Onscreen Menu and Setup Options
The monitor’s onscreen menu follows NEC’s recently adopted style with five main sections and drop-down lists with subsections.
Two items are interesting in the first section: ECO Mode and Auto Brightness. ECO Mode does not seem functional at first. It only allows to switch between two levels of brightness (the eco-friendliness boils down to the fact that the lower the brightness, the less power the monitor consumes) and would be perfectly useless if it were not for one thing. There is a dedicated button that allows to switch between the preset levels of brightness without entering the monitor’s menu, i.e. instantly. I cannot stop praising Samsung’s monitors for the same feature (under a different name) because it is most handy when you often have to switch between, for example, text-based applications and movies/games. Instead of each time evoking the onscreen menu to adjust the monitor’s brightness according to the current application, you can just press that button.
The Auto Brightness item allows the monitor to adjust the backlight brightness automatically in three different ways: basing on the ambient lighting sensor, basing on the current image (the darker it is, the higher the brightness), or basing on both. You can specify the minimum and maximum limits of the adjustment.
Here is one drawback of the ECO Mode: when you turn it on, the monitor enables the third, combined, mode of brightness auto-adjustment and you cannot turn it off or choose any of the other two modes. Moreover, the automatic brightness adjustment remains enabled when you return from the ECO into normal mode. So, if you don’t want brightness to be adjusted automatically (and there are many reasons why you may not want it), the ECO Mode feature becomes useless. I don’t understand why the developer decided to link one feature to another in such a way.
Besides the ECO Mode, the monitor has a selection of preset DV Modes but they are no good for practical applications. First, you have to enter the menu to turn them on. Second, the image is too sharp in every DV Mode. Their usefulness for games and movies is questionable (because they affect color reproduction, too) and they are completely useless for work.
The second group of settings is about color temperature which comes in five preset modes. You can change three of them to your own taste.
The next group contains various secondary settings: the volume of the integrated speakers, the order in which the inputs are probed for video signal, automatic shutting down, the brightness of the Power indicator, the scaling-up of the image at non-native resolutions, turning off DDC/CI (this interface allows to control the monitor by means of software from the computer it is connected to), and resetting all the options to their factory defaults.
The fourth menu section contains options pertaining to the menu itself as well as to power saving (“IPM”). The latter has nothing to do with the above-described ECO mode. It refers to the monitor’s ability to fall asleep as soon as the ambient lighting is below the specified threshold. The monitor can be woken up by pressing any button except Power and Select. This feature can hardly be useful at home, but may come in handy in the office. If the lights are turned off and there is nobody in the office, the monitor will fall asleep to save on the electricity bill (if someone has forgotten to turn the computer off).
And finally, the last group of settings is informational and generally useless. The colored item tells you how many kilograms of carbon dioxide have not been thrown into the atmosphere because you have been running the monitor at reduced brightness. This setting has the top place in my uselessness chart because brightness should be selected correctly for the comfort of your eyes rather than to save yourself from global warming.