NEC MultiSync EA244WMi review

Pros

  • Good colour and greyscale performance
  • Impressive viewing angles
  • Feature-rich
  • Energy efficient

Cons

  • No automatic image rotation
  • No USB 3.0

The NEC MultiSync family of business monitors has a new addition, and it's a winner. The NEC MultiSync EA244WMi uses a 24in IPS panel to deliver robust colours, accurate greyscale reproduction, and wide off-angle viewing. Moreover, it offers virtually every video input you'll ever need, has a four port USB hub, and is equipped with a highly adjustable ergonomic stand. It'll save you money on your utility bill, too.

My gripes are minor; the USB ports are 2.0 instead of the speedier 3.0 variety, and you have to use your graphics card control panel to rotate the image when pivoting the panel. Nevertheless, the EA244WMI is an outstanding business monitor and snags one of our Best Buy awards.

Design and features

With its matte-black cabinet and thin (12mm) bezels, the EA244WMi looks like a typical business display. It uses a 24in IPS (In Plane Switching) panel with a 1,920 x 1,200 resolution and a 16:10 aspect ratio, which is a departure from the ubiquitous 1,920 x 1,080 panels dominating the display market.

The cabinet is 65mm thick and weighs 4.8kg, and sits atop a sturdy stand comprised of a telescoping arm that gives you 5in of height adjustability and a hinge assembly that has tilt and pivot functionality. The round base contains a Lazy Susan mechanism that allows swivel adjustments. The only thing the EA244WMi doesn't do is re-orient the picture when you pivot the panel. For that you'll have to upgrade to one of the more expensive MultiSync PA models, such as the NEC MultiSync PA301W. Or, you can save all that money (well over £1,000) and use your graphics card's control panel to switch between portrait and landscape modes.

Positioned along the left side of the lower bezel are an ambient light sensor and a human sensor. With ambient sensing enabled the monitor will automatically adjust the brightness level according to the current lighting environment. The human sensor detects movement; after a predetermined period time the monitor will enter one of two power saving modes if there is no movement.

To the right of the sensors are five touch sensitive buttons (on/off, input, menu, left and right navigation arrows) and just above them on the right side bezel are three more navigation buttons (up and down arrows, ECO mode). Each button uses an on-screen label to describe what it does, making menu navigation a breeze.

There's no shortage of ports on the EA244WMi. The rear of the cabinet is home to a DisplayPort, HDMI, DVI, and VGA video inputs as well as a pair of up-firing speakers. It also holds an upstream USB port and two downstream USB ports. Two additional USB ports are mounted on the left side of the display for easy access. While it's nice to have a four port USB hub, it would be even nicer if it supported USB 3.0 instead of the slower USB 2.0 standard. Lastly, there are two Control Sync ports (in/out) and an audio input. Control Sync lets you copy settings from one monitor (the master) and send them to up to five sub-monitors that are connected via a special cable.

Picture settings include brightness, contrast, black level, and six picture presets (standard, text, movie, gaming, photo, dynamic). You can enable one of three ECO modes (off, 1, 2) and set the Auto Brightness feature to dynamically change brightness levels depending on ambient light, the amount of white content, or both. Here you can also determine thresholds for the Human Sensor feature, such as how long before the monitor reacts and what power saving mode it will enter if no motion is detected. There's also a Data Copy option that works with the Control Sync feature.

The EA244WMi comes with a three year parts, labour, and backlighting warranty. Inside the box are USB, DVI, audio, and VGA cables. You also get a Control Sync cable and a setup manual. DisplayPort and HDMI cables are not included.

Performance

The EA244WMi is a stellar performer. It nailed the DisplayMate 64-step Greyscale test, displaying all shades of grey. Granted, it doesn't provide the same level of accuracy that you get from high-end IPS panels like the one used on its bigger (and much pricier) sibling, the PA301W, but it's quite good for a mid-range monitor. Colours were well saturated and rich, and skin tones looked natural with no obvious tinting issues.

Off-angle viewing was typical for an IPS panel; colours remained true from the side, top, and bottom, and the picture remained bright regardless of the viewing angle. Additionally, small text from the scaled fonts test was crisp and easy to read.

This 24in monitor is a power miser. It used 26 Watts of power in standard ECO mode, which is more frugal than the NEC EA232WMi which used 34 Watts. Switching over to ECO 1 (Energy Star) lowered usage to 19 Watts, while ECO mode 2 (40 per cent power savings) yielded 13 Watts. By way of comparison, the EA232WMI used 28 Watts (mode 1) and 18 Watts (mode 2). The EA244WMi's excellent power saving features and low power usage earn it our stamp of approval when it comes to being environmentally friendly.

Verdict

The NEC MultiSync EA244WMi is a stellar performing monitor that's jam-packed with business-centric features, including a flexible stand, USB hub, and a variety of video inputs. In addition to its excellent performance, IT personnel will appreciate the Control Sync feature, and eco-friendly business owners will love its energy efficiency and power saving options. I'd prefer USB 3.0 connectivity and an auto-rotate feature, but neither gripe prevents the EA244WMi from earning our Best Buy award.

Specifications

Manufacturer and Model

NEC MultiSync EA244WMi

Native Resolution

1920 x 1200

PC Interfaces

Analog VGA, Digital (DVI-D), HDMI, DisplayPort

Video Inputs

DVI, HDMI

Diagonal Screen Size

24in

Widescreen

Yes

Aspect Ratio

16:10