NEC has been around for over a century. Since their first product release, they have evolved into an incredible technology company. Although they offer various products, we’re going to focus on a review of the NEC MultiSync PA301W monitor.
NEC PA301W is a 30-inch high-end professional grade P-IPS panel wide color gamut monitor with exceptional color and grayscale performance. It was introduced as an addition to NEC’s PA monitor series. Targeting photo editors, graphic designers and other image professionals.
It is a very stylish 30-inch display that spots superior features such as an IPS panel and a wide color gamut. With a 10-bit color depth, CCFL backlighting, self calibration support, built in KVM switch, 14 bit LUT (Look-up-Table), a wide array of customizable controls and full ergonomic support. All of this come at a premium price. Because it cost about $2,200 last time I checked. See its current price here.
It ticks all the boxes when it comes to features you would want in a monitor. It has been rated very well across most review sites. And there are so many good reasons for it. Though it is highly priced, it has many amazing features that compensate for its price. Moreover, it is geared towards professionals who prefer quality over price.
What is in it for you
Lets see what the NEC MultiSync PA301W-BK monitor in our review today has to offer you below;
- It can handle the most demanding color-critical projects photo editing included. Which is why many consider it as being the ultimate LCD display for professional graphics and photography applications.
Features that come with it like a wide color gamut, high resolution, high brightness and many more makes it the best choice for an accurate, consistent and repeatable color performance.
- It has a very decent color coverage for a wide gamut display. Covering 98.2% of Adobe RGB color space. Which means much more colors in the wide gamut range available for you to work with as a photographer.
- It offers you a superior screen performance with its high resolution, high brightness and decent contrast ratio. To make your pictures on display sharp looking with bright and vibrant colors.
- It supports 14-bit 3D internal programmable lookup tables (LUTs) for calibration.
- With its unique DisplaySync Pro function, you can control two computers with just one mouse and keyboard. Making it very easy and convenient for you to manage two computers all at once.
- It features a Color Vision Emulation function for type P/D/T supporting Color Universal Design.
- It includes a PiP (Picture in Picture) and PbP (Picture by Picture) function that enhances productivity by displaying two different screen sources simultaneously.
- It includes a Multi-Profiler software that provides complete control over its five picture modes. And control over the loading of any ICC profile directly into it. For an optimal color space matching that will make editing your pictures in different modes very easy and efficient.
- It includes a NaViSet Administrator 2 which is a free software solution that makes it very easy for administration and management of larger display device installations.
It is recommended for color critical applications including photo editing and graphic design.
Click here to see price discount available for it right now
Here’s a youtube video below from Newegg TV that describes the Nec MultiSync PA 301W-BK monitor better.
And its price is right to many. While others wished it was cheaper. You may want to know its current price. Last time I checked, it cost about $2,200. But you can check here to see if it is cheaper right now.
NEC PA301W specs (manufacturer specifications )
Still on our NEC PA301W-BK review, here are its specs in the table below.
Hint: Click on the next button below the table to see more spec features
Screen type (Matte or Glossy)
Pixel pitch (Dot pitch)
|2560 x 1600
|Not rated yet
|27.1 x 17.6 x 4.9
60 pounds / 83 pounds
|Color Gamut |
|Wide color gamut
98.2% Adobe RGB
|Bit depth (Color bits)|
1.07 billion colors out of 4.3 trillion colors
|Response time (Milli-seconds)||7ms gray-to-gray|
|Connectivity & inputs options||2 x Dual link DVI-D
2 x Displayport
3 x USB downstream with DisplaySync pro
2 x USB upstream
|Ergonomics & Adjustment options||-10° to + 30° Tilt
90° Pivot (rotate)
5.9 inch height adjustment
|VESA compliant?||Yes (100 x 100mm, 200 x 100mm)|
|Viewing angles (Horizontal/vertical in degrees)||178°/178°|
|Contrast ratio||1000:1 static|
|Brightness (in Candelas per meter squared)||350 cd/m2|
|Warranty||4 years warranty with 48 hour advanced exchange|
|Other features and fine details||sRGB color management
Self calibration support with i1D2
Picture-in-picture (PiP) & Picture-by-picture (PbP) function
Auto Brightness stabilization
|Full Review||You are on the review page of this product. Scroll down for more details.|
|More details||Click here for more information and details of how to get this product with huge discount|
- Design and build
It comes with great hardware features. Such as a built-in KVM (keyboard, video, and mouse) function switch that enables you to control two computers with a single mouse and keyboard combo. And a built-in support that will adjust color, brightness, and more options automatically. Although it is a bit large and heavy to compare with other monitors, it comes assembled for easy use. Once set-up, you can adjust it with ease. It also swivels and tilts easily to adjust to your needs.
