy Screen ( is this downside at all ?! )

    Yes, glossy screen is maybe problematic when there is a presence of the bright ambient light in front of the screen ... but again it's just matter of personal taste. I don't find it very distractive. As this is the subjective matter, maybe this doesn't deserve the global minus. At the end, it's improving the smoothness of the screen and colour & contrast balance. As the general guideline, I would not recommend serious "dark" gaming or "dark" movie playback VERY close to this monitor and in the very bright ambient light (in front of the screen). As gaming/video immersion factor is much more higher in dark or semi-dark environments, I think that glossy screen shouldn't represent the problem for most of you out there. At the end, from the NEC point of view such screen is simply advantage.

    Working in desktop is generally OK in any environment, as in this mode screen is noisy and bright.

    - No height adjustment for the monitor ( is it really necessary ?! )

    Other disadvantages ? Well ... not for now. Seriously. 5 stars from me.

    IPS is definitely back and it's back with the vengeance! and Welcome Back NEC! It was about time. They were among the best monitor manufactures in the past. Is this almost perfect LCD panel ? I would leave this question to you my friends.

    You may find all the pictures from the review at the following page:

    http://62.204.32.7:10973/


    THE END

    Is it possible that I conclude the review with just one thought ? Hmmm ... it is actually:

    New beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Well ... until the next temptation :) See you then, my dear audience.

    Take care
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2006
  4. Raikiri

    Capodecina

    Joined: Jul 5, 2005

    Posts: 17,264

    Location: Brighton

    Would you mind emailing me? Just that your trust isnt set up and I cant ask you in the forums. Cheers
     
  5. igors

    Gangster

    Joined: Jul 16, 2004

    Posts: 470

    Location: London/UK

    Finally arrived :cool:

    CityLink delayed the delivery because of the broken van :)
    Anyhow ... it's here, alive and well and I will be back with
    review as soon as I finish some testing.

    After opening the box and removing the monitor, first thing
    that blow me away was the monitor look. It's simply stunning.
    Build quality is just fantastic and glossy screen is "monolith
    black". It really looks impressive & expensive. And ... oh yes
    control keys on the bottom panel are so damn cool :)
     
  6. PieEater

    Mobster

    Joined: Oct 18, 2002

    Posts: 3,675

    Location: Devon

    I'd be interested to hear about whether it suffers from backlight bleed on totally black screens, give it a day or so to settle down first.
     
  7. frogboy

    Hitman

    Joined: May 11, 2004

    Posts: 516

    Don't just sit there get some pics up man!!

    I want to see games/films running on it.

    Do CityLink always say the van's broken down, I remember them saying that to me once..
     
  8. Raymond Lin

    Capo Crimine

    Joined: Oct 20, 2002

    Posts: 65,252

    Location: Wish i was in Tokyo

    pics !
     
  9. magick

    Mobster

    Joined: Apr 11, 2004

    Posts: 4,402


    What's DVM?
     
  10. igors

    Gangster

    Joined: Jul 16, 2004

    Posts: 470

    Location: London/UK

    Had to go back to work ... was waiting this morning @home for
    CityLink as shipment finally arrived. Only had time to open the
    box, check out the monitor (physically) ;) and post the
    reply in the forum.

    Anyhow, I will be back tonight after I play with it more.
     
  11. igors

    Gangster

    Joined: Jul 16, 2004

    Posts: 470

    Location: London/UK

    Are you suggesting that I shouldn't power off the monitor for the
    next day or two, so that picture will improve ?
     
  12. hairyhen

    Gangster

    Joined: Jan 27, 2004

    Posts: 160

    Location: Glasgow

    Wow, 420 is a cracking price! I am thinking of getting one myself (it's a toss up between this and the standard-aspect ratio Sony SDM-S205K at the moment).

    Anyone perchance know if OcUk will be stocking these models? I wish to remain loyal ;)
     
  13. PieEater

    Mobster

    Joined: Oct 18, 2002

    Posts: 3,675

    Location: Devon

    Nope, just give it a bit of time for everything to run in and settle down. Any coments on backlight yet?
     
  14. igors

    Gangster

    Joined: Jul 16, 2004

    Posts: 470

    Location: London/UK

    Review is up !
     
  15. Raikiri

    Capodecina

    Joined: Jul 5, 2005

    Posts: 17,264

    Location: Brighton

    Looks excellent, could you try some games at 1440x900 to see what they are like?

    Great review though and looks like a very nice screen, hint hint OCuk :)
     
  16. DrFaust

    Associate

    Joined: Feb 15, 2006

    Posts: 2

    Seems to be a very nice lcd. Especially the black level (with no noticeable brightness) seems to be a great improvement to other 20" widecsreen ips panels, that i have seen.
     
  17. igors

    Gangster

    Joined: Jul 16, 2004

    Posts: 470

    Location: London/UK

    Do you maybe know how can I change the thread subject in the main forum display ? It's still showing up as "NEC LCD20WGX2 is arriving !". I want to update it so that people know that review is up.
     
  18. igors

    Gangster

    Joined: Jul 16, 2004

    Posts: 470

    Location: London/UK

    No probs. Any specific one ?
     
  19. Raikiri

    Capodecina

    Joined: Jul 5, 2005

    Posts: 17,264

    Location: Brighton

    Fear and anything that is particularly demanding.
    Just that I am running a 7800GT which will struggle at the higher resolutuions
     
  20. snoxu

    Associate

    Joined: Nov 22, 2005

    Posts: 26

    Location: Portugal

    *drools*

    One question: This NEC looks amazing for games/films, but for normal office tasks, do you figure the glossy reflective LCD is just as easy on the eyes as matte screen LCDs or less?