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NEC MultiSync 20WGX2

The specs of this monitor provoked my excitement: an S-IPS matrix with a declared response time of 6 milliseconds GtG should have response time compensation. With such parameters it could prove to be competitive against fast games-oriented monitors on TN+Film matrixes while being superior to them in viewing angles and color reproduction.

The monitor follows the new style of NEC monitors with slightly rounded angles and a block of buttons under the screen. Notwithstanding the large size of the screen, the monitor doesn’t leave a feeling of bulkiness. On the contrary, it looks quite well-proportioned.

Its dimensions strike your eyes when you take a side view of it. The screen looks thick as opposed to the slim stand. The stand only allows to adjust the tilt of the screen. It doesn’t support height adjustment, let alone the portrait mode.

The MultiSync 20WGX2 has analog and digital inputs, and a 4-port USB hub. Two of the hub’s ports are located on the side (you can see them in the previous snapshot), and two more are at the back, next to the other connectors. The power adapter is internal.

The monitor’s controls are designed as a separate block of buttons under the case: Power, three control buttons and a four-position joystick. It’s the joystick that may be troublesome as it works badly on quite a lot of monitor samples. In our sample, it didn’t work well when you pushed it to the right. Sometimes it reacted as if you had pushed it leftward while you had actually pushed it downward.

The monitor’s menu is typical of modern models from NEC; it is user-friendly and pretty-looking.

Quick access is provided to the brightness and contrast settings (by moving the joystick), to switching between the inputs and between the DV Modes. A minor inconvenience is that the auxiliary menus that open up on your pressing the quick-access buttons always appear in the center of the screen regardless of the position of the main menu (whose position is specified in the settings).

Those DV Modes are different from the preset brightness/contrast modes that are offered by a lot of other monitors. In DV Modes, the gamma compensation value is adjusted instead of contrast/brightness, and this may lead to the loss of dark or light image tones. The Advanced DV Mode means automatic brightness adjustment depending on the onscreen image (the lighter the image is, the higher the monitor’s brightness gets). Theoretically, this should increase the dynamic range available to the monitor, but in practice this depends on the user’s taste. Some people may not like such “floating” settings.

By the way, besides having a contrast ratio of 700:1, the 20WGX2 is declared to have a dynamic contrast of 1600:1 which is only available in the Advanced DV Mode. This number is arrived at in a very cunning way: the level of white is measured on a light image when then Advanced DV Mode increases the screen brightness and the level of black is measured on a dark image when the Advanced DV Mode decreases the screen brightness. The ratio of the two values equals 1600:1. In other words, the Advanced DV Mode feature can automatically change the screen brightness by 2.3 times (1600/700).

The dynamic contrast doesn’t work on static images. The monitor can’t give you more than 700:1 on them whatever you do. The effect can only be seen in dynamic scenes, i.e. in games and movies, when the automatic “on-the-fly” brightness adjustment makes light (or dark) images brighter (or darker) than what they would be without the auto-adjustment. Of course, the whole screen is adjusted at once, so there is no effect on dark images with a few light areas (like on an image of a night street with a few lampposts). To me, this adjustment looks like a crutch to make up for the rather narrow dynamic range of modern monitors, yet it can be useful at times. This depends on the user’s particular taste, though.

One of the most annoying problems with our sample of the monitor was its very uneven backlighting. There were light blots with rainbow-like contours in every corner of the screen, perfectly visible even in daylight. I guess this must be due to the improper case design. The matrix is pressed too hard at the corners and is deformed as a result. On the other hand, there are quite a lot of samples of the 20WGX2 without that problem while those users who did complain about the non-uniform backlighting would notice that it improved within a few weeks (this is logical since every over-tight fastening, also the fastening of a monitor case, slackens a little over time). Anyway, I do recommend that you check out the uniformity of the backlighting at the shop (it’s best to do that on a black background and at the highest brightness setting), so that you didn’t get a defective sample.

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