It is housed in a matte black cabinet measuring 27-inches wide and 4.9-inches deep. It is fairly huge and heavy weighing over 27.5 pounds. Its stand is composed of a wide base that provides solid support to the panel. And a telescoping arm that allows for a 6-inch height adjustment. It can swivel + or – 30 degrees. Tilt 30 degrees up and between 5 to 10 degrees downwards. You can as well pivot it to up to 90 degrees to allow for a portrait mode view. There is an auto rotate function in it that automatically changes the orientation of its screen as you pivot for portrait mode. Swivel is smooth and easy to manipulate while tilt and pivot can be a bit tricky to execute at times.
Pros and Cons
Our NEC MultiSync PA301W review will in this section look into what others had to say about it. In terms of ratings, features and specifications, professionals who reviewed it have a well trusted opinion about it. It was awarded a 90 score (excellent score) at Techspot, a 4.5 out of 5 stars by PCmag (excellent rating as well), and another 4.5 out of 5 stars from B&H. Meaning it performed very well in various test performed on it.
Based on their reviews and what other uses had to say about it, we will now focus on what they liked and what they disliked about it. And we will as well take a closer look at users opinion. Majority of comments from user reviews are positive. But there are a few negative comments that you might as well pay attention to.
Here are some of the positive points of this monitor;
- Excellent Colors: Being a professional grade monitor, it is ideal for graphic design and excellent for photo editing as well. It reproduces incredible and excellent colors that are rich in quality. Making it a top choice amongst designers. There have been no reports of tinting or color errors with it. And this is according to test results reported by top review websites such as PCmag, Techspot, B&H etc. Colors on it were reported to be uniform across the entire monitor. And its grayscale performance was great as well.
- IPS Panel: It is made of an IPS panel. And because of this, its colors and grayscale are very accurate for view. Its colors are so precise due to the IPS panel technology it is made of, that it yields about 93.3 percent of the standard color gamut. To compare it to about 72 percent that is common among most other regular monitors. In terms of Adobe RGB color space, it covers about 98.2 percent of Adobe RGB colors. And that is one reason why it is one of the best monitors for photographers, and graphic designers.
- Resolution: When choosing a large screen display for use, it is advised that you do not go for anything below 1920 x 1080p in resolution. NEC PA301W in our review today is very generous in terms of resolution offering an excellent 2560 x 1600 resolution. And this helps for images to be displayed in more minute details.
Functionality: One of the reasons why Nec PA301W’s review ratings are high is because it is a very functional monitor. It is the first NEC monitor that offers two connections. There is a DVI port, as well as four digital inputs. There are buttons that allow you to adjust brightness based on your lighting environment. And all buttons are associated with an on-screen navigation menu. Making any adjustment you make a breeze. It also has a built in KVM (keyboard, video and mouse) function that allows you to control two computers with a single mouse and keyboard.
- Great Viewing Angles: It allows you to view the screen from multiple angles without skewing your image. This is great in terms of adjusting the angle of view to your desire. So that at any angle you view the screen, colors and brightness will remain the same as when you view the screen from the front. If you tilt your monitor 30 degrees for instance, nothing will change in terms of your visibility and the accuracy of the images on your screen.
Click here to see more of its Pros and advantages of owning this monitor.
This NEC PA301W review also looked into areas where it falls short of expectations below;
Takes Up A Lot of Space: Although this monitor offers a large screen which is very useful, it takes up a lot of room in terms of space on your desk. It weighs a whooping 27.6 pounds, within it’s black cabinet. The depth of the monitor is only 4.9 inches, but the stand adds an additional 7 inches. You will definitely need two hands to do any lifting or even adjusting with it.
- Price: Its price may shock some people on a limited budget. Because it falls within the high budget range of professional displays. It cost about $2,000 last time we checked. But you can check if the price is cheaper currently (as price changes all the time) here. It is definitely meant for professionals who have deep enough pockets. And for those who prefer quality over price and are definitely on a high budget. To be fair, you get what you pay for in this monitor. With all that it is made of in terms of quality and performance, it is definitely worth it.
- Not Energy Efficient: Due to its CCFL backlighting, it is not that energy efficient. On the average, it uses about 98-watts of power when running in full mode. However there is an option to use it in Eco-mode. Which brings the wattage down to 69-watts power consumption. But according to a review by PCmag, it becomes too dark in the Eco-mode. Making the eco-mode not a very good option. Which brings us back to the fact that it is not very much energy efficient.
