NEC tends to be in a class by itself in the professional monitor space. Rather than jumping on every new technological trend with quick model introductions, the company takes the time to see what features truly matter to discerning pros who are looking for a precise instrument to aid in their work. We’ve seen the firm establishment of DCI-P3 as a new extended color standard for Ultra HD content. Adobe RGB is still a requirement for high-end photo editing, but the latest video material is being mastered in DCI for both gaming and UHD Blu-ray.
NEC’s PA series represents the premium end of a large and varied stable of ruggedly-built displays. These monitors are workplace tools that include many features not found in screens from competing manufacturers. The PA243W is a 24” IPS panel with factory-certified calibrations for sRGB, Adobe RGB, and DCI-P3. Despite sporting some of the best out-of-box accuracy we’ve ever seen, it has a dizzying array of calibration controls that make it adaptable to anything the user may wish to do. Let’s take a closer look.
Sure, some will scoff at the PA243W’s 1920x1200 resolution. Admittedly, we wondered at first why NEC didn’t at least offer QHD resolution here. Ideally, Ultra HD should be the standard for any mastering tool at this price point. But once we started going through the benchmark tests, we quickly realized that this is one of the best and most-accurate panels we’ve ever reviewed.
Feature-wise, this monitor has absolutely everything you could desire in a professional display. The factory calibrations are spot-on for all three color presets. And if you want to tweak, there is an extensive and easily-accessible service menu that let's you dial in any imaginable color gamut within the Adobe RGB/DCI-P3 envelope. Rec.2020 monitors are still in the prototype stage, but for mainstream color accuracy and coverage, the PA243W has few equals.
Enterprise users will enjoy DisplaySync Pro functions, which allow two PCs to connect with a single keyboard and mouse for input. Calibration can be automated with NEC’s SpectraView kit, sold separately. We’ve reported on its excellent functionality in previous reviews. With a vast OSD and feature set, there is a lot to explore here.
Packaging, Physical Layout & Accessories
The PA243W comes in a carton that seems more like stout armor than cardboard. The monitor arrives fully-assembled and simply lifts out, ready for you to plug it in and get to work. The panel can also be removed from the stand if you want to use a third-party mounting solution. NEC generously bundles USB, DisplayPort, HDMI, and a standard IEC power cord. A CD contains the full user’s manual, while a setup guide comes printed in multiple languages. The calibration data sheet only covers Adobe RGB. But trust us, sRGB and DCI-P3 are equally accurate--as we'll show shortly.
Impressively, this monitor ships with a four-year warranty instead of the usual three. And NEC includes 48-hour exchange to minimize downtime. This display may be expensive, but the level of service and support is commensurate with that cost. This is a serious screen for professional tasks.
The PA243W shares the same chunky, industrial styling seen in nearly all previous NEC monitors. Not unlike Lenovo's iconic ThinkPad laptops, function comes first. The PA243W is neither pretty, nor ugly; it simply gets the job done. The front bezel is .8” wide and contains clearly-labeled control buttons that click satisfyingly. The anti-glare layer is aggressive and blocks all but the harshest reflections. Since the resolution is relatively low, there are no concerns about grain or artifacts. The image is crystal clear with good contrast.
NEC builds one of the best stands in the business and provides generous adjustments which should suit every imaginable user and work environment. In addition to a 90° portrait mode, there is 170° swivel in each direction, 30° back tilt & 5° forward, along with nearly 6” of height adjustment. All movements are firm and sure with no play. This is one of the most solid monitor packages you’ll find anywhere.
Around back, you’ll find generous ventilation around the component bulge, as well as a useful handle--though we’d prefer to grab the PA243W by the stand rather than the panel. A snap-on cable clip helps tidy up your desktop. If you want to use a different mount, all you need to do is press a small button to separate the dispaly. You’ll find bolts in the carton for the 100mm VESA lugs.
NEC has included every currently viable type of monitor connection. You get one each of DVI, VGA, HDMI 1.4, and DisplayPort 1.2. USB comes in the 3.1 flavor and includes two upstream ports for KVM use. There are two downstream connectors on the input panel, and a third one on the right side. Rounding out the jack pack are 3.5mm audio input and outputs.
|Panel Type & Backlight||AH-IPS / W-LED, edge array|
|Screen Size & Aspect Ratio||24.1" / 16:10|
|Max Resolution & Refresh||1920x1200 @ 60Hz, Density - 94ppi|
|Native Color Depth & Gamut||10-bit w/14-bit LUT, Adobe RGB, DCI-P3|
|Response Time (GTG)||8ms|
|Speakers||2 x 1w|
|Video Inputs||(2) HDMI 1.4; (1) DIsplay Port 1.2; (1) DVI; (1) VGA|
|Audio||3.5mm headphone in/out|
|USB||v3.1 - 2 x up, 3 x down|
|Power Consumption||23.5w, brightness @ 200 nits|
|Panel Dimensions WxHxD w/base||21.9 x 14.8-20.7 x 9.2" (556 x 376-526 x 234mm)|
|Panel ThicknessPanel Thickness||2.3" (58mm)|
|Bezel Width||.7" (18mm)|
|Warranty||4 years w/48-hour exchange|
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