The P221W has a neat and handy menu of NEC’s latest monitor generations. The menu does not remember what tab you were in last, however.
The first tab offers the Brightness and Contrast settings as well as:
- ECO Mode whose environmental friendliness is in limiting the maximum level of brightness. If you enable Eco Mode 2, you won’t be able to set Brightness higher than 50%.
- Auto Brightness: automatic brightness adjustment depending on the ambient light sensor. The top and bottom limits for the adjustment range are specified by the user.
- Black Level: increasing this setting makes black and dark grays brighter. Decreasing it makes dark grays the same as black. This setting can be used to compensate for the well-known effect of PVA matrixes when some of the darkest halftones are indistinguishable from each other if you are looking directly at the screen.
The second tab is for choosing color temperature. There are five preset modes, four of which (excepting sRGB) are editable, Native mode (the matrix’s native color temperature without additional correction), programmable mode (the color temperature value is set from the computer with a special utility), and two additional modes OP1 and OP2 that are necessary for working with the DICOM gamma curve.
The opportunity to edit four different color temperature modes is a special trait of NEC’s top-end monitors. Other models usually have only one user-defined mode and a few fixed presets that cannot be edited.
The third tab contains system settings:
- DVI Selection: you can choose the operation mode for the DVI connector as analog or digital. When in analog mode, you can connect a D-Sub source to it via an adapter.
- Video Detect: you can enable/disable the automatic detection of input signal. If this feature is turned on and the current input loses signal, the monitor begins to switch between the inputs searching for signal. When turned off, the search for an active input is only performed when the monitor is powered up.
- Expansion Mode: interpolation. There are three variants of it: full screen, full screen with restrained proportions (works correctly with popular resolutions only), pixel-per-pixel display.
- Off Timer: the monitor can turn off automatically after the specified period.
- IPM: power-saving mode setting. The monitor can go into sleep mode when the input signal is lost or when the ambient lighting level is below the specified threshold.
- Factory reset: the settings are reset to their factory defaults.
The fourth tab contains menu-related settings such as position, language, etc.
The fifth tab provides information about the monitor in general and the current operation mode. The ecological parameter is marked in green: how much carbon (as carbon dioxide) has not been thrown out into the atmosphere by the power plants thanks to the increased power efficiency of this monitor. The user manual doesn’t tell explicitly how this amount is calculated, though.
As you can see, the P221W has a settings-rich menu with a few unique items you can but rarely see in other monitors. Besides the main menu, the P221W also offers an extended one with a few more settings. To evoke it, you must turn the monitor on while pressing the Input button. To get back to the ordinary menu, you must turn the monitor off and on again.
The extended menu looks modest. There are two new items in it that were not available in the main menu. You can manually set the brightness limit for the Eco Mode and switch the monitor to low brightness (which is in fact the same as Eco Mode). These settings have little practical value.
The second and third tabs are only available for analog connection. You can set the monitor up for processing poor signal better, but this option will only be necessary in a shop hall or some other location where the monitor is connected to the video source with a long cable.
The fourth tab is about color temperature. It differs from the appropriate tab of the main menu in the opportunity to set the value of gamma at 2.2 or 1.8.
The fifth tab contains system settings. Besides what you could see in the main menu, there are the following options here:
- IPM Setting: the level of ambient lighting at which the monitor switches to sleep mode (when set at Option)
- LED Brightness: you can change the brightness of the Power indicator
- LED Color: color of the Power indicator (green or blue)
- Screen Saver Motion: this setting prevents the forming of a residue image on the screen. When turned on, this setting is shifting the image left, right, top or bottom each 10 to 900 seconds. It may be used when the monitor is working in a trade hall or some other public location.
- DDC/CI: enables/disabled the interface for controlling the monitor from the computer (e.g. using the NaviSet software).
Well, the single question I had after examining the extended menu was why it had been made at all? In fact, all these options could be added into the main menu, without making most of its sections much larger. It is especially odd that the extended menu contains such cosmetic features as the adjustment of brightness and color of the Power indicator.
To sum up, the P221W offers a rich selection of settings, including those that are missing in most other monitors. I mean the adjustment of the black level, automatic adjustment of brightness with user-defined top and bottom limits, manual adjustment of multiple color temperature modes.