No HDMI inputs: Although there are multiple input connections within this monitor, it does not have an HDMI port. As more and more devices are compatible with HDMI, this is a let down to many. But of course there are many ways around this. And so it is not a deal breaker for the Nec PA301W.
Although this monitor in our review today, the Nec PA301W, is recommended for professionals, it is as well a great addition to your work space. Especially if you are in need of a color accurate monitor with great features and exceptional performance. And because of all the great features that it offers, that made it rated so high among the tech community, you will find it very useful for various purposes. Keep in mind though, that you will need a large amount of space for it on your desk. Because it is a fairly big display. Also be prepared to spend a lot more on this monitor in terms of purchase price. Because it cost a lot more than most other monitors in the market.
What we ddn’t like about it
Still on our NEC MultiSync PA301W review, lets talk about the things we didn’t like about it.
- Energy Consumption
It consumes a lot of energy which is not too surprising because it is a CCFL backlit monitor. It consumes almost 98 watts of power when operating in full mode. Which is almost the same as the consumption rate of the Dell U3011 that is quite similar to it. This can however be reduced slightly by activating its Eco-mode 1 function. Which lowers the luminance level to 200nits. Bringing down its power consumption to 92 watts while still maintaining a reasonable level of brightness. There is also an Eco-mode 2 function that reduces power consumption down to 69 watts. But with most of its brightness gone. Because the luminance level is now down to a value of just 100 nits. Because of this, the Eco mode 2 function will not be comfortable for you for a prolonged use of this monitor. Therefore in essence, the Eco mode function does not help much with the fact that it consumes much power and energy.
Like it was mentioned before, this monitor comes at a high price tag. Which hinders many that would have loved to own it. Comparing its about $2,200 price to that of the Dell U3011 that cost a little above half its price, you can say they have a good reason to be discouraged. However its color accurate features, grey scale and overall performance knocks off any monitor competing with it in any category. Another thing about it that strikes many that reviewed it is that it does not have much flaws. You will not find much to fault about it. Unlike most other monitors that when you look closely, you find many areas where they come lacking.
You must have a compatible video card to use it. Because not all video cards works very well or is compatible with it.
Its OSD menu can be confusing at times to use. Especially if you do not understand the way it works.
Other Useful Features
This monitor leaves a mark for itself as the first NEC monitor to offer two Displayports. It also comes with dual DVI connections, two downstream and two upstream USB ports. Which are all located at the back of the cabinet. Featured on the right side of the panel is a single USB 2.0 port to be used with the X-Rite i1D2 for onboard calibration. However, you can also use it like any other USB port when not in that OSD section. The only connectivity feature missing in this monitor is an HDMI input. It does not have an HDMI input. And this might be a bit disappointing to many.
It comes with two sets of OSD (On Screen Display). The first one which is pretty much straight forward and easy to navigate can be accessed by simply pressing the menu button. While the second one is the advanced OSD menu which we will discus later below.
The lower right hand side of the front bezel features the menu, input and power switch buttons. Also located there is a navigation rocker that allows you to move right or left. And a light sensor that adjusts the brightness due to changes in ambient lighting. The PiP (picture in picture) and up/down buttons are also located right there in the front bezel. You bring up the OSD menu by pressing any of the above buttons.
The menu on display when you use the OSD, provides you an array of image adjustment options that include brightness, sharpness, white level, black level, hue and expansion settings. The other settings available include red, green, blue, yellow, cyan and magenta saturation controls. It also offers five picture modes that include Adobe RGB, sRGB, Full, High Bright, and DCI. DCI is a setting used for digital cinema. The “Full” option is mostly used with ICC color profiles while the “High Bright” option is the highest brightness among the default presets available on it.
The advanced OSD menu can be accessed in two ways. One way is by holding the power and input buttons simultaneously while switching the monitor on. This method brings up the advanced OSD setting for the length of the power-on session. The second method is to go to the bottom of the color tab where you will find a link named “advanced settings”.
Options on the advanced OSD are typically the same with the basic OSD but with more depth in a few areas like picture and color settings. Color tristimulus and white point values are provided in x and y ranges. A new uniformity pane and gamma controls are also featured in the advanced OSD settings. Ideally, the advanced OSD menu allows you to create a custom gamma. And to adjust its uniformity, gamma and white point settings. It is also used to set up a tile matrix to display an image on multiple screens not exceeding 25 monitors, among others.
