The monitor has 100% brightness and 50% contrast by default. To achieve a 100nit brightness of white I reduced the brightness setting to 70% and the contrast setting to 42%. Brightness is regulated by modulation of the power of the backlight lamps.
I could find no fault with the backlighting and the reproduction of color gradients. The monitor does its job superbly in this respect.
The gamma curves are perfect, almost merging into the theoretical ones. The entire range of color tones, from darkest to lightest, is accurately reproduced. The color reproduction doesn’t worsen when the brightness/contrast settings are lowered.
The user can choose from six color temperature modes, four of which can be adjusted manually (except for “sRGB” and “Native”). The setup quality is highest. This is in fact one of the most precise setups I’ve ever seen in my tests. The difference between the temperatures of the different levels of gray is as small as to fit within the measurement error range, i.e. a few dozen degrees (if you don’t count in the “warming” of dark gray, but it is insignificant, and the calibrator’s accuracy degenerates on dark colors, too). Compare this with the usual difference of a few hundred or even a thousand degrees!
The monitor isn’t fast at its default settings. The response time graphs goes upwards on dark colors, not as steeply as with VA matrixes, yet reaches about half a hundred milliseconds. However, the monitor’s advanced menu offers the Overdrive option that enables response time compensation. It is disabled by default (I guess this can be explained by the market positioning of the model. It is mainly targeted at people who need an accurate reproduction of colors. Such users must not be frightened away by new-fangled technologies associated with home/gaming models).
So, I turned that technology on to see the following:
Well, the diagram hasn’t changed dramatically, yet it certainly looks better now. The pixel rise time is 50-100% smaller (the fall time remains the same because the pixel is switched to black and RTC is useless on such transitions).
Measuring gray-to-gray transitions yields an average response time of 11.8 milliseconds. On one hand, this is quite a lot as today’s gaming monitors go (the average response time of the NEC 20WGX2 is 6.6 milliseconds, for example), yet the LCD2190UXi easily beats any RTC-less matrix, including the so-called fast TN+Film (my tests of the NEC LCD2070WNX show why such matrixes are not actually fast: with a specified response of 10ms, that monitor has a real average response time of 16.6ms or almost 50% higher than that of the LCD2190UXi). The maximum response time of the LCD2190UXi is 27.3 milliseconds on a transition from black to a dark gray.
Alas, the monitor is not free from RTC-related artifacts. The average miss of the compensation circuitry is 3.0% with a maximum of 27.9%. This peak is somewhere in the middle of the diagram, i.e. it occurs on a transition between two rather close levels of gray and won’t be very conspicuous in practice. So, the visual artifacts provoked by RTC aren’t gross and won’t be annoying, but they do exist.
The monitor’s contrast ratio isn’t very high, but normal for an S-IPS matrix. After all, this matrix manufacturing technology has never featured super-high contrast. The specified contrast of 500:1 isn’t recording-breaking, either.
Thus, the NEC MultiSync LCD2190UXi is an excellent choice for working with color. It is superbly set up and is free from any defects when it comes to color reproduction. In these aspects, this is one of the best monitors of all I’ve tested so far. It also offers an abundance of various setup options, some of which even seem superfluous (I could get along quite well without changing the color of the Power indicator, for example). You’ve got options for every event in your life, including fine-tuning the monitor for analog cables, although I doubt many users will use an analog connection for it. The LCD2190UXi is halfway between ordinary models and the SpectraView series that is intended for professional work with color. So, if you need an accurate color reproduction, but SpectraView models are too expensive, consider the LCD2190UXi. This monitor doesn’t even need calibration, it is set up that well originally.
With all that, the LCD2190UXi is not slow. After you turn RTC on, it becomes suitable for dynamic games, even though it is slower than the best models of home/gaming monitors available today. Moreover, its RTC error is small, so most users won’t ever want to disable this technology. You can keep it always on without any negative consequences for your work.
There is only one thing that may repel you from the LCD2190UXi. It costs over $1500. This money can buy you one 24” monitor or a couple of 20-21” ones. That’s why I don’t recommend going for the LCD2190UXi unless you are absolutely sure that you need this very model. A lot of users just won’t see a big difference between it and home-oriented models that cost half its price. For them, the purchase of an LCD2190UXi would be just a waste of money.
To be continued!