NEC MultiSync PA272W 27" Professional Monitor Review

Author: AkG
Date: February 9, 2014
Product Name: MultiSync PA272W
Part Number: PA272W
Warranty: 4 Years
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A Closer Look at the NEC PA272W

The NEC PA272W is first and foremost a monitor meant for professionals in a business setting and the overall appearance tends to reflect this conservative, somewhat utilitarian philosophy. To this new MultiSync has NEC’s classic styling, so while some may consider its charcoal gray and black aesthetics to be a touch outdated when compared against the ASUS ProArt or Apple Cinema Displays of the world, the overall design caters to a workspace workplace environment.

Before we continue lets deal with the white elephant in the room: the sheer size of this monitor. Anyone interested in an ultra slim panel will be disappointed as NEC has once again opted to ignore the 'thinness' craze sweeping the marketplace. Even compared against most other business grade IPS monitors, this 28.4lb monster will dwarf them with a panel chassis that is a full 85mm thick. As an added benefit, the excess housing depth has allowed NEC to include an impressive number of ventilation slits to let hot air passively escape. This should keep the robust internals cooler and reduce the chances of heat related damage.

One thing we should mention that that NEC’s industrial-grade component selection has necessitated the PA272W’s upsizing. This is actually a good thing since it points towards an unyielding focus on quality instead of prettiness.

Of course overheating is much less likely with this PA272W compared to previous generations as NEC have opted for a cool running - but high performance - GBr-LED backlighting design. While this may have changed NEC has not cut any corners on the overall quality of the internals to try and trim the weight down to a more acceptable level. Instead, this monitor uses a 10-bit AH-IPS panel which not only boasts over 1 billion colors and has an amazing DeltaE of less than 2 but it represents only the best, most perfect AH-IPS panels coming off the assembly line from LG.

To put DeltaE into layman’s terms, if a program calls for a specific color to be displayed but the monitor is unable to do so, the average monitor would be within 5 shades of the desired color and an above average panel would be within 3. Five is the industry standard whereas three actually reflects the older PA271W's rating. On the other hand, the new PA272W will be within 2 shades and in all likelihood will be only a single color shade off. For the average consumer this will mean very little (besides getting accurate colors) but a minimal DeltaE could be a game changer if your job depends on color accuracy.

Even with enviable color reproduction, GBr-LED backlighting and a 6ms grey to grey response time, this is still a very expensive monitor. As such it comes as no surprise that NEC offers true hardware calibration capabilities. Instead of just software options, consumers can actually modify the monitor’s internal 14 bit Look Up Table. This results in a higher level of color accuracy which software calibration simply cannot match.

Hardware color calibration is one of the main reasons many professionals have traditionally opted for ultra-expensive NECs. However, the SpectraView II Color Calibration Kit is an optional upgrade and further boosts the price to $1549. On the positive side, you do not need to purchase the SpectraView II kit, nor do you even have to use an X-Rite i1Display 2 Professional colorimeter it is based upon. Nearly any professional grade colorimeter will work with this monitor which puts the NEC PA272W in a class all its own.

Further helping to make the cost of upgrading from the previous generation MultiSync PA271W to a PA272W even more appealing, NEC has also upgraded the anti-glare coating. This matte AG finish is noticeably better and less harsh than the coating found on Dell's or ASUS' latest offerings which will ensure those accurate colors are a lot easier to see regardless of environmental lighting conditions. If you are truly concerned about reflections NEC also offers the optional HDPA27 hood which mounts directly to the chassis.

NEC has included physical navigation buttons on the bezel instead of capacitive touch 'buttons' found on other models. In testing these provided great tactile feedback and were easy to use without being prone to erroneous input from accidental touches. More impressive, NEC has included many more than usual and there is both horizontal and vertical 'scroll' buttons and a dedicated Picture In Picture button.

In keeping with the workman-like philosophy, the included stand may not win any beauty pageant awards but it is functional and quite adaptable. Just like the Dell U2713H it offers height, swivel and tilt options as well as a portrait mode option but instead of 115mm of height adjustment the PA272W boasts 150mm and instead of 25° of tilt (+4° to – 21°) it covers approximately 35° of tilt with (+5° to –30°).

With that being said this monitor - much like all other 27-inch models we have reviewed in the past - the PA272W does have a tendency to scratch the base when moved into portrait mode unless the panel is first tilted back.

The included I/O options are also more than acceptable as NEC includes one dual-link DVI, one HDMI, one DisplayPort and one Mini-DisplayPort. The mini DisplayPort is of particular interest since it will effectively eliminate the need for secondary adapters when using many current video cards.

There are also two USB 2.0 downstream and two USB 2.0 upstream ports located on the I/O panel with a third downstream USB 2.0 port on the side bezel.

The secondary connectors have been included so you can use the PA272W in conjunction with NEC's free DisplaySync Pro software in a two system KVM. Simply connect your keyboard and mouse and with a button press switch between two physical systems. This makes viewing and testing images or video on radically different operating systems as easy as the press of a button.

Sadly there is no included card reader and it is also a bit disappointing to see there is a USB 2.0 compliant hub rather than once with USB 3.0 capabilities. Such features are slated to be included on future models but due to the extensive testing NEC does before a product release, such a feature was not ready in time.

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