It performed very well in displaying text on screen. And in other related office applications. Fonts are clearly visible up to a point size of 5.3.
Its 7 ms pixel response time is quite impressive. Especially when you consider the fact that it is a professional grade monitor with a primary focus on color reproduction and accuracy. And not mainly for motion graphics such as it is applicable with games. So despite its main focus, it performs very well with games as well. Games play very well on it without any significant motion blurs or input lag.
It offers a luminance range of about 360 nits (40-400) which is good enough for most applications. This means that you can get the lowest and highest levels of brightness you want and still have some to spare. Because the best luminance level for comfortable use usually falls between 150 and 220 nits. So it covers that range very well and at a good margin.
Click here to see what others are saying about it.
- Photo Editing
There is no doubt that this monitor has everything you need for photo editing and graphics imaging. Here below are some of its great features that makes it one of the best monitors for photo editing and for graphic designs.
- Resolution and Color Gamut: Its 30-inch P-IPS panel comes loaded with 2560 x 1600 pixels of screen resolution. And a 10-bit color gamut that supports 1.07 billion colors. The wide gamut color technology on it displays 98.2 percent of Adobe RGB. And full colors (almost 100%) of the sRGB color space. This monitor is also among the few high-end monitors that support 14-bit Look Up Table (LUT) technology. Which offers the fastest calculations when calibrating it.
- Onboard Calibration Support: It comes with a unique feature known as on-board support for basic calibration using an X-rite i1D2 colorimeter. Once you plug in this highly functional colorimeter to its USB port located by the side of it. The display automatically calibrates itself for brightness, color tristimulus values and white point. This saves you time it would have taken to calibrate this monitor to that point by yourself without the on-board support function. Because it calibrates the monitor to a level where calibrating it further to your taste will not take much time and effort on your part. And gives you a good starting point to tweak things further for complete software calibration.
- Hardware Calibration: This monitor gives perfect results for hardware calibration. Especially after you might have done the onboard calibration on it. White point and color tristimulus values are almost at the best possible values. And its brightness and color temperature values are greatly improved.
- Viewing Angles: Just like many other high-end IPS panel monitors, this monitor provides excellent viewing angles at various angles you choose to view its screen. With no noticeable loss of color fidelity and image quality viewed from off angle positions. Its panel also gives excellent results in the portrait mode display, which is something photo editors will find very useful.
Color Accuracy: Color accuracy is the ability of a display to give the right color requested by the GPU and OS. The deviation between what is actually displayed on screen and the color requested by the GPU is usually given by a “Delta’ value. Which is simply denoted as dE. A dE of 2.0 is acceptable for high class professional imaging work. But anything less than 2.0 is better. Color accuracy tests performed on this monitor gave a deltaE of 1.6. Which is very good for color critical purposes. There were no tinting nor were color tracking errors observed during further tests on it. And its color samples are well saturated and uniform.
- Grayscale Performance: Both of its light and dark grayscale performance is impressive. The 64 grayscale test swatch scaled consistently from dark to light and displayed excellently without any noticeable compression throughout the scale. All dark grays are easily distinguishable from black. And all light grays can easily be identified to the last.
- Warranty And Support
It comes with a four year manufacturer warranty. That covers backlight, parts and labor. There is also a rapid shipment policy of 48 hours. Which means that a warranted replacement must be received within two business days for a successful replacement.
After much analysis, we will now conclude this NEC PA301W review by summarizing and providing our thoughts concerning it.
Before you go ahead and make a purchase decision about this monitor, think about the most important thing you need from a monitor. If what you desire is accurate colors, excellent resolution, a lot of functionality, and multiple ports among others, then this monitor is the ideal choice for you. If you have the budget for it, this monitor is highly recommended. But remember, if an HDMI port is important to you, this monitor does not provide it.
It goes without saying that this is not your ordinary type monitor. It is a serious professional grade high-end display for professionals. It has no shortage of features and delivers exactly what it says but at a premium price. Some professional photo editors will definitely find it a bit expensive. But if you can afford it, it’s an excellent way to upgrade your photo editing experience.
However, if you do not have the budget for it, consider going for the similar but competitively priced Dell U3011. Which is also a solid performer with excellent color reproduction features, grayscale performance, and a wealth of connectivity options.
Where to buy the NEC MultiSync PA301W-BK monitor.
At Amazon, you get it at the best price possible with great deals and huge price discounts. You as well get it shipped to you free of charge. Get all these benefits and discount for the Nec PA301W here at Amazon